It’s understandable that everyone has been thrown off by the recent executive order from president Trump halting all inbound travel from several muslim-majority countries to the United States for the next 90 days.
Though that order has partially been overturned by a federal court judge, Uber Technologies seems to be paying the price. Why? Apparently, because it did not stop its service after a taxi driver work stoppage was announced by the New York City Taxi Workers Alliance.
The company did remove surge pricing shortly after 7:30pm on Saturday night, but continued to operate its service. That seems to have sparked off Uber customer ire and even aided the launch of a #DeleteUber hashtag drive on Twitter, which asked users to delete the Uber app from their smartphones.
The gist of the story appears to be that the removal of surge-pricing was seen as a move to profit from the work stoppage by not halting their own services around JFK airport.
This comes as a surprising bit of news because Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was one of the first Silicon Valley tech leaders to voice their disapproval of the travel ban. What makes it even more significant is that Kalanick is one of Trump’s tech advisors on the Strategic and Policy Forum, which features other tech heavies like Mary Barra from GM, Ginni Rometty from IBM, Elon Musk from Tesla Motors and other top corporate executives.
The backlash of #DeleteUber has so far been restricted to New York City, so it’s not going to have a huge impact on Uber’s business.
That said, the reaction of Uber users appears to be as random and senseless as Trump’s executive order that caused all the commotion in the first place. Are people not aware of the fact that they’re reacting to a situation not even remotely related to the travel ban? Why punish a company for going about its daily business when the founder of that company has a voice with Trump and has openly said that he will take up the matter this coming Friday at the advisory board’s first meeting?
Not that Kalanick is going to be able to change Trump’s mind on the decision, but at least he will have represented the sentiments of the entire tech community, about 2 million of whom are American muslims who could be affected by the travel ban.
We find this knee-jerk reaction against Uber to be and irresponsible act, and mob-like in its execution. Lyft might benefit from this for a while in New York City, but beyond that, it is unlikely to have the kind of repercussion that promoters of #DeleteUber were hoping for.
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