Celebrities and everyday Americans are deleting the ‘Uber’ app from their smartphones following the company’s support for President Donald Trump. Courtesy: AP/Hollywood Reporter
UBER drivers have seen a big drop-off in business since a #deleteUber campaign began on Saturday — sparked by the company’s perceived support of Donald Trump.
The ride sharing service is under fire for continuing to send drivers to JFK Airport during a taxi strike to support immigrants detained at the airport, the New York Post reports.
“Uber is dead,” said Inder Parmar, who drives for three ridersharing apps. “Before, I was getting two Uber jobs in an hour; yesterday, I only got two jobs on Uber all day. The other apps are still busy.”
The protest movement claimed a victory on Thursday, with Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick bowing to pressure to quit President Trump’s advisory team.
In a memo sent to employees and seen by The Post, Mr Kalanick wrote: “Earlier today I spoke briefly with the President about the immigration executive order and its issues for our community.
“I also let him know that I would not be able to participate on his economic council. Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the President or his agenda but unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that.”
Mr Kalanick had come under extreme criticism in the past few days for working with the Trump administration.
Angry customers started the #deleteUber movement partially based on Kalanick working with Trump and also because the company continued to send cars during a taxi strike that was taking place at JFK Airport — where numerous refugees were being detained over the weekend — by failing to turn off its app to prevent drop-offs and pick-ups there.
After seeing their earnings drop, a group of Uber drivers started a petition urging the chief executive to step down.
Mohsin Alvi, who has been driving for the company for more than two years, said he was easily making $US300 a day before Sunday and was down to $US120 early this week.
“It has definitely impacted drivers,” said Mr Alvi, 30. “It’s the beauty of this country that people have the right to choose, but drivers are suffering because of something the company did.”
Uber scrambled to keep its remaining customers on the platform after the #deleteUber campaign took off.
When riders attempted to delete the app, a message from the company appeared stating: “We wanted to let you know that Uber shares your views on the immigration ban: it’s unjust, wrong and against everything we stand for as a company.”
It then sent them to a link describing the legal defence fund that the company set up on Sunday after the uproar started.
‘WE OPPOSE THE TRAVEL BAN’
Uber declined to say how many customers around the world have deleted the app. But company officials said they were committed to fighting for its workers.
“We are making sure that riders know that our CEO strongly opposes the president’s immigration ban,” said a company spokesman.
“New York continues to be one of our fastest growing markets in the world and we are committed to making Uber the best option for New Yorker drivers. This includes standing with any drivers who have been impacted by this ban by creating a $US3 million legal defence fund, providing 24/7 legal support and offering compensation for lost earnings.”
Despite the anger aimed at Uber, individual drivers had the choice to join the strike. Uber also didn’t actively stop drivers from picking up at the airport, and the company didn’t tweet out that it was suspending surge pricing at the airport until after the strike was over.
Many riders vowed to switch to Lyft, which donated $US1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union on the weekend.
Lyft, which also sent drivers to the airport during the strike, declined to say how many users it had gained.
Drivers who are signed up with more than one company say that customers are still using ridesharing apps, but they’ve switched to Lyft and Juno.
Juno officials said there has been a “clear uptick” in the amount of people who downloaded its app since Saturday, but they declined to say by exactly how many more users they have now.
This article first appeared at the New York Post and is reproduced here with permission.