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Uber Under Fire for Perceived Missteps

Uber is a commonly used ride sharing service used to get around the city. Photo: Staticflickr.com

Many Pace students and faculty members use Uber, but conflict arose between Uber and its customers recently, coinciding with President Donald Trump’s recent immigration ban. The ban was later suspended by a unanimous federal appeals court decision, which means that at present, immigrants and citizens with plans to enter the country can continue doing so. According to CNN, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick tweeted that Trump’s travel ban from seven Muslim-majority countries “is against everything Uber stands for.” He said the ban affects thousands of Uber drivers, thus affecting all customers.

AP Biology teacher Kaylan Haizlip is a regular Uber costumer, finding it very convenient. “I use it on a regular basis,” said Dr. Haizlip. “I like it because they know Atlanta better, you have a flat rate to pay, and traffic won’t increase the cost.” She feels that the conditions of the cars of the Uber drivers are acceptable as well. “They are really clean and Uber drivers are super friendly,” said Dr. Haizlip. “If you want someone to give you [almost] a free ride, basically, and be friendly, I’d go with Uber.”

Without her license, sophomore Avi Arora considers Uber the most suitable ride to get around Atlanta. “Uber is very helpful for me,” said Avi. “Living kind of far creates challenges for my parents to drive me around so Uber is usually my best option.” Avi typically enjoys her Uber rides and doesn’t mind the short wait for each car. “It only takes a driver a few minutes to get to you and It’s fun to see what type of music my driver listens to when they arrive,” said Avi.

But Uber came under intense criticism recently and many people deleted the Uber app from their phones in response to perceived missteps by the company. After Trump’s immigration ban was first implemented, stranding many passengers who had arrived at U.S. airports, protests sprang up at airports around the country. On Jan. 28, Uber tweeted that it was suspending surge pricing from JFK airport – effectively lowering the cost of a ride.

The backlash was sudden. People thought Uber was trying to profit off of the New York City taxi drivers’ strike in protest of the immigration ban. #DeleteUber started trending on Twitter, with people sharing photos of the “delete” screen on their phone. Uber quickly issued an apology and claimed that they were not trying to undermine the strike but were only seeking to make travel to and from the protest normally priced.

Mr. Kalanick also came under fire for his decision to serve on Trump’s economic advisory council, with many perceiving his involvement as support for the President. Kalanick later resigned from the council due to intense criticism. In an email to Uber employees that was obtained by The New York Times, he wrote: “There are many ways we will continue to advocate for just change on immigration, but staying on the council was going to get in the way of that.” Uber also established a $3 million fund for drivers hurt by the immigration band.