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Don’t Let #DeleteUber Just be a Hollow Trend

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Ahhh… there’s nothing like waking up to a good Boycott Uber movement. This morning my Twitter and Facebook were lit up with denunciations of Uber. Hashtag Delete Uber. The joy of seeing their louche brand dragged through the mud is always exhilarating. But fleeting. Like every other wave of public outrage directed at the company in the past, the latest #DeleteUber trend will most likely fizzle away and be forgotten.

So what if Uber CEO Travis Kalanick agreed to join a Trump advisory group… So what if he defended this position by stating that they would “partner with anyone in the world,” even if – apparently – their policies threaten global stability… So what if Uber crossed picket lines during a protest of Trump’s Muslim ban at JFK airport… So what if they deactivated surge pricing and – sort of – said they were sorry…

That’s some fucked-up shit. But they’ve been doing fucked-up shit from day one. It hasn’t stopped them yet.

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What about the countless assaults? What about the numerous rapes? The many kidnappings? The deaths?

What about that time an Uber exec threatened to dig up dirt on Sarah Lacy, founder of Pando Daily, for being critical of Uber’s chauvinistic tendencies? That happened over two years ago. There was a massive campaign to boycott Uber then too. Because of all the horrible things Uber had done up to that point, threatening a tech journalist crossed finally a line.

Just like Trump, Uber specializes in pushing the boundaries of what’s acceptable in civilized society.

When you think about it, Uber and Trump are peas in a pod. The only difference is that Trump is pandering to a core demographic of racist hatemongers. Uber must appeal to the general public in order to maintain that illusory $62.5 billion valuation. And doing fucked-up shit is not good for business. Even if they do occasionally say sorry.

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So, how did that the previous boycott work out? Did the protestors really hurt Uber’s bottom line by deleting their app and downloading Lyft’s instead?

Well…

Today, Uber’s valuation continues to rise. They’re loaded with cash, adding markets globally and flooding city streets with more and more cars, piloted by untrained, unlicensed and unregulated drivers.

They’re rolling out fleets of driverless cars.

They are so popular Uber is a verb.

No wonder Travis Kalanick was asked to be on an advisory panel for the president. Trump knows a genius when he sees one.

Uber is stronger than ever. Lyft, on the other hand, is still playing second fiddle with a broken bow.

Even though Uber is constantly plagued with scandal, including more assaults, more rapes, more deathsmore kidnappings – not to mention a fucking mass murder spree – they show no signs of slowing down.

They took 3.5 billion dollars from Saudi Arabia, where human rights are considered among “the worst of the worst,” and then later that month sponsored Gay Pride festivities.

Uber has no shame.

And that’s totally Trump.

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So forgive me if this #DeleteUber campaign rings hollow. I wasn’t impressed with the previous boycotts either.

People love to Uber.

I’ve spent three years up to my ass in this transportation quagmire and if I’ve figured anything out, it’s that people love to Uber.

Lyft has loyalists, true. Just like taxis. But most folks who use app-based transportation are only after the cheapest ride. Some may be persuaded to follow the #DeleteUber trend, but they’ll be back Ubering in no time.

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Now don’t get me wrong.

Do I think it’s a waste of time to delete the Uber app and switch to Lyft? Fuck no. Delete away! Extract the app out of your phone like an infected tooth.

If anything, it’s a show of solidarity with the working class, as well as immigrants. And a big FUCK YOU to Uber for having anything to do with Trump.

It takes more than just removing an app off your phone to make a difference though. You have to become the change you want. Don’t blindly consume. Be informed. Inform others. If you use Lyft, tip your driver. Or you can download Flywheel and take a real taxi. Create your own subculture. Ride the bus. Walk. Bike. Diversify your transportation needs.

Don’t just Uber. Be more than a trend.

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Kelly Dessaint - Will Drive for Food

Kelly Dessaint - Will Drive for Food

Former Uber/Lyft driver turned taxi driver... In my real life, I'm the publisher of the personal narrative zine Piltdownlad, founder of Phony Lid Books and author of the novel A Masque of Infamy and the forthcoming memoir No Fun: How Punk Rock Saved My Life.