Taken for a ride
Jul 29, 2015 | 12479 views | 0 0 comments | 428 428 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dear Editor,

Unless you relocated to Pluto, it's hard to ignore Uber's relentless barrage of lies to defend its car service under fire by our mayor and some City Council members.

Let's start with Uber's biggest lie: that it provides employment to 10,000 Big Apple drivers. Not true if you regard employment as a full-time job with full employee benefits.

Uber designates all its drivers as independent contractors who must pay their own insurance, fuel and maintenance costs. This triggered a lawsuit prompting Calfornia's Labor Commisson to rule that Uber drivers are employees entitled to full benefits and protections. That's one reason why Uber no longer operates in its home town of San Francisco.

But not the only reason. An Uber driver sparked outrage by hitting and killing a

six-year-old girl, while another driver injured two pedestrians on a sidewalk.

Uber drivers in all cities don't face the same background checks, road skills tests and licensing requirements that regular cab drivers do. You take your chances when you tap your app to summon an Uber car.

Lie number two is that Uber fights for the 99 percenters. Uber is a $50

billion enterprise owned by billionaire bully Travis Kalanick who uses unlawful tactics to keep his cars on the road.

Uber's claim that it serves riders who are ignored by regular cabs is also false. The National Federation for the Blind sued Uber for denying service to 30 blind customers. Uber said its drivers are independent contractors who are not under its oversight and control.

Uber's fares are often unfair. Drivers charge "surge prices" up to seven times the normal rate during peak periods or emergencies. When a hostage crisis plunged Sydney, Australia, into panic last year, Uber drivers hiked their fares, prompting an apology.

Uber fights critics by hiring high-paid lobbyists like President Barack Obama's former advisor David Plouffe to smooth political waters. It runs expensive TV and print ads and uses robo calls to badger the public into backing its expansion.

Another San Francisco-based web service, Airbnb, uses similar tactics to position itself as a champion of low-income tenants, while actually encouraging rent-controlled tenants & landlords to turn their apartments into illegal hotels, endangering the supply of affordable housing.

Both enterprises call themselves "disruptive" businesses, but destructive and deceptive are more accurate terms. Don't let Uber take you for a ride.


Richard Reif

Kew Gardens Hills
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