To The Editor:
Re. your July 16 editorial: “Uber win for New York City.” It looks like you were conned by Uber’s black lies to defend its black car service under fire by our mayor and city council.
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 California’s Labor Commission to rule that Uber drivers are employees entitled to full benefits and protections. Similar lawsuits in other states were filed. 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 hiting and killing a 6-year-old girl, while another driver injured two pedestrians on a sidewalk. Uber drivers in all cities don’t face the same background checks, skills tests and licensing requirements that regular cab drivers do. You take your chances when you tap your app.
Lie number two is that Uber fights for the 99 percenters. Uber is a $50 billion enterprise, partially funded by Qatar, a supporter of Hamas, and owned by billionaire bully Travis Kalanick who uses unlawful tactics to keep his cars on the road. Paris banned Uber after its top two local managers were charged by France’s government with running an illegal and unsafe operation. Other cities banning Uber include Geneva, Lisbon, Portland, Ore. and Seattle. 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 from Travis Kalanick. But he offered no apology when senior vice president Emil Michael was quoted at a private dinner for proposing to hire researchers to dig up dirt on journalists who criticized Uber.
Uber fights critics by hiring high-paid lobbyists like President Barack Obama’s former political advisor David Plouffe to smooth political waters. It runs expensive TV and print ads, plus robo calls to badger the public into backing its expansion. Another San Francisco-based web service, Air BNB, uses similar tactics.
Both outfits call themselves “disruptive” businesses. Destructive and deceitful are more accurate terms.
Kew Gardens Hills