Packer Students React to Uber’s Latest Controversies
Uber is a massive company and has gained prominence throughout the world in more recent years, expanding into over 500 cities across the globe. Recently, though, Uber has surrounded itself in controversy.
On Friday Jan. 27, Donald Trump signed the order for the immigration ban, causing chaos at JFK airport. Many taxi drivers took off work that day to protest the ban, but Uber drivers were required to come to work because of the booming amount of business. Uber also used surge pricing to profit as much as possible.
On Feb. 02, CEO Travis Kalanick stepped down from President Donald Trump’s Economic Advisory Council due to the backlash from his customers. Kalanick’s involvement with America’s unpopular new president Donald Trump triggered the #deleteuber trend.
Packer students reacted in different ways to the controversy.
“I didn’t use my Uber app for the time until I realized that the CEO had gone off Trump’s advising council, so I used Lyft for that time,” said Georgia Fine (19’).
Other Packer students weren’t as inclined to delete the app.
“I know that people were deleting the app because of the CEO not supporting liberal values,” said Eli Harrell (20’). “It still provides a great service that is useful for my family.”
After the #deleteuber trend fizzled out, Susan Fowler, a former Uber employee from the Bay Area, released a statement claiming that her manager had sexually harassed her. She was told by Uber’s HR department that she could either switch teams or run the risk of negative retaliation from her manager.
Fowler spoke to other women working for Uber and found that they had been put in similar situations. After this story came to light, Uber launched an internal investigation to further look into these accusations of sexual harassment.
Much of the Packer student body uses Uber to varying extents, though some are unaware of the recent criticisms of the company. Among the few students who were aware, there were mixed reactions.
“The controversies were overly hyped,” said Eli Harrell (20’).
“I am aware of the controversy surrounding Uber but that didn’t my change decision to use it,” said Sarah Yankauer (20’).
In finding alternatives to Uber, students are turning to Lyft, another ridesharing technology-based company, or classic New York City Taxis.
“Taxis are so convenient,” said Charlotte Drake-Dunn (19’). “They’re everywhere and are much more convenient than Uber.”
On Feb. 28, Bloomberg Technology released a six-minute video showing Kalanick getting into an argument with his Uber driver over the company’s recent business practices. Kalanick later made a public apology.
“It’s clear this video is a reflection of me—and the criticism we’ve received is a stark reminder that I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up. This is the first time I’ve been willing to admit that I need leadership help and I intend to get it,” said Kalanick.
Eli Harrell (20’) spoke about the political and leadership challenges that the company has faced.
“I think that the company quickly learned that getting involved in politics is not good for business or for a relationship with your customers.”