Special to The DM
Local Uber users are left at a standstill when trying to balance personal convenience with their political values.
The company, whose CEO, Travis Kalanick, has been chided by anti-immigration ban supporters for his ties to President Donald Trump, faced a firestorm of criticism on social media after Uber broke the JKF International Airport taxi strike. The resulting protest of #DeleteUber urged users to boycott the company.
Uber lifted its surge pricing Saturday at the airport, which initiated the break of the strike. During times when rides are in high demand, Uber uses surge prices to ensure quick pick up for its riders. By lifting the surge pricing, Uber broke the taxi strike and the #DeleteUber campaign was created in reaction.
Some residents took part in the #DeleteUber campaign on Twitter.
“My town isn’t walking friendly, I use Uber often but them working with Trump and taking advantage of the #MuslimBan makes me sick #deleteuber,” Oxford resident Laura Robles tweeted on Sunday.
Laura Robles recently moved to Oxford and takes Uber frequently since she doesn’t have a car. She said she should have deleted her Uber account when she first found out that Kalanick supported Trump, but the NYC taxi strike after the immigration ban made her act.
“That was the last straw for me. I know it’s going to be harder on me to get around town, but it’s worth it,” Robles said. “Now, I’ll opt to use local taxis and hope that Lyft comes to Oxford soon.”
Others are choosing not to delete the Uber app after the political uproar.
“If we had Lyft, I would use it instead,” Katie Davis, an international studies and public policy major, said. “But sometimes Uber is my only way home, and it’s convenient.”
Former student Lauren Heres said she would never delete her Uber app.
“How would I get home every weekend?” she said.
Hunter Ezelle, a local Uber driver, seems to be unaffected by the hashtag #DeleteUber.
“Since Uber is subject to your state, I haven’t been affected,” Ezelle said.
Uber drivers’ credentials only apply in the state in which they were certified, meaning the Uber crisis in New York doesn’t affect his business in Mississippi.
The #DeleteUber hashtag has been a boon to Lyft, one of Uber’s primary competitors. The Lyft app is now No. 4 in Apple’s top 10 free apps. The company also donated more than $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a class action lawsuit in the federal court against Trump’s executive order.
“Banning people of a particular faith or creed, race or identity, sexuality or ethnicity, from entering the U.S. is anti-ethical to both Lyft’s and our nation’s core values,” Lyft co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green said in a statement Sunday.
After the backlash of #DeleteUber, Kalanick exposed more than half a dozen CEOs of other companies including Tesla, General Motors, Pepsi and Disney, who also joined Trump’s economic advisory group. This led to the creation of a new trending hashtag, #UberCEO, which has generated more than 83,000 tweets itself.
Kalanick tweeted rejections of Trump’s immigration ban, saying his company stands against the travel ban since thousands of Uber drivers are affected by it.
“I’m going to use my position on the president’s economic council to stand up for what’s right,” Kalanick said in a tweet on Sunday.
This article was a special to The Daily Mississippian from an advanced reporting class.