Just a little over a week after the second gathering of Uber drivers protesting the company's fare cuts and no tip policy outside of the company's Long Island City office, Uber NYC published an ad on YouTube encouraging cabbies to "ditch the taxi" and "upgrade to UberX."
In the ad, several former 'taxi-turned-Uber drivers' lament the difficulties of life as a cabbie and express their satisfaction with their experience as Uber drivers.
"Easy, convenient, everybody loves it," one of the drivers says of Uber. Throughout the one minute video the drivers seem happy and content with their current situation, one even remarks that he "loves" Uber.
But one of the featured drivers (who is the first to introduce himself and then appears a second time 16 seconds into the commercial) in the video, is one of the more than 1,000 drivers who've been protesting the company's policies. BuzzFeed News first recognized the driver as one of the protestors who attended both the protest and the organizational meeting and then confirmed with the organizers of the protests against Uber in New York.
"The effort, the energy, the hassle," the protesting driver who identifies as Hassan said in the ad. "The amount of time that you put in, it's significant compared to Uber." Later he notes, "being a part of Uber, you move from the bottom of the ladder to the top of the ladder in no time."
Though it's possible the video was produced before the protests took place, it was published after Hassan protested against what he and the group of drivers called "unfair practices." Specifically, Hassan and these other drivers were protesting the fare cuts that made Uber X rides cheaper than taxis. Hassan and the drivers' main complaint is that, as a result of the company's no tip policy and the less-than-taxi Uber X rates, they're bringing in less money than they used to, if not less than taxi drivers.
When reached for comment, the organizers of the New York Uber protests said they were unsure why Hassan agreed to appear in the video and plan to investigate with the driver.
Josh Mohrer, the general manager of Uber in New York, said he spoke to Hassan who denies attending the protest but does admit to attending the meeting the Friday prior during which the drivers discussed and organized the protest.
Johana Bhuiyan is a tech reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Bhuiyan reports on the sharing economy with a focus on ridesharing companies.
Contact Johana Bhuiyan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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