As Labour MP Wes Streeting brings a Ten Minute Rule Bill aimed at improving passenger safety for taxi and minicab riders, and to level the playing field between black cabs, minicabs and apps like Uber, before the Commons, more evidence has emerged of organised dirty tricks being perpetrated on behalf of at least one of the participants. To no surprise at all, the name in the frame is Uber.
How this is being accomplished can be seen by a document apparently from Portland Communications, the agency that holds the Uber account, which sets out what it perceives as the challenges to Uber, before listing the actions is has already taken. These include “Work with Uber to reach out to transport journalists and politicians … Helped create a marketing plan which mocked taxi drivers in a tongue in cheek manner for fighting technological progress and being self-interested”.will by now know all too well, Uber is not merely about technology. It is about old-fashioned market dominance.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick let that cat out of the bag the moment he described taxis as “Assholes”. For him and his backers, the monopolising of minicabs is the name of the game, and eliminating competition the goal. The technology is the way that drivers and consumers become dependent to the point of being prisoners of the app. Not for Kalanick the encumbrance of costly infrastructure and all its overhead costs. By this much has the transportation robber baron progressed since the days of Cornelius Vanderbilt.has already been questioned by Steve McNamara of taxi union LTDA, who said of previous proposed changes “Uber will be utilising its £250,000 per month lobbying and marketing budget to pressurize its bought and paid for journalists and politicians into earning their keep, and doing all it can to block the changes. Uber doesn’t care about public safety; a lax regulatory system suits it”. That is a straight accusation of bribery.
And it is not the first time the accusation has been levelled, yet neither Uber, nor Portland, nor any journalist thus accused, implicitly or explicitly, has brought a legal action against those making the claims. So perhaps Portland would like to give a straight answer to a straight question: Is Uber paying bribes in exchange for favourable publicity?
The identities of those making information available will be kept confidential. Email address at right; there will be rather more to come later on this story.