Looks like Uber, the service that lets people book auto rides through their smartphones has finally made it to Maui, going live on Thursday, Dec. 18. According to this Pacific Business News blog post that went up the same day, the service has already been running in Honolulu since 2013.
At least Pacific Business News bothered to mention that the service is “controversial:”
“Uber has been praised for its convenience and cost compared to taxi cabs, but it has also has been criticized for failing to properly vet its drivers. Just this week, a Boston Uber driver was charged with rape.”
Uber and competitors like Lyft are extremely profitable, but the service is controversial for a lot more reasons than just that. Cab companies hate Uber because it apparently works, and has been drawing scores of customers away from them while not having to deal with traditional taxi regulations and permits. Then there’s the whole corporate culture angle.
Earlier this year, journalist Sarah Lacy of Pando Daily eviscerated the company’s corporate leadership, describing it as full of “bad boy behavior and arrogance” and “sexism and misogyny.” This, she wrote, completely undermines Uber’s whole mission:
“Uber is a company that presents itself as a way for people to get home safely after a night of drinking. Uber passengers are often locked, alone, late at night in a metal box with Uber drivers. Because of the service Uber offers as a company, the CEO and its investors need to go out of their way to set the tone that objectification of women is simply not acceptable.”
Uber management’s response to Lacy–speculating that they might hire investigative reporters to look into those who’ve written critically of the company–spurred further controversy.
Of course, none of that made into into MauiNow.com’s post on Uber’s arrival, which went online two hours after the PBN post and serves as nothing more than an unpaid commercial advertisement. “According to [their] announcement, Uber prides itself on meeting the needs of the traveling public by saving time, and providing value and convenience,” stated the MauiNow post by Wendy Osher. “A company announcement touts the service as ‘better, faster and cheaper than a taxi.'”
Photo: Ilm929/Wikimedia Commons