Uber: Necessary, Evil, or a Necessary Evil?

Don't have your license yet? Wondering when a ride-sharing service will arrive in Buffalo? Here's a quick and simple explanation of the current situation.

M. Ende '19

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Do you think Uber should come to Buffalo?

  • Yes, please! (79%, 22 Votes)
  • Nah. (18%, 5 Votes)
  • I'd prefer Lyft. (4%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 28

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Although Uber, the wildly popular ride-sharing transportation service, has essentially conquered the entire world with its affordable means of travel, the trendy business has yet to set up shop in Buffalo. However, while Uber maintains its generally unpredictable status in Buffalo, a new online revolution has occurred in which former users rally to “#DeleteUber.”

At a school where about half of the student body is not even old enough to have a driver’s license, one would expect the idea of Uber and its service to appeal to Nardin students. Reports even say that Buffalo is the largest city in the United States that does not operate a ride-sharing service. Uber would inevitably provide help to younger Buffalo residents, so why hasn’t the company come to Buffalo yet? Well, put simply, laws in New York state forbid drivers from profiting off of their services, unless they are licensed taxi drivers. And these laws do not seem to be changing at all, or they are at least changing very slowly (except for in NYC, where they have the privilege of being excluded from these laws).

Recently, though, when the connection was made that the CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick, was a supporter of President Donald Trump, many Uber users wanted to disassociate themselves from the business due to Trump’s controversial statements. When Trump instated the “Muslim ban,” forbidding immigrants and refugees from seven countries in Middle Eastern and African regions, and Kalanick remained a member of Trump’s business advisory council, users with differing politics were outraged. While taxi drivers striked and protested the ban for one hour in New York City, Uber drivers continued working, evidently showing that Kalanick was banking off of the demand for transportation, which all centered around the CEO’s relationship with President Trump.

In response, Uber released statements defending themselves, and Kalanick even withdrew himself from the advisory council in order to distance himself from the controversy. But he was too late, for #DeleteUber had already taken hold. Many deleted the Uber app, but even more users deleted their entire account. Uber’s reputation has been severely damaged because of the CEO’s personal affiliations, which confirms that people dedicated to their political views devote themselves to their cause to the point where they will fully abandon a service they had been using previously.

With all of that said, is Uber still wanted in Buffalo? Do you think that the business is innocent or guilty? Or are you hoping for Lyft, which walks away from this situation unscathed, to come to our city instead? It doesn’t seem like Buffalo’s desire for a ride-sharing service will die down soon, but really, who knows what could happen next?

UPDATE: As of April 8, 2017, ride-sharing services will officially be coming to upstate New York, possibly arriving as soon as July 4, 2017.

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