An Uber Technologies Inc. spokesperson has made the company’s boldest and most bizarre claim yet. Uber’s head of public policy in Europe has stated that the ride sharing service is not a transportation company, Bloomberg reported.
“Uber is not a transport company; we don’t own cars,” Mark MacGann told reporters. “We don’t employ drivers. What we are is a technology platform.”
Since the statement appeared on April 1, 2015, one has to wonder if it is an April Fool’s Day prank. If Uber is not a transportation company, then what is it? After all, at the end of the day, what Uber is selling is transportation not auto insurance.
The statement about not employing drivers is equally bizarre coming from somebody who works for a company that is constantly advertising for drivers. Uber is a transportation company and it does employ drivers, so to claim otherwise is simply absurd. A better way to think of Uber would be as a transportation company that uses a technology platform to market its products and manage its services.
Uber making a statement like that would be a like a spokeswoman for a Kroger (KR), America’s largest grocery store operator, claiming her organization was not in the food business because it merely sells food. The claim is inaccurate and misleading, as well as downright foolish.
MacGann made the statement after Uber appealed a German court’s decision to ban Uber in the Federal Republic and a new Spanish law to the European Commission, which is the body that regulates commerce in the European Union. Uber is trying to use the Commission to do an end run around European authorities.
UberX Driver Tries to Plunder Fare’s Home
A Denver woman got more than she bargained for when she used UberX to take a ride to the airport. Denver police allege that the driver, Gerald Montgomery, tried to break into the woman’s home after dropping her off at the airport. The burglary attempt failed because the woman’s roommate was home and called police.
Montgomery has been arrested and booked into the Jefferson County Jail. The Denver Post reported that Uber provided police with Montgomery’s identity and address. Uber has “deactivated” Montgomery, which means he will no longer be able to drive for the service.
This incident will certainly raise more questions about Uber’s claims that it runs effective background checks. Since Montgomery is 51, it is likely that this is not his first run-in with the law. The Post reported that Montgomery has no criminal background in Colorado.
Uber’s background checks have been called into question before. Last year, NBC-4 Los Angeles reported that Beverly Locke, an ex-con with a rap sheet that includes felony convictions for burglary and other serious crimes, had no trouble signing up as an Uber driver and passing the background check. In the same story, the TV station mentioned several Uber drivers with convictions for crimes like drunk driving and reckless driving on their records.
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Uber does a background check for felonies and major traffic violations for the past seven years, Uber head of communications Lane Kasselman told NBC-4, yet Kasselman made some incredible statements.
“A former non-violent criminal … may be permitted (to be an Uber driver),” Kasselman said. “We’re confident that every ride on Uber is safer than a taxi.”
It is easy to see why Uber is in such legal hot water all over the world. Lawyers must love this company; its spokespeople seem to have no grasp of reality.