Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Uber Driver Protest Yields Little Impact; Company Says Demand Peaked for St. Paddy’s

Though some former and current Uber drivers created a fuss by protesting outside the company’s San Francisco office on Friday, they don’t seem to have organized well enough to cause any material impact on the company’s business just yet.

The protesting drivers had told AllThingsD that they planned to strike on St. Patrick’s Day weekend, taking their cars off the streets at a time when demand from revelers would be high.

But according to Ilya Abyzov, Uber’s general manager in San Francisco, “I checked the stats and it was the second busiest Sunday we’ve ever had in SF, second only to the Sunday that the 49ers were in the Super Bowl. Definitely safe to say there was no impact on anyone’s ability to get a ride this weekend.”

Dozens of current and former Uber drivers had joined the protest on Friday, saying they were upset about lowered rates, firings and inclusion of non-commercial drivers, and giving out soundbites like, “They’re running a sweatshop with an app.”

Following the protest, Uber painted a picture of the group as disgruntled drivers who were cut off after low reviews for unsafe or unprofessional behavior.

While it’s unclear how good the drivers’ case is, at this point their soundbite-to-impact ratio is pretty high. Their “Limo Union” Facebook page currently has only nine likes.

Limo Union organizer and spokesman Raj Alazzeh declined to comment about the effectiveness of the protest, referring AllThingsD to the group’s Facebook and Google+ pages, where they plan to release more information in the coming weeks.

With reporting by Mike Isaac.

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