The "Uber Drivers United" representative whose call to protest the company's recent fare cuts — from 10 to 45 percent in 100 North American cities such as San Francisco — might have been tooting his own horn.
Instead of the 1,500 to 2,000 drivers he predicted, tenfold fewer, around 150 to 200 according to Engadget, assembled near Candlestick Park to drive to Uber's San Francisco headquarters yesterday.
"Who made this company a $60 billion company? Drivers!" one driver, who like others fearing retribution would not divulge his last name, shouted over a microphone. His call to arms: He had heard that the company would be lowering their rates to $.50 per mile ahead of the Super Bowl. For the record, the Drivers United would instead like $1.50 per mile, according to a list of demands.
But Uber spokesperson Laura Zapata tells NBC Bay Area that "It is absolutely false that Uber is lowering prices in the Bay Area to 50 cents a mile... We do not plan [on] making any more price cuts in the Bay Area this winter." In fact, Uber's prices could rise again — but not just yet.
To recruit more drivers to the protest in hopes of staging a stronger showing like the one at the recent Uber Honk-In, Uber Drivers United first headed to SFO, where many cars pick up fliers. But there, takers were few.
"We support them, but we have to make money," one driver who didn't participate told Engadget. "This is the third or fourth time they've protested and nothing has changed," said another.
Before heading to Uber's Market Street digs, the convoy took to their location in Potrero Hill. Writes Engadget:
"They circle the block honking and disrupt traffic exiting highway 101. At this point it's tough to determine who is part of the protest and who is stuck in the snarl the caravan has created. Everyone is honking either out of frustration with the ride-share platform, or the traffic."
Was the message from Uber Drivers United even registered? Amid existing traffic conditions and Super Bowl business, it sounds as if the signal were lost in the noise.