It’s no secret that ride-sharing company Uber has been embroiled in an ugly advertising war with its rival Lyft.
Now, it’s turning its attention to the taxi industry.
Uber is among the partners listed on anti-taxi website TaxiFacts, which reads:
“The taxi industry is a monopoly, controlled by a few powerful insiders who will do whatever it takes to protect their vast profits. Now, threatened by innovation and competition for the first time, ‘Big Taxi‘ is spending millions on political campaigns to protect its turf. TaxiFacts.com is dedicated to using real facts and data to expose Big Taxi and how it operates.”
TaxiFacts has been a registered domain since April, but only started putting up blog posts last month, with headlines like “#HailFail: San Francisco Edition.” Stories on its blog include incidents of taxi drivers striking pedestrians and posts alleging that taxi companies don’t run background checks on drivers.
Interestingly, both of these are complaints taxi drivers have aired about Uber (on New Year’s Eve, an Uber driver struck and killed a pedestrian; district attorneys in Los Angeles and San Francisco allege that Uber’s background checks aren’t stringent enough).
In an email to Business Insider, an Uber spokesperson confirmed that Uber, along with other tech and safety organisations, are members of TaxiFacts.
Aside from being backed by Uber Technologies, TaxiFacts’ other members include CALinnovates, Center for Traffic Safety and Technology, Heartland Technology Alliance, The Internet Association, TechFreedom, Texans for Economic Progress, and the Transportation Safety Coalition.
The TaxiFacts campaign is likely the brainchild of political strategist David Plouffe, who joined Uber as its senior vice president of policy and strategy, and oversees
all global policy, political activities, communications, and Uber branding efforts.
“Over the years, what I’ve come to realise is that this controversy exists because we are in the middle of a political campaign and it turns out the candidate is Uber,” CEO Travis Kalanick said in an announcement on Uber’s blog. “Our opponent — the Big Taxi cartel — has used decades of political contributions and influence to restrict competition, reduce choice for consumers, and put a stranglehold on economic opportunity for its drivers.”
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