Now, a trove of more than 124,000 internal Uber files — including messages between executives and internal briefing notes — have revealed the scope of the company’s market plan, exposing violence against drivers, close relationships with politicians and a complete disregard for the law.
Mark MacGanan ex-Uber lobbyist for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, shared the documents — dubbed the Uber files – with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
The stories of a consortium of journalists show a company seeking a monopoly on global taxi services at all costs.
“The company’s approach in these places is essentially to break the law, show how great Uber’s service was, and then change the law,” MacGann said. the guard.
“My job was to rise above the heads of city officials, build relationships with the highest levels of government and negotiate.”
As Uber spread around the world, limited only by the availability of smartphones and willing drivers, it met resistance from regulators and governments, but especially from traditional taxi drivers.
For licensed taxi drivers, Uber’s disruptive tactics — it heavily subsidized fares to attract customers and encourage new drivers with bonuses — meant a large number of potential customers were now jumping into unmarked cars with strangers they contacted through an app. had.
One of MacGann’s greatest successes as a corporate lobbyist came in France. He had developed a close relationship with Emmanual Macron, the recently re-elected French president who was economy minister at the time of the Uber raid.
As in other markets, French taxi drivers protested Uber’s unregulated services invading and taking fares from people paying exorbitant prices and undergoing lengthy training to get a rare taxi license.
MacGann and other Uber executives, including: former CEO Travis Kalanickworked closely with French officials to draft friendly legislation and overturn a ban on the flagship UberX service in Marseille.
Macron had responded to MacGann’s call for help after the UberX ban by saying, “I’ll look into this personally.”
Two days later, the ban was “clarified” – so that Uber could continue its activities – and MacGann celebrated the “good partnership” with Macron’s office.
‘Violence guarantees success’
Meanwhile, taxi protests in France turned violent and Kalanick saw an opportunity: Uber drivers and customers being attacked on the street would improve the company’s image.
“If we have 50,000 riders, they won’t and can’t do anything,” he said in a message exchange, according to the guard.
“I think it’s worth it. Violence guarantee [sic] good luck.”
Attacks on drivers across Europe and South America were seen as valuable public relations for Uber.
The leaked files show that in response to violence against Uber drivers, an executive in Belgium said it was a “good story”.
“A driver has already stepped forward to talk to the press: he had thrown a full bag of flour over him and passengers by taxi,” said the Belgian Uber CEO.
“He filed a complaint and a taxi driver is said to have spent a night in jail … Good story.”
Violence was also used in the Netherlands to support lobbying activities. A Dutch Uber executive said they should “keep the violence story going for a few days before we provide the solution”.
MacGann, pleased with the results, commented: “Excellent work. This is exactly what we wanted and the timing is perfect.”
In a pronunciation Commenting on the Uber files, Jill Hazelbaker, the company’s senior vice president of public affairs, said that Uber had left the past behind.
“We have moved from an era of confrontation to an era of cooperation, showing a willingness to sit down and find common ground with former adversaries, including unions and taxi companies,” she said.
“We are now regulated in more than 10,000 cities around the world and work at all levels of government to improve the lives of those who use our platform and the cities we serve.”