When it launched operations in a new foreign city, Uber spent millions of dollars in investment capital to attract drivers and passengers to its service. While Uber was previously known to have provided subsidies, the documents show how the company has suddenly changed the ride-sharing economy in cities overseas. In some places, Uber was initially paying nearly 90% of drivers’ hourly wages, essentially offering free rides, plunging taxi drivers into economic desperation.
As taxi drivers feared losing their livelihoods and went on a rampage, Uber used violence against its drivers in its effort to win the sympathy of regulators and the public. Behind the scenes, Uber provided details to reporters on whether company officials believed the violence would bring negative attention to the taxi industry, the documents say. Uber would also simultaneously activate its lobbyists, highlighting attacks on drivers to secure meetings with politicians and push for regulatory changes to make its operations legal, according to the documents.
In a statement to The Post, an Uber spokeswoman acknowledged past mistakes in the company’s treatment of drivers, particularly during the years Kalanick ran the company. But she said no one, including Kalanick, wanted violence against Uber drivers.
A spokeswoman for Kalanick said, “Mr. Kalanick never suggested that Uber profits from violence at the expense of driver safety. Any accusation that Mr. Kalanick led, engaged in or was involved in any of these activities is completely false.