Earlier today, The Verge published a pretty damning report alleging that Uber was essentially shutting down its taxi service in New York City. The worst allegations involved the claim that multiple drivers received messages calling them into headquarters to get paid a cash bonus, only when the cabbies got there, “Uber surprised them by asking for the device back, informing them that taxi service was no longer available in New York.” Another driver told the Verge that Uber offered $1,000 to sign up for its black car service instead. (As earlier screenshots obtained by Betabeat show, Uber has offered cash rewards to drivers in the past.)
Not long after, Uber admitted on its blog that UberTAXI has shut down operations in New York “for now,” emphasizing that no changes have been made to its black car service. With yesterday’s news of Square shutting down its pilot program in New York City, this is the second setback of sorts as technological advances to the taxi-riding experience try to make their way into the market. Square also promised it would try again soon–but unlike Uber, its program had official approval.
“We invested a fair amount of money in the UberTAXI in New York after initially getting a verbal greenlight from the TLC,” CEO Travis Kalanick told Betabeat of the amount Uber spent on its month-long test run, which involved a week of free rides to every New Yorker at $25/piece–for those who actually managed to find a cab on the app. Read More