At the end of the argument, the driver says, “Good luck to you, but I know [you're not] going to go far.”

Video of Uber CEOs heated argument with driver shows companys problems are universal
news Uber Wednesday, March 01, 2017 - 09:59

For months now, rapid fall in incomes and late working hours have been the pet grouses of Uber and Ola drivers. The seriousness of the issue can be gauged from the fact that protests, which started in the national capital region have now spread to Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai as well.

While Uber and Ola cars have been off the roads in Bengaluru for a week, protests in Hyderabad last month took a serious turn with an Uber driver committing suicide.

Read: When will Ola, Uber cabs be back on Bengaluru's roads? No one knows

And it’s not a recent phenomenon. There have been protests in the past too over what is termed as ‘predatory pricing’ to kill competition.

According to a Hindustan Times report, the present business model is no longer sustainable, with the supply far outstripping the demand and drivers getting fewer rides than before.

In what can be seen as a direct outcome of this faulty business model, comes a recent incident where a heated argument ensued between an Uber driver and the company’s CEO in the US. This only goes to show that the problem of falling fares is not localised but universal. 

In early February, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick took a ride in his preferred Uber Black car. One of his companions in the car seemed to suggest that Uber is having a tough time in the last year.

As per a Bloomberg report, Kalanick responded by saying, “I make sure every year is a hard year. That’s kind of how I roll. I make sure every year is a hard year. If it’s easy I’m not pushing hard enough.”

At the end of the ride, the driver Fawzi Kamel starts arguing with Kalanick over the falling fares and it soon turns into a full-blown conversation.

Here is a brief transcript.

Kamal: “You’re raising the standards, and you’re dropping the prices.”

Kalanick: “We’re not dropping the prices on black.”

Kamel: “But in general the whole price is”

Kalanick: “We have to; we have competitors; otherwise, we’d go out of business.”

Kamel: “Competitors? Man, you had the business model in your hands. You could have the prices you want, but you choose to buy everybody a ride.”

Kalanick: “No, no no. You misunderstand me. We started high-end. We didn’t go low-end because we wanted to. We went low-end because we had to because we’d be out of business.”

Kamel: “But people are not trusting you anymore. … I lost $97,000 because of you. I'm bankrupt because of you. Yes, yes, yes. You keep changing every day. You keep changing every day.”

Kamel: “We started with $20. How much is the mile now, $2.75?”

Kalanick: “Some people don't like to take responsibility for their own shit. They

blame everything in their life on somebody else. Good luck!”

Kamel: “Good luck to you, but I know [you're not] going to go far.”

The Uber CEO has now issued an apology for his behaviour, in a memo to the company’s employees. He said, "My job as your leader is to lead...and that starts with behaving in a way that makes us all proud. That is not what I did, and it cannot be explained away. This is the first time I've been willing to admit that I need leadership help and I intend to get it."

Here is the video:

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