There’s a very logical reason that might explain why Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigned from President Donald Trump’s economic advisory team Thursday: money.
More than 200,000 people reportedly deleted their Uber accounts in protest against Kalanick’s association with Trump and the company’s business model of surge pricing, according to The New York Times.
Originally, Kalanick seemed intent on remaining a member of Trump’s economic advisory team, despite the president’s executive orders restricting immigration. But Kalanick later decided to leave the group after receiving a lot of criticism, both from people internal to the company and from the general public.
“Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the President or his agenda but unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that,” Kalanick wrote in a letter to employees, according to Mike Isaac of The NYT. “The implicit assumption that Uber (or I) was somehow endorsing the Administration’s agenda has created a perception-reality gap between who people think we are, and who we actually are.”
The boycott also stems from the company maintaining its business model of charging more during busy hours, specifically during demonstrations against Trump’s most recent immigration executive orders at airports across the country. Some felt Uber was trying to profit directly off of the unrest. (RELATED: Immigrant-Rich Tech Industry Responds To Trump’s Immigration Ban)
Several critics of Trump and Uber’s surge pricing publicly announced their boycott, causing #deleteuber to trend on Twitter.
Goodbye @Uber. Hello @lyft. #DeleteUber pic.twitter.com/Hk04FpllUn
— Susan Sarandon (@SusanSarandon) January 30, 2017
Uber tried to assure the Twittersphere that prices surged automatically, and that it turned off the feature once it realized the cause of the uptick in ride requests. (RELATED: Uber Forced To Apologize After Surge In Pricing During Trump Protests)
Surge pricing has been turned off at #JFK Airport. This may result in longer wait times. Please be patient.
— Uber NYC (@Uber_NYC) January 29, 2017
As thousands of customers began deleting their accounts, Uber’s competitors tried to capitalize on the situation. Lyft, the ride-sharing service “little brother” to Uber, announced in an official blog post titled “Defending Our Values” that it was donating $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a lawsuit challenging Trump’s executive orders.
Lyft’s usage dramatically increased following the initial Uber protest, according to CNBC. Ironically, one of Lyft’s major investors is a vocal supporter of Trump.
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