Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick has issued a defiant statement amid accusations that the company cut fares during a work stoppage by New York taxi drivers, during a protest at New York airports on Saturday (29 January).
The hour-long stoppage by New York city cab drivers was kick-started by the NY Taxi Workers Alliance, to show solidarity with citizens of Muslim countries who have been banned from entering the US for the next 90 days.
Kalanick said that a tweet the tech giant sent out, announcing that it was ending price "surges" – temporary increases in fares due to extremely high demand – was merely a notification of an alternative travel option in the city. The 40-year-old CEO went on to say Uber will identify and compensate drivers who are affected by the executive order from President Trump.
Hundreds of people had flocked to New York's John F Kennedy airport to make their frustrations over the travel ban heard. And many more were enraged upon hearing that Uber appeared to be looking to cash in on the situation.
The fallout on social media has quickly become the second highest trend in the US, with many users screenshotting pictures of them deleting their Uber accounts.
"This ban will impact many innocent people – an issue that I will raise this coming Friday when I go to Washington for President Trump's first business advisory group meeting," Kalanick said on Uber Newsroom.
The statement, summarising an email Kalanick sent to his employees, also reaffirmed Uber's commitment to working with the government, even in occasions of disagreement.
"Ever since Uber's founding we've had to work with governments and politicians of all political persuasions across hundreds of cities and dozens of countries.
"Though we share common ground with many of them, we have had areas of disagreement with each of them. In some cases, we've had to stand and fight to make progress, other times we've been able to effect change from within through persuasion and argument."
Kalanick has received extensive criticism for his partnership with Trump after he joined his Strategic and Policy Forum in December.