Apr302014

Mayday Seattle: Uber vs. The Counterforce

One of the more bizarre stories in travel this week has been the international coverage of Anarchy in the USA with news that an anarchist collective known as The Counterforce targeted Uber car service in downtown Seattle last Saturday night.

A self-proclaimed anarchist group says it has a new target: Uber.

The group called “Counterforce” claims to have stopped 10 Uber cars on Saturday night in Seattle, hoping to disrupt business for the popular mobile app company.

Seattle KING News – April 28, 2014

This story gives an entirely new meaning to the popular BoardingArea acronym FTU when applied in its traditional military usage to Uber. 

One of the more interesting aspects of the story is the Destroy Uber website claims the Seattle protest was viewed by hundreds of witnesses.

On Saturday night, a mob of people ran through the streets of Seattle, chasing down Uber cabs and detaining them amidst traffic.  Ten cars were detained and fliers were distributed to the drivers and passengers.  Hundreds of people witnessed this act of defiance against one of the most disgusting tech companies in existence.

Destroy Uber manifesto April 26, 2014

Yet, apparently there are no witnesses to come forward with photos of the protest, aside from the Destroy Uber webpage.

Detective Mark Jamieson from the Seattle Police Department told Valleywag on Monday that the protest Saturday hadn’t come to his attention. Jamieson asked, “Are you sure that it was in Seattle?”

MyNorthwest.com – April 29, 2014

This all reminds me of the movie The East, one of my favorite movies I’ve seen lately. Here is the movie storyline from IMBD.

“An operative for an elite private intelligence firm finds her priorities changing dramatically after she is tasked with infiltrating an anarchist group known for executing covert attacks upon major corporations.”

IMDb – The East.

Delving deeper into the Uber Seattle story reveals there are issues between Seattle City Council and Uber with a regulatory limitation put in place last month to limit Uber X and car sharing services to 150 cars in the Seattle area. Apparently the competition between Uber X and taxi drivers is impacting the East African community in Seattle who depend on their taxi driver incomes and investments.

Seattle will issue a cease-and-desist letter to app-based transportation startups like UberX, Lyft and Sidecar if an agreement between the companies, taxi drivers and city leaders cannot be made by the end of May.

In an interview with GeekWire today, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said that he will spend the next 45 days working with stakeholders to come up with regulations that everybody can agree upon.

GeekWire April 18, 2014

The website, Destroy Uber manifesto closes with, “We haven’t even started messing with Uber. Stay tuned.”

Some media reporting suggests this implies May Day mayday trouble tomorrow.

With May Day approaching, Seattle Police have said if your Uber car is attacked, stay in it and call 911.

MyNorthwest.com – April 29, 2014

 

Blogger disclosure: I am a public transportation proponent. I have never used Uber and I avoid taxis too while traveling, whenever possible.

*****

Researching this story led to other interesting articles about Uber.

Upset taxi drivers in Paris attack Uber car carrying Eventbrite co-founder in violent protest – Geekwire.com Jan 13, 2014

Seattle lawsuit adds to anti-Uber backlash – Siliconbeat.com March 25, 2014

Best story title goes to The Register UK: Seattle pops a cap in Uber and Lyft: Rideshare bizs get 150-driver limit – March 18, 2014.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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Comments

  1. Why is an anarchist collective protesting for the continuation of an industry that is propped up and artificially promoted through government intervention and regulation?

    Just ride the train.

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