Say you’re Uber. You’ve just had a month drenched in bad PR, and over 200,000 people recently ditched your service. What do you do? Continue the trend of bad PR, duh. The ride-hailing company on Thursday held a public question-and-answer session with Uber President Jeff Jones, ostensibly for drivers to ask questions. It ended up more like a public airing of grievances.
Really, it did not go well.
A backlog of over 500 questions and comments sits next to a happy-looking Jones, who answered a grand total of 12 comments, ranging from “hey” to simply linking to pages on Uber’s website.
Rather than hosting the session on Facebook Live or something, the arrangement facilitated a sort-of inadvertent self-own for Uber. Incensed drivers — whose relationship hasn’t, to put it nicely, been exactly solid — were left to their own devices, and they took the time to put it all out there: from complaints about exceedingly low fare prices and problems with loathed services like UberPOOL. One user wrote:
I would also like to know why people with larger vehicles are added/forced into UberPool? I literally make less that 10 cents a mile when in LA and pool is forced on me. They add up to 6 different riders with up to 6 seperate destinations, none stop until I log out.
The Independent Drivers Guild chimed in with a comment about driverless cars; the company’s efforts to use self-driving technology in the future:
What are you going to do about YOUR DRIVERS when driverless cars come on the road?
Will you be giving drivers stock options once there are driverless cars on the roads?
Has Uber forgotten that drivers built their company?
Why should drivers be put out of work when they were the ones made Uber successful? (and pay your salary)
The small 30-minute window for Jones’ availability, understandably, wasn’t appreciated by some riders. One wrote:
WOW Jeff Jones YOU REALLY KNOCKED NOTHING OUT OF THE PARK WITH YOUR FRACTION OF TIME Q&A. Got in and got right out as the crowd was begging for change. The ONLY thing you made clear to the majority of us is that you don’t have ANY productive answers. You made it crystal clear (if there was any doubt) that Uber does NOT care about it’s drivers. From the bottom of our hearts, ::middle finger::
Jeff, the guy reached into his heart to pull out a middle finger he’s so pissed at you. Here’s another:
Jeff Jones regrets not being able to stick around for more than a half hour, but he had to go drink big cabs and play golf to help improve the driver experience.
Whether or not Uber’s taking in the comments for further consideration (Jones says he’s “reading them all”), the one thing Jones’ Q&A didn’t accomplish was the second part: some goddamn answers. One user said as much: “Where are the answers?”
“Geez you only answered a few questions and with the typical Uber response,” another commenter wrote. “Avoiding the questions as always. Thanks for nothing.”