Delenda Uber

This piece at Ars Technica [ars] ought to make you delete your Uber app, if you haven’t yet. If you thought Uber was maybe a little bit bad, it turns out that was the tip of the iceberg.

When the passenger got a price estimate for a ride, Uber would use one routing, when the driver got a payment estimate for the ride, Uber would use another. The driver’s was lower than the passenger’s and Uber pocketed the difference.

Stalin said: “A single death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic.” Well, if you steal from someone, it’s theft. If you steal a bit from a million people, it’s just capitalist profit margin.

When a rider uses Uber’s app to hail a ride, the fare the app immediately shows to the passenger is based on a slower and longer route compared to the one displayed to the driver. The software displays a quicker, shorter route for the driver. But the rider pays the higher fee, and the driver’s commission is paid from the cheaper, faster route, according to the lawsuit.

“Specifically, the Uber Defendants deliberately manipulated the navigation data used in determining the fare amount paid by its users and the amount reported and paid to its drivers,” according to the suit filed in federal court in Los Angeles. Lawyers representing a Los Angeles driver for Uber, Sophano Van, said the programming was “shocking, “methodical,” and “extensive.”

The suit (PDF), which labeled the implementation of Uber’s technology as a “well-planned scheme to deceive drivers and users,” [ars technica]


  1. Dunc says

    I’ve never used Uber… I live in a city with an excellent (if expensive) licensed taxi service, and I don’t mind paying for good service. Mind you, we also have an excellent public transport system, so I don’t need to take taxis very often. I’ve literally never heard anything good about them.

  2. cartomancer says

    I think you were going fror “Uber delenda est”, as Brian points out above. An allusion to Cato’s famous little marketing jingle for his Carthage project (I’m imagining it in white letters on little red hats even now). The passive periphrastic form requires the verb “to be” to give it the sense of necessity – the gerundive on its own would simply mean “to be destroyed” in a fairly weak adjectival sense.

    Although “Uber” is an actual Latin word, meaning an udder or breast. One might expect it to be grammatically feminine, but it’s actually grammatically neuter, so that should really be “Uber delendum est”. Quite why the udder needs to be destroyed I don’t know, though the people in charge of it do seem to be milking it for all it’s worth…

  3. invivoMark says

    I deleted Uber a long time ago. My friend who is an Uber driver, on the other hand, refuses to hear anything bad about the company or its leadership. My biggest complaint about Uber is that it runs unionized cab companies out of business, but to my anti-union friend, this is a feature, not a bug.

  4. says

    The entire ‘sharing economy’ is about shoving the well characterized costs of running this business or that off on to people who are least equipped to understand those costs, and who are motivated to ignore those costs BECAUSE THEY ARE POOR.

    It’s capitalism at its worst, not ‘sharing’.

  5. says

    invivoMark – It’s amazing how many people don’t understand how much of the middle class what built because of unions. It’s no surprised that the success of anti-union propaganda has correlated with the collapse of the middle class and expanding income inequality.

  6. says

    Tabby Lavalamp@#6:
    It’s no surprised that the success of anti-union propaganda has correlated with the collapse of the middle class and expanding income inequality.

    It’s pretty amazing how easily the middle class was propagandized into cutting its own heart out. Yup.

  7. says

    The passive periphrastic form

    Sounds like some kind of larva.

    I just realized that my understanding of that expression is from Asterix comics. My high school Latin teacher is probably curled up crying, somewhere.

    Maybe Uber needs to be udderly obliterated?

  8. Brian English says

    Carto @#3 no comment on my poor attempt to ask if Windows and Apple should be destroyed?
    Not sure if it was too wrong, or beneath your Classics Teacher ® decorum…. I’ll be fenestrated for that I’m sure.

    Marcus @#8. You mean Asterix was wrong? But, but, I guess you’ll tell me that Gerard Depardieux (sp?) wasn’t called Obelix didn’t squash people with a large (almost) eponymous rock now.

  9. says

    But you know, unions *are* bad. When there’s a bunch of money and power on the table, some ugly stuff is going to happen. Unions have cost people jobs by being unbending on negotiations. Unions have been deeply embroiled in organized crime. Etcetera.

    If you respond with “well, that is wildly simplistic thinking, and profoundly naive” in the first place I agree with you, and in the second place I invite you to examine your own responses to these phrases:

    – Police force
    – American Force Projection
    – Police Union