Civil rights legend revved up by Uber and 'racist' yellow cabs
Veteran activist Al Sharpton slams Uber caps, saying New York yellow cabs won't pick up black people
The Reverend Al Sharpton has waded into New York City’s Uber debate, defending the ride-sharing app and arguing that it helps minority communities.
The city is considering proposals to freeze the number of Uber licences, owing to overcrowding on roads and dwindling revenues for yellow-cab drivers. Six drivers of yellow cabs have taken their own lives in New York City in eight months, including a man who shot himself outside City Hall after writing a long post on Facebook about the dire effects of the competition.But Sharpton, a civil rights activist, said Uber was a lifeline for minority communities concentrated in the outskirts of the city. “They’re talking about putting a cap on Uber,” he wrote on Twitter over the weekend. “Do you know how difficult it is for black people to get a yellow cab in New York City? This isn’t about Uber. It’s about Us-ah. We need to stand up for us.”
He also used his weekly Harlem rally to speak out in support of Uber. “I’m trying to get to work, I’m trying to get to school, I want somebody that’s going to pick me up,” he said. “Some yellow cabs won’t even go uptown or to parts of Brooklyn. If you are downtown they won’t stop.”
Sharpton’s intervention is likely to delight Uber, which is running a television campaign with the slogan “Don’t strand New Yorkers”.The city council proposals, which could be voted on as soon as August 8, would put a freeze on new permits for drivers while an impact study is carried out. That could lead to a cap on the number of for-hire vehicles. But council speaker Corey Johnson said the proposals would not affect the existing service.
“I understand concerns people of colour have about being denied service,” he said. “But the vehicles that are out there now will remain out there. This is about fairness, reducing congesting and helping drivers, many of whom are black and brown and are making such low salaries [that] they are living in poverty.”
– © The Daily Telegraph