Taxi drivers and their local industry bodies around Australia have mobilised this week to protest against the ride-sharing service, saying that it's no safer than hitchhiking. The logic behind that claim is that because anyone can be an UberX driver, anyone could be potentially unsafe to go for a ride with.
The taxi industry is upset that Uber is both siphoning off its river of gold and dodging massive licensing fees normally charged to cabs in Australia. But as the taxi industry shouts down the halls of State Parliament buildings in protest, Uber is mobilising a sophisticated campaign to get users to do the shouting for them.
The Uber campaign is targeted at those in state capitals. Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane Uber riders are directed to different pages based on their signup address.
Here's what the various pages look like state-by-state:
By clicking on "Contact the MP here!", Uber takes you to your email client, where a pre-filled note with all of Uber's anti-taxi talking points are pre-written.
The note reads like this:
Dear (MPs NAME),
I am an uberX rider and a resident of (LOCATION) electorate. Taxis, hire cars and ridesharing are all great services and I want to be able to choose how I get around my city.
I choose Uber because:
I feel safe. All drivers are vetted through rigorous safety checks, and nobody is a stranger. The app tells me who my driver is and what car I should look for. It also tells me what other riders have rated them. Importantly, if I choose to, the app allows me to share my journey with friends and family in real time so they can track my journey live on a map through the GPS system.
It is reliable. Typically, I never wait more than 4 minutes for a ride.
It is affordable. It is about 30-40% cheaper than a taxi and the customer service is second to none.
I want to know that you will support me, as my Member for Parliament, and advocate for sensible, safety based ridesharing regulations to be the outcome of the (STATE NAME) Review.
Hundreds of thousands of people are choosing to ride with Uber. It is time for the Government to stand up for what the people of (STATE NAME) want. Ridesharing is a safe, reliable and affordable option and I want it in my city.
I look forward to hearing from you.
The address field is pre-filled with the MP in your local area, as well as the comment inbox for the local state's taxi review, and any other relevant MPs who have skin in the game.
This isn't the first time Uber has mobilised its rider base, but it is the first time the campaign has been taken to a national stage.