Violence against Uber drives is on the rise, as traditional cab drivers attempt to fight back against its new ridesharing competitor. One altercation played out in Melbourne over the weekend as a cab driver entered an UberX vehicle to abuse and threaten the ridesharing operator, and he caught it all on his smartphone.
The video (filmed in portrait, ugh) shows a harrowing encounter where a “passenger” jumps into the front seat of a pulled-over UberX car before being asked to be taken to a police station. The UberX doesn’t even pull away from the curb before the drama begins.
The passenger — who is actually the one filming the whole encounter — begins to verbally abuse and physically threaten the UberX driver. The passenger identifies himself as a cab driver, before telling the UberX driver to “fuck off” and “fuck himself”.
The UberX driver reveals that three-days a week he’s actually a traditional cab driver himself, and does Uber driving on the side for extra money. The revelation doesn’t stop the passenger, however, who continues to intimidate the driver.
At one point, the conflict becomes violent when the passenger infers that the UberX driver can’t retaliate if he’s attacked. Whether that’s to protect the reputation of Uber or its ridesharing drivers, we’re unsure. Regardless, the passenger then attempts to pull off the car’s rearview mirror, before pouring a full cup of coffee into the passenger footwell.
The video ends with the passenger holding up a fist to the UberX driver threatening him, saying not to visit the area he’s in for fares anymore. “This is my area,” the passenger repeats, before the UberX driver tells him it’s his last day with Uber.
We’ve posted it here.
Honestly, this video feels a little sketchy to me.
It’s beyond the realm of common sense for a cab driver to jump into an UberX and physically threaten a driver before trashing his car. It makes even less sense to watermark it and then post it to social media in a climate where commentary about Uber is so polarising. Then there’s the watermark, JagoMedia.ca. The site isn’t anything really. It links back to a site which, from what I can understand, documents appearances of “the Guru Granth Sahib” in the media. It’s written in Punjabi text, and Google Translate hasn’t had a great result with it, so I could be totally off the mark. Either way: it’s a weird site to drive viral traffic to, right?
The owner of the Facebook page the video was posted to — Amaritsar to Australia — lists themselves as an “entertainer”. Whether or not that’s a miscategorisation of a site trawling for news (which its About page encourages viewers to send in via WhatsApp), we’re not yet sure. We’ve reached out to the owner of the page to find out if the altercation between the two was staged. Update: the owner of the page has told me that the video was sent to them via WhatsApp before linking to further news coverage.
I think what’s most interesting about this video isn’t its authenticity. It’s that you’re not entirely unsurprised that something like this could happen when you watch. Uber drivers have been attacked by cab drivers all over the country in recent weeks, and the idiotic, so-called “arresting Uber” movement that orders UberX operators to drive vigilante citizen arresters to police stations so they can be prosecuted is picking up steam.
Whether it’s real or not, this is no way to live a life. If you dislike Uber, vote with your feet and use traditional cab operators instead. Don’t take the law into your own hands. Ever.