Documents have revealed how ridesharing app Uber used its vast resources to try to change Ireland’s taxi regulations so it could get on the market.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a network of investigative reporters, has combed through internal Uber texts, emails, invoices and other documents to “provide an unprecedented insight into how Uber is flouting taxi laws and protecting workers’ rights on the road.” turned his head”.
The documents were first leaked to the British newspaper The guardwhich she shared with the consortium.
The Irish taxi industry is heavily regulated and due to Uber’s model of allowing private drivers to pick up passengers, the $44 billion company has been barred from entering the Irish market, with the exception of a few registered taxi drivers using the platform.
That Irish times reported how the documents, which cover the period 2013 to 2017, show the steps Uber executives took to persuade the National Transport Authority (NTA) to relax regulations.
The company attempted to establish a back channel to then-Treasury Secretary Michael Noonan through a man named John Moran, who ran the Treasury Department for two years before founding his own consulting firm, Red House Hill International.
Mr Moran, who once lived near Mr Noonan in Limerick and worked with him in the department, claimed he had special access to the Minister.
Michael Noonan said he was never contacted privately about Uber.
It came at a time when the company was desperate to get an Uber trial up and running in Limerick.
The documents show that in a communication with Uber’s European public policy chief, Mark McGann, Mr Moran claimed he could “easily” receive a message from Mr Noonan on behalf of the company. Mr Moran said he could throw a “separate note” to the Minister’s House which would not be “part of the official” departmental records.
He also told company executives which pubs Mr Noonan went to in Limerick city – Bobby Byrne’s and South’s.
Michael Noonan said Mr Moran never tried to contact Uber at home, in a pub or by leaving notes on his door.
Mr Moran said: “I am delighted to have been asked by Uber to do my part to help them modernize Ireland’s taxi industry.”
Ahead of the 2016 general election, transport officials rejected Uber’s proposal to test the ride-sharing scheme in Limerick.
The documents also show how Uber wanted IDA Ireland and the government to go after NTA Director of Transport Investments and Taxi Regulation Hugh Creegan when he opposed their plans in 2014.
“Can you give me the names, titles and contact details of the relevant people in government, plus IDA so I can get them to lean on this guy; That’s not how Ireland works,” wrote Mr MacGann.
A spokesman for IDA Ireland said the government agency is “facilitating meetings for clients” and “guiding clients on their investment journey to locating their businesses in Ireland is a core part of the organisation’s work”.
The files, known as “The Uber Files,” show that political leaders around the world have championed ride-sharing, relaxed labor and taxi laws, deployed a “kill switch” to trick regulators and law enforcement, cashed in through Bermuda and other tax havens, and considered depicting violence against its drivers to gain public sympathy.
In a written statement. Acknowledging “mistakes” in the past, Uber spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker said CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who was hired in 2017, “has been tasked with transforming every aspect of how Uber works… When we say Uber is a different company today.” , we mean that literally: 90 percent of current Uber employees came after Dara became CEO.”
Founded in 2009, Uber attempted to circumvent taxi regulations and offer low-cost transportation through a ride-sharing app. The consortium’s Uber files revealed the extraordinary lengths the company has taken to establish itself in nearly 30 countries.
The company’s lobbyists – including former advisers to President Barack Obama – have urged government officials to drop their investigations, rewrite labor and taxi laws and relax background checks on drivers, the newspapers show.
The investigation revealed that Uber used “stealth technology” to thwart government investigations. For example, the company used a “kill switch” that cut access to Uber servers and prevented authorities from gathering evidence in raids in at least six countries. During a police raid in Amsterdam, the Uber files reported, former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick personally issued an order: “Please press the kill button as soon as possible… Access must be shut down in AMS (Amsterdam).”
The consortium also reported that Kalanick saw threats of violence against Uber drivers in France by aggrieved taxi drivers as a way to garner public support. “Violence guarantees success,” Kalanick wrote to colleagues.
In a response to the consortium, Kalanick spokesman Devon Spurgeon said the former CEO “never suggested that Uber should exploit violence at the expense of driver safety.”
The Uber files say the company reduced its tax bill by millions of dollars by sending profits through Bermuda and other tax havens, and then “attempted to divert attention from its tax liabilities by helping authorities collect taxes from its drivers.” collect.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/uber-files-reveal-attempts-to-back-channel-government-minister-i-can-drop-a-note-to-his-door-41830264.html Uber files reveal attempts to back Canal government minister: ‘I can drop a message on his door’