PORTLAND, Ore. — Ride-booking company Uber is very popular in Portland, but its reputation has taken a beating in recent weeks after reports of CEO misbehavior, sexism, deception of law enforcement and intellectual property theft.
That's not the only bad news for Uber.
The wave of alleged Uber scandals has depressed its market as well. According to a USA Today report, spending on Uber in Portland has decreased by 18 percent since a #DeleteUber campaign surfaced across social media in late January. During the same time period, Lyft spending in Portland has surged 16 percent.
Uber's market share has decreased on a national level as well. In January, Uber's market share was 83.5 percent to Lyft's 16.5 percent. USA Today reported that Lyft has since increased its market share to 21.3 percent, according to TXN Solutions, which tracks debit and credit card spending.
Nationwide spending on Lyft is up 30 percent. while Uber is down 2 percent since January.
At Portland International Airport, ride-booking cars are a visible presence in the pickup area. Travelers can grab a ride with either Uber or Lyft with relative ease. On Tuesday, travelers expressed varied opinions on Uber.
Kellie Hill said she had no immediate plans to shy away from Uber because of its battered reputation.
"Not at the moment," she said. "The drivers all seem great, so that's more important to me than the CEO."
Matt Harding, who was waiting for his Uber ride, said he hasn't been paying attention to reports about the company.
"I haven't been following it that close, honestly," he said. "I'm kind of new to the Uber world. It's very convenient and easy."
Another traveler said he just wanted to get home.
"I hadn't even heard the news actually," Danny Mize said as he got into an Uber car.
A former Uber driver, Nelson Harkrider, was happy to speak on the record about his experience working for the company.
“I just feel like they're (a) misogynistic, opportunist company that does not care about the customers or the employees," he said. "They only care about making money."
Harkrider admitted he quit driving for Uber after getting two tickets, but he did not leave impressed. “Not a fan at all,” he said.
Some students at Portland University said they've been influenced by the news.
“I’ve heard a lot of negative feedback through friends," said student Luiz Diaz. "Just ... how they treat other people outside their spectrum."
Others said they don't trust the news reports.
“I haven’t really heard anything bad about them besides on social media, which I just kind of ignore because a lot of stuff on social media is either biased or just lies,” said student Larisha Shelby.
Shelby said the news reports about the company don't carry as much weight with her as the customer service of the drivers.
“I’ve never had any bad experiences," she said. "They've always been super nice and friendly."
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