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Science & Tech: Bill Ackman Slams Uber For 'ripping Off

SCIENCE & TECH: Bill Ackman slams Uber for ‘ripping off NYC cab driver’

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Billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman said he confronted the CEO of Uber after his cab driver accused the ride-sharing app of not allowing him to keep tips.

Ackman, the founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, wrote on his X social media account on Wednesday that he ordered a yellow cab in Manhattan via the Uber app because he thought “good for Uber supporting the cabbies.”

“I asked the driver about his experience with Uber and he surprised me by saying it was bad,” Ackman wrote to his more than 1.2 million followers on X.

Bill Ackman, the CEO of hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management, criticized Uber over its tip policy. REUTERS

According to Ackman, the driver told him that even when the passenger tips him, Uber “kept the tip for itself.”

“I said that this could not be true so he asked me to test it,” Ackman wrote on X. “When the ride finished I added a $5.00 tip. His screen showed that I paid no tip.”

Ackman wrote that the driver was right and that Uber was “massively increasing its margins and profits” in New York by “ripping off NYC cab drivers.”

He said he then texted Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s CEO, a screenshot of the trip summary from his cab ride. According to Ackman, Khosrowshahi did not reply.

“I like Dara, but this is really bad,” Ackman wrote. “I can only assume that Dara is unaware of this.”

He demanded that Uber “immediately return the stolen funds with interest to the NYC taxi drivers and to other drivers in any other markets where they are doing the same” and that the company “should deeply apologize.”

Ackman also called on Uber to “restate its earnings to reflect this overstatement of margins and profits.” He then tagged New York City Mayor Eric Adams in the post, adding that “I am sure he agrees.”

Uber’s communications team responded to Ackman on X, saying that the company “pass[es] 100% of the tip to Curb” — Uber’s taxi partner — “and they are required to pass the tip to the driver, usually within a day or so.”

Ackman said he ordered a cab via Uber and the driver told him that the company doesn’t allow him to keep tips. Christopher Sadowski

“The tip isn’t showing on this screen because passengers tip after the trip ends, and this screen doesn’t refresh,” the Uber rep wrote on X, adding that that was the reason the screen said “tip may be added by passenger after trip completion” and “check trip history for final Grand Total amount.”

“It’s not as clear as it should be for taxi drivers,” the Uber rep said, adding: “This is a relatively new product for us, and we’ll work with our partners to improve this screen.”

Ackman then thanked the Uber rep for the clarification, but added: “That said, I paid the tip first and then the driver’s screen that I photographed appeared afterwards.”

“The drivers definitely believe that they are not being paid and they have no ability to audit whether the passenger has paid a tip or not,” Ackman wrote.

The hedge fund manager said that “this seems like an easy problem to fix.”

The Post has sought comment from Uber, Curb and the mayor.

In 2022, Uber teamed up with Curb and CMT to allow New York City customers to order yellow cabs using the Uber app.

Uber’s arrival in New York in 2011 upended the taxi industry in the city and left many drivers in financial ruin — particularly those who took out massive loans to pay for cab medallions that cost upward of $1 million.

Uber said that its partner, Curb, is the company responsible for getting tip payments to New York City cab drivers. AFP via Getty Images

During the pandemic, taxi usage in New York soared as commuters shunned mass transit.

Uber, which in years past was at war with the taxi industry in several jurisdictions worldwide, switched gears and partnered with them in New York as well as in other countries.

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