Executive says there are lessons from his harrowing Uber experience


(Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post)

The New York executive who took to Twitter to recount his wild ride in an UberBlack car through the roadways of the District and Virginia issued a statement Thursday saying he hopes that the company will learn from the incident.

Ryan Simonetti, CEO and co-founder of Convene, a conference center network, and his colleagues were headed to Tysons Corner via Uber on Tuesday, when the driver, allegedly uneasy after being questioned by a taxi inspector, drove off –startling his passengers who at one point feared they might crash. The D.C. Taxicab Commission is investigating the incident. A spokesman for Uber said the driver has been “deactivated” from the company’s system.

D.C. Police also are investigating the matter. A spokeswoman said no one has been charged at this time.

Here’s what Simonetti had to say:

“My purpose in issuing this statement is to try and put behind us the unfortunate incident that my colleagues and myself experienced this week when we engaged an Uber car to take us from a meeting in downtown Washington, D.C. to Convene’s new conference center in Tysons Corner, Virginia. As it has been reported, we experienced an unfortunate and dangerous incident with an Uber driver and we are very grateful that we emerged from this experience safely, but quite shaken.

“The incident is now being investigated by the proper authorities in the District of Columbia, and we have been told the Uber driver involved has been deactivated by the company. Following this harrowing experience, I used Twitter to communicate the incident to Uber since this was the only way to reach the company. It was not my intention to embarrass or call attention to the company since I am a dedicated Uber user and believe they have a great business model. At the same time, I hope that Uber will learn something from this experience.”

“As the co-founder and CEO of a company which has a similar growth trajectory to Uber, I am mindful of the challenges that rapid expansion can bring and the importance of maintaining the business standards that got you there in the first place.

“This unfortunate incident has attracted much more attention than it deserves, but that is commonplace in today’s 24/7 world of social media. My family and my colleagues are grateful that this experience ended up as it did without serious injuries. We are now looking forward to moving ahead and putting this behind us and will therefore not be entertaining any media requests for interviews. Thank you.”

(Disclosure: Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos is an Uber investor.)

Lori Aratani writes about how people live, work and play in the D.C. region for The Post’s Transportation and Development team.
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