A footnote on the interview posted earlier today with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick: Therein I asked him about the circumstances of his early-July fight with the D.C. Council, particularly Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), over a particular provision that would have set Uber’s minimum fare at its current $15.
Kalanick repeated his earlier statements on the matter, saying that Uber “always made clear that we were not okay with a floor on our price.”
Cheh’s office continues to take issue with that characterization.
After I posted my item today, a staffer shared an e-mail sent to Cheh by Uber lobbyist Claude Bailey. Five days before the July 10 taxi bill vote, he indicated a willingness to compromise on a minimum fare provision.
Bailey said Uber’s top D.C. manager ran the fare-floor idea up the corporate chain. “Ideally, Uber management would prefer a $10 minimum fare,” he wrote. “Is there room for a possible compromise of a minimum fare somewhere between the two?”
He also floated including a “reconsideration provision” allowing the minimum fare to be re-evaluated after a year.
Whatever that posture is, it would appear to be something other than “not okay with a floor on our price.”
Kalanick responds via e-mail thusly: “It amazes me that in response to calls that Cheh is protecting the taxi industry and price gouging her own constituents, that Mary Cheh responds saying she somehow had a backroom deal that makes it okay.”
Fair enough. But if you’re going to be dismissive of backroom deals, it behooves you to stay out of backrooms.