Uber has been at the forefront of a bit of a mobility revolution in India. Uber cabs have made getting around much easier in cities, and their cheap fares have ensured that thousands of Indians regularly use its services. But to claim that Indians are now able to go out on weekends because of Uber might be a bit much.
That’s what Christian Freese, general manager for Uber’s Bangalore office seemed to imply in an interview with the New York Times. “Before Uber, “folks were rather locked up at home,” he said. “Now you can see people go out, especially on the weekend. You just press a button and the car is there.”
While companies regularly exaggerate their impact in order to be seen as “changing the world”, this particular remark hasn’t gone well on Twitter. “Yes New York Times, before Uber people just sat fretting by the windows, seeing a great big world they couldn’t access,” tweeted Gopal Sathe.
— gopalsathe (@gopalsathe) April 15, 2017
Others soon jumped in with some zingers of their own, featuring elephants and snakes.
— manu prasad (@manuscrypts) April 15, 2017
— Deeksha (@deekshakhanna) April 15, 2017
@akm1410 What rubbish, we were using elephants and donkeys for transport before Uber 🙄
— Akancha Srivastava (@AkanchaS) April 15, 2017
People also seemed to criticize how Uber felt it was somewhat of a savior for Indian people.
— Saumya Premchander (@saum__) April 15, 2017
— Wanderingsoul (@ipsita_3101) April 15, 2017
— Übermensch⭕ (@me_maniac) April 15, 2017
Others seemed to think that given Bangalore’s traffic situation, getting more cars on roads was nothing to boast about.
— aasare (@aasare1) April 15, 2017
And the more astute pointed out that Uber wasn’t even the first taxi service in India. Meru was operating on-call cabs long before Uber had even been founded, and even Ola had started operations in 2011. Uber had entered Indian in April 2013.
While Uber’s impact on India’s weekend habits might be debatable, a hashtag #BeforeUber is already gathering steam.
— Meenakshi Madhavan (@reddymadhavan) April 15, 2017
It's true. Before Uber, I had to pray for a passing bullock cart to take me to a gig. https://t.co/g0JXrUei59
— Comrade Jesus (@StonerJesus) April 15, 2017