Uber is making headlines lately, but not in a good way. While CEO Travis Kalanick has been known for his “antics” from the very beginning of the taxi service app’s existence, Pando Daily’s Sarah Lacy recently called out the whole organization as prime example of trickle down misogyny. For those of you who haven’t been following along, the TL;DR is that Lacy believes the misogynist attitudes of the men running Uber are translating into dangerous conditions for women who use their services.
Whether or not you agree with her conclusion (and I personally am still on the fence, considering the statistics on assaults in regular taxis), the subsequent actions of Uber senior vice president Emil Michael are unquestionably awful. Michael reportedly suggested that Uber hire investigators to unearth “dirt” on journalists who dare take the Uber name in vain and Sarah Lacy in particular was mentioned as a target of that smear campaign.
Doxxing journalists and bloggers or spreading salacious rumors about their personal lives because they’re being mean to your multimillion dollar company is wrong no matter how you look at it and plenty have people have responded to Uber’s refusal to apologize or ask Michael to step down by deleting the app. It’s a classic tactic employed by socially conscious folks throughout the years: if you don’t agree with a company’s politics, then it may be time to stop using their service.
However, the convenience of Uber’s service can be a hard drug to give up, especially in cities like San Francisco, where taxi service is notoriously bad. Luckily, there are plenty of Uber competitors out there for people who are no longer interested in supporting a company run be assholes.
While Lyft is the probably the most famous ridesharing app, people interested in a more professional driver should check out Flywheel. Mashable reports that the taxi app recently raised a $12 million Series C and that their founder isn’t scared to take on Uber, calling them “an army of mini assholes.”
Unlike Uber or Lyft, Flywheel uses licensed taxi drivers who undergo strict background checks. Rather than create a whole new fleet of (inexperienced) drivers like the two more famous apps have done, Flywheel is aiming to unite the fractured group that is professional cabbies. They’re also committed to providing speedy service, knowing that above anything else, users want to get where they’re going – fast.
While it’s currently only available in San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, Daytona Beach, Orange County, and Modesto, Flywheel has the potential for growth across the rest of the country because, as one reviewer in the App Store put it, it provides “easy, same no-hassle rides as Uber, but with professional drivers and not-a-douchey company.
Users who are tired of Kalanick’s misogyny and Michael’s threats should check out Flywheel and see how it compares. Remember, folks: When it comes to shaping startup culture, the biggest leverage you have is your downloads.