In a proverbial middle finger to authorities in Washington, D.C., Virginia, and other states, the popular taxi service Uber’s advertising has gone from clever to downright hysterical. Uber is offering free rides in the Tyson and Reston areas of Northern Virginia this week.
Uber’s campaign is brilliant because of its message. Coinciding with the long-expected opening of the Washington Metro Transportation Authority's silver line, which starts at Dulles airport and joins the orange line in Rosslyn, Uber is promoting free rides with the code name “SILVERLINE” to and from Tyson’s Corner.
This is a direct dig at some of the actions taken against the company in both D.C. and Virginia. According to Blake Seitz and the Washington Examiner, the D.C. Taxi Operators Association staged a major protest:
Their protest was directed at Uber, a ride-sharing service that connects riders to drivers through a smartphone app. Uber advertises its services as "better than a cab," and many riders agree. While official D.C. taxis operate in a highly-regulated environment with a rigid fare structure, Uber operates outside of the box. Its fares are generally lower and its service generally better as a result.
When cabbies staged a slowdown in London to protest, Uber registration went up 850 percent.
Virginia has also been hostile to Uber, sending the company cease-and-desist letters. Yet Uber has been successful since its inception:
Since its founding in 2009, Uber has been a success. Investors are so optimistic about Uber that it currently has a $17 billion valuation, a record for a technology startup in a direct investment round.
With great ad campaigns and great service, Uber will certainly be around to ease the coming mess from the opening of the silver line.
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