New York Socialist Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has continued to use Uber and other ride-hailing apps – but not New York taxi cabs – despite blaming them for a suicide.
Between July and the end of September, Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign spent nearly $4,500 on rides with Uber, Lyft, and Juno, according to the receipts submitted to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
The latest figures still indicate that she remains unashamed of using the services she criticizes for exploitation and leading people to suicide, despite increasing pressure and accusations of hypocrisy.
Ocasio-Cortez has frequently attacked ride-hailing apps for what she sees as underpaying its drivers, decrying their pay as “exploitation” if they don’t get at least $15 an hour, the so-called living wage.
She directly blamed Uber for the suicide death of Doug Schifter, a driver in his 60s, who killed himself with a shotgun amid financial difficulties caused by flooding the streets of New York with alternative and cheaper options of taxis, as detailed in a lengthy Facebook post.
“NYC’s fourth driver suicide. Yellow cab drivers are in financial ruin due to the unregulated expansion of Uber. What was a living wage job now pays under minimum,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a tweet.
The new data from the campaign follows previous Fox News’ report that revealed the campaign spent nearly $4,000 on Uber and $2,500 on Juno between April and late June when she won against top Democrat Joe Crowley in a New York Democratic primary
Ocasio-Cortez’ campaign did cut its excessive spending on Uber rides amid scrutiny, spending merely $500 in the last quarter, with fares ranging from $2 to nearly $60.
But the cut was offset by the use of Lyft, another ride-hailing app facing nearly identical criticisms as Uber. The campaign spent over $2,700 on rides with Lyft.
Her campaign also continued to use Juno, spending nearly $1,200 for 50 rides.
Juno is a company that pitched itself as an alternative to Uber for drivers because it offered slightly better pay and an option to accumulate the company’s stock, though the latter was scrapped after the company was sold to an Israel-based company, prompting class action by the drivers.
The Ocasio-Cortez campaign didn’t respond to Fox News’ request for a comment.
The debate on car seats for taxis and ride-sharing services
Like many parents in New York, Caroline Hwang doesn’t use a car seat when traveling with her son in a taxi.
“It’s a calculated risk, because you’re not going very fast and the chances of you being in a serious high-speed collision are pretty low,” she said.
Research from Virginia Tech University finds New York is among 35 states where cabs are exempt from laws that require young children to travel in a car seat. Except for Georgia, it’s not clear if ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft are also exempt. In the other 15 states, children must have a car seat in all for-hire vehicles.
“There’s a lot of confusion that parents experience when they want to carry their children using rideshare services. The laws across the nation are inconsistent from state to state,” said Justin Owens with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.
Owens says in many states that require car seats, it’s not clear if the parent or driver needs to provide them.
“State legislatures really need to work on catching up the laws and regulations.”
In New York City, Uber will have a driver like Rafael Serrano provide a forward-facing car seat for an extra $10. Lyft has a similar program, but also, only in New York City.
“It’s super safe and reliable, so I’d rather have the kids safe than sorry you know,” Serrano said.
Uber and Lyft both tell us that drivers and riders in the rest of the country need to follow all local laws and drivers can turn down riders who do not provide a proper child safety seat.
Voting Today Can Get You A Bunch Of Free Stuff
Today is election day in the US and with comes not only an opportunity to exercise your civic responsibility, right and privilege, but also to get a bunch of free food and services. Although ideally people would vote even if they didn’t get a free side of fries in return, it’s good that people are going to get to the polls somehow.
Uber and Lyft are both offering discounts today, taking their political rivalry to the next level. Uber, you may remember, has been boycotted after showing inadvertent support for Trump.
The company declined to participate in a work stoppage that New York taxi drivers were engaged in to protest Trumps travel ban. Lyft became the service of choice for many people after the #deleteuber movement took hold. Now, both companies are offering deals on rides to the polls.
Uber’s is a discount only for first-time users if they put in a special election day code and Lyft is giving across the board 50% discounts for those going to vote.
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