A former US transport regulator has dismissed the sharing economy as “a marketing ploy” and accused taxi app Uber of “flouting the law”.
US lawyer Matthew Daus, chair of the transportation practice group at New York law firm Windels Marx Lane and Mittendorf, told the Institute of Travel Management (ITM) conference in Newport: “This is an American-based marketing ploy that has expanded globally. There is no sharing go on most of the time.”
Daus said: “Uber and Lyft never share anything. These companies are deceptively marketing their services.”
He added: “This movement started by violating the law. Uber and Airbnb have tapped into a libertarian philosophy.
Government and regulations are demonised. Small businesses are demonised.”
Referring to Uber, he said: “They have broken the law to build a market position. People have been put on the road without insurance [and] without criminal record checks.”
But Daus insisted: “This is far from over. There are over 50 lawsuits pending [against Uber] in the US.”
He told corporate travel buyers at the conference: “The standard of care in your industry is up here. [But] the government standard of care is down here and some of these [peer to peer] companies don’t even make that. If you hire a company that is reckless in its duty of care you can be sued.”
He warned: “Insurance is a huge issue. Uber only insures when the app is on.”
Daus told the ITM members: “Don’t deviate from your duty of care. Do put disclaimers in place. Ban or limit surge pricing. Be aware drivers can use an alias.
“If there is an accident, a third party can sue you because you allowed people to use services that deviate from your duty-of-care policies.”