Correlation or causation? A Boston writer tweets about how Uber can help students during a school-bus strike. The snarkiest writer in tech picks up on the tweet, mentioning Uber’s CEO in the process. Uber then announces it is providing free rides Thursday for up to $20 each to and from all Boston public schools without a promo code.
Let’s revisit the play-by-play below, with the Boston writer played by Karyn Polewaczyk, the snarky writer by Gawker’s Sam Biddle, and Uber’s CEO by, well, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.
An Uber spokesman told Fast Company that details for the Boston promotion were already being ironed out by the time Polewaczyk’s idea gained traction on Twitter. Even so, Polewaczyk is patting herself on the back for playing a part.
While Uber has in the past stepped up in moments of transportation crises, such as the recent BART strike in the San Francisco Bay Area, the service has gained a reputation for serving the tech elite, even as it’s added more affordable options to its black cars. (That’s what happens when you offer on-demand boat and helicopter service.) In contrast, lending a helping hand in Boston–to stranded students no less–gives everyone a warm fuzzy feeling inside.
Lost in this hoopla, though, is Lyft, which offered a $10 credit to new riders in Boston.