I came across this story today and had to post something about it because it’s a bit ridiculous. The title of the article was misleading as it stated: “Charlotte Douglas Banned Uber Driver for Pro-Trump Signs” which immediately turns the issue political rather than sticking to the likely real reason for the story – the guy broke Uber/Airport rules.
Despite the misleading title, the article does go on to state that the driver broke Uber rules of not having your car plastered with decals and advertisements and more specifically; “No vehicle shall post or display, on the exterior thereof, any signage or other displays except for Uber’s name and/or logo.”
I did a quick check of North Carolina’s vehicle requirements and like every city, the basic rule applies “No commercial branding“.
Here is the vehicle in question
This is my friend Steve Weiler’s car and he is a huge POTUS Trump supporter and top Uber Driver. But the Charlotte Douglass Airport says he can’t do Uber there anymore until he removes the Trump 2020 and Drain the Swamp stickers😡 Lawsuit! We won’t be bullied by the Left! @POTUS pic.twitter.com/xgFj5YSetB
— Elder Lansing (@ElderLansing) May 4, 2018
Are you kidding me with this?
The only sticking point I have with this is that I cannot specifically find where that website found the rule for ‘no signage’ because I could not find it in the Terms and Conditions and the Charlotte Douglas Airport doesn’t seem to have their agreement with Uber online. It would be a hard case to say that a Trump sign, even though it’s plastered all over your rear window, is ‘commercial’. I’m no lawyer, but I think the commercial line is crossed when someone is paid for it (which this driver is not).
With that said, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Airport did have that as the rule because most have some hardcore rules to be followed when picking people up. Even as an experienced driver, I’m still always nervous when I pick someone up at the airport simply because I hear stories about people getting ridiculous tickets all the time for little things like the passenger getting in a car a few feet from the designated zone, etc.
Airports may be the most consistent battle that Uber drivers face as noted in my previous article where drivers were banned from an airport. I believe this is because they have their own set of rules which allows lobbying groups to have a more focused attack rather than trying to get an entire state to shut off the service. Other transportation companies have a huge financial interest in airport runs as they are often the most lucrative. When there are companies with the sole purpose of driving people to and from the airport, you know Uber/Lyft is not going to just come on in without a massive and consistent fight.
The big question is, could this really be politically motivated? The answer is difficult because while Donald Trump indeed won the state by 3 points, he was defeated by a very wide margin in the county that Charlotte resides in (About 30 points). While that is less than half of the 63 points that Clinton defeated Trump in the county a very liberal city like Boston (my city) resides in, it’s still a pretty significant margin. Enough to the point where it’s entirely possible that politics could have played a role in it.
That said, I still think it’s just the airport being the airport and actively screwing over Uber drivers any way they can.
What are your thoughts? Was this politically motivated or was the guy simply breaking the rules?