Riders are deleting their Uber and Lyft apps in droves as an apparent sign of solidarity against President Donald Trump, and some social media users have offered a black-owned ride-share app as an alternative more in line with their beliefs.
Following Trump’s signing of an executive order that temporarily banned people from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States, protests erupted in cities and major international airports around the country. The taxi driver union in New York organized a strike at John F. Kennedy International Airport to protest the executive order, derisively known as the “Muslim ban.”
Hours later, Uber announced it was turning off its surge-pricing feature to JFK, which some saw as a way to break the taxi union strike. Though the popular ride-share company later claimed they did not mean to profit from the protest, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s place on Trump’s new business council caused many to boycott the popular company.
Protesters found no relief in Uber’s competitor, Lyft. Lyft’s CEO publicly denounced the ban and the company pledged $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union, which provided legal assistance to travelers affected by the ban. However, when it was discovered that one of Lyft’s major investors was appointed as a special adviser on regulation to the administration and was an early supporter of Trump, anti-Trump riders suddenly found themselves looking for alternatives.
Enter Moovn, a ride-share app launched in 2015 that was largely unknown before the Uber and Lyft boycott gained momentum. Moovn operates in several U.S. cities including Seattle, New York, Chicago and D.C. It also operates internationally in parts of Dubai, South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania.
“If you deleted your Uber app (like me), you might want to consider Moovn! I am going to test the waters for sure,” said Taylor Carr, a former Uber rider, in a Facebook post.
Moovn does not “surge” pricing based on demand, unlike some its better-known competitors. It also allows customers to book their rides in advance and choose from local vehicle options such as tricycles and bikes in developing areas.
“As an immigrant, I built this company with the mission to provide accessibility across all demographics, with the same level of service throughout all communities, including various regions of the developing world,” said Moovn CEO Godwin Gabriel in a statement.
The 41-year-old tech entrepreneur, who immigrated to the U.S. from Tanzania at the age of 17, taught himself code and holds an MBA from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.
“We at Moovn are calling for unity, to remember this America, and to respect all the remarkable cultures that created it,” he said. “I firmly believe if we stand together, we will keep moving forward.”
The Uber and Lyft boycotts created opportunities for Moovn to gain new customers. R&B singer Kehlani tweeted about the app to her 253,000 followers and got thousands of interactions, including dozens announcing their download of the app and requesting the company begin operations in their city.
“We are experiencing unexpected high volume requests for our service in select cities,” the company’s customer service department tweeted. “Our teams are working quickly to recruit more drivers. In the meantime, pre-scheduling whenever possible ensures you will have a ride. Thank you for your support and we look forward to getting you Moovn soon.”