The City of Chicago is coming under fire after shutting down public transit amid a citywide curfew and protests over George Floyd’s death and encouraging residents use Uber instead.
As demonstrations continued on Sunday, the Chicago Transit Authority announced that it would be stopping all buses and trains from 6:30 pm until Monday morning “at the request of public safety officials.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot had imposed a curfew a day earlier, which remained in place Sunday evening, NBC Chicago reported, and the decision to suspend public transit with only a few minutes notice prompted swift pushback from residents.
At around midnight, nearly three hours after the curfew had been in effect, the city then tweeted a discount code for $5 off Uber rides in an apparent response to the concerns about stranded workers, saying it said would only be good until 6am Monday morning.
UPDATE: If you are in need of a ride, use code CHICAGO2020 to receive $5 off your @Uber. Valid until 6AM Monday.
— City of Chicago (@chicago) June 1, 2020
The coupon code was met with similar criticism from residents, who said the high cost of an Uber relative to public transit would unfairly penalize the city’s low-income residents and called the response “tone-deaf.”
Many also criticized the city for seeming to be boosting Uber’s business during the middle of protests against police brutality, though the company denied that it was looking to profit.
“At the request of the city, which had legitimate concerns about stranding essential workers during a pandemic, we offered a discount on rides,” an Uber spokesperson told Business Insider, noting that the company has already been providing free rides for essential workers.
The City of Chicago did not respond to a request for comment on this story.