Ubertransportation — not the real Uber. Owner/driver ID'd as Prince Reza Shah
  • Ubertransportation — not the real Uber. Owner/driver ID'd as Prince Reza Shah
  • Image by Rob Noel
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A story was published here on July 24, where a vacationing Uber driver from Augusta, Georgia, Rob Noel, outted a fake Uber driver in Carlsbad.

Over the weekend of July 25, I attempted to find Prince Raza Shah, owner of the fake Uber car causing the controversy. On Friday afternoon, I easily found the fake Uber car parked at the corner of Oak Street at Carlsbad Boulevard (Coast Highway). I returned to the corner three times; the car had not moved, as late as 11:00 p.m.

To Carlsbad Village Drive, then back to Oak Street

Saturday evening, the car was parked at the corner of Carlsbad Boulevard and Carlsbad Village Drive. And on Sunday afternoon, back at the Oak Street location.

Uber fake.

The car

Several people passing by stopped to take pictures of the car, having either seen the Channel 10 investigative piece, or read the story in the Reader.

Apparently, with all the media attention Shah has received, he now uses the car as an advertising piece only. When one calls the number listed on the car, reportedly a plain white Prius picks up the passenger.

Business cards passed out at Coyote Bar

Additionally, taxi drivers reported that the fake Uber’s business cards are passed out near the Coyote Bar and Grill, a popular downtown restaurant with live music and dancing.

On July 28, Carlsbad police’s Lt. Marc Reno said the city began an investigation a few weeks ago, before the controversy hit the media. Oceanside police have also started their own investigation.

Uber Cab changed to Uber

Old pictures found on Facebook clearly show Shah’s vehicle marked in big red letters, Uber Cab. The word “cab” has been removed, assumingly once Shah started receiving unwanted attention.

Lt. Reno explained that if Shah is trying to operate as a taxi, or a ride-for-fare limo service, he does not have the necessary permits. “Either way, he still needs a city business license, and he doesn’t have one,” said Reno.

In Carlsbad, taxis may operate under licensure of the county. “The county will do a background check and vehicle inspection. A meter has to be installed and weights and measures has to certify the meter,” said Reno.

Limo services need TCP#

Limo services, statewide, must be licensed by the Public Utilities Commission, and post a TCP# — transportation charter permit — on the vehicle. Mr. Shah’s does not have a TCP# posted. “Limos may not pick up random customers on a street corner, as he is doing,” said Lt. Reno. It has to be a “call for service,” with a pre-arranged flat fee.

Reno said he has inquired to the PUC if Shah has applied for a TCP number. “I think when you call for a limo, you don’t expect to get picked up in a Prius,” said Lt. Reno.


“We could easily write him a citation now [for not having a business license],” said Lt. Reno. But that wouldn’t put an end to the fake Uber car. Mr. Shah’s business is legally incorporated in California as “Ubertransporation,” clearly different from the name Uber.

Yet he and his drivers state they are with Uber, and his car has several recognizable Uber logos posted. That’s up to Uber to take enforcement action in civil court against Shah for trademark infringement, etc.

Shah used Carlsbad golf course logo

Carlsbad has already been down that road with Mr. Shah, successfully suing him in federal court for trying to illegally use and profit from the city’s golf course logo.

Uber’s legal department did not return e-mails requesting comment, by publication time. Lt. Reno fears, as do area taxi drivers, that Uber may be so big that it isn’t going to get involved trying to stop Shah.

An update to Channel 10’s investigative piece, where they caught up with Mr. Shah, aired on July 25.

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Hockey8player July 28, 2015 @ 6:09 p.m.

Queen me, you might run I to UBëR drivers that, unfortunately, do not meet your standard. Most of us are really nice people.

Just so you know, when requesting an UBëR ride, you also are notified of the year, make, model, color, and the plate number of the vehicle picking you up. As well as the drivers phone number, name, and picture.

If you had ever actually requested UBëR, you would probably know that. I hope this isn't a smear post. :-/


AlexClarke July 29, 2015 @ 6:20 a.m.

There is noting "fake" about these "other" Uber type operations. They may not have licenses and proper permits, and they may be guilty of trademark infringement etc. but they are real and in business. This is a small window into the deregulation that everyone thinks is so great.


Ken Harrison Aug. 20, 2015 @ 12:02 p.m.

STORY UPDATE - For the last two weekends, the fake Uber car as not been seen parking on the streets in downtown Carlsbad. Two attempts to reach Uber's media relations, via a special media inquiry form on their website, has resulted in the same return e-mail "Thank for using Uber. We'd like to know about your experience . . . " Obviously Uber isn't concerned, which was exactly what worries local cab drivers, that Uber is so big they won't or can't get involved.


dwbat June 19, 2016 @ 2:44 p.m.

Ken, Maybe it's a coincidence but there's someone in Carlsbad who has been spamming San Diego craigslist.org a lot lately, offering $1000 if you sign up and complete 100 rides: "Hiring 20 writers. $1,000 for ~35 hours of work (Downtown / All over)" "Paypal, venmo, wells fargo transfer, cash in person (Meet me in Carlsbad) all work." He spams in many craigslist free sections (obviously none are appropriate for his spiel). Could it be the same person? I've contacted Uber PR to see if Uber management authorizes or approves this. I told them he uses invite code "hunterm21" (which should identify the culprit).


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