Uber is taking the world by storm at present, and it is ruffling the feathers of quite a few taxi drivers as demonstrated by the argument in the video above.
The ‘taxi driver’ from Ottawa labels the passenger a cheapskate and gives him hell for not ‘taking a real taxi’, but why are taxi drivers feeling aggrieved by the innovative app for smart phones?
Loss of business? Perhaps. Shaking up a stagnant industry which required change? Maybe. Drivers not requiring a comprehensive background check or the same degree of licensing or insurance? Bingo.
Basically there is a common misconception that Uber provides taxis, but they don’t. Uber is just an app to link cars and strangers, and I know what you are thinking, isn’t that what a taxi is?
Loosely yes. But in a taxi, even though you don’t often know your driver from Adam, there are certain checks they have to go through that enable them to own the title ‘Taxi Driver’. Whereas to become an Uber driver all you need is a car and a phone. In fact according to Uber’s website, they can provide the phone!
They have a simple three step program to becoming a driver: 1) Register. 2) Get the app. 3) Get driving.
The company isn’t completely irresponsible though, and they do have a process to research the history of drivers to ensure they are suitable. It is worth pointing out that these background checks have failed on several occasions, allegedly allowing convicted murderers and sex offenders to offer rides on the service.
In fact Uber has been banned in India’s capital of New Delhi after a driver was accused of raping a passenger.
So professional taxi drivers the world over are feeling annoyed that, with the high fees involved with licensing, money spent on comprehensive insurance, years learning the back routes and short cuts across cities, their livelihoods are under considerable threat. The threat essentially coming from any Tom, Dick, or Harry who fancies renting out their back seat.
Maybe licensed taxi drivers should focus on improving their service rather than berating competition, as at the end of the day competition is healthy. But Uber users should take the time to learn the added value of a licensed cab; when you scratch the surface, Uber is not necessarily what people perceive it to be.