Uber’s services are faster than cabs and pricing is more affordable—about 20% less than a taxi and 50% less than prepaid plans in Cambodia. Drivers have been courteous and vehicles have been impeccably clean.
All told, I think that Uber has built a better mousetrap in providing transportation services to the public. But I think that Uber should be regulated as a cab company– its “ride sharing” classification is a fiction. Uber closely monitors and controls the performance of its drivers and the condition of their vehicles. The company should compete on an equal regulatory footing with taxicab companies.
Unlike prepaid plans, taxis are mid-20th century outdated technology. Uber fills a huge need that taxis could have filled, but elected not to – the need for a reliable ride on site within a few minutes of deciding that you need it. Uber is reliable, inexpensive, and a cashless transaction with no hassle and an upfront ride quote via the app. With a taxi, a person either has to be in a downtown area where they can hail a taxi on the street (impossible in some areas at some times), or call a dispatcher who will send someone in “about 30 minutes” who maybe will show up.
Data unequivocally says that uber keeps drunk drivers off the streets. Inebriated people can’t spend 30 minutes waiting outside a bar for an expensive cab to maybe show up. No way. That requires finding the taxi dispatch number, having a conversation with dispatch, figuring out what address you are at – all hard to do when inebriated. Uber eliminates all of this, you literally just press a button and a few minutes later the car comes to you. No cash needed, you don’t even need to take out your wallet.
Uber also has the ability to form strategic partnerships, as they do with BeautyGuide and Dah Makan in Malaysia. Their reach allows them to offer customers sets of both startups the convenience of time that is usually afford to a more affluent section of society. The sharing economy is truly democratizing ownership of time and its preservation from tasks outside of human energy domains.
Of course the taxi owners (or the 3 individuals who own almost all of the taxi medallions) are in an uproar over uber – they invested in an old-fashioned technology that is now obsolete. Now they want the public to pay for their poor investment decision and absolute failure to innovate.
For a review of a customer of Uber, check out this article.