To Uber or not To Uber?

Anti-Uber taxi protests brought traffic to a halt in Toronto this week, and it seems like it is finally time for me to choose a side.

With a recent valuation of $51 Billion and a global geographic presence – Uber is challenging the traditional taxi service on a number of levels.

 

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Uber is currently operating in 300 cities and in 58 countries worldwide.

 

First of all, it’s cheap. Drivers don’t have all of those extra taxi-related expenses – because they’re unregulated and using their own vehicles.

 

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Black marks are Uber luxury vehicles, Yellow is your regular taxi, and Blue marks are Uber X – which are non-luxury vehicles. (Look how cheap some of those blue markers are)

 

Secondly, it’s incredibly convenient. You can order a Uber ride at the touch of a button through their app. No waiting on hold to get through to the dispatch and then hoping a cab will show up.

 

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Drivers are reviewed and given ratings by customers. Ratings are out of 5 stars, with drivers expected to maintain a 4.6 star average.

 

Thirdly, it potentially covers a wider territory. Drivers are booked through the app – and not looking for return street fares – this means drivers are more willing to go to less dense neighbourhoods, which is great for those who live on the outskirts of a city.

And yet…. I just can’t get past the fact that drivers are untrained, unlicensed and uninsured.

Not only is there the safety issue of getting into a vehicle with a random driver (there’s a long list of lawsuits going through the courts), but I really like that my taxi driver is licensed and regulated; it means they’ve passed a long list of regulations, including set fares and insurance and safety requirements.

 

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In fact, there’s a growing list of countries that have banned Uber from operating

 

I definitely support the competition to the industry and hope that it will spur innovation, but until Uber gets their legal wrinkles ironed out, I’m going to be choosing a yellow cab for now.

 

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