People who criticize Uber either don’t get it, or don’t use it. Rideshares, like Uber, are the solution for a system that’s been broken for too long. I’ll start with the biggest point against Uber, although it’s not my biggest point.
As someone who has had to put up with traditional taxis from time to time, Uber is a savior. But not only that, its a genius business model that shouldn’t change for the user’s sake! What needs to change is people’s understanding of Uber, so I don’t have to hear complaining about problems that don’t exist.
1) “Surge pricing” is a good thing
Prices go both ways
Surge pricing is good not because prices go up, but because Uber uses supply and demand both ways! I have yet to see critics explain that prices can go down when it’s slow. A few nights ago it was slow in Vienna and upon checking for a ride, I got an alert for a discount. My ride across Vienna to check into another hotel cost only €5!
How supply & demand works
The optimal solution for both drivers and customers is this: when it’s slow Uber tells the drivers they make less money, causing them to go home and giving you discounts. When it’s high, prices go up to get more drivers out. This ensures that drivers don’t waste their time, and gets all the drivers out in peak times.
If Uber drivers sat around all day wasting gas all day… well, they would have to start treating people like taxis currently do! Which is not good. Mainly, Uber wouldn’t be cheap, which they are.
If you prefer to waste money/gas, support taxis instead.
Surge Pricing gives BIG alerts
I’m so tired of hearing about surge pricing. This is not a trick.
If I went on ebay and bought a $500 suitcase, clicked “buy now” and confirmed with paypal… how many people would sympathize with me when I was shocked to get a $500 bill?
“Oh my gosh, last time I bought a suitcase, it was totally like $25. I’m so shocked!”
No! You had to click accept, it’s not a shock.
Does no one see how ridiculous this is? If you don’t like the price, don’t confirm!
This is not like the discount where it just lets you know the price is lower. When the price is higher you get a popup and you have to click “I ACCEPT HIGH FARE” (yes in all caps) before you can even look for a ride.
Did you know airlines and hotels have the same pricing model? When your flight has high occupancy early on, they can charge double, triple, or more for the same economy seat! If you don’t like the business model, I doubt you’re going/staying anywhere in the world any time soon.
Additional points: Taxi lines & where the money goes
Before posting this I realized that GLeff wrote a post on why Uber’s surge pricing is “Great”. And he nails it with a killer point, “The alternative to surge pricing is not enough rides at any price”. He points out something I’ve seen many times, very long taxi lines. Uber gives the option to forgo long taxi lines.
You don’t have to go with Uber’s solution to long taxi lines, I don’t, but clearly many people do. This is called “demand”. It is there and as Gary points out, 80% of the money always goes to the drivers. This is back to what I say about incentivizing more drivers in these times.
There is nothing to object to, other than people hitting “accept” and then complaining about it. I object to the continual reporting of this non-sense. If it’s not worth more money to spend less time waiting for a taxi/uber… don’t.
If you read my story about the taxi with a hot meter (who also drove me a way that according to google is 3km instead of 1.5k), you know, what we are up against is surge pricing without warning.
Not only that, you are totally clueless as to what route your driver took, or if it’s an efficient one.
I have never had an Uber driver with ill-intent. They don’t run you around in circles, because when your ride is done you get a big map of the route they took.
Pricing will always be consistent to what they said. This is not a guarantee with regular taxis.
Back to pricing: Uber is simple
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gotten out of a taxi and the driver hits a button that jacks up the price, at the end and I don’t know what it’s for. The other day it was for our bags. Sometimes airport fee. Whatever it is, you don’t know the rules and you’re constantly being taken advantage of.
What is there about Uber that isn’t transparent? Why are people wanting to keep taxis around instead?
Did you leave something in a taxi? Guess what, there is zero way of knowing in hindsight which cab it was you were in.
Did your local friend later tell you that you got taken around the block and paid way too much? You can do nothing about it. Even if you did know the driver’s name, you can’t prove that it wasn’t the fair price.
With Uber the rate is, again, guaranteed to to be consistent to the pricing model quoted. However, if for some reason your driver took a wrong turn, you can contact Uber and make sure you are given the price for the most efficient route.
Do you want to know why Uber isn’t allowed at the Chicago airports?
Do you want to know why the monorail going down the Las Vegas strip doesn’t go to the airport (when it was supposed to)?
Do you want to know why you had to pay $40 in Phuket for a short taxi ride? And why tuk-tuks aren’t allowed to pick you up at hotels?
And what you may not know is that mafia-like corruption (like in South Africa’s taxi wars) and bribes are ruining good people here. In DC, Boston, New York, Vegas, San Francisco, and in general the taxi drivers in the US are working more and getting paid less because of the corrupt medallion system.
If there are taxis, expect corruption.
Finally! We have a system that is developing to replace the dangerous, corrupt, and poorly functioning taxi system and it’s opposed because some drunk guy clicked okay on a price that was too high. Or because the taxi mafia is suing.
Also, really consider this from the employee’s perspective. Taxi drivers can rent the taxi for $100 and they have to make up that money. Or imagine if they are renting the license, they are essentially in debt.
Uber drivers have basically no start up cost! This is great. Because of this we don’t need them during low hours. In fact, as I said earlier, they have incentives to take off during lower paying times.
Ah. Safety. That’s why people want to allow taxis instead of Uber. Safety. That makes so little sense, I don’t know where to begin.
Canada Statistics study shows “taxi drivers were twice as likely as police officers to be a victim of homicide while working”. Safety for who then?
And if you think that Uber’s background checks are less formal than taxi drivers, you are kidding yourself. The rights to drive a taxi get pawned, rented out, and are bribed for on a regular basis. The entire back end of the taxi system is corrupt.
Read any article on how many illegal taxi drivers there are. Then, take an Uber ride and realize the process can’t be photoshopped, printed out, or hidden. Your driver will match the Uber system, and you can see the driver’s picture and plate number.
If this is a reason to not let Uber in a city, than by any reasoning at all, we would also have to get rid of taxis all together, given the terrible track record.
6) It’s a lot cheaper
Reasons 1-5 mean allow Uber to be a way cheaper option for me 99% of the time. Here in Budapest (where Uber has had ton of opposition (coincidence that the taxis are super corrupt here and it’s needed here more than other places?)), the price is way less than a taxi.
Taxi prices in Budapest are as follows:
- Meter starts at 450 Ft
- 270 Ft per km
- 70 Ft per minute
With Uber the price is:
- Meter starts at 300 Ft
- 130 Ft per km
- 25 Ft per minute
That is a huge difference. Your ride is likely to be half priced with Uber and even less the longer the ride is.
But what’s a complete joke is that my two taxi rides both took routings later that were higher than google. Giving prices well over triple the Uber quote. Triple!
And the first is the hot meter story that came out over $20 for a $2-$3 Uber ride.
Come on people. This is a joke, and I’m tired of putting up with this in real life, and then reading about how bad Uber is. Maybe I should do it like this.
Top 6 reasons to HATE Uber:
- You love paying more money.
- You like gambling with not knowing how much more you’re going to pay.
- You don’t want to be able to have any accountability for the driver, if you found out later your got a higher price.
- You honestly can’t read. So you never know if the big blue button you are hitting is accepting higher fares or not. You can see it, but just don’t know what it says.
- You love taxi lines.
- You are just a HUGE fan of the 1995 Crown Victoria, and prefer it over newer cars.
Did I miss anything? Maybe you like supporting taxi mafias? Perhaps you think innovation and change is a terrible idea?
If you identify with 5 out of 6 of these, you’ll love the taxi!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming infallibility. Any actual mistake of Uber, like an oversight in background checks, needs to be brought to public. That being said…
What really should be made public is who is leading the opposition to Uber in many cities? Where is that money coming from? A corrupt taxi union leading the way, and upset because for the first time they have real competition.
Competition is where innovation is born.
But the main point is that Uber is cheaper, better, transparent and more reliable. And it’s pathetic that a drunk on Halloween can get a great company more negative attention for agreeing to higher rates. Not higher than she was quoted, but higher than the person wanted. Tough.
But for the sake of those of us who do travel, and actually have to deal with the taxi mafias around the world, and fighting for fair prices every ride, think about who you want to support.
Whether you value your time and don’t like waiting in taxi lines, or you are a budget traveler and one the cheaper option (assuming you know how to read at all), Uber is the better option. Basically, it’s the better option for everyone.