You missed the boat, cabbies. It’s a perfect example of a little too little, a little too late. Now cab companies are running to local politicians to bail them out since UBER has swooped into town and capitalized on a need – a desperate need. It wasn’t that long ago that we as consumers were held hostage by cabs – they were the only game in town. You picked up a phone – yes, a phone and dialed a number and was greeted by “Cab!” in an annoyed voice.
“Hi, I need a cab to go to Legal Harborside.”
“136 M Street.”
“Right away.” Click.
Right away could mean exactly that – 5 minutes or it could mean 45 minutes or never. Ridiculous.
With UBER it’s a click of an app. You see in real time where the car is, the name of the driver, and make and license number of vehicle. That’s it. There is no exchange of money. They have your credit card information on file. As soon as your ride is over, you receive an email of your UBER receipt. End of story.
Sure, occasionally UBER rates surge. No big deal because they let you know before you order your car and I’ll pay the extra for the convenience of not dealing with a cab you called three times in the past hour that never shows up. Happened all the time.
So now there is UBER – and thank God – and the cab companies are saying, “Hey, wait a minute! No one is using cabs anymore because of this service.” Yes, exactly. You could have got with the times – stepped into the 21st century and came up with the brilliant concept but you didn’t. And now, you want UBER gone.
UBER cars, general speaking, are convenient, clean, inexpensive, and usually driven by friendly and polite drivers. I know right now there is a handful of you readers saying to yourself, “Yeah, but what about those UBER drivers that have been involved in sexual assaults and other crimes…” Of course, there are no cab drivers with criminal records or involved in any questionable behavior…….
Recently, our state senator co-sponsored a bill that would regulate UBER, Lyft and other ride sharing services. Two of the key reasons are public safety and consumer protection. In my experience, when I hear a politician saying “regulate” it usually means pay the government which certainly gets passed onto the consumer. In a recent column published by the Boston Globe, Senator Linda Dorcena Forry and State Representative Michael Moran defended their position of regulating ride sharing services and deny UBER’s allegations of trying to “destroy” them. https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2015/08/05/why-want-regulate-uber/VpzJVS6OEteQAnt2Ss8AAJ/story.html
Why all of a sudden is this bill being filed? Who other than the cab drivers are complaining about UBER? Maybe the taxi special interest groups forcing politicians’ hands. Maybe? All I know is, everyone that uses UBER loves it and would avoid ever having to take a cab again. Maybe our politicians should look at the current restrictive taxi medallion system and work on improving that instead of trying to mess with UBER.
UBER is innovation. It’s shuttling people all over the city. It’s stimulating the economy. Sorry, taxi companies – either compete with them or you lose. You’ll become obsolete. It’s like Blockbuster vs. Netflix.
Instead of writing columns, maybe politicians should be writing letters to special interest groups and taxi medallion owners and tell them this is a little something called capitalism. Competition is good for the consumer. Step up your game. Stop your whining and hire some innovative app engineers.
If you would like to read the UBER petition you can visit it here: http://petition.uber.org/save-ma/