Sure, Ridesharing services like uber and Lyft may be appealing to poor college kids, hipsters running late to trendy coffee shop meetings, and twenty-somethings stumbling out of the club at 3 a.m. But for the rest of us, is the “Rideshare Revolution” all it’s cracked up to be? Here are three reasons why you should consider driving yourself – or better yet, hiring a trusted car or limousine service – the next time you need a reliable, safe, and clean way to get from point A to point B.
1. Rideshare Doesn’t Care About Loyalty. By employing drivers as independent contractors instead of full-time employees, Ridesharing companies like uber and Lyft erode loyalty on both ends of the service spectrum. First, because individual Rideshare drivers aren’t necessarily concerned about repeat business or returning customers, they often care little about upholding the reputation of their employers or developing good relationships with their passengers. For some drivers – especially in cities like Los Angeles and New York, where struggling actors usually rely on side jobs to pay the bills – working for uber is nothing more than a part-time gig to make ends meet until their “big break.” Second, uber and Lyft foster animosity among their drivers by refusing to hear driver complaints, paying low wages, decommissioning drivers at will, and failing to provide benefits. This lack of loyalty towards their employees can, and does, result in disgruntled drivers. And as any good manager will tell you, unhappy employees usually translates to unhappy customers.
2. Sketchy Vehicles, Shady Drivers. Taxicabs, limousines, and other chauffeur services must comply with strict state and federal regulations regarding licensing and inspections, including performing regular safety checks and routine maintenance on their vehicles; therefore, when a person hails a cab in New York or takes a towncar to LAX, they can relax knowing that their ride will be a smooth one. Not so for uber, whose driver-supplied cars are not subject to the same rigorous standards as other transportation companies, and can thus be dangerous and unreliable, not to mention unsanitary. Furthermore, with little-to-no oversight – uber and Lyft drivers do not have to report to a dispatch center or clock-in at a physical location – there is no guarantee that the car registered with uber will actually be the car that pulls up to the curb in front of your house, and no way to know if the driver is actually a pre-screened uber driver or just a guy borrowing his buddy’s cell phone to make a couple extra bucks. According to William Rouse, the General Manager of L.A. Yello Cab, “[uber] is no safer than hitch-hiking. People don’t hitchhike anymore because hitch-hiking is dangerous. If you take one of these services, you’re essentially doing the same thing as hitch-hiking.”
3. Shaky Rates. Customers value consistency, which is why many passengers are infuriated when they learn – sometimes by accident while already en route – of uber’s “surge pricing,” a dynamic fare system that raises rates during peak travel times. While uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick defends the policy as a way to “get more drivers on the road” and provide a better service to patrons, customers view the practice as price gouging. When vehicles were in extremely high demand during a recent snowstorm in New York City, for example, some reported uber fares to be 3x the normal rate! Even during off-peak hours and low-demand travel times, uber always quotes standard rates as estimates, which can be frustrating when untrained drivers take the long way – uber drivers use Google Maps, which doesn’t always route the shortest distance between two points and often fails to account for traffic – and trip costs end up being higher than expected. For trips to the airport or to neighboring cities, passengers should avoid the surprises and opt for established car services that charge a flat rate.