Friday, June 13, 2014

A Tale of Two Driving Services

I’ve never written an editorial type of letter before in my life, and I never planned on using this blog as a means of political or social action, or to promote any cause (other than travel and food). I try to keep my beliefs off of this blog. However, since this issue relates to travel and recreation, I thought that it was a pertinent topic.

As chronicled on this blog, I went to New Orleans for my babymoon. For the transit to the airport from our home, we used UberX, which was easily accessed through my smartphone, paid automatically by a credit card, with a clean, safe, and fast ride from Point A to Point B. There was a GPS unit in full display, which the driver used to navigate to the destination (I’m sure that he knew how to get to the airport; the GPS provides the customer peace of mind). The car was clean, stylish, and the ride uneventful. The driver was polite and a safe motorist.

The experience was overall positive. A driver was at my house within 2 minutes of activating the signal on my phone, I didn’t have to explain what I needed to a dispatcher, and the fare was not expensive at all. In fact, I’ll use it again next time I need a ride to a ballgame, airport, mechanic, whatever. It was nice just having my credit card on file, and immediately afterwards, I was sent a detailed receipt in my email (a great feature for business travelers).

For our return trip, we were stuck with taking the airport cab service available. This time, the cab was clean, but the entire trip was…sketchy. The driver turned on the meter, but failed to have any sort of GPS. In fact, he kept asking us for directions. Pretty unprofessional. When we arrived at our home, my husband wanted to pay with a credit card, as we did not have enough cash to pay the fare. Despite the cab stating that credit cards were readily accepted, the driver haggled with my husband over taking a credit card, stating that he would really like some cash, and would negotiate the fair within a certain range.

We still didn’t really have enough to provide an adequate price for the fare (and were more than a little skeeved out by his aggression at not taking a credit card), so he took our card, refused to help us unload our bags, and drove away. While this is not the norm of cab companies for certain, it provided sharp contrast to the experience that we had with UberX.

What is Uber doing? Providing an alternative and creating a more fair market for motor transit companies. Right now, the taxi companies are pushing to get Uber and their other competition, Lyft, made illegal. It seems to me, that in a fair market, the taxi companies should probably update their game, rather than poo-poo the competition. Using senators’ time and tax dollars to push their own greedy agendas is especially annoying to me. Basically, the cab companies are trying to maintain their monopoly while not updating to the modern era.

What can we do? Reach out to your Senator in the CA Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee:

1 comment:

Robbin said...

I definitely agree! I've had the same experience as you... positive while using Uber and Lyft, negative while using a city cab. I find it very unfair that cities are trying to discourage people from using services like Uber and Lyft!