I’ve been using UberX a lot lately and have been asked repeatedly by people, “Aren’t you scared of getting into a stranger’s car?” UberX is a car service where you use your smart phone to tell someone–driving their regular car–where you are. It ends up being a bit cheaper than a taxi and fares include tip.
But why is trusting an UberX driver different from trusting a taxi driver?
For some reason, we implicitly trust cab drivers, but when we take a taxi, we are still getting into a stranger’s car.
And what are the requirements to being a cab driver?
– driver’s license in good standing, held for a period of time in the state (1 years, 2 years, etc.)
– solid driving record, with no recent reckless driving charges and few, if any, traffic violations
– no major criminal convictions (or at least nothing recent)
– no DUI convictions (or at least nothing recent)
– ability to speak English
– no sex offenses
– at least 21 years of age
– passing a class and/or exam (often includes safe driving, taxi regulations, map reading, and area knowledge)
While there are numbers posted to report a taxi driver, I’m not sure how well that works, plus I’m always eager to get out of a taxi as soon as possible when s/he is driving dangerously or ripping me off. One time I started writing down the taxi car number and the driver started screaming at me.
The other day, I took a cab to go one mile with a friend from Downtown Disney to our hotel. Our taxi driver took us 10 miles out of the way and swore up and down it was a short cut. He thought we were probably drunk and unfamiliar with the area. As I argued with him politely about the route, I didn’t want to make him too angry. We were two young women miles and miles away from anything we were familiar with at this point. (For some tips on when a taxi tries to take advantage of you, check out Pizza in Motion’s blog post on doing this in Paris).
With UberX, the requirements are stricter.
Yes, they don’t have medallions, but they must maintain a high rating in order to keep driving the the UberX cars.
This is why some will stock bottled water a la a professional car service and go out of their way to help you with baggage.
A new Uber driver was asking me why I use it and what I think of it. I said, “The drivers are nicer than any taxi cab I’ve been in!” He laughed and said that’s because we have the power to fire them. If we are upset, it isn’t just a potential missed fare. If their rating drops below a certain level, they are out!
With UberX, if a driver makes me feel uncomfortable or takes me completely out of my way, I have someone to follow-up with. I can give them one star. I can contact Uber. I have so many outlets.
With taxis, not so much.
And with that said, I have felt uncomfortable and had to argue with many taxi drivers when traveling by myself. It’s actually been shocking to me–the difference between the way a cab driver acts when I’m one female in the car vs. having a male coworker in the car with me.
I’ve never had to do that with UberX drivers–ever. Now, I’m sure at some point there will be a bad seed, but that appears to be the exception, whereas cabs are becoming the rule for me.
If you use my affiliate link, we both get $20 from Uber. I totally recommend checking it out. This $20 deal is not unique to me, so feel free to post your affiliate link in the comments.