UberX Is Killing Cab Industry, Drivers Say

Categories: Economy

via Wikimedia Commons
Last week, we reported how in the span of 24 hours, 9,000 Floridians signed a petition to get Uber in Florida. But what appears to be a revolutionary way of melding technology and getting a cab is also a major potential threat to cabdrivers and the taxi industry as a whole.

Uber is basically an app with which you can request a cab or limo driver, then name your price. You can also rate the driver.

Plenty of us know what a pain in the ass getting a cab can be down here in South Florida. So, on the surface, Uber would appear ideal.

But Uber also has something called UberX, which is basically a lower-priced version of Uber that uses midrange cars for ridesharing. And according to concerned cabbies across the state and country, it's going to cripple the industry.

For the moment, in Florida, Uber is available only in Jacksonville. But the Florida Legislature is looking to change that, which is where Uber's petition comes in. And Uber has brought UberX wherever it has gone.

Uber started off with regular licensed drivers in cities such as New York; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; and San Francisco.

"It was like discovering ice cream for the first time," Jennifer Condie, a cabdriver from Palm Beach County told New Times when she first learned of the app. "This is the future, I thought."

Uber then took notice of the success of ridesharing companies such as Lyft and Sidecar.

The problem is, ridesharing services have been widely unregulated. But that didn't stop Uber from launching UberX. The lack of regulation, it would seem, is probably what spurred them on in the first place, according to some concerned cabbies.

A San Francisco assistant district attorney recently told regulators that drivers who are using UberX and other ridesharing companies are committing insurance fraud.

Basically, a rideshare such as UberX, taxi drivers like Condie say, is a threat to public safety as well as to the industry.

The reason for concern is that personal auto insurance doesn't cover commercial drivers. And, according to the drivers we spoke to, Uber has specifically told its drivers not to get insurance.

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I don't get why there needs to be special "commercial" insurance for this? Personal auto-insurance does not require every potential passenger in a vehicle to be listed on the insured's plan - every member of the household maybe, anyone who might possibly DRIVE your vehicle. But not passengers.

I mean look at it this way. Say my Aunt Betty asks me to drive her friend (who is not anyone that lives with me or that I even know; and who has never driven in their life; hence has no auto-insurance of their own nor listed on mine) to the airport. Her friend was planning on dropping me a 10 spot to cover my gas in exchange for the favor. However we never make it to the airport because some moron ran a red light and t-bones us. Does my personal insurance cover Aunt Betty's friend? If so then hows that different? If not then why would it matter if I was running the favors commercially - no difference in terms of insurance.

frankd4 topcommenter

.............at $4.50 first mile and $2.40 each additional mile it's $26.10 to go TEN MILES - right ?

okay add a 20% TIP and the grand total is $32 rounded or $3.20 per mile

AARP mileage costs to operate and old vehicle is $.65 so for TEN miles the cost is $6.50 leaving a "profit" of $25 rounded or $2.5o per mile on average

if i got someone to drive me 10 miles i would give them $20 total and would be glad to do it for free ! anyway i just don't see WHO is sucking all this money out of the transaction - certainly not these cab drivers - right ?

sound like a bunch of greedy annonymous bastards that want to protect their right to "screw the public" in this on-going scam perpetrated mostly on poor people and unsuspecting visiting travelers

frankd4 topcommenter

....................actually it was the TAXI industry that killed itself being long known as a rip-off to visitors and locals alike

for example on BLACK FRIDAY when 200 plus cars were involved in a predatory towing scam at the SAWGRASS MILLS MALL the people who were involved were again abused by the taxi cab drivers who charged a flat $95 to go a few miles PLUS only one person could ride at a time - no two people could share the cab ride ! eventhough they were ALL going to the towing yard - so the "screw the tourist" mentality was extended to "screw the local yokels too"

myself i am convinced that the swirling entrance and exit to the FT LIQUORDALE airport was purposefully designed so that the cab ride would be $12 before you even left the airport grounds (and of course another $12 coming back in)

as the drivers are typically slave labor for minimum wage its the operators and owners that have killed this GOOSE = period


Since when did "Now There's An App For That" start meaning that existing laws and regs don't apply anymore?

whateveryousay topcommenter

Let Uber in!  Free market and free competition!  

whateveryousay topcommenter

@justaguy.chi  When the laws and regs don't apply, well, they don't apply.  Take FedEx and UPS as an example.  You'd think that they are under the same stuff but they aren't.

One is covered by the National Labor Relations Act and the other by the Railway Labor Act.  Completely different rules and regs for each of them.

Simply put, the rules that govern taxis don't apply to Uber and the drivers of Uber.

They are governed by different laws and regs.  It is that simple.


@whateveryousay  "free market and free competition" at the expense of riders and drivers in the event of an accident? So, you're cool with not getting compensated if you get in an accident in one of these vehicles?

whateveryousay topcommenter

@tracietaxi40 @whateveryousay  They do have insurance and there is a corporation who runs the show. I'll bet I'm covered somewhere.  Besides that, I got so frustrated with taxi services.  I would call to get a cab and sometimes get a window of a couple hours for them to arrive. I would get cabs that wouldn't show up and when I'd call to find out what was going on the answer was usually a pretty big tough shit.  We were robbed by a taxi driver in Vegas.  Yes, robbed.  Turned into quite the mess. Police statements were given and video surveillance was reviewed and the driver was arrested. Our stuff was found at their home and sent back to us stinking of god only knows what.  That dumb ass actually used one of our phones to call people.  

So, in short, my experience with taxis has been miserable.  So far with Uber I call and they show up pretty quick.  The cars have been far cleaner and smell better.

I'll take my chances.

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