All of the talk wherever I go is whether Uber is ethical. Let’s rewind and remember that Uber started essentially as a high-end, low-cost limo service with smart drivers and GPS. Imagine, these were the first guys in the taxi service that discovered GPS! Like any brand, it started to take off. There was no cash, no tip, no conversation needed, and less than the price of a taxi, all on an app that was highly reliable and told you exactly when and who was going to show up. They then diversified into Uber X which was a lot less than a taxi but the cars were not as nice. Yet it still had GPS, relied on credit cards, and no tip was needed.
Then the protests began. The basic premise of the protest was that Uber was unfair competition, had no liability, and there was no safety. If taxis want to compete with Uber, then they should do so on Uber’s terms too. Take my city, Boston. Taxi service here is terrible, they are owned by two or three large companies that simply don’t seem to care, the drivers earn a pittance, the taxis are dirty, there is no way of knowing if your taxi is going to show up, and if you don’t tip, they look at you as if there is no tomorrow. So, who is kidding who here? Uber found a gap in the market place – simple as that.
The other night, I took a water taxi from one end of Boston to the other. I had this vague fantasy of an Uber vaparetto – imagine that!