Taken a ride?
Has anyone ever rode in one of these? Not to be curious, but it seems like an awful lot of coverage of a company that seems very, very few have used. Is the service normal for "normal" people (White, Rich, and Attractive)?
Taxi biz Uber perhaps can't wait to put this week in its rearview mirror – after it was dealt legal setbacks in four major cities: two in Germany, and two in California. In August, officials in Berlin and Hamburg decided that Uber should not operate in the two cities due to safety concerns and worries about unfair competition …
The website is very corporate but if you dig down there are numerous anomalies.
Criminal checks in the US only go back 7 years. They appear rather cursory and easy to get round, name change anyone? Newly arrived in the country, they don't check records where you are from. Drink driving convictions included.
Accident claims in the last 10 years are checked.
It states vehicles are covered by commercial insurance, but not actually by Uber which they fail to mention. If it has lapsed Uber won't know straight away.
They claim they have top Quality vehicles (US) and then say non are older than 2008 with some sort of caveat regarding safety. Note that London Cabs are always thoroughly screened but Uber vehicles are not checked by the company. Its up to the driver where he gets his MOT from.
It is a very fetching website but dig down it is window dressing. I can understand why some people are concerned.
"Note that London Cabs are always thoroughly screened but Uber vehicles are not checked by the company. Its up to the driver where he gets his MOT from"
London cabs are regularly seen spilling out a ton of black suit from the exhaust. Uber cars in London have the same requirements as private hire. All cars in the UK have to be MOTed every year after 3years and this can only be from a government licensed garage. Even with an MOT they have to be road legal.
I've used Uber in Amsterdam several times and have had nothing but good service. Occasionally at night the app reports that there aren't enough cars out to take me - and then a day later they have given me a 10 euro credit. Before it was a pain dicking about finding a taxi and then facing the ambiguity of how much the ride would cost and sorting out payment, now it's just a case of using then app and afterwards the amount comes off the credit card.
"El Reg really have outdone themselves with this headline. Very nice!"
So that makes three of us (so far) that admit recognising the reference.
Four now :)
What does this tell us about El Reg readership?
... or maybe not native English speakers or exposed to UK culture.
OK, all together now:
Do, a deer, a female deer,
Re, a drop of golden sun,
Mi, a name I call myself,
Fa, a long long way to run...
So, a needle pulling thread
La, a note to follow so,
Ti, a drink with jam and bread
That will bring us back to DO ....
(OK, same actress, different movie....)
The uber experience is the same as a minicab for me in London, but generally the cab comes much quicker at a little greater expense. Generally good cars - BMWs or Prius etc. Very handy for me.
I'm a fairly tall guy so I don't have to worry about safety, however I wouldn't put my girlfriend in one of these by herself late at night for the same reasons as a mincab - you have no idea how vettted the drivers are.
I know it would never be allowed, but it would be wonderful if Uber, and similar facilities, were allowed in Beijing. At the moment, we have: (a) droves of taxis that become unavailable all at the same time, because drivers share one taxi, and they all handover at the same time, (b) taxi drivers who have little or no training, so they don't know how to drive to quite famous landmarks, and don't want to be shown, either, (c) taxi drivers who just say "I don't want to go there", either because it's too far, or they don't make enough money from the trip, (d) taxi drivers who try to find out who you are so they can calculate if they can go on a "scenic route" to charge you lots of extra money, (e) taxi drivers who just refuse to take foreigners and pretend to not see you unless you stand in front of them when they are driving down the road, (f) taxi drivers to agree to take you, then decide they can't and ask you to get out but still charge you the minimum price, and (g) whole areas where you just cannot find a taxi, and they are as rare as hens' teeth. I know places far from a metro station where you have to walk for more than 20 minutes before you have a chance to hail a taxi, and they seem to have no concept of taxi ranks in Beijing except at stations and airports. If you want to complain about some taxis, the authorities say there are safeguards, but it isn't easy to get the information the authorities require to take action, and you're not sure if they even do take action in many cases. So, something like Uber would be a godsend.
In Houston, I can hang out at the bus stop and offer a commuter a ride. If s/he wants, s/he can get in the car with me so we can get on the high occupancy lane with the right commuter count. This practice is called "slugging".
If the real concern is safety, shouldn't these practices also be illegal and Too Dangerous To Exist, assuming that this is the real motivation behind these rulings (and not preservation of lucrative monopolies for rent-seekers on the trough)? How does the addition of a profit motive rationally change the societal risk calculus?