Uber is a fare exchange network that was launched in 2012. It was built to bypass the costly and poor service of monopoly companies. Uber revolves around unlicensed/non-taxable drivers providing services similar to taxis but using newer personal vehicles instead of decrepit old yellow rusty buckets.

Instead of radio dispatch and local offices, Uber uses a smartphone connection that distributes rides, tracks fares, bills customers and pays drivers. Uber is run entirely as a virtual company and its drivers are external contractors.

Amateur and professional drivers around the world are joining Uber by being screened online and offering to use their personal vehicles. Uber drivers are not required to pay exorbitant license fees and comply with strict controls from municipal taxi providers.

Uber met checkpoints in many places. Uber is banned in Spain and Italy, but legal in Canada, the US, and parts of Europe and Asia.

Below is a list of the main points of contention around Uber and an explanation of each argument.

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Taxi drivers hate Uber

Испания: водители такси протестуют против Uber

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In every major city, you will hear about protests against Uber by taxi companies and others who complain about the Uber service.

The controversy involves a number of allegations, including:

  1. Uber unfairly undercharges taxis.
  2. Uber unfairly bypasses transaction fees.
  3. Uber has inadequate safety and background check standards for their drivers
  4. Uber pricing is a squeeze tactic.
  5. Uber has inadequate insurance.
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Uber cuts taxi prices

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The spearhead controversy: Uber rides are cheaper than taxi rides. This is threatening to taxi cab drivers, as you might guess.

While the rates vary with the city and the time of day, there is substantial public data that shows UberX ridesharing can be 25% to 50% cheaper than taking a local taxi cab.

Surge Pricing: this is another concern we will address further down this page.

Remember, for many years Uber did not support tipping; any Uber gratuity was considered in the cost. Taxi cabs, on the other hand, expect a 15% added tip beyond the metered fare.

Why are Uber prices commonly lower than taxis? Because Uber operates as a virtual online network instead of bricks and mortar garage, it has much lower operating costs. The cost savings are passed onto the customer as reduced fees.

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Uber Bypasses the Huge Taxi Cab Fees for a Driver to Become Licensed

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In large cities, taxi cab drivers pay $500-$1200 per month to their parent company and to the city. This cost includes dispatch and administration services, and any additional fees that the taxi company chooses to levy on its drivers.

Uber does not charge any of these monthly fees of its drivers. This is part of why taxi drivers hate Uber, and why so many amateur drivers are attracted to driving for Uber.

Uber requirements: if you are 21, possess a clean driving and criminal record, have a car that is less than ten years old, and if you have fifty dollars cash, you can theoretically become an Uber driver.

Uber will confirm that you are legally able to drive in your city, have basic liability insurance with minimum coverage consistent with your local laws and that your car is licensed and possesses 4 doors.

Your vehicle will need to pass a mechanical inspection at an approved technician’s shop (the $50 cash fee you will need to fork up).

The Uber background check will look into the last 7 years of your criminal history, where Uber will look for serious infractions like excessive speeding, driving while intoxicated, and other criminal offenses.

So, in short: if you’re an honest person with a newer 4-door car, and if you’re a reliable and safe driver, you can be an Uber driver within two weeks.

As one might guess, a taxi driver who has spent tens of thousands of dollars to earn himself a taxi license is unhappy with amateur drivers bypassing these costs.

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Uber Has Weaker Background Checking and Safety Screening Than Taxi Cab Companies

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Uber has been accused of inadequate screening and background checks when it accepts new drivers.

In the USA, taxi companies employ what is called a Live Scan fingerprinted background check, a standard for vetting teachers, doctors, paramedics, and any professionals who work in high liability environments. Live Scan searches US Department of Justice and FBI databases for the last 10 years.

Instead of Live Scan, Uber uses Hirease. This investigation service does not use fingerprint records; instead, Hirease searches by credit agencies and social security numbers. Hirease searches only go back 7 years.

Furthermore, UberX drivers do not need to actually meet an Uber interviewer to become a driver. The application process is completely virtual.

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Uber Is Accused Of Price Gouging With Surge Pricing

Uber is only a few years old and has had many growing pains from its trial-and-error experiments.

Surge pricing is when Uber dramatically increases fares during peak times to incentivize drivers to be available. This was particularly troublesome during the Hurricane Sandy crisis in 2012. Uber raised their fees to motivate drivers to go out into the storm. Uber customers complained very loudly, and now surge pricing is one of the distasteful experiences that you might have with Uber.

Note: Surge pricing is never a surprise to Uber riders. The Uber smartphone app does clearly display what the price increase is before you accept the ride offer.

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Uber Insurance and Driver Insurance: Will It Really Cover You When You Need It?

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There are two aspects to this insurance controversy:

  1. Will an Uber driver’s insurance policy withhold coverage if he crashes while ferrying a passenger?
  2. Will Uber itself offer to cover a driver’s needs should their insurance fail to cover them?

In summer 2015, a Toronto Uber driver had a terrible insurance experience when his minivan was struck at an intersection.

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Ready to Cancel Uber?

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It’s no problem if you want to cancel Uber. You can easily delete your account.

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