A Ride from uber: Know What You’re Getting Into
There’s no doubt that a ride from Uber is catching on as a way to get around. According to the company, Uber drivers make more than 2 million rides per day around the world. But Uber has come under some close scrutiny lately, and the service has a few drawbacks. In many cases, a more private transportation service company may be a better choice compared to Uber or Lyft. Here are a few reasons why.
A Professional, Safer Transportation Experience
Uber drivers undergo a basic background check, with additional requirements for UberX, UberTaxi and UberBlack drivers. However, these checks are all are third-party background checks, not government-executed nor anchored by fingerprints like the checks required for taxicab and livery drivers. Third-party checks are 43 times more likely to miss criminality. These precautions disqualify thousands of potential Uber drivers a year, which makes you wonder how many unsafe drivers slip in under the radar, or how many Uber drivers have legal or driving records that are older than the three- to seven-year windows for Uber’s background checks.
A driver with a criminal background can simply submit his cousin’s Social Security and driver’s license numbers to Uber. And a “safe” Uber cabbie, once he learns he’ll have to drive 65 hours a week to make ends meet, may let his criminally negligent cousin take the Uber phone and car to go drive some fares.
For more details, see this report from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. From page 75 of this report, here’s a comparison of industry best practices compared with the practices followed by typical transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber.
|Best Practice||TNC Practice|
|State Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) check||Yes||No|
|Sex offender registries||Yes||Yes|
|Social Security verification||Yes||Yes|
|Potential error rate||1%||43%|
Customer Service Should be Proactive, Not Reactive
A quick look at Uber’s website shows that the company relies on rider feedback to weed out unsatisfactory or unsafe drivers. Unfortunately, this means that at least one Uber rider must suffer through a negative experience in order for changes to be made. And negative experiences do occur. A quick online search uncovers numerous Uber horror stories, including assaults, stalkings, racist rants and high-speed chases. While these situations happen in a small minority of cases, it’s important to remember that a company with such a large number of drivers and limited accountability measures simply cannot control the professionalism of all its drivers at all times.
Credentialed car services are mandated to set the bar higher. A truly reputable private car service company generally sets the bar even higher, with stringent background checks in addition to licensing requirements and drug testing. And because limousine companies rely on their reputations, their drivers are much more likely to make you feel comfortable and relaxed. In fact, customer service is typically part of their job description, and many limousine services require drivers to undergo customer service training. It’s a very different approach to what Uber offers.
Support a Fair, Local Business
Uber has come under scrutiny in several states for classifying its drivers as contractors rather than employees. By hiring drivers as contractors, Uber sidesteps legal requirements for a guaranteed minimum wage and various employee benefits such as health insurance, workers’ compensation and overtime pay. And independent contractors who work for Uber are also responsible for paying the employer’s share of payroll taxes.
In comparison, limousine companies are much more likely to have an employer-employee relationship with their drivers. It’s a much more equitable, people-based approach to running a business. And by using a local business, you’re helping to support the economy in your area.
Legal and Insurance Concerns
All private car insurance forbids using your car on a for-hire basis. Uber’s coverage is secondary and its policy is not admitted in Connecticut. (Read the Connecticut Insurance Department warning here.) In comparison, a reputable limousine company will have millions of dollars of insurance coverage on each of its vehicles. Because of Uber’s relative lack of coverage (corporate leaders take note!), if your Uber driver hits and hurts someone, the victim is more likely to sue you and your corporation.
Transportation in Style
If you rent a ride from Uber, you’re probably not expecting a nice car, nor are you looking to make a statement. But when you rent a limousine, you’re paying for style and a professional experience. It’s also difficult to get any work done in a small, likely hybrid, UberX. And if you’re paying the fare for UberBlack, you may as well get a fully credentialed chauffeur at about the same rate. If you’re planning a ride for a special event — like prom night, getting to or from a wedding or reception, or a corporate event — a limousine is probably the best choice.
Do Your Research
There are plenty of choices when it comes to private transportation, and when it comes to getting into another person’s automobile, it’s a good idea to know what you’re getting into … and we mean that literally! If you have any questions about how a private transportation company handles safety concerns, runs its business or treats its employees, call them and ask. A reputable company will provide this information willingly and may even provide answers to frequently asked questions, along with references, on its website.
Based in Norwalk, Connecticut, Teddy’s Transportation System provides professionally managed, dependable transportation services in Fairfield and Westchester Counties and the New York metropolitan area. Teddy’s uses safety practices well above mandated levels, has a booking app and valid first-dollar for-hire insurance filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles and available for your inspection. For more information on Teddy’s, go to www.teddyslimo.com or call 800-888-3339.Book Now