While app-based cab services are no longer anything new and so many services have them, the subject of driver safety has come to the forefront of consumer’s minds. Otherwise known as “transportation network companies” or TNCs, these app-based services have expanded rapidly, and with them have come some unsettling reports.
The National Limousine Association likens using TNCs to “digital hitchhiking” and suggests you use all the caution that you would when using Craigslist (i.e.: don’t let them know where you live).
See the Connecticut Coalition for Safe Public Transportation’s “very long list of TNC assaults” here.
Comparably Teddy’s Transportation System has always taken steps well above and beyond even rules mandated by the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s safety regulations for traditional taxi and livery services, while also creating a new app for easier booking that mimics the look and feel of newer technologies.
Livery & Taxi Requirements
The biggest difference between Teddy’s and other app-based transportation services is the livery license that allows us to operate. Under Connecticut law, livery drivers must undergo stringent background checks performed by the Connecticut Dept. of Public Safety in conjunction with the FBI, including fingerprinting and medical exams. While drug testing is not mandated (for for-hire drivers of vehicles for under 10 passengers), Teddy’s does so anyway.
TNC services, though, use only a surface level background check provided by third-parties, that was found to be 43 times more likely to miss criminality than government background checks. TNC drivers are not required to undergo drug testing or any other checks to verify their safety and legal ability to transport passengers.
In fact, Uber was proud to announce that, in January 2017, they would loosen restrictions in two markets – California and Connecticut – to start allowing some ex-prostitutes and other non-violent ex-cons to drive.
This all puts riders at enormous risk. Disclaimers for the planets biggest TNC prohibits minors from using their service at all if unaccompanied by an adult.
Imposter cabbies prey on bar crowd
Never get into a for-hire car that doesn’t have ‘taxi’ ‘livery’ or ‘interstate’ plates on it
Special, restricted marker plates and ‘hacking up’ help you identify a cab or livery car that uses fingerprinted drivers, has a local dispatcher to monitor drivers and that uses company-managed vehicle safety protocols – all with $1.5 million continuous insurance minimums mandatory.
Hacking up refers to applying “permanent and prominent markings” (pursuant to Connecticut General Statute) such as the company logo and phone number on the door and taxi dome light. Now, however, anyone with a printer can create a window sign with the logo from a global app-cab service. In fact, a 2016 article had Boston police noting how tipsy bar patrons were trying to get into their unmarked patrol cars thinking they were an app-cab! Whatever happened to ‘never ride with strangers’?
TeddysLimo’s executive private car service cars, of course, all have the Connecticut Livery plate or the Connecticut “Interstate” plate – both nearly impossible to obtain by those drivers who want to troll bars at closing time.
Pitted against an army of TNC lobbyists, ConnDOT was not able to extend, to them, the requirement that for-hire vehicles without trunks, such as mini-vans and SUVs, use a permanently-affixed barrier to protect you from flying luggage in the event of a major accident.
Off–the–Books Travel Not Insured
Another common problem we are seeing in referrals in social media groups where TNC drivers answering with “PM me” in order to work out a special deal without going through the TNC’s app and saving his commission expenses. While TNC apps do tend to charge more, they have a legal obligation to their riders when using the app and they have insurance to cover any mishaps. When riders arrange rides directly with the TNC driver and outside of the app, it leaves both the driver and the rider completely* unprotected in the case of an accident. (*nearly all private-vehicle insurance policies explicitly prohibit coverage in a for-hire scenario.) This has caused significant legal gray area surrounding what constitutes for-hire driving.
…and it gets worse: If the ‘off the app’ ‘driver’ wants your credit card, it’s likely a scam. “Fraudsters go on messaging boards, or chat apps like WeChat, offering discounts on rides. The victim thinks it’s a harmless deal and pays the third party — the thief — instead of using Uber directly” according to a report in CNET.
With Teddy’ by app or PC or phone, you will never be asked to make arrangements outside of a professional environment. All payments and ride arrangements are safely monitored for your security at every step of the process. This also ensures that if anything were to happen on a ride, you are covered by all applicable insurances, and by extension, your company cannot be sued for hiring illegal drivers.
The Connecticut DOT has done a lot of work to ensure rider safety within the livery and taxi industry and Teddy’s Transportation System has always taken it a few steps above that. While TNCs have changed the face of the industry by making these services more accessible to mobile users, they have missed key elements of driver safety.
Teddy’s is bringing the two worlds together by ensuring that all of our drivers meet the rigorous standards set out by CDOT, and offering riders more options for booking travel with ease. This includes everything from physical examinations to random drug screenings and providing you with photo IDs of your drivers when you book through the app so you know you’re with the right person.
Teddy’s does it better
In the last ten years, Teddy’s Transportation System has covered about 30 million miles in the country’s absolute toughest traffic regions and had no deaths or faultable injuries due to motor vehicle collisions.
Our drivers have been with us for years
Some professional chauffeurs have been at Teddy’s for over fifteen years. As well, they average 5.3 years’ prior experience before joining Team Teddy’s.
Our accident record is clean
Last week a trailer, towed by a van, bounced out of his lane and bumped our car on I-95 in New York. Aside from similar defensive bumps, such as collisions that resulted in a tow truck or medical evacuation: “One*” in about 165,000 service rides over the last five years. “*None” where Teddy’s was found at fault.
We offer a safe fleet of vehicles
Teddy’s SUV fleet is made up exclusively of Lincoln Navigators, which just earned a top safety rating.
Our rating is top notch
97.33% survey respondents rate us “effective” to “fantastic”: