Thursday, 17 December 2015

Go Uber Go!

Last week, a multitude of taxi cab drivers clogged up the streets of downtown Toronto to protest the continued proliferation of Uber X, to which they have been losing many of their customers.  But the honest truth is that the cabbies aren't losing customers to the popular ride-sharing app just because their costs are higher and they face more stringent regulations.  They're losing customers because Uber X provides much better customer service than they do.  Anyone who has ever taken a cab in Toronto knows what I'm talking about.  I don't know how many times I've heard people talk about how bad taxis in the city can be.  Oftentimes, people getting into cabs are greeted by a putrid stench and find themselves debating whether that stench comes from the cab itself or the person driving it. Then perhaps they'll ask themselves why the seat they're sitting in is so dirty and sticky. And as if riding in a dirty, stinky cab isn't bad enough, the driver of that cab is a rude and surly individual who chastises you if you don't pay him in cash.  Worse still, you might not even get the "privilege" of riding in a cab driver's dirty, smelly vehicle if he thinks driving you won't yield him a big enough fare.  Taxi drivers are just upset because for the first time in what feels like forever, they have competition that is offering better service than they do.  For the first time, they're not the only game in town. They can't keep taking customers for granted anymore, as they've been doing up until now.  I couldn't be happier about the rise of Uber and I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way.

In fact, beginning this week commuters in Toronto have another reason to love Uber.  That reason is Uber Hop, a new service introduced by the ride-sharing company which allows people in certain Toronto neighbourhoods under-served by the TTC to be picked up by Uber drivers and taken to the downtown area.  The service began rolling out this past Tuesday and already the TTC union and other supporters of Toronto's public transit monopoly are crying foul.  They say that the intrusion of Uber onto the TTC's turf will compromise the safety of commuters.  LOLOLOLOL!  The real reason the they don't want Uber encroaching onto the TTC's territory is because just like the taxi drivers in Toronto, the TTC has taken riders for granted.  For decades, the TTC has been shortchanging Toronto commuters with overcrowded transit vehicles, surly staff and unreliable service.  Now that they've got a little competition all of a sudden, they're scared stiff.  And again, I couldn't be happier, especially since I have long called for abolishing the TTC's monopoly on public transit in Toronto (see, for example, Abolish the TTC Monopoly on Public Mass Transit in Toronto, Because Competition is "The Better Way").  Indeed, I think the more Uber keeps muscling onto the territory of traditional transit providers, the more Torontonians will benefit. Therefore, I say GO UBER GO! 

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