In the past month, major cities around the world have experienced protests in the form of roadblocks, traffic jams, and rallies by traditional cab drivers in protest of Uber, the relatively new ride share app. (If you haven’t used the service yet, Uber cuts out the middleman of a taxi dispatch center to connect the rider with a driver, allowing more possibilities for riders and more business for drivers—it’s much more efficient.)
Protesters believe that Uber is causing “unfair competition” for taxi drivers across the globe. Despite these protests, Uber’s users continue to grow, recently reporting an 850 percent rise in downloads while it has created about 20,000 new jobs per month. The war between taxi companies and Uber has been often compared to the rivalry of Blockbuster and Netflix. That said, taxi drivers should really consider jumping on the Uber train—here are 5 solid reasons why.
1. Uber Drivers have Better Hours than Taxi Drivers
Drivers decide if, when, and how long they work every day. For some Uber drivers, it’s extra cash they need to fund a night out—they may only opt to drive once or twice a week after a normal job. For others, it’s a full-time gig where they can be their own boss. Taxi drivers generally work 4- or 8-hour shifts and, because they work for an overarching company, are subject to company-regulated hours.
2. Uber Drivers have a Lot More Earning Potential
Taxi drivers and Uber drivers operate on two very different platforms. Taxi drivers forfeit approximately 1/3 of their gross fare income. That means that for every $100 dollars of fares, the company retains $33. The taxi driver is then responsible for gas and in some cases may be required to pay a fee up to $150 per day to lease the vehicle. Uber drivers don’t pay any start up fees and they even receive a special Uber iPhone that comes preloaded with a hotspot map that shows where the highest volumes of potential customers are. A full-time Uber driver in New York can make up to $90,000 taxable dollars per year, compared to the average $30,000 for a regulated taxi driver.
3. Uber Drivers are Subject to Fewer Regulations
Though Uber does conduct their own background checks, the drivers are not held to the same laws and regulations as taxi services. To become a taxi driver you not only need to obtain your commercial driver’s license, but you’re still required to get a Live Scan fingerprint, pass a Department of Justice background check, enroll in the Norton drug screening program, and then complete and pass the D.O.T. training and test in order to your permit. The start-up costs can range from $200 to $250, which can be hindering to those who are just starting out. Uber doesn’t require their drivers to have a commercial driving license, cutting the start-up costs and encouraging more people to join.
4. Uber’s Payment System is User-Friendly and Hassle-Free
The process of calling for, or hailing a taxi on a busy night, is enough to deter anyone from choosing to take a cab. It often includes a long hold and a longer wait time before the driver even arrives. Also, because their GPS systems aren’t regulated, taxi drivers may take longer ways to get to rider’s destination, making for a disgruntled client. Finally, taxi drivers hate taking credit cards. A taxi driver might say they only accept cash to avoid the fees accrued from running your plastic, leaving you in an awkward spot. With Uber, the payment is a hassle-free—no money exchanges hands and the tip’s included in your automated fee.
5. Uber’s User Experience is Generally Enjoyable
Not only does the Uber app allow you to select the type of car to pick you up (sedan or SUV), it uses GPS to find the one closest to you without the hassle of going through a manually-operated dispatch system. That means no waiting on hold to make a reservation and guaranteeing the fastest pick up possible. Users can track the car as it makes its way to their location in real-time and they receive an alert when the driver arrives. Plus, Uber drivers usually have free water bottles or snacks on supply and they’re generally pretty outgoing and sociable people.
Photo credit: Getty Images
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