Why Uber is Ruining Everything

by Kristina Tahnyak on August 17, 2015 · 9 comments

Uber, transportation, livelihood

Have you ever had one of those life experiences with a complete stranger that made your heart break, even though you don’t know them?  This just happened to me in a 30 minute taxi ride on my way to the airport and I can’t stop thinking about it.

As you know I am not a fan of Uber.  Not because I don’t value the service, just because I’m not convinced it’s a safe mode of transportation for a single female travelling alone.  If I was travelling with Nick it wouldn’t even be an issue, but when I travel for work I’m usually alone and I just don’t want to take any risks.

Is Uber really safe?

After meeting my recent taxi driver I have another reason to boycott Uber drivers, because they’re stealing the livelihood of hardworking Americans.  Hammond is a hard working man who supports his stay at home wife and four children (two of who are in college) by driving a taxi cab 12 hours a day, six days a week.

Of course there are a whole bunch of variables in the situation that can be changed such as: his lazy wife could find a job to help support the family and his spoiled children could work part time during college, but those his issues not ours.

Hammond told me that five years ago he sold his own taxi license and used the money to put towards the down payment on their home and now he rents a taxi.  Some days he doesn’t even turn a profit after working 12 hours when you factor in the cost of the rental as well as the cost of gas.  That’s heartbreaking.  According to Hammond the demand for taxi cab drivers is down because rides are being outbid by Uber drivers.

Isn’t this the American way?

The great thing about living in a democracy is that we have options.  I am usually all about saving money and the fact that I can get a ride to the airport for $22 with Uber instead of $40 from a licensed taxi would normally make me very happy.  However there is just too much risk involved with taking an undocumented car by a driver who doesn’t make his living by being a registered taxi.

Of course one can argue that Uber drivers are also hard working Americans and yes I believe they are.  However this new service is taking food right out of the mouths of families.  Once again on the other hand one can argue that Uber is also putting money into the mouths of those who are willing to work for it.  Although that may be true I just can’t get past Hammond’s story of how he can no longer provide for his family because of Uber drivers.

Do you use Uber?

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Diana August 17, 2015 at 6:27 am

While there may need to be more regulations or screenings of uber drivers, overall I believe that uber fulfilla a need for quality service and drivers who are mkfjcatwd to take care of you. I have taken many different ubers in multiple major cities. My drivers have mostly had positive experiences with uber (of lyft). I know that when I travel for business or pleasure that I will get a predictable rate and a friendly driver. I can have my GPS on if desired to ensure I am not being taken the long way around just to be charged more.

Also, I think that overall it safe for women to travel alone. My friends and i have each done it without issue. Just have your wits about you, take a self defense course, and stay physically strong.

Though it is always nicer to travel with my Nick too, but that’s just because i enjoy his company.

Love the blog!

2 Financial Samurai August 17, 2015 at 8:10 am

Taxi drivers hate Uber drivers for this reason. I wonder though, why he doesn’t try driving for Uber himself?

I wanted to understand Uber more so I got deep into the trenches by doing some driving myself. I think you’ll appreciate the insights into this post: http://www.financialsamurai.com/whats-it-like-driving-for-uber-mixed-emotions-of-hope-and-sadness/

The drivers of Uber who depend on Uber to live aren’t very happy either!


3 Brandy August 17, 2015 at 9:02 am

You cra’ “they’re stealing the livelihood of hardworking Americans” LOL…if you want to use that logic, I would say you are stealing the livelihood of newspaper reports and magazine writers. How dare you get on the internet and write for money without going through the proper channels!!!

I am a woman and travel by Uber by myself and find it way safer than a taxi! No one knows that I am in a taxi, but my husband and Uber know which driver picked me up and when with Uber. Way safer!!!!

Also, I don’t know where you get your taxi’s from but in the last several years I have never had a taxi driver who didn’t have an accent from a foreign country. “American” hahahahahahaha!

4 Carlos O August 17, 2015 at 12:33 pm

Talking 100% theoretical here, the traditional “Taxi” market model have a UNnatural barrier to entry called “Taxi licence” and I say it is unnatural because it is handled by unions and mafias to sell/rent/exchange the license for money or favours (drug mules), even avoiding the background checks of the drivers. If it was a natural barrier anybody could just walk to the office, pass a vehicle and papers inspection and get a license in 2 days, Pum, bye bye unemployment !

Wait, is not that what Driver-on-demand services are getting close? You answer.

The real destination (in many cases) for those $20 extra bucks are not the stay at home wife and children, is the guys and unions handling the licenses and fees, dig deeper and the real final destination could be as good (donations, taxes, etc ) or as bad as your want to imagine.

Getting back to the ultra theoretical world… chasing a free market should be the best long term solution for suppliers and consumers

5 Lev August 17, 2015 at 12:37 pm

What exactly is “everything” that Uber is ruining?

Some good points in comments.
I agree with Financial Samurai. Why is your taxi driver not taking advantage of Uber? If in his view Uber is doing better than taxi services why not drive for Uber?

Any business/individual providing competing service takes income away from competitors. So? No new businesses allowed? Is this the american way? I don’t think so.

6 Kathy August 17, 2015 at 2:01 pm

I’ve never used Uber as I don’t live in an area where it is present. However, I will agree with several of the other comments….why is it that you feel one driver is taking food out of the mouths of the children of other drivers? Do you know that Uber drivers have no children to feed? The unions have gotten too involved in the taxi industry in too many cities and it is they who are howling about “unfair” competition. How about free enterprise?

7 Jake August 17, 2015 at 10:09 pm

i feel much safer in a documented car that has a documented license plate, picture of driver, and my route all time stamped. A taxi is anonymous and offers none of this.

Do you also hate atm machines because it takes food from a bank tellers mouth?

Do you hate the car because it takes food away from the horse and carriage drivers mouth?

Do you hate Laser printers because it took food away from the printing press operators mouth?

Do you hate Cell phones because it took food away from the operators mouth?

8 Kristina August 20, 2015 at 8:20 pm

All excellent points.

@Diana – It’s nice to know that you’ve had good experiences. I should just get the courage to try the service, maybe next week.

@Brandy – Thanks for the compliment that my writing is on the same level as a professional journalist. Much appreciated.

@Financial Samurai – He definitely should look into it. He mentioned he may relocate to another city where Uber is not present, but joining Uber may be the solution. PS – I’d get into your car any day!

@Kathy – Totally agreed. I’m two sided on this one because on one hand I feel bad for this cab driver, but on the other hand new businesses are created every day.

9 James August 22, 2015 at 10:33 am

Why doesn’t that guy start driving for Uber? Wouldn’t he have fewer expenses and less hassle to deal with? A lot of the older more traditional cab companies charge their drivers a lot to lease their vehicles or a lot of taxicab license fees. From what I gather, uber does none of that.

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