Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Taxi drivers and the taxi industry continue to fight instead of improving their service

Today, Uber and Lyft drivers are organizing rallies to oppose bills that would further regulate ride-sharing services. If you drive down to Sacramento, you will see Lyft and Uber drivers rallying to reject these bills. However, the media is misrepresenting Uber's market identity because their app technology doesn't fall under ride-sharing companies. Taxi drivers would like to think that pushing for new bills could help them discourage ridesharing. Taxi drivers and the taxi industry refused to improve their service and this is the reason ridesharing services are filling-in the gap.

The following is true facts coming from ridesharing riders who dislike taxis. Many times, the riders complain about stinky, smelly, rude, antisocial, and poor cabbies. This is an honest assessment of taxi drivers unfairly treating their passengers like another fare rather than a paying customer.

Taxi drivers tell their customers to they will be out to pick up a rider in an hour. The rider calls the taxi company to request a time and the cab continues to make excuses. Why is this happening to the rider? Because the rider lives further out on the outskirts of San Francisco. No cabs drive in these areas since a pickup and/or a drop off there may put them at a disadvantage in making less money.

Another taxi picked up a rider and requested his destination. The rider mentioned that his destination would be in the outer Sunset district. The cabbie told the rider an engine light came on and that he can't drive to this location. The rider said, "C'mon, all of a sudden your car is acting up?" The driver said there's something going on with his engine and that this passenger must exit the cab. He said that he was sorry. When this rider exits the taxi, the cabbie goes on to pick up another passenger and leaves. This cabbie does this with the rider watching him. To make this a sensitive issue, there is no accountability for cab drivers for leaving behind passengers or failing to show up at a particular location.

A SideCar passenger complained for 30+ minutes about how crappy cabs are in the city of San Francisco. He more than hated the taxi services and believed they were the scum of the transportation industry. This rider shared that cabs smelled bad, taxi drivers talked on bluetooth headsets, they drove unsafely and lacked customer service. Nevertheless, the rider thanked ridesharing companies for starting-up and identified the new innovation as revolutionary.

A female rider ordered a cab from SFO. This cab was driving recklessly. He far exceeded the speed limit and continued to weave in and out of lanes on I-280. The female passenger wanted so badly to end the ride, but didn't have another alternative to reach home. She felt unsafe in this San Francisco-based taxi.

One female rider claimed a taxi driver dropped her off at her home. For the duration of the ride, the female passenger claimed the taxi was trying to hit on him. She said he was acting creepy and this worried her. Once the passenger reached her home, the taxi driver asked if she had room for another person such as himself. The taxi driver desired to please this female passenger. However, the woman refused his advance and definitely took this as a sign to avoid taxi service altogether.

Whereas a few taxi drivers transport their passengers to the Richmond and Sunset districts, there are riders usually complaining that most cabs refuse these outer areas. Ridesharing drivers see cabs in these districts, but it is possible that only a select few actually accept such fares. The number one complaint is that Sunset and Richmond district resident can never convince a cab to pick them up. There are always excuses as to why a cab is running late or never seems to show up.

When ridesharing reached its high point last year, cab drivers attempted to make Lyft drivers hit them. Their strategy appeared to drive in front of a Lyft driver, and then slam on their brakes repeatedly. This quick stopping motion could in fact make the Lyft driver hit their car. As a result of this, the local community would finally learn how unsafe ridesharing services actually are and that unprofessional drivers should never transport passengers.

The perception that ridesharing is unsafe is a fabricated lie. Ridesharing drivers are held accountable for their actions. They can't treat any person bad, even those who are rude to them. On the opposing side, taxi drivers who give poor service and the rider pays cash are untraceable. No receipts are given to locate this taxi driver and the case is basically a closed matter.

Taxi drivers have denied passengers the use of their credit cards to pay for fares. Even though the rider knows the ride can be swiped, the taxi driver refuses to accept this form of payment. Taxi drivers know that credit card companies charge them a fee for every transaction. Instead of taxi drivers accepting the credit card to preserve their business, they get into a verbal argument with passengers about using this payment method.

Taxi drivers run red lights on Van Ness often. You see a trio of them power through red lights. Taxi drivers honk at ridesharing drivers double-parked in quiet neighborhoods. They give ridesharing drivers dirty looks, as if if to tell them I want you off the road. According to one rider, taxi drivers have been known to steal Pink Mustaches and also take a ridesharing drivers phone by reaching through the window and grabbing their smartphone.

Who is the bully in the transportation industry? There are many true stories to share about taxi cabs. They dug this hole because their poor service and bad attitudes are making riders choose another alternative. This alternative is viewed as an economic disadvantage to the taxi industry.

However, can the taxi industry prove that ridesharing has reduced their revenue? Are cab drivers ready to show financial records to compare their previous earnings and hours and show how ridesharing impacted their earnings? We can ask questions all day long. The taxi industry are complaining instead of finding ways to improve their service.

Ridesharing drivers are prohibited from picking up hailing fares. No ridesharing driver can pick up a rider and drive them without them connecting on the app. If a rider wants a ride, then they must first download the app and set it up. Once this operation is performed, the rider(s) can send out a ride request and the ridesharing driver can accept the ride. If a drunk passenger wants a quick ride home, they will hail a cab. Many passengers have no clue what ridesharing services provide.

If you ask random people if they heard of Uber, the app technology giant, you may receive multiple answers. They may respond that it's a black car service. These people have no idea that Uber has a ridesharing division with their UberX service. Nonetheless, Uber doesn't own any of UberX cars and are not a ridesharing company. Their primary focus is to connect riders through their app technology.

Taxi drivers view ridesharing companies and app makers as bottom feeders. They honestly believe this innovation has ruined their business. Can we look at this from an unbiased standpoint to suggest that taxi drivers want ridesharing drivers to follow the same rules as them? It bothers them to see random drivers transporting people around the city. Taxi drivers complain about leasing cars. Do they know that driving a personal vehicle will cost a bundle in maintenance costs? Probably not. Taxi drivers are clueless about the real truth since their blinded by what they deem as unfair.

How many ridesharing drivers can do what taxi drivers do? Can ridesharing drivers park in taxi spots? No. Can ridesharing drivers enter the taxi lane at airports? No. Can ridesharing drivers line up near the front of hotels and wait their turn to get a fare? No. Are ridesharing drivers permitted to make turns for taxis and buses only? No. Can ridesharing drivers drive in taxi and bus lanes? No. Do ridesharing drivers receive tips? Rarely.

On several occasions, female passengers have taken an UberX to travel a few blocks because the area made them feel unsafe. Will a taxi drive down to take a passenger a few block? What taxis are available 3am in the morning near a bad part in Berkeley? Are these taxi drivers going to wait for a passenger on a busy night? The truth is that ridesharing drivers must accept all rides. They can't discriminate against their riders just because. They can't refuse to start the ride for no reason. There's accountability in ridesharing, which we see is not taken against many taxi drivers.

Taxi drivers argue with passengers for choosing to pay with a credit card. How many riders take cash with them? It's not always safe to carry around money, especially at night. The credit card issue is a major rider complain. Taxi drivers dislike paying the credit card fee. They may want their tip to be paid in cash.

The taxi industry should develop their own technology to hold their taxi drivers accountable for their actions. If their cab smells, the taxi company needs to know this. Passengers should be able to complain about taxis, but do this through rating them or leaving comments of some sort on a website. Ridesharing is far more efficient because riders don't have to worry about paying for trips. Their credit card is already stored and can be used whenever it's convenient for them. Passengers refuse to wait around when the action is passing them by.

We hear the complaints and see the problems right in front of us. However, taxi companies have a super advantage over ridesharing and just want to be immature about innovation. If taxis keep complaining about ridesharing instead of adopting innovation, they may become obsolete like physical movie rental shops and electronic stores that allowed the competition to entice customers. As many military units would say in World War II when you displayed bad attitudes and couldn't get along, the taxi industry needs to "Shape up, or ship out."