Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ridesharing drivers and taxi drivers face-off: Do's and Don'ts

A ridesharing driver gives rides to clients who send out ride requests. Once this ride request arrives, this ridesharing driver sees a large circle with a countdown line traveling around it. The location of this client, their distance in time, and the address flash on the iPhone. Ridesharing drivers can either accept, or reject this ride request.

Taxis are either dispatched to locations, can pick-up people who hail them, are allowed to wait at airports for arriving passengers, and can wait behind other taxis at downtown hotels. Nonetheless, taxis are permitted to drive in bus and taxi lanes designated for these types of services. Ridesharing drivers get ticked for entering these restricted lanes.

The following applies to what ridesharing drivers will do as opposed to what taxis can do and won't do:

  • Ridesharing drivers receive ride requests to distant locations in the mountains to make such pickups. However, taxis won't do these pickups because they realize this does not make financial sense. It is understandable to be cautious with fares, as time and gas are sensitive factors. 
  • There is risk involved with making pickups where passengers can cancel and/or leave without calling to confirm this decision. Ridesharing drivers are connected to these clients, so they must take this trip. Taxi drivers don't depend on ride requests to locate fares. They're licensed and permitted to enter downtown spaces to pick-up passengers at conventions, near hotels, by bars, and anywhere else where passengers require cab services.
  • Taxis won't drive in the outer Sunset and Richmond districts to find fares. However, ridesharing drivers welcome these districts as these trips with UberX, Lyft and SideCar pay well. It makes sense for taxi drivers to avoid these areas because the ride action is in Marina, Downtown, Mission, and SOMA. Nevertheless, ridesharing drivers enter these outside areas to provide a moral service. These drivers know that clients require needs in these areas and are there to accept them.
  • Taxi drivers can ignore a hailing passenger. They pick and choose their fares. They don't tolerate bad behavior from rude passengers. Ridesharing drivers have flexibility to end problem rides prematurely, but they don't usually implement this practice into their ridesharing. These drivers fear clients may retaliate against them with submitting a low star rating and a negative comment. 
  • Taxi drivers can harass ridesharing drivers and blame this behavior on unfair competition. Ridesharing drivers who harass taxi drivers will be arrested and booked into jail. 
  • Taxi drivers won't drive on far away dirt roads to make a risky pick-up. Ridesharing drivers are requested via a ride app to retrieve clients in these secluded areas. 
  • Taxi drivers can reject credit card payments even though this is advertised on their windows. Ridesharing drivers have no choice but to accept the ride app payment method. Taxis get paid much faster to avoid downtime between shifts. Ridesharing drivers must wait once a week to receive payments. Therefore, this long waiting period can restrict driving and reduce earnings. Ride given on Monday and Tuesday take 10 and 9 days to receive, in that order. 
  • Taxis can have outside conversations during rides. Ridesharing drivers can't talk to anyone besides their clients. 
  • Taxis can game the system with taking longer routes. Ridesharing drivers are monitored via the system, so taking extremely long routes can get them deactivated if this occurs often. No gaming the system to make extra money. 
  • Taxis won't drive in high risk areas. Ridesharing drivers have no choice but to accept ride requests from wherever.  
  • Ridesharing drivers don't have to work an entire shift. With UberX and SideCar, drivers make their own schedules. However, taxis don't end their shifts early because of the cost to operate is too great. These taxi drivers are usually down $125+ before starting their long driving shifts. 
  • Taxi drivers don't know the identity of all the passengers they drive. This lack of knowledge increases the risk of driving unknown passengers who may be untraceable. Of course, there are cameras inside taxis to record potential crimes against drivers. Ridesharing drivers are connected with clients who have active accounts on the ride app system. Although there are risks involved with driving clients, drivers have an idea who they are driving based on previous rating history, account names and clients confirming their names. As we know, nothing is foolproof. 
  • Taxi drivers don't have to perform maintenance and repairs on medallions. Ridesharing drivers can lose out big money once their vehicles require expensive repairs and they don't own another approved vehicle to drive on the ride platform. 
Who has the advantage? Taxi drivers do. Ridesharing drivers don't.