Friday, October 24, 2014

City councils across America: Ride-sharing Service decision making and allowing Transportation Network Companies to operate

Dear City Councils in all American cities,

As you know, ride-sharing services are an app-based platform where people can request rides at the click of a button. These passengers can input any address into a mobile ride-app, or drop a pin on a current location. In the past few years, ride-sharing services have gained widespread popularity. Because of these ride services, they have improved the way people travel in your cities across America. 

Unfortunately, ride-sharing services are running into opposition from taxi companies who are demanding these ride-app services to cease in their tracks. They argue that this business model of dispatching private citizens to give rides is illegal; it puts the public at risk and skirts state and local regulations. This false perception of ride-sharing services is blocking innovation. 

Implementing these ride-sharing services into your communities have prompted local authorities to issue cease and desist letters, fine ridesharing drivers, tow TNC vehicles, and other actions are taken to discourage this service. Nonetheless, the impact of such ride services are valuable to citizens requesting additional transportation service offerings. Once public transportation services such as city buses, BART, light rail, and Metrolink stop operation in the early AM hours, people rely on ridesharing services to get home and move around their local region.

Because taxis are biased toward destinations, they deny people rides based on distant neighborhoods. They mistreat passengers by arguing with them, taking longer routes to increase fares, not showing up on time and/or not at all, speeding, driving recklessly, being rude, running red lights, weaving in and out of traffic, telling passengers they don't have change after giving short rides, rejecting credit cards due to broken machines, claiming their taxis are experiencing engine failure to deny distant rides into furthermost neighborhoods, failing to maintain clean interiors, and many more problems.

The taxi industry is highly vocal toward the inclusion of TNC into the transportation industry. They dislike ride-sharing services, claiming that unprofessional drivers should be prevented from driving people without the proper licenses. However, the poor attitudes and behaviors of taxi drivers inspired these ride-sharing companies to go into business. The public want more transportation offerings to accommodate their travel needs. Recent disagreements among taxi drivers and ridesharing drivers require mediation to reduce conflict.       

Ridesharing drivers want taxi companies to accept personal accountability. However, taxi drivers continue to act aggressive toward ridesharing drivers. The moment taxi drivers notice TNC (Transportation Network Companies) vehicles on the road via trade dress, they attempt to create conflict such as aggressively stopping in front of them, speeding past these vehicles on 2-way streets to pose imminent danger, cutting in front of TNCs out of blind intersections, and showing aggression through confronting ridesharing drivers. Passengers witness taxi drivers act unruly toward ridesharing drivers; they can recount these events to shed light on this growing problem. 

Ride-sharing services are popular for a number of reasons. Passengers have expressed gratitude in ridesharing companies being available to drive them home, to work and to other locations. Furthermore, female passengers are thankful that drivers can drive them home a few blocks down to ensure their personal safety. Passengers can customize their trips, which allow for multiple drop-offs. 

The moment drivers accept ride requests, passengers can monitor their activity on the ride app. An ETA is provided, giving passengers the flexibility to get ready and meet their drivers at the requested pick-up address. On a passenger ride app, a picture of the driver, their vehicle and license plate are readily available to connect the two parties. Ridesharing drivers greet their passengers by name and share theirs. It is a seamless process that shows professionalism and courtesy. 

Ridesharing drivers are accountable for their actions. Passengers can rate their drivers using a 1-5 star scoring scale, as well as leave positive and negative feedback concerning this trip experience. Ridesharing services are guaranteed to be cheaper than taxis, a competitive pricing model to provide savings. As seen in the media with a few ridesharing drivers getting into conflict, these unfortunate events cast a false light on the ridesharing industry. These are isolated incidents; they shouldn't represent the foundation of ridesharing service attitudes toward the general public.

Uber launched UberMilitary to help 50,000 military Veterans and their families to get jobs. It is their mission to join forces and reduce the number of unemployed military Veterans. This action is commendable, showing respect for those who served our country. 

We request that you review the value of ridesharing services in your local communities. The state of California has already passed ridesharing services under an umbrella known as Transportation Network Companies (TNC). Recently, three major ride-app companies in SideCar (first TNC to sign permit), Uber's UberX ridesharing and Lyft signed permits to operate at SFO. Ridesharing services are vital transportation services within your communities. There is no looking back now, because people desire that ride-sharing services remain an instrumental part of their transportation needs. 

Please ask the people how ride-sharing services have changed their lives and made them more mobile. Unfortunately, the taxi industry will devise a plan to protest ridesharing services as a safety hazard to citizens. In rejecting ride-sharing services, people are limited to taxi services, who may not hold the best interest of their passengers in hand. We kindly request your local embodiment to allow fair competition to dictate the transportation market. Ride-sharing services are the wave of the future; they keep the city moving, reduce drunk driving, cut down on traffic, and a recent research study has shown that this business model may improve the environment by reducing air pollution. Thank you for your time and concern.