Impacts of UBER on the Transport Sector
UBER is a smartphone app that simplifies the process of booking a ride. It enables passengers to book rides through mobile phones. The app originates from UBERCAB, which was founded by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp in the year 2009. It provides a free software platform that is easily accessible by anybody who wishes to request a ride. The app links passenger to drivers. It has become quite popular all over the world. However, as it turns out, not everyone is thrilled with the ultra-new transportation service, claiming it does more harm than good.
After the customer has booked a ride, the company tracks his or her GPS and directs a driver to the latter’s locality. The client is then notified via text message once the driver arrives. Even though the driver has no access to the user’s contact information, the system enables him to contact the passenger. That is, if he does not find the latter at the exact place to which he was directed. The system is very influential. Currently, it has spread to most cities in the world. However, it is experiencing a lot of opposition in most cities, especially from taxi operators and passengers.
The UBER Company is unfair to taxis in many ways. First, the company entered an already congested transport industry. The number of cars has increased in the transport industry, leading to unfair competition (Verbergt, & Mathias). It has made competition too tight for the taxi to sustain. The situation has led to the taxis’ protest in most cities of the world. Therefore, the taxis are not at rest, hence their request that UBER should be banned from the streets.
Secondly, UBER drivers do not pay taxes while the regular taxis pay them – a situation that may hinder the economy of a state (Volatta). In every formal state, tax payment should be everybody’s obligation. Making exceptions from this obligation is not fair to the other citizens who pay. Moreover, the UBER drivers are not licensed while taxis operations are mandatory for icensing. Any taxi driver who operates without a permit is questionable in a court of law. The licensing difference should not exist because both groups are subjected to similar working situations.
Taxis’ operations are regulated by traffic rules that they are obligated to adhere to. However, UBER industry is free from most of the traffic rules. The latter’s drivers are allowed to operate their cars without restrictions. It is evident that some drivers within the company are not well trained. This is very dangerous to the lives of passengers and anybody within the same area. Being free from traffic laws, its driver can easily cause an accident. Some of them are prone to multitasking while driving, an occurrence that has led to accidents multiple times (Rodgers, 8).
Last but not least, the UBER Company enjoys high prices fluctuations. Their prices automatically rise eight times the normal price, whenever there are few drivers on road. Unfortunately, normal taxis operate within fixed prices. Besides, the latter operate under stressful conditions, which are full of competition and low wages. As an additional advantage over the taxis drivers, UBER operations are extended to more markets. For instance, Sacramento International Airport allowed them to make passenger pickups.
Just like with the regular taxis, passengers are not safe with UBER. Their privacy is violated. The company uses God View to track riders. The system has no rules or steps to safeguard consumers’ medication data, locality and mail messages. Its apps’ model is a data vacuum. It is capable of collecting detailed information concerning any person who uses it. Most of the data collected is even irrelevant as far as transportation is concerned.
For instance, the collection of IP addresses, the manufacturer, and operating systems of passengers’ phones has no direct relation to any operation in the transport sector. This information should remain on the personal level. On top of that, this informattion is not deleted at the end of the ride. If the information was only meant for the ride, deleting it after the ride would be a wise thing to do. However, this has not been the case. The company accumulates passengers’ data in the data-base system. The accumulation is evident as some drivers from the industry have been contacting the customers in social media for matters that are not related to rides. Such situations leave one to wonder how their contact information was obtained by the driver. It clearly indicates that the latter has violated the privacy of passengers.
Limitation of the passenger’s privacy is not safe for their lives. Having their location, address and contact information, thieves can take advantage of the situation and harm the passenger. At one point there was a UBER driver who went an inch higher to ask a female passenger whether she was single. This is a sensitive discussion to be carried out in social media. It puts the passenger’s life at risk. For example, when such discussions are accessed by her partner, they may create a state of misunderstanding and lead to chaos. It can also lead to wrecking families.
The company also abuses the access of customers’ numbers. The latter receive unsolicited messages on a regular basis. At times, when asked to stop sending the texts, the company does not cooperate. Instead, it notifies the passenger to invite more users into the system. Finally, the company has been violating passengers on split-trip-fare. Text is then sent to the party of the user’s interest without assuring the customer of completion of the split. Occasionally, some parties decline the request to split.
In conclusion, UBER is a technology-based means of transportation. It stands a high chance of boosting the global economy. The company’s services are easily accessible hence they save time. However, its operations are not safe. They make competition too difficult for taxis to sustain. Their way of data collection is also not safe for passengers’ lives.