The concept of Uber doesn’t require a lot of explanation: Uber directly connects taxi drivers and consumers without using a taxi company. Via web browser or smartphone app, customers can order a taxi using automated software and see how other users have rated the driver.
The online ride-sharing app has quickly become a globally operating, successful business and has turned the taxi market upside down with its disruptive concept. On September 30, five years after its initial launch, Uber announced that its services are available in 45 countries, over 200 cities and translated in 22 languages (Uber, 2014). Its global sales and number of taxi rides doubles each six months and according to The Wall Street Journal (2014), the company is valuated at US$18.2 billion.
However, despite its rapid growth, more recently the company has collided with local legislation and established taxi companies everywhere. Practically in every country, the introduction of Uber has led to commotion. The firm has been criticised for what some have described as aggressive business practices in cities around the world and therefore in many cities, local cab firms and drivers have staged protests against the service. Barely two months ago, German cities Berlin and Hamburg decided to ban Uber’s app, saying “it needed to protect passengers, Uber’s drivers, and the city’s licensed taxi drivers” (Kell and Smith, 2014).
Recently, Uber co-founder Travis Kalanic told the BBC he is not bullying local taxi firms and drivers. “If [consumers] can get a reliable ride that’s half the price of a black cab, shouldn’t they have the choice?” (BBC, 2014)
I personally think it’s unfair competition for Uber and similar ‘private taxi agency’ services to compete with existing licensed taxi companies.
What do you think? Is the introduction of Uber fair to local taxi drivers with licenses?
-BBC (2014) Uber boss Travis Kalanick: I’m no bully, http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-29475059, retrieved October 5, 2014.
-Uber (2014) Uber for business now available in 45 countries, http://blog.uber.com/globalbusiness, retrieved October 5, 2014.
-Rusli, E. M. & Macmillan, D. (2014) Uber Gets an Uber-Valuation, http://online.wsj.com/articles/uber-gets-uber-valuation-of-18-2-billion-1402073876, retrieved October 6, 2014.
-Kell, J. & Smith, G. (2014) Berlin bans Uber app, citing passenger safety concerns, http://fortune.com/2014/08/14/uber-berlin-band/, retrieved October 6, 2014.