Every now and then, you see Taxi Drivers of a country, or recently, a continent (South America), protesting against Uber.
At home, in Australia, I get around with my car. I used Uber once to get home from a night out after being introduced to it by a friend. I thought it was great: I could already see the driver's details, a photo of his car and his licence plate number even before he came to pick me up.
When travelling overseas, depending on the country and the circumstances, I prefer renting a car or if not, public transport does the job. So because I didn't really have to depend on taxis or Uber too much, I really wasn't involved emotionally, shall we say.
But when I went to Manila, Philippines, I experienced the difference between the Taxi service and Uber. I literally thought many times how Manila taxi drivers, were the scammiest people in the world. After my first taxi ride from the airport, I looked up whether Uber was active in Manila. Relieved knowing there was an alternative, I used them for my next ride. Since then, I used Uber for the rest of my stay whenever possible. I had to use Taxis a few more times and each time, I regretted it.
Some people say there's too much expense to be a Taxi driver with all the Regulations, fees and licences. But why do we need them at all when it's obvious they are useless? People wait longer to find a taxi. They are refused a rides if the driver feels the trip is too far, too short or has too much traffic. Drivers don't put up their meters to get paid the fair price, instead the drivers take advantage of the traveller's lack of knowledge of local fares and negotiate prices that are two, three or four times their normal costs. They are taking longer to get to places because taxis want to prolong the ride to get more money. People are being ripped off! What use are all these licenses, fees and regulation?
When I'm using Uber and I leave something behind in the vehicle, I can still text the driver. If he has done something that really offended me, I can provide feedback which gets to Uber and to other passengers.
Uber has the real time record of my trip, the time, the route taken and gives me access to that information immediately and for later when I need to refer to it. If an Uber driver is stupid enough to try and kidnap or murder me, or any passenger for that matter, it's definitely harder for him to get away with that because evidence is on hand to incriminate him or her. How do the current regulations, fees and licences better these? They don't! Whatever these things are for, they are definitely not to provide passengers better service for the best price.
The taxi service was for a different time: before the Internet and mobile phones. With these technologies, Uber is showing us how we can do it better. It does not make sense to protest against a company just because it is providing a better service for less. This is Creative Destruction. Companies and Industries die if they are rendered obsolete by their customers.
Someone said that you can tell how corrupt a country is by how strongly they attack Uber. I think there's a lot of truth in that. Taxi organisations and Governments need to have a look at how they can provide better service to passengers instead of penalising companies for innovating.