• The Dark Side Of Our Ridesharing Obsession

    ridesharing apps

    When ridesharing apps first came along a decade ago, many people saw it as a way of finally breaking up the arbitrary and inefficient taxi monopolies that dominated most cities. Cities offered taxi drivers a fixed number of permits, reducing the number of taxicabs available and pushing up the price of fares. Taxis are notoriously expensive, and so people don’t use them as much as they would if anybody and everybody were allowed to enter the market.

    Ridesharing apps changed all that. People could open up their cars for others, charge a fee, and get around most city taxi rules. Drivers were just giving riders lifts from A to B, rather than offering a fully-fledged, legally-binding taxi service. It was a boon for both drivers and passengers. Drivers could earn a bit of extra money from their vehicles on the side, and passengers could get cheaper fares than through regular taxi services. But ridesharing has a dark side.

    Government Rules Are Making Life Hard For Drivers

    Academics and politicians love to rail against the injustices of the gig economy – the emerging low-wage sector of the economy that pays by the “job” and offers “zero hours” contracts. But although they like to present themselves as the agents of justice, their actions have serious knock-on effects for the regular people involved on the ground. Every time a city bans services like Uber, thousands of drivers earning good incomes have to find alternative work. Many don’t.

    What’s more, it prevents new business models from emerging. People don’t want to be bound up with one employer for the rest of their lives. They don’t want that kind of dependency. Rational workers would rather depend on a range of employers so that if one goes bust, they can rely on another. Continually shutting down and messing with emerging digital business models denies workers that security and peace of mind they want.

    Ridesharing Could Be Dangerous

    Although apps track ridesharing drivers, ask any Uber accident lawyer, and they’ll tell you that these platforms still have their issues. Drivers can have accidents, putting themselves and their customers at risk. What’s more, many of these drivers are rank amateurs – just regular people who have managed to pass their tests. Training for situations on the job can be limited. Additionally, there have been various cases of violent crimes like physical and sexual abuse, and even rape.

    A Drop In The Value Of Traditional Taxi Services

    Perhaps the most significant impact of Uber and others is that they are forcing a drop in the value of taxi licenses. Licenses used to cost more than $400,000 in the years running up to the financial crisis. But since ridesharing apps became popular – around 2015 onwards – the value has dropped significantly. Four years ago, you could pick up a taxi license in, say, Sydney, for as little as $200,000 – half the previous value.

    What this means for traditional operators is clear: new technologies are disrupting their business model. Either operators accept a smaller market share, or do what Uber and similar models are doing and reduce flagfall times to improve efficiency. The choice is clear.

    What are your thoughts on these services?



    1. Jordyn
      January 9, 2019 / 7:45 pm

      I definitely can see there are two sides to the gig economy, especially when it comes to ride sharing. I don’t think I am informed enough about both the pros and cons to form an educated opinion but I do worry about what happens if there is an accident (or any sort of issue with a driver).

    2. January 9, 2019 / 8:40 pm

      I work for an insurance company and they’ve been saying that ridesharing will definitely continue to change how we get from place to place. It’s been interesting to see how it’s changed life the past few years.

      • January 9, 2019 / 8:42 pm

        I completely agree! I’ve loved using Lyft but at the same time, I’ve personally seen a victim of sexual assault from their driver – safety and vigilance is always key!

    3. January 10, 2019 / 7:39 am

      ugh i get so weary about ride sharing. i had an uber driver pick me up once. at first i didn’t think anything of it, i thought it was just my usual anxiety and then i realized he was high and then he asking me – way to far into the ride- if we were going to my house and made a joke about rape under his breath. I made him pull over on the side of the road and got out. Uber didn’t care at all when i contacted them and they were truly awful through the entire experience.

    4. January 10, 2019 / 9:14 am

      so scary the things that happen anymore especially with ridesharing. makes me really leary on ever doing it again!

    5. shay
      January 10, 2019 / 9:34 am

      until taxi drivers are more transparent about costs, i’ll be sticking to rideshare apps. i don’t have time to argue why a 10 min ride costs $35 because of peak times/traffic waits/tolls/misc. i’d rather know upfront.

    6. January 10, 2019 / 1:56 pm

      WOW – I had no idea about ride sharing app regulations! I’ve actually never taken a lyft or uber. I typically take taxis and ride the metro when in big cities. THi sis really inteersting to learn more about how ride share apps are chaning the transportation industry.

    7. adriana
      January 10, 2019 / 4:36 pm

      It’s very interesting to see how much it’s changed over the years! Great read!

    8. January 11, 2019 / 10:32 am

      I’m personally all for ride-sharing apps but with reasonable government regulations in place to protect both drivers and riders! I think consumers should also hold ridesharing app companies responsible for creating a good working environment as well.

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