Martine Powers, Shame On You.

Everyone who knows me on Facebook and Twitter knows what a huge fan I am of Uber. HUGE! It's so easy to use, I think people are crazy to not use it. It's so easy to use, I have to remind myself NOT to use when I leave for work each day...



I live on a very busy street in the South End where cabs are always lined up... And I still use Uber over hailing one driving/sitting by.

Why?

Because of a few reasons. But specifically the following:

  • I don't have to carry cash or my credit card. I have an account set up on Uber that charges my card automatically. So there's no fiddling with the card machine in the cab or dealing with cash and change.
  • The receipt gets emailed to me automatically. So I have a record of the fare, the driver and the route they took when I used one.
  • Uber does background checks on all their various types of drivers before admitting them to the program. So I feel safer about who is picking me up for a fare.
  • I know exactly what cab/car is picking me up before they arrive. No guessing if a car is for me or not.
  • The GPS system allows me to see exactly where my driver is before they pick me up. And it tracks me in the car while being driven. SAFETY!
  • I'm able to rate the driver after they drop me off... And they are able to do the same for me.

So with all of this, why would I use a cab that isn't part of the Uber program? Drivers seem to like using it just as much as the riders. And it beats using the long established and poorly run cab companies in Boston... Which have been rumored to mistreat drivers as well as riders who call requesting cabs.

I like the idea of saying "eff you" to them and cutting them out of the picture.

Which is why I find this poorly written, one-sided story by Martine Powers of the Boston Globe disappointing. The story is about a rape in an unlicensed taxi that took place last week, and calls into question the regulations of taxis.

It's a horrific story about a woman who got into an unlicensed hackney cab last week that she hailed off the street in front of a bar, and the driver took her on a ride to a quiet location and assaulted her. 

What pisses me off (other than the idea that someone would do this to a person) is that in the story Martine implies that hailing services like Uber and Hailo are part of the problem

Unregistered livery vehicles have become a hot-button political issue in the last several years with the emergence of new companies such as Uber and Hailo, which allow passengers to call a driver with a smart phone app outside of the standard city taxi system.

This is an incredibly misleading sentence. And leaves the reader to take away that Uber and Hailo don't do background checks on the drivers that they allow to enter the program.

If anything, these services make things safer for both riders AND drivers! There is a record of who picked up whom (because both riders and drivers have to be registered with the program to use it) and where the cab/car went on the route.


The reality is that if this was indeed an "unlicensed taxi" that picked her up, it was not part of the Uber or Hailo program. So bringing the two programs into the article this way is in accurate and biased towards the established can companies that the majority of people know suck.

These established companies are seeing drivers leave their service, for which they have to pay a pretty hefty fee each week (according to at least three of the Uber drivers I have talked to while in transit over the past few months). Drivers are denied pick-ups by operators answering the phones if they don't get along. Riders are given inaccurate pick-up wait times, and cabs have even been known not to show up. With Uber, at least, drivers are able to increase their income by knowing who in Boston is looking for a cab. Some drivers have told me that since they started using Uber, they have seen their weekly income increase by $300.  THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS MORE A WEEK!

So why the hell would drivers and riders use the established companies?

Bad reporting by Martine Powers. It leans toward supporting the established cab companies, which yes... Have been a hot-button issue in the past few years. But this is just my opinion. Read the article for yourself and feel free to email or tweet her at:

mpowers@globe.com
@martinepowers