The Taxi industry is often seen as an old and low-tech industry, but here in Silicon Valley, they are learning from their high-tech peers: San Francisco taxi drivers are suing transportation company Uber (no link w/ Ubergizmo other than good naming taste), for allegedly practicing unfair business competition and violating some obscure SF laws. Did we mention that Uber is killing taxis is terms of customer satisfaction?
If you don’t know Uber, it is a company based in San Francisco which basically drives you from place to place, just like taxi does. What makes Uber successful is that you can order your car from an app, see where it is in near real-time and overall the service is hailed by users as reliable and pleasant – as any modern transportation company should be. As you may have guessed, Uber costs more than a regular taxi trip, but in the end, many customers seem very happy with it and are voting with their wallets.
In their class action lawsuit, the taxi drivers claim that Uber does not follow proper SF regulations for a taxi-like company. For instance, users cannot “pay in cash”, and Uber does not use the regular taxi meter to compute fares. By now, most of you can see where this is going: instead of addressing the root of the problem, let’s try finding technicalities. Uber has been there before and can expect the same type of resistance everywhere it goes, and the company will fight this lawsuit too.
“In just over two years, Uber has provided a convenient, popular transportation option to tens of thousands of San Franciscans and a new source of income to thousands of drivers and their families. Uber complies with all laws and regulations applicable to its business. Any claim to the contrary is baseless and motivated by those who seek to deprive the public of this safe and convenient transportation option. Uber would rather compete for business on the streets of San Francisco than in the courtroom, but Uber will defend these claims in court and is confident of the outcome” (Uber)
We’re not sure how this will end yet, but if taxis want to compete, attack Uber where it hurts: customer satisfaction.