Riding sharing apps are a popular way to find a cheap rides or earn a little extra money during free time. But for customers, drivers, and the competition, there are plenty of issues facing the industry.
A popular argument against ride sharing apps is the direct competition they have with other transportation companies. But James Gallant of Dick’s Taxi says there isn’t much to be worried about.
“It’s difficult to say that we’re the same or that we are similar because in a lot of aspects, we’re not.”
Gallant believes that companies like Uber and Lyft don’t offer services that local transportation can.
“75% of my clients don’t own a credit card, so they can’t use Uber.”
“What they’re not doing and what they will never do is provide a constant service to our local business and our local non-profits that need to have scheduled rides.”
Gallant also says that his company has more hoops to jump through when it comes to making sure both his employees and clients are covered.
“They don’t have to play on the same playing field. They don’t have the same regulations, they don’t have the same cost, they don’t have the same insurance.”
“I think that the people that use taxis and the people that use Uber are separate. I don’t necessarily think there’s a lot of overlap.”
Drivers for ride sharing apps also have their share of problems when it comes to their companies’ business models. We spoke with one driver who wished to remain anonymous.
“If I didn’t enjoy it, it certainly wouldn’t be lucrative enough to keep me coming back. It doesn’t pay very well.”
“They cut rates by a third in January and there are a lot more drivers now so there are less rides to go around.”
Although ride sharing is often billed as a beneficial second job, people who choose to do it full time often have trouble making ends meet.
“We also have multiple Uber drivers that used to drive for Uber but now drive for us because they couldn’t make it as a job,” said Gallant.
“I would add a tipping feature,” our driver recommended. “A lot of people want to tip me and say they don’t have any cash and ask if they can leave a tip on the app which with Uber you can’t. Lyft you can.”
Drivers we spoke with say most of their clients are the perfect customers. However, they can, at times, be tough to manage.
“A lot of times I’ll pick somebody up and they’ll have requested a ride for their friend and so it’s not the person whose name is on the app. And if they cause a problem or I need to charge a cleaning fee for something that happened in the vehicle, that’s not fair to any party involved.”
A lot of pickups can also prove to be a waste of time and money if the situation is less than ideal.
Driver: “It’s not lucrative for us to drive 20 minutes or 25 minutes to pick you up to drive you a mile.”
Zach: “So you think kind of just keep it confined to the Greater Bangor Area?”
Driver: “Or implement a larger charge if we have to drive that far to pick someone up.”
Apps like Uber and Lyft do have a way to combat unruly customers. A rating system gives drivers a chance to hand out scores to their clients. Too low of an overall score may scare away drivers in the future. Of course, that also means that riders can rate drivers as well.
“If a passenger is just having a bad day and decided they don’t like us and decides to rate us ‘1,’ that could eventually lead to us losing our jobs.”
So with some of the issues about ride sharing apps laid out on the table, we asked our driver if the job was worth it. And although they said they wouldn’t consider it as a full time job, the extra money and fun times with their clients keeps them coming back.