The Uber Debate
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

The Uber Debate

Every dollar you spend is a vote for the world you want to live in.

The Uber Debate

Uber, the ridesharing service that lets customers connect with drivers through a mobile app, has been gathering media attention lately with several controversies concerning the security, safety and privacy of their customers. The service gained popularity last year because customers can charge their ride directly to their credit card via the app, no swipe required. But the recent conflicts force us to ask… is the shiny black car really worth it?   

Uber, now an 18 billion dollar company, expanded to Charlottesville this past August. NBC29 talked to various cab drivers in the area to get their take on the new service. The general response from the community was that traditional taxis in Charlottesville are safer than Uber because of the strict regulations and background checks provided by the state, calling the rideshare service “digital hitchhiking.”

The company offers two programs for their customers: “Uber Black” and “UberX.” Uber Black delivers the traditional black town car or SUV, but UberX allows drivers to turn their own car into a taxi, and provides a less expensive means of travel for the customer, as well as additional work for individuals in the area. 

Regulations and requirements concerning security procedure, such as background checks, were set in place by Terry McAuliffe and the state of Virginia in the agreement to allow the operation of companies such Uber and Lyft, another popular ridesharing service. Uber has cooperated with and encouraged these regulations to be upheld.     

Uber has drawn media attention in the past months due to several incidents, including but not limited to surge pricing, attacks on customers by drivers, and unauthorized location tracking of customers and drivers. 

When the twitter sphere reacted after a woman reported that a driver had choked her, CEO Travis Kalanick wrote an email to his team and accidentally copied a reporter, saying that he didn’t want the company to be “somehow liable for these incidents that aren’t even real in the first place.” 

Uber executives also received backlash when one exec suggested that they use the technology available to them, including “God view,” a system that tracks the GPS coordinates of customers and drivers, to gather “dirt” on a journalist that he felt portrayed the company in a bad light in the media. These comment elicited strong responses from both journalists and customers, and the executive apologized.   

Uber employs drivers that act as independent contractors, so when incidents between drivers and customers occur, the company is not liable. This is not the intention of Uber, but rather an indirect result of their business plan. 

Indeed, last year when a driver accidentally hit and killed a six-year-old girl with his car, the company was quick to state that the driver was in between fares, freeing them of responsibility. Obviously this tragedy was in no way the fault of Uber, but their distanced reaction stirred controversy.   

However, as stated before, the company that runs the app is different than the day-to-day happenings of the service. Cities that have made use of Uber are showing fewer DUIs, and many people say that they feel more comfortable when they use the app. Here is the heart of the issue: safety. 

There is something to be said for the sharing economy, and new innovations that promote safe returns home and lessen the chance that someone will get behind the wheel after drinking. That being said, it is important to be aware that Uber, Lyft, or any other ridesharing service is no safer than a regular taxi service. 

In Charlottesville, let’s encourage a service that maintains the highest standards of safety in order to protect its riders and employees, not in order to stay in operation or maximize profit, and take seriously reports of mistreatment or uncomfortable situations, so that new innovations can have a positive role in making our campus and city a safer place.     

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments