There is one issue in the Uber controversy that tends to be overlooked, and I think it’s probably the reason why the concept has been so successful so quickly in Boston.
My wife and I moved to this city three years ago. For two years we put up with cramped, uncomfortable taxis with little or no air conditioning. We experienced drivers who talked continuously on the phone as they drove, ate lunch while driving, played loud music, seemed to conveniently forget to start the meter and then tried to negotiate a flat fee, took a roundabout route to our destination, were rude, and often could not reasonably communicate in English.
More than once we called for a cab by telephone, and the driver, after accepting the call, abandoned us for a fare picked up along the way.
Many taxi drivers resist credit cards, and then there was always the tipping dilemma: whether and how much.
Along came Uber: clean, comfortable cars; knowledgeable and polite drivers, most of whom open the door for you; a centralized credit card system for billing, including tipping; convenient summoning to your address; and a quiet ride. Yes, it does cost a few dollars more, but it’s worth it.
Perhaps taxi drivers and owners should stop complaining about a technologically advanced service that makes great sense, and spend their time learning how to transition from an archaic system and compete for consumers who are fed up with past practices.