Photo by Analyn Cuarto

Photo by Analyn Cuarto

Keep Vancouver Uber-free

By Jessica Berget, Opinions Editor


Uber has dominated taxi services all over the world, which is surprising to exactly no-one. It has lower rates, there are more drivers so you don’t have to wait 30 minutes for a cab, and above all, it’s convenient and reliable, so of course people are going to choose it over cabs. At first, it seems like a great idea. However, this once-great idea quickly goes to bad, to “yikes” once you research the company.

As low as their rates may be, there is a huge price to pay for allowing Uber to operate in one’s city. The popular ride-sharing company has a notorious rap sheet for the mistreatment of both their drivers and riders: Lack of regulation has resulted in cases of harassment and assault of both riders and drivers, as well as underpaying their workers.

Uber provides a sweet incentive for their drivers, promising them 80 per cent of fares, but it isn’t as sweet as it sounds. Take Demek Dagnachew’s word for it; as an Uber driver in 2014, he noticed he wasn’t getting the pay he was promised. “I thought 80 per cent of the fares was a very good deal, but in reality, Uber was making more money than I was. I had to pay taxes, gas, mileage, and for car maintenance and repairs. I was spending time and making $3 per hour,” he said in an interview with the Wshington Post.

That’s right, $3 an hour, and Uber has since cut their prices and drivers pay in an attempt beat competitors, according to Business Insider. To make matters worse, in 2017, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was confronted about this by another Uber driver and reportedly snapped back by yelling profanities at the driver, illustrating his apparent disregard for employees.

Despite the problematic CEO, one of the biggest critiques of Uber is the lack of safety for both drivers and riders, and justifiably so. Numerous claims have been reported against drivers in cases of harassment, physical violence, and sexual assault. In fact, 200 women have come forward about being sexually assaulted by their Uber drivers, but there are possibly hundreds more considering the sensitivity of the issue, and that’s only counting passengers being attacked by drivers; when you flip the script, many drivers have also come forward about being assaulted or attacked by their passengers.

Uber has also been sued at least 433 times in 2017, according to the Courthouse News database, with cases of negligence, injury accidents, and exaggerating their drivers’ background checks… and all this only scratches the surface. These are only incidents that have been taken to court; there are hundreds of reports of assaults that have happened in Uber on whosdrivingyou.org. And here’s the kicker: Uber claims no responsibility for whatever happens to you while in an Uber vehicle, as stated in their terms of service. “Uber does not guarantee the quality, suitability, safety or ability of third party providers. You agree that the entire risk arising out of your use of the services, and any service or good requested in connection therewith, remains solely with you.” In other words, if you are attacked or assaulted in an Uber or by and Uber driver or passenger, too bad.

Yes, cab drivers aren’t perfect, but neither are Uber drivers. At least cab drivers are part of a company that will hold them responsible for their actions and provide detailed background checks, so you know the person you are getting into a car with isn’t going to attack you (for the most part). There are already many cases of creepy taxi drivers, we don’t need a ride-sharing company to jeopardize the safety of the people of Vancouver, no matter how cheap it may be.

The Other Press

The Other Press, Douglas College's student newspaper since 1976. Articles, insight and updates from the New West and Coquitlam campuses.

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