5 reasons why we need ridesharing companies in Vancouver

There’s many arguments to be made on whether or not Uber, Lyft or other ridesharing companies should be allowed to even exist, let alone be fully functioning in Canada. I completely see both sides of the conversation. Uber and friends definitely aren’t perfect and have many flaws. But here's how I think of it, isn’t it better to have better options rather than the monopolized taxi industry we see in so many cities across the country?

In this piece, I will talk about why Uber is needed and why it is a good idea for cities to allow them to exist. Please note, I was not paid or endorsed by anyone to write this. It is my opinion and I’d love to hear yours either below, or on Twitter.

When I met Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanik, when he was in town, the reasons he brought to the table regarding ridesharing and the necessity of his company made a lot of sense. It compelled me to amplify the message he was trying to get out there but cater it to a Vancouver audience. And here we are today. I am writing this and you are reading this, which I am extremely grateful for.

So, here’s how this piece is going to go down. I will speak to 5 key reasons why Uber is needed and I want to know what your thoughts are. It’s absolutely essential to have a continuous dialogue about this, so I am really hoping we can continue this conversation. As mentioned above, catch me on Twitter or drop a comment below :)

The taxi industry is way too flawed and we need a change

Lack of innovation, terrible customer service, ridiculous fares and no accountability when things go wrong are 4 huge reasons why companies like Uber found gaps in the sector and started to disrupt it. First off, taxis are there for convenience, but how many times has a cab been a smooth, trouble free experience for you? Not many right? Everyone in the city has at least 2-3 terrible experiences while being in a cab. If this was any other business, say a restaurant, would you go back? Probably not, because there’s many other options out there. The problem in this sector is that there are no other options because it’s a monopolized system. Cab companies have no accountability, they can hike up the fares and give the worst customer experience, yet still rake in the dough at the end of the day. If taxi companies were confident in the product they are delivering to their customers and feel that their customers are satisfied, why are they so worried about Uber? 

Drivers are held accountable for service and efficiency

Uber judges their drivers in a multitude of ways. 2 key points being the rating passengers give them and their acceptance rates. Having a rating below a 4.6 can be a cause for suspension. That’s really difficult but, you can see how important customer service is for the ridesharing companies. Uber tells drivers that they should accept 80 percent of all the ride requests they receive, but "the closer to 100 percent the better." And while one of the biggest draws of Uber is that drivers get to set their own hours, they’re encouraged to drive as much as possible. “If you drive 50 hours a week you get 10 percent on top of what you made that week as a bonus,” a driver says. Most are on the road for fewer than 15 hours a week, according to Uber data (via Mental Floss). Check out this article on Business Insider that shows you how Uber’s rating system works. 

How Uber uses the driver ratings system

How Uber uses the driver ratings system

Supplemental income for individuals

Let’s face it. Life’s tough and expensive. If you had the chance to earn a little more income every month during your spare time, wouldn’t you do it? I certainly would. I’d enjoy driving around town on a Saturday afternoon for a couple hours and earning money, especially when I am not doing anything. Uber’s chief adviser, David Plouffe said that half of the 16,000 Uber drivers in Toronto are driving for less than 10 hours a week, insisting many are retirees, teachers and students. 

Uber can cut congestion, pollution and parking by getting more people into fewer cars

I’ll let Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick’s TED talk speak to this. See below:

Uber didn't start out with grand ambitions to cut congestion and pollution. But as the company took off, co-founder Travis Kalanick wondered if there was a way to get people using Uber along the same routes to share rides, reducing costs and carbon footprint along the way.

Competition is healthy, in every industry

Healthy competition is crucial for many reasons. Unfortunately, Vancouver’s taxi industry benefits almost nobody. The customer service cab companies offer is non-existent. A lot of this has to do with the fact that there is no competition. If you go to a coffee shop and have terrible coffee, you’re probably never going to go there again and might hit up another coffee shop. But with the cab industry, you don’t have a choice. Had a terrible experience? Well, too bad, it’s going to happen again... and again. It’s completely unfair. Competition allows you to learn from others, keeps you on your A game, promises growth, forces you to be more innovative in your approach and so much more. 

As well, prices that cab companies are offering are ridiculous. This is also because of the lack of competition. They can charge however much they want and get away with it. That’s not fair for the consumer. It’s not fair that customers get exploited by that. Here’s a great article on how Uber is ending dirty cab dealings in Toronto

Don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom. Uber, without even officially coming into Vancouver, has already shaken up the local taxi industry. It has caused a dramatic plunge in the value of taxi licences. You can read more about that in the article by The Vancouver Sun

From Vancouver Sun : The value of taxi licences, once worth $1 million on the open market in Vancouver, has been essentially destroyed, even before Uber hits the streets here.

From Vancouver Sun: The value of taxi licences, once worth $1 million on the open market in Vancouver, has been essentially destroyed, even before Uber hits the streets here.

To sum up

Alright, I hope that you enjoyed reading this and got the chance to learn more about the topic. We all know that ridesharing companies aren’t perfect, but neither are cab companies. But I think we can agree that they need to co-exist for the betterment of the industry, consumers and environment. 

If you have any thoughts or comments, please let me know below, or let’s continue the conversation on Twitter. 

Thank you for reading this and for all your continued support,