Taxi drivers defend suit against Uber in Seattle, say they want level playing field

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Salah Mohamed, a 14-year Seattle taxi veteran, says he doesn’t mind competition from companies like Uber but wants a level-playing field for all transportation providers. Photo courtesy of Mohamed.

Taxicab drivers in Seattle are suing Uber not because they’re scared of competition. In fact, they say they welcome it.

Rather, members of The Western Washington Taxi Cab Operators Association argue that their lawsuit is all about fairness. Their comments, in interviews with GeekWire, add more context to the suit’s clam that Uber’s service “engages in an unlawful and deceptive business practice which harms the economic interests of taxicab drivers.”

“They don’t follow the rule of law, period,” said 14-year Seattle taxi veteran Salah Mohamed. “That’s the reason we are suing them.”

uberxUberX, which allows everyday drivers to make money by shuttling passengers around town, has technically been operating in Seattle illegally ever since it arrived in Seattle more than a year ago. The city, which did not issue a cease-and-desist letter, allowed “transportation network companies” like UberX, Lyft and Sidecar to roam around its streets until just a few weeks ago when the City Council finally decided to force these startups to abide by certain rules.

Next month, the companies will need to limit their active cars on the road, maintain proper commercial insurance and pay the city $50,000 for a license to operate, among other regulations. Uber expressed frustration with the Council’s decision two weeks ago, saying it would “absolutely keep fighting” the approved legislation.

Now, the taxi association’s lawsuit is attempting to get Uber to pay up for the past year and a half of “lost fares and tips.” They also want Uber, which now operates in nearly 80 cities worldwide, to leave town if it continues conducting its business in the same manner.

Parminder Cheema, an 11-year veteran taxicab operator and a member of the taxi organization suing Uber in Seattle, said that "we want something that's fair to everybody."

Parminder Cheema, an 11-year veteran taxicab driver and a member of the taxi organization suing Uber in Seattle, said that “we want something that’s fair to everybody.”

“We want something that’s fair to everybody,” said Parminder Cheema, a taxicab driver and elected member of the association’s leadership council.

A year’s worth of frustration for taxi drivers stems from the fact that they’ve had to abide by city rules — which include licensing fees, commercial insurance laws, uniform rates and a bevy of other requirements — for decades, while Uber and others have come into town and conducted business in their own manner.

“If they are legal and doing things legitimately, we have nothing to be angry with,” Cheema said.

Cheema and Mohamed both repeated that this is an issue not about blocking innovation, though many have pegged it as exactly that. In fact, they say that the Seattle taxi industry tried to introduce similar apps a few years ago, only to be stymied by city regulations.

“We aren’t against innovation,” Cheema said. “We had it and Seattle lawmakers never let those innovations take place. Now, when the innovation is coming from companies backed by Amazon and Goldman Sachs, it’s a different story. That’s why we are mad — it’s a big company doing it, and the city is bending backward to please them.”

While the taxi drivers support new technology that improves their service, they do have problems with competitors that perform identical tasks — taking people from A to B — but do not follow the same rules.

“If you want to be a taxi, if you want to be me, then be me,” Mohamed said. “Let’s compete for customers and see who wins. I don’t mind if I lose when that happens, because then they are better business people — that’s the way America is. But I don’t want you to cut my legs and make me run.”

As many taxi industry supporters have done, both Mohamed and Cheema called out UberX for its insurance gaps that could affect both UberX drivers and passengers. While the San Francisco-based startup has a $1 million coverage for driver liability if a driver’s personal auto insurance does not cover the cost of an accident, there are still questions about exactly when coverage kicks in and whether or not UberX drivers are carrying their own commercial insurance.

“They are putting drivers at risk, and they are putting customers at risk,” Mohamed said.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Tim Pearce.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Tim Pearce.

Mohamed conceded that the taxi industry could offer better customer service. This an area where the transportation startups often excel, which has helped to win over fans. “But it doesn’t justify them coming here and operating illegally,” he said.

“I believe that we live in a great country that is free, and part of maintaining that freedom is following the rules of law to make sure we have level playing fields,” Mohamed said. “When that is broken, I don’t think we have anything. The dream I chase is working hard and spending money on family. But now what I see is people looking for loopholes so they can break the system. It kills me to see this.”

So why are the taxi drivers attacking Uber? Why not Lyft, or Sidecar? Or why not follow the lead of taxi drivers in Chicago and sue the city, which is responsible for making sure companies don’t find those “loopholes” and set all the regulations on the taxi industry in the first place?

Suing the city is “in the pipeline,” Mohamed said. But for now, his colleagues are focusing on Uber.

“UberX is at the heart of things and is the most powerful,” he said.

While allowing companies like UberX and Lyft to operate with caps in its town, the Seattle City Council also decided to give out 200 more taxi licenses during the next two years — the first time it has done so in more than two decades.

But even that is not going to satisfy some of the taxi drivers, and especially the ones that are suing Uber. They want a level-playing field — and if not, a shutdown of companies like UberX, Lyft and Sidecar.

“They are taxi companies,” Cheema said. “They need to follow the same rules as taxi companies.”

Going forward, the city will enforce its new ordinance likely at the end of April. Several questions remain: How will the city precisely monitor how many active cars each company has on the road? When, and how, will it re-assess its 150-cap and other just-implemented rules? And will the courts side with the taxi drivers in their lawsuit against Uber?

“What’s happening right now is a fight between a regulated industry and an unregulated industry,” Mohamed said. “It’s a fight between the rule of law and anarchy.”

Uber offered this statement when asked about the lawsuit:

Uber remains focused on connecting people with the safest and most reliable transportation options in Seattle and protecting the thousands of small business jobs created by our technology platform. It is unfortunate that the taxi industry is not similarly focused on what really matters: safety of riders and opportunity for drivers.

  • Guest

    I find that the taxi companies have no standing and so I must dismiss this suit. TNCs are safe, clean, reliable, legal, licensed, and insured. They have had only a positive influence on the city: both crime rates and insurance rates have decreased since they came to town.

    Suit dismissed. Uber will be renumerated for her legal fees. You may go.

    • Guest Too

      Are you… pretending to be a judge in the comments area? You live in an interesting fantasy world.

      • Guest

        What a judgmental statement.

      • balls187

        That’s where I’m a Viking!

    • http://www.idfluence.com/ Carl Honduras

      UberX and Lyft have proven relentlessly that the drivers indeed DO NOT have insurance or any coverage added from lyft or Uber.

  • http://www.RashaadFontenot.com/ Rashaad Fontenot

    They want fair?

    Someone should show how hard it is for an African American man (me) to catch a cab in Seattle vs. not having an issue with Uber or any of the other companies.

    Then talk about fair.

    • no cabs 4 me ever

      It’s not just you Dude, although I believe you that it is worse for you. In Seattle you can’t actually hail a cab. There are few cab stands, the apps, if they exist at all, are poorly constructed. You have to actually make a phone call, wait, wait some more, and then hope your driver doesn’t insist on cash or his own square reader.

      • Down with yellow cab

        That and a lot of the drivers yap incessantly on the phone. Get off the phone, ya freaking numbnut. One of them went hostile when I asked him to pull over and finish his conversation. Fuck Yellow Cab. Fuck Seattle city council.

        • misty swamp

          Yes, this happens a lot and it terrifies me. I have PTSD and can’t drive, and these guys are psychos on the roads with phones

    • balls187

      I wonder why that is. Maybe with regards to tipping?

      • http://www.RashaadFontenot.com/ Rashaad Fontenot

        I don’t know. I myself over tip for that exact reason.

      • misty swamp

        Most deserve no tip in my experiences

      • damann95

        That’s a terrible thing to say

    • Rick Goondall

      In NYC- some Uber drivers arrive at scene and then drive off.The funny thing is that the yellow cabbies end up picking them up.Yelow cabbies can lose their license if discriminate. Uber? nothing. they move onto the next job, Last year the Uber driver in DC admitted he was Uber and refused to pickup African American who summoned Uber car. This discrimination is rampant with Uber. I HATE THOSE RACIST UBER drivers!

      • roryvancouver

        Why would an Uber driver drive off from any fare? Scared of getting robbed? Scared customer not paying? Maybe fear of not getting a tip? LMAO. Your comments are nonsense.

        • Rick Goondall

          Hey either you are ignorant or u are employed by Uber.
          UBER DRIVER DISCRIMINATED ON AFRICAN AMERICAN IN DC all over NEWS! YouTube — national headline.
          Practice continues.
          Hey you should have asked that driver if he was scared.
          Do u like ur UBER job?

          • roryvancouver

            Unlike you, I don’t have a dog in this fight. I’m a fan of Uber and use their service often. Why not post a link to back up your Uber discrimination claims?

            Btw…you do know if an Uber driver falls below a certain rating 4.1 stars they are taken off the system…right?

          • Rick Goondall

            Hey i know you are loyal to ur bosses Uber.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ssEM1oO00I&sns=em

            This video will help u feel better or stupid

          • roryvancouver

            Rick first of all, sorry Uber is taking up market share in your limo sedan industry. If you want job security go work for the government.

            Secondly, If you look at my profile I’ve been on disqus for several years and work in the tech industry.

            Finally, your video shows nothing but drivers in sedans hustling for passengers.

          • Rick Goondall

            Lmao.
            So u do work for the tech people? Lol
            Thank you for informing us.

          • damann95

            I’m not sure what law is in DC, but there are differences between Uber drivers and limo, cab’s who have credentials. You just showed how bad taxi’s can be. Also, Uber drivers are rated and cannot go below 4.6 or be in jeopardy of not being able to drive. At the same token us clients are rated as well and we are fully aware of it. Usually because someone is incredibly intoxicated and threw up in your car or are lewd and [nappropriate. The standard is very high to be a part of that rideshare has been my experience as a frequent Uber customer. Also as a woman I love the fact that I can choose a woman driver to take me about.

          • Rick Goondall

            Wow do you work for uber as well? You have an insiders knowledge about rating system. You seem to be well-informed about the sexual advances and flirt/dating requests made by Uber Men-which have surfaced. the ability to request female driver is pretty much a new function – so thanks for the insiders information.

            And yes I think it is a good idea that Uber seek female drivers to prevent sexual advances/ flirts/ date requests made by those loser male Uber drivers. I would not want a cabby to make advances to my wife- sister or any one. That is plainly cheap and unprofessional. So since Uber is poised with these types of male drivers- it is a good idea to seek women drivers.
            However since you already have all the up-to-date information so I’m not posting this link for you however I am posting it for other female riders who may have had similar experiences. Or other female riders who should be informed.

            http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/03/28/uber-s-biggest-problem-isn-t-surge-pricing-what-if-it-s-sexual-harassment-by-drivers.html

          • Freddy

            What good is rating the customer system after you already lost your job because you got a low rating because you did not want to do something illegal if the customer requests it ?

        • Rick Goondall

          See this video
          Uber drivers illegally picking up like taxis and openly refuse colored people!

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ssEM1oO00I&sns=em

          Go back to your employer UBER and tell them to give u better ammunition

    • Rick Goondall
    • Ruth scollan

      Hello. You can’t catch a cab in Seattle. You have to phone for one. But good job making it all about you. Seriously though. Taxi service is awful. We need to move on a d up to better services.

      • http://www.RashaadFontenot.com/ Rashaad Fontenot

        Ruth, I’ve had cabs drive away in my driveway multiple times. This issue is bigger than me. We need other options.

        The video posted in the comments have been my experience in multiple states trying to catch a cab.

        If I need a cab I either have my wife flag one down, or pay a stranger to flag one down.

      • http://www.RashaadFontenot.com/ Rashaad Fontenot

        Also seeing how you work for the DOT you are in a position to offer better services.

        • Ruth scollan

          Oh I was teasing you because of your first comment about trying to catch a cab. You didn’t mention your driveway or your wife. I can’t speak to that, so in hindsight I shouldn’t have made a joke because after rereading your first comment, it’s clear you feel your cab experience is race based. You can report your allegations to the City’s department of Civil Rights.
          I left DOT years ago. When I worked there we had nothing to do with taxi services. Not sure if that’s changed.

          My point was and remains… The issue is bigger than you. It’s systemic and encompasses a lot of issues. The Urber and the like, issue is what’s on the table with regards to this article.

          Jesus.

  • beowuff

    I have never been in a taxi. I hate taxi drivers and how they are constantly breaking the laws of the road (illegal parking/pickup, illegal u-turns, reckless lane changes, etc). I was open to the possibility that I might need to take one sometime, but now, I will never take a taxi. I will do everything in my power to avoid them. At least if I need to get somewhere, I still have zipcar and car2go as options. If taxi drivers want to compete, they need to clean up their cars and clean up their drivers.

  • Slaggggg

    Taxi drivers should sue themselves for operating smelly dirty taxis that no one wants to ride in.

  • Guest2

    Taxis are at a disadvantage due in part to the rules and regulations, however, wouldn’t it have been better to loosen or let go of those for taxis rather than burden the better service options for the public? Harrison Bergeron?

    Additionally, did the city council bother to read the report they commissioned with the recommendation to impose standards on taxis that would make them more competitive in terms of service quality, which is as much an issue as the regulations when it comes to competitiveness?

    “The only service attribute that taxis received a rating approaching good service is willingness to pick up passengers, a key attribute in which the taxi has a natural advantage. … attributes such as promptness of arrival, vehicle appearance, and safety were rated only as “fair”. Of key importance were the values of driver courtesy and handling of complaints which were rated somewhere between poor and fair. For an industry catering to the general public, these responses signify an inability of the service provider to attract and maintain their institutional market.”

    http://www.seattle.gov/council/issues/taxis/13100301JC%20Seattle%20Final%20Report%20Master.pdf

  • silasl

    They want a level playing field where they have an advantage.

  • Steven

    TRY UBER FOR FREE!

    See what the cab companies are afraid of! Get a free $20 credit to use on your first ride!

    Step 1: Download the UBER app for Android/iPhone.

    Step 2: Enter the code “un14qh” into “PROMOTIONS”section.

    Step 3: Request a UBER using your free credit!

    • Rick Goondall

      HEY Uber employees giving out promo codes here too?

    • misty swamp

      i will try. They can’t be any worse than Farwest

  • Roberto Garcia

    Yellow cab & orange cab are horrible, rude and their taxis stinks! I love über!

  • Bozo the Clown

    People have had enough of taxi drivers. People don’t need to put up with rude, smelly, short tempered, @*$% drivers who will intentionally sit in traffic to ring up a fair. The city is only supporting them so that they keep getting their tax/cut on licenses. The market is circumventing them for a reason, its why even limo services have become competitive in the same arena. If the city wanted to protect people in this business they would remove half of the drivers who have no business having a drivers license to begin with.

  • derp

    UBER = Free Market at work.

  • roryvancouver

    Taxi drivers will never be able to compete with Uber (TNC drivers.) TNC drivers are owner operators. They have a vested interest in their cars and customers. Taxi drivers are renters, trapped in a share cropper like system. They have no vested interest in their vehicles or their customers.

    • ClaimsAdjuster

      Wrong. Most Seattle/King County license holders are owner/operators. As for lease drivers, they do not have to own a car, pay for expensive insurance for themselves or the cab, and can walk away from an accident without the headache of fixing or replacing the vehicle. Leasing is a benefit for those on the bottom of the economy.

      • roryvancouver

        “Most Seattle/King County license holders are owner/operators.” Are you saying that the majority of City of Seattle taxi drivers have a net worth of 100k+ (the value of a medallion)? That’s laughable.

        • roryvancouver

          Bottom line, consumers vote with their wallets. The TNC companies are gaining market share because they offer a superior service.

          • ClaimsAdjuster

            Bottom line: TNCs are cutting corners on insurance and licensing which allows them to offer lower fares. That is why they are gaining maeket share.

          • roryvancouver

            I disagree, if it was all about price flat rate cabs would be gaining market share not Uber.

            IMO the ratings system that Uber uses creates a meritocracy. An unfriendly, unpleasant driver does not last long with each customer rating their trip. A professional driver with a good attitude gets high ratings which turns into more business.

          • ClaimsAdjuster

            Flat rate cabs have been gaining market share. Eastside For Hire has grown to be the 2nd biggest cab company in King County & Seattle in just five years.

            The ratings system is arbitrary and only works because UberX/Lyft/Sidecar are just replacing drivers who got fired with inexperienced people who may not be any better.

            There are only two actual ratings 5 Stars and everything else. UberX drivers will get fired for having a rating of 4.5 or below. Many people habitually just give out 4 stars. Since a lot of UberX customers are drunken A-holes, they give out 1 star ratings for no good reason.

            This is a rating system based on no rights for workers. But you libertarian dickwads don’t believe that workers have any rights.

          • roryvancouver

            Funny how upsetting the free market is to you traditional taxi market stakeholders. You talk about workers rights like you really give a crap. There is a reason why you don’t see American citizens driving yellow cabs in the city of Seattle. Non-owner taxi driver barely scrape out a living. They survive on public assistance, while the taxi dispatch company, medallion owners, insurance company, and regulators get fat.

          • ClaimsAdjuster

            Which free market is that? The insurance business is not all that happy with the TNCs’ systemic fraud and freeloading off the non-commercial auto insurance market.

            rory: “You talk about workers rights like you really give a crap.”

            Clearly you don’t. A manager taking a complaint, talking to the driver and the aggrieved customer and assessing the credibility of both parties can’t be replaced by this bogus push button rating system.

            Your “meritocracy” argument is a joke. What is the good driver’s reward for this meritorious conduct? Does he get more pay? No. Does Uber lower its take? No. His reward is that he gets to keep his job for a few more months until the accumulated negative ratings catch up with him. Does this driver get replaced by a better driver? No. Just another disposable worker comes in to take his place.

            rory: “Non-owner taxi driver barely scrape out a living.”

            And now they are making less money because the market is being flooded with corner cutting gypsy cabs.

          • roryvancouver

            The bogus rating system seems to work well for Amazon, Ebay, and just about every other product or service.

            I yield to you O’ Wise one. The customers and drivers who are fed up with the crappy over priced taxi monopoly and have gravitated to ride share and black car services. They know not what they do. We need people like you and the City Council to decide what’s best for us.

        • ClaimsAdjuster

          Most of these licenses were acquired during or after the last disastrous experiment in deregulation which ended in 1984. King County/Seattle licensed cabs were selling for $17K in 1997. They have only gradually increased since then.

          • roryvancouver

            Thanks for the background. I’ve taken 50+ cab rides in the city of Seattle and have rarely been driven by a o/o.

          • ClaimsAdjuster

            And how would you know? In general, you are more likely to encounter lease drivers at night and if you use Yellow cab.

          • roryvancouver

            I know because I ask them. I worked as a sedan driver/dispatcher during college so I have an interest in the industry.

  • Nom Tacos

    While driving downtown I have more near missed accidents with cabbies than I do with other drivers. 45 minute wait times? I could walk to where I am going in that time if I was so inclined at that point. More than once I have told a cab driver to take a certain route that I know is faster, most of them do it and grumble, some say no and I simply get out at the next stop sign/light and tell them to eat it. Get your heads out of your fourth point of contact cabbies, then maybe people will use Uber less. I for one am boycotting cab use. I will not call one, I will take the bus, drive or walk if need be. I tell my friends that if they call a cab I will not get in and split the cost, most of them actually agree and have switched to Uber anyhow. Good luck losing a dwindling customer base for being butt mad morons.

  • ClaimsAdjuster

    Taylor Soper – boy attorney

    Taylor: Your Honor, I will like to move that the court for summary dismiss this lawsuit. My client, Uber, has only “technically been operating in Seattle illegally.”

    Plaintiff’s attorney: Objection. Uber was putting unlicensed and uninsured cars on the road. This was a threat to public safety. In addition, this corner cutting allowed Uber to gain competitive advantage over my clients causing them to lose thousands of dollars in business. The harm specified in my clients complaint is all too real.

    Judge: Mr Soper, technical violation of the law, whatever that means, is not an actual defense in an American court. Motion denied.

  • But what about the INSURANCE?!

    The last time I called a taxi I was quoted a 30 minute wait. After 45 minutes I called back, to be assured I would have one within 15 minutes. After that (an hour has now passed) I called back, only to learn there was no taxi. 0 accountability, and I was an hour late to my own party.

    And it really was the LAST time I called a taxi.

    Yes, the taxi regulations are outdated, burdensome and unevenly applied.

    Unfortunately, every cab experience I have had in this city leaves me wanting the drivers and cab companies to choke on regulations until they quit and make room for someone who wants to do the job right.

    Carrying an expensive commercial insurance policy doesn’t excuse the holder from basic customer service tenets: Be honest. Be reliable. Shower. Do not make overtly sexual comments to your vulnerable female passengers. Get off the phone. The list goes on.

    Good luck to Uber. For now, I’d rather pass on the insurance in favor of a ride that’s clean, respectful, and actually shows up. And based on the comments here and everywhere else, it appears the consumers have spoken. The regulated taxi system is a shitty one that no one wants to use. Expanding the insurance requirements to cover all for-hire drivers is simple enough. Until then, let “anarchy” reign!

  • Rick Goondall

    Uber has the propaganda machine in an overdrive. wow.. I would like to see who are these GUESTS.

  • Rick Goondall

    Uber drivers discriminate against African Americans??
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ssEM1oO00I&sns=em

  • Rick Goondall

    Uber driver illegal street hail & discriminate Against African American

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ssEM1oO00I&sns=em

  • Savi

    I must say these most of the commenters are either working for uber or illeterate who cannot even read the signs in the taxi cabs, the signs tells exactly what should you do if taxi cab driver is rude, dirty, filthy or reject taking credit card but thing is that nobody does that maybe cuz they are too illeterate to read what it says. FYI its says call passenger complain hotline number make sure you have the cab# and for hire nunber of the driver. Thats how you can make taxi industry better. Its all our fault who does not want to take this step just cuz you’re so busy liking the uber shit. And one more thing in taxi they have cameras too for customer protection and what does uber has to protect their passenger from any crime??

    • misty swamp

      The taxi companies DON’T CARE. I called the taxi co. and complained the driver would not take the route I told him, and that he would not stop and go back the way I told him. And he told me he was going to take me to some other address that he claimed I gave him. I told him no, and that he was holding me against my will, they didn’t give a damn. He then said he was going to take me back where I came from,, and I said no. I yelled and screamed at the driver to stop and said that I’m going to call the police, and he skidded to a stop near a fire station near First Hill and Capital Hill. I am disabled and was just trying to get to a doctor appointment, that’s all. I had to walk from there, but I called the taxi co. again and they put on someone they called a supervisor, I told my story again and they just said uh huh we’ll make a note of it blah blah and finally I just said f**k you and hung up. I am agoraphobic and had to walk from there to my Dr’s office in the rain. I called some other small co. to take me home.

      • Mike Mayors

        Excellent example of why rating systems generally work much better at holding people accountable then relying on “special” people (supervisors, regulators, etc) to hold people accountable. Unfortunately, we have many people like Savi who prefer the nanny state and can’t fathom a market where there are choices and pros/cons associated with those choices. Given the abysmal service and availability of taxis in Providence, I’ll gladly take a ride from someone who may not be covered in an accident due to lacking commercial insurance coverage. As far as I’m concerned I and the driver should have the freedom to take that risk and deal with the consequences if a catastrophic event happens.

  • misty swamp

    Taxi drivers can have a level playing field when they start putting away their religious, cultural, or personal issues against women and treat them as well as male customers.

  • misty swamp

    On christmas day,I was treated like crap by a male taxi driver (for Farwest) that happened to be wearing a turban, when I had a large box of food and bag of 2l bottles of soda that I could barely carry or see over. He offered no help to open the door for me to get the stuff or me into the car. When he got near my place I just told him to drop me at the corner. I didn’t want to pay him any more than I had to. Again, he never opened the door for me and I struggled for a while trying to get the big turkey dinner box and bag of soda bottles o

  • RobC2010

    Never heard of UberX. But now I think I will give them a try.

  • Guest

    I’ve tried Lyft and UberX here in Seattle. They both weren’t bad. Its when they do their prime tipping or surge pricing that really gets me. Its like I saved all my money and now they want to take it all back.

    A friend of mine introduced me to a new taxi app called “Flywheel.” In downtown almost 90% of my e-hails came in under 5 minutes. Flywheel says they work with only professional licensed taxi drivers and they never surge. In Seattle, they have East Side for Hire, a flat rate zip to zip taxi fleet.

    I feel like with Flywheel, you get the government consumer protections of a taxi but the ease & convenience of Uber/Lyft. I get a say and can rate my taxi drivers.

    Any one else tried Flywheel yet?

  • Trod

    Seattle taxi service is infuriating. If driver’s want a level playing field they need to step their service up, not bring everyone down around them. Their rates are way too expensive and I don’t remember the last time I got in to a Seattle Yellow cab and the driver knew where i was going and even the best route to get there. The Yellow Cab driver’s constantly play dumb (or maybe they really are that unknowledgable about their job, I hope not) about where destinations are and take inderect routes to milk the meter. Uber is a great alternative to price gouging and really really bad service on Yellow Cab’s part.

  • NRM

    The gripe seems to be that the taxi industry is heavily regulated and you need to have a certain amount of insurance and the like and pay tons of fees to the government to be an established company with verified insurance and such. Look at how much medallions cost in New York City and you realize why you never want to lose that. People are funny, one minute they want the government involved and regulating something then the next minute they are crying foul and saying the little guy is discriminated against. Make up your mind, do you want the department of transportation to verify a company as legit and insured or do you want to take the chance on an uninsured driver or someone constantly making new accounts when they score too low. Just make up your minds.

  • Pookeye

    Taxis are anonymous and not trustworthy, and provide archaic services. Uber gives much more than just a ride to A and B. Its personalized we know who the driver is, what route he took us with, if we left something in their car, like a cell phone with Uber, I can call right away and point to my driver if he dares to steal my phone. I know Im not getting ripped off, and its nice to have options, thats what a healthy market place is.

  • Rueben

    Found this post around 6 months ago . Downloaded and saved it . Looks like the public doesn’t know the truth about these ride shares . Here it is :

    REVISED
    Re : Uber
    I drove for Uber for slightly under two months and here’s what I found………….Uber is dangerous for public safety and must be shut down . Having to tap a small icon on the Uber device ( phone ) to accept, cancel, arriving, etc., and more takes your eyes completely off of the road . You are oblivious to traffic for those few seconds your looking at your Uber device which can easily cause accidents resulting in immediate death & injury . Even if you, yourself cancels the fare you must proceed with why you are cancelling to the little icons on your Uber device and doing so is a distraction, period . There are 6 icons on your Uber device requesting why your cancelling & you must select one by tapping on one of the little green icons . This is frequently done while driving diverting your eyes off the traffic ahead of you . This happened often ….. the client will cancel for one reason or another . You receive the cancellation notice while your driving and while your driving your eyes are taken off the road so you can respond to the beeping sound coming from your Uber device . This beeping sound indicates that the client has cancelled the fare . When getting close to the pick up location you are required to notify the client by again having to locate your Uber device while driving then tapping on an “ arriving “ icon. This can be more dangerous then texting .
    Furthermore, there is no time limit to driving . Unlike Taxi drivers who are limited to a ten hour driving period in, San Francisco an Uber driver can drive for 20 hours straight or more . Too much driving creates fatigue often leading to confusion, , falling asleep, hallucinations, dozing off and considerably more inattentiveness which can cause accidents resulting in injury and even death .
    Being an Uber driver means you are subjected to doing unlawful things such as take eight passengers in your car when there are only four seat belts or you will lose you’re right to drive further for Uber . In my case I got a call to take nine passengers, including myself that would have been ten people total all in a mini van . The weight itself is enough to cause my tires to rub against the wheel wells of my van creating sparks from stones trapped in the threading of my tires which could ignite the fuel tank causing an explosion even killing all those passengers that are trapped inside my mini Van . It was dangerous . That much weight often causes unintentional swerving resulting in another accident with more deaths or injuries . Because I didn’t take all nine passengers out to, Isla Vista from downtown Santa Barbara and only took the legal amount of five, the passengers gave me a one rating . So, over safety concerns I was terminated from driving for doing what was lawfully right and after I explained to my, Santa Barbara – Uber representatives via email numerous times about having to take too many passengers creating unsafe driving conditions so I could be reinstated i received no response . I was then blocked from driving further for Uber because I refused to do something that was both unlawful and dangerous . You are rated after each fare by your passenger(s) from one to five and if your rating is too low you will be blocked from driving . This causes drivers to do unlawful things in order to maintain a high rating or their driving privileges with Uber will be suspended . You must also drop your passenger off at the designated location the client(s) request creating the impeding of traffic or sudden stopping so you won’t miss the client(s) destination . Again if you don’t you will be graded on your performance from 1 to 5 and in most all cases you will be given the lowest rating such as a “ one “ and you will be blocked from driving . So, refusing to take all nine passengers ( 10 including myself ) because it is unlawful , dangerous and of a safety concern to your passengers and yourself is a reason your account will be permanently suspended by Uber .
    There are no vehicle inspections required by Uber drivers meaning if your car’s brakes are failing or wipers not working it’s still OK to drive in the rain . Does Uber care your brakes are failing or wipers aren’t working ? Probally not . They just want their 20% share of your fare and will claim no responsibility if your involved in an accident because they will say your an independent driver . Then if a claim is put against the driver’s insurance Company that claim will be denied because you were using the vehicle commercially . It is illegal to use your vehicle commercially unless you get commercial registration and insurance . Uber drivers do not have commercial insurance and probally most don’t get commercial registration for their vehicles or the proper insurances so driving commercially for Uber is technically illegal .