Uber was initially founded as UberCab in 2009 when it began as an online business providing travel services to people in the San Francisco area of the United States. Since then, it has gone on to become one of the internet’s best-known brands along with the likes of Amazon, Airbnb and eBay. However, in Uber’s case, this has not always been for the right reasons. For example, the company has fought many high-profile legal battles to try and classify itself as an online service provider rather than as a taxi firm.
Famously, Uber appealed to the UK’s supreme court over the legal battle its British employees won to earn minimum wages, to get holiday pay and to be protected from discriminatory practices. Before then, the company had argued its drivers were self-employed. Consequently, it is easy to see why so many people dislike the technology firm and see it as one with a tarnished brand image. That said, how does it compare to a private taxi hire company? It is all that it is cracked up to be?
One of the key attributes customers like about a private hire taxi firm is the fact that drivers tend to have much better local knowledge of the area they work in. Uber drivers can be assigned fares through their app anywhere and if they turn them down, it reflects badly on their future earning potential. With private hire taxi firms, jobs are allocated to drivers with local expertise. Certainly, this is the case at Woking Taxi where our drivers are all skilled professionals with lots of knowledge of the area, helping to get you where you are going in the most straightforward way and avoiding potential hold ups.
Some Uber drivers have not done much taxi work. In fairness, every driver needs to start somewhere but there is a particular issue with Uber. Because it uses an app-based system for hiring taxis, only younger people tend to use it. Not only do you need a smartphone that can operate the app but it also needs to have access to your financial information, such as your PayPal account. As such, Uber drivers tend to only drive people around who are in their thirties or younger. Working at a private taxi firm, you see many more types of customers, young and old. Drivers are, therefore, more experienced at offering them the customer service they deserve.
Both private taxi drivers and Uber drivers go through background checks before they can work. However, private taxi firms are much more stringent in their checks and know they could lose their local authority license if they employ unsuitable people. With Uber, the whole thing is based on customer ratings as an attempt to work out which drivers are the best, most courteous and safest. Although this self-policing approach appeals to some people, it puts many people off. In short, lots of passengers feel safer when they’re in a cab booked with a well-run private taxi firm like Woking Taxi.