With the rise of ride-sharing applications, taxi drivers have lashed out citing it is ‘unfair competition’. But there is a reason these applications have been created and as most industries have learnt with the introduction of the internet, in order to survive services need to adapt.
But first let’s take a look at why taxi drivers are deeming these applications unfair. Is it because they are cheaper, safer, or easier? Or is it that they don’t have a bad stigma attached, with one bad experience after another driving the taxi industry? Personally, I’d say the latter.
Generalising taxi drivers seems like a harsh act but from the experiences I have incurred first-hand, I have given myself the right to do so. I often feel like I have little to no rights when it comes to getting a taxi, or when getting in a taxi for that matter.
One such experience involved a night of celebrations and a solo mission out of the venue to head home. However it turned out it wasn’t at the most popular of venues and there were no taxis waiting for me when I arrived at the rank. Despite my better judgement, and my father’s voice of reasoning, I decided to walk in the direction of my house, hoping for a taxi to stop on its way. As I walked the dark and quiet streets, as a lonesome female, I felt a little scared. I would wave my hands violently when a taxi’s light, indicating it was available, headed in my direction. But to my disappointment, not once, not twice, and not even three times, but there were potentially five times when an available taxi drove past me.I ended up walking the entire way home.
Another night when I was being taken to a venue I decided to ask why a taxi wouldn’t get me that night. Her response was that they would make more money from picking people up from the bigger venue as it was usually further away from most destinations people were headed. So five taxis drove past and saw a female who was by herself attempting to flag a taxi home and they still chose the chance of a higher pay- and they’re saying these applications are ‘unfair competition’.
I would be happy to pay a taxi for their service instead of using a ride sharing application if I knew they would pick me up when I needed it and where I needed it –but I don’t.
In terms of legality, the app is being condemned by government citing safety as the main issue. But I have experienced countless rides home where the taxi has sped to ensure he got more customers that night and I have also been in a taxi where the driver was under the influence of drugs.
So bring on the ride-sharing applications and let patrons decide for themselves what service they want to use –because if taxi’s can say it’s their right to decide who they pick up, patrons should be able to decide what service they use.