Uber is being criticised worldwide: Because of the license-topic, price increases and, way worse: sexual offences and hostage-takings.
Four months ago, Smart Cities Consulting already reported on Uber. Back then, the app was still pretty new, at least it was a trend in Germany. But more and more problems and shocking news arose that didn’t contribute to the users’ happiness. The Uber-CEO Travis Kalanick has sufficient financial funds to buy his way out of lawsuits and puts up dogged resistance whenever he can – but this is not always working out.
The ride-sharing company arranges rides via smartphone app and collects a commission for this service. Private drivers take the users from A to B while only charging half of the usual taxi prices for cashless payment. Especially in cities like Paris or New York where it can definitely be a challenge to find a taxi, the additional offer is very popular. The Uber drivers don’t need a special license for their service. Taxi drivers are complaining that customers are being taken away from them, politicians on the other hand say, the Uber drivers are paid too little for their service, low-wage dumping is a key word in this context.
What’s the state of affairs?
A ride on New Year’s Eve costing six times more than normally, was accepted by the Uber-users, but not incidents like the one in India, where a young Uber-user got raped by her driver who already had a criminal record. Thanks to a huge shitstorm, Uber is now forbidden in New Delhi – is this the real solution for the problem though? In Chicago, too a user was raped. In San Francisco, an Uber driver supposedly caused an accident in which a six year old girl was killed. Insurance and liability issues are being resurfaced again and again.
It is well known, that more or less every app has access to personal data like contacts and current position of the user. As well, it is clear that this data is also analysed. Which exact conclusions about the user behaviour can be drawn this way is shocking. Thus, Uber is analysing, which user could possibly have a one-night-stand with his driver and states that this is most likely to happen in Boston. [Editor’s note: The post on Uber.com from 2012 has been deleted in the meantime.]
Smart plans for the future
Kalanick bounces back – „It’s only the beginning“, he announced yesterday at the Digital Life Design Messe in Munich. He wants to create at least 50.000 jobs for former unemployed people with Uber. Maybe, taxi drivers can join Uber right away in order to get back their lost customers and the connected wage. Subsisting only on Uber though is not worth it yet for people that got money from the state so far.
Furthermore, customers with a similar route will be connected in the future. The car reduction to a kind of bus transport will then be called Uber Pool. 400.000 cars are supposed to disappear from the streets with this concept very soon. How the security issues can be solved though and if it is really of general interest who engages in a one-night-stand is still very questionable, if you even let yourself be mislead by these numbers.
Fotocredits: GNU Free Documentation License