Uber: it’s not about the price

I like taking Uber. And it’s not because it’s cheaper than traditional taxis. This is a red herring. There are many valid arguments to adapt our laws to take into account services such as Uber (not to forbid them). But to complain that customers prefer Uber because of its low prices — prices that taxis cannot compete with due to unfair competition from Uber — is missing the point.

I like taking Uber, because:

  • When I order a car, I can follow that car as it makes its way to me, and thus know its ETA. This relieves me of the stress of not knowing whether it will arrive on time — or has it even left. I can also talk directly with the driver in case I get a little worried.
  • I know exactly how much my journey will cost, or at least the maximum amount. I know from experience also that whenever I had a complaint, Uber was quick to reimburse me.
  • In a new city, I am relaxed knowing that I won’t be “taken for a ride” and charged for a longer route to my destination
  • On arrival, I don’t even have to take out my wallet to pay. I say “thanks” and leave. No need to check whether they accept credit cards, or if I have enough local currency, or even whether I should tip and how much.

In other words, I like taking Uber because of convenience, ease of use, friendly service, peace of mind. Factors traditional taxi companies were free to adopt, but they were instead neglected. There is no unfair competition here.

I like taking Uber, even if the service cost the same as a traditional taxi.

I like taking Uber. But I don’t necessarily like Uber. I believe we need more companies like Uber, to give it some healthy competition. But Uber was the first and has the merit of challenging the status quo and starting a healthy debate on society, commerce, employment, one that goes beyond taxi services. And it has gone into language as an adjective and a verb.

But to say users like Uber because of its prices is missing the point.

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