Wednesday, September 10, 2014

UBER SF- A text by Jean-Sébastien CloutierTwitterEmail

The growing popularity of ride sharing -  shopping trips - undermines the taxi industry in the United States. Applications like UberX, which also just made ​​its entry in Toronto, allow customers to find a particular ready to lead, often for less than a taxi.

- Anthony Morin
"Taxi drivers are really angry because the public now has the power not to choose a taxi and choose either Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. "
- Anthony Morin
UberTaxis Canada
For now, UberTaxis is present in several Canadian cities, including Montreal. The application allows you to attach a taxi directly using an integrated GPS map that shows where members drivers closest Uber - independent taxis for most. Passengers wait less time than a traditional taxi, and the driver, being more active, is meanwhile more money. It pays 15% of the fare for Uber. Unlike the commercial carpooling in the United States, not all can be conductive.

We went to San Francisco, where this phenomenon was born. Cradle of choice for web companies and other start-up companies, the California city was the birthplace of Uber  in 2009 and Lyft and Sidecar 2012 Today, the three companies are competing for the carpool market. And taxis, themselves, fear of disappearing.

At noon there, Anthony Morin wanted to show us how the application of Lyft is effective. He lives in the Sunset District, in the southwest of San Francisco, and he has no car. Anthony goes to work downtown, 7 kilometers from home.

"There, I did the application on my phone. There is someone who has agreed to pick me up. That tells me that he will come in less than 10 minutes. It gives me the style of car, what color, what brand, etc. [...] It gives me the name of the driver, his name is Samuel [...] and it told me that the 5-star, it has a rating of 4.9. So he's a good person. "
The wait is never long the application is so popular in San Francisco. Samuel shows up and agrees to get us up too. In a relaxed atmosphere Anthony and her talk about everything and nothing. The race takes about twenty minutes and costs $ 17.
Commercial applications carpooling calculate the bill based on the distance traveled and the time of transport. No exchange of money; everything is virtual and credit card is automatically charged member passenger. Lyft, Uber and Sidecar take a 20% commission on each race, the rest goes to the driver.
"You talk with this person, it's easy, it's effective. I feel good in this system and it's cheaper than a taxi, "says Anthony.
Cheaper than a taxi?
We examined whether it was actually cheaper by repeating the same route. First observation: Anthony lives in a little frequented by taxi and 10 minutes instead of waiting area with Lyft, it took nearly an hour for a car. Second observation: the race cost $ 23, or $ 6 more than Lyft.
Companies do not give accurate statistics on the number of their members, but the increase is exponential since 2012 in 16 months, the Taxi Association of San Francisco has identified 7,000 different license plates associated with trading carpooling and she although there are probably many more.
"These companies are pirates who want to eliminate us and bought politicians," says Walter Morgan, who works in the taxi industry for 17 years.
An allusion to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who has publicly given his support last year to companies doing business carpooling. They create jobs, he has said, and meet a need for citizens.So on the back of his car, Walter stuck this short sentence: "  Dump Mayor Ed Lee  . "
One way to express anger and perhaps also his impotence. In 2013, California became the first state to regulate the commercial carpooling. There, Uber, Lyft and Sidecar are now Transportation Network companies . They must ensure their drivers among others for $ 1 million in case of accidents and ensure they have no criminal record. Bonds then, but mostly a legal status.
"The goal was not to take sides. It is up to consumers to do so. And it turns out they use many commercial carpooling. So our role is to ensure their safety, "explains Marzia Zafar, Director of Policy at the Public Utilities Commission of California.
A response that greatly pleases the Canadian spokesman at Uber, Lisa Hutniak. "We want good regulations and that is exactly the case in San Francisco, where it all began for us. We love working with progressive makers able to see ahead. Uber has the wind in your sails! "
Become a driver, it pays!
The application carpool Uber called UberX the United States - also others have called UberPOP -. It made its debut in Toronto on Monday and it already experiencing explosive growth with our southern neighbors. To testify, Uber has presented one of its most active in San Francisco drivers.Since January, 4000 Sebastian Marc made trips to UberX!
"I told myself I have free time sometimes on Saturday night or Friday night. Rather than going to the bar, I started to take a little bottle that, I said to myself why not work! It'll be healthier for me, why not raise a little more money. "
A little? To say the least. Sebastian, during some weekends, can earn $ 35 to $ 40 an hour. "What I love about UberX also means that it is very flexible in terms of time, I can drive whenever I want.When I have free time, hop! I live here in town, I go out of my apartment, I go in the car, I put the application on and I'm at work! "
Difficult, therefore, to contradict taxi drivers worried. Across the industry behind Uber court. The company, she said, does not follow the rules. Some controversy regarding the safety of users and the insurance coverage provided to drivers were also revealed. All this does not prevent Uber claims $ 18 billion, a presence in 180 cities and growing at breakneck speed
"Of course they deprive us customers! In addition, they do not have to pay license or afford $ 100 a day like me to their employer, "complains Walter Morgan.
In San Francisco, some drivers have lost half of their income in recent years. No comprehensive study has yet measured the impact of the commercial carpooling on taxis, nor on the congestion and pollution of the city. Except qu'UberX, Lyft or Sidecar have clearly transformed the ways to get around. And they may well transform ours soon.