Regulations? “We don’t need no stinking regulations!”
No two communities have the exact same regulation over the delivery of taxicab or car service. However, let’s list a few regulations Uber does not want to be subject to:
1. minimum insurance levels;
2. operate vehicles that meet minimum standards;
3. deal with customer complaints;
4. manage driver background checks and be responsible for driver motor vehicle record checks;
5. mandate that the industry offer service 24 hours per day, seven days per week;
6. requirement to service all the community, not just the affluent areas;
7. set fares;
8. provide a method for enforcement of rules of regulations;
Well, just like not wanting to be called a “transportation company” and not wanting to provide appropriate “liability levels” and not taking “financial responsibility” for their business, guess what? Uber does not want to follow local regulations either! Surprise …surprise!!
Uber would prefer to serve “who they want, when they want, and charge what they want.” That way, they can service only the most profitable customers and leave the really difficult trips to the “highly regulated taxi industry”.
A little more detail into why a few of these regulations exist:
Most municipalities set the rate taxicab companies can charge. They do this because the very nature of “demand response” transportation suggests that the passenger, in many instances, is not shopping for the service. In other words, the passenger may be an uninformed consumer. In contrast to this position, Uber has a history of charging peak demand pricing during peak times. Not only do they set the rates as they deem necessary, they have, at times, changed their published rates in a town when the town was experiencing high demand. Some would call this “price gouging”.
Most local ordinances mandate a public meter to determine passenger fare pricing. This way, the passenger can see how much they are spending while they are spending it. In most instances, the operation of the meter is inspected by the local or state government to ensure its accuracy. In the Uber model, the passenger has no way of determining the fare until their individual smart phone tells them the fare at the end of the trip. The Uber calculated fare is a complicated algorithm that includes a base rate, plus a distance rate unless the vehicle is traveling under 11 mph, then the rate changes to a base rate, plus a time rate. This is similar to how most taxicab meters operate, except the operation of the meter is public and fare calculation is inspected, as opposed to a fare simply appearing on your smart phone.