By Aveon Hawkes (Senior)
As you open the door to an Uber car and step foot in, do you really know who’s behind the wheel?
Uber, a taxi service that allows the drivers to use their own cars, has impacted Chicagoans because of their efficiency and low prices compared to regular taxi services.
Uber has been moving at a fast pace. It began as a small startup to a company that investors have valued at $40 billion within the five years it has been around. Unlike regular taxi services, Uber has an app that allows customers to rate their drivers and vice versa, so drives can get new clientele. The ratings that customers give the drivers are based on how clean the car is, how well the driver drives, and if the drivers provide snacks for their customers and are key in order to boost the drivers ratings.
Jamie Corona, a Senior at Senn High School, has taken Uber 5 times and says that he enjoys the service and how their drivers operate. “The drivers are nice,” said Corona. “They ask me how am I doing, how my day is going, and even offer me snacks.” These ratings allow Corona to make the best choice of driver he possibly can obtain.
Not only is Uber appealing to the customer as pertaining to efficiency, but the company is also very affordable. First time users of Uber can be allowed a free ride, depending on the distance of travel. The company also has discounts and coupons.
Mr. Cullinane, Journalism teacher at Senn High School, has just started using uber this year. He had been using regular taxi services because of his respect for taxi drivers who earn money when working for a taxi company and being able to save up to buy an expensive medallion, which allows taxi drivers to make their own profits. “I refused to use uber for a while,” said Cullinane. After finally taking an Uber he realized that the prices were lower than the regular taxi services. Now he is an active Uber customer, “I always feel guilty when I take an Uber,” said Cullinane.
In addition to the Uber service, it has been hard for some customers to distinguish a regular car from a regular car on the streets because it doesn’t have any signs indicating that it’s a different car. “It’s a little weird,” said Cullinane.
Although Uber is used by many Chicagoans in the city, there have been some instances where customers were assaulted by their driver or vice versa.
Denisia Bryant, a senior at Senn High School, is a part time Uber driver on the side of her main job and says that she was assaulted by a women who didn’t want to take an Uber when her boyfriend insisted on taking one. “She wanted to take a regular taxi home instead of my car,” said Bryant, “I didn’t get angry because I assumed that she had been drinking.”
Bryant says that she never loses her temper when dealing with violent customers. “I try to stay calm when encountering them,” she says. Being that it’s her car, she feels that she has more of a say so in what goes on. “I like the control,”
There has also been an Uber scandal that some drivers aren’t given a background check before being able to head out on the road and pick up customers This may be an issue with customers pertaining to their safety and securing a safe travel. Mr. Cullinane says that he usually takes an Uber either by himself or with his wife. “I wouldn’t want her taking an Uber alone,” said Cullinane, “I rather have her take taxis when alone to make myself feel more secure of her travels.”
Even though their has been some bumps in the road, Uber has been rising in succeeding with their company and seems to be taking the taxi industry by storm.