Uber may have changed at the top, with new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi but their core issues remain the same. Continued issues like, surge pricing, lack of background checks and fingerprinting, requirements for licensing and professional background and even insurance coverage are still in question.
The seven year old ride-hailing app seems like an ideal solution for “seamlessly” connecting riders and drivers but, like many things in life that read well on paper, it turns out that Uber can be a risky choice for passengers and drivers, and it’s only getting worse. As Uber’s reputation falls, and a new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi is brought on to “turn things around”, the company’s fundamental values haven’t changed.
Uber’s lack of professional driving qualifications is a serious issue. Professional chauffeurs are held to certain standards. For instance, in San Francisco where Uber is based, professional chauffeurs must show proof of residency, good health and hygiene, and have a driver’s license. They must also have a clean criminal record, and they must complete professional driving training. In Los Angeles, prospective taxi drivers must be fingerprinted and pass a nationwide FBI criminal background check. Uber drivers can be just about anyone with a relatively new car in “working order”, and do not have to pass an inspection. More importantly, if something were to go wrong, Uber claims no liability.
Because drivers for Uber are classified as independent contractors, the company denies any liability when things go wrong, which they do. When you download the company’s app, you agree to terms and conditions by default, including the fact that Uber absolves itself of anything that happens to you—be it an accident, injury, theft, physical attack, rape or death.
With Uber still facing litigation from all sides including (but not limited to) driverless car know-how theft from Google-owned Waymo; drivers’ legal attempts to make Uber an employer; and in the last year, 48 allegations of driver sex attacks on passengers in London alone, many of Uber’s passengers are turning to safer, and more regulated alternatives like, Smart Cars Inc. and other professional ground transportation services.