Monday, January 11, 2016 9:00 am ·  0 Comments
Recently, I decided to see if I could take UBER in Oakville. I’m not sure why I was interested. It may have been watching a Toronto cab driver hang onto a UBER driver’s car as it drove away. Why would any person decide to put himself or herself in such a dangerous position? Also Oakville town councillors recently asked to have suggestions by staff brought forward on how to deal with companies like UBER.
Uploading the App was simple and didn’t cost me anything. I was surprised to see that UBER considers Oakville as part of the GTA. In order to use UBER you need to input your email, name, and credit card information. Payments for all rides are taken via credit and there is no tipping.
In Oakville we have several options via UBER. uberHOP is ridesharing, uberX is a basic four door car such as a Civic, uberSELECT is a luxury car like a BMW, Uber BLACK is a registered limo such as a black SUV Tahoe, TAXI which provides riders with the option to use a taxi, and uberWAV which was just introduced to handle wheelchairs. At the time of this article only uberX and BLACK were available in Oakville.
The app provides the estimated time of pick up, the minimum fare, max number of passengers, and the your option to get a fare estimate. The pick up location is determined by the GPS in your phone (but you can alter this), you then input the destination, and the app calculates your fare. However, during peak times UBER can increase fares as less drivers/cars are available. Taxi drivers can not alter the assigned rate established by town hall.
The rules for the taxi industry in Oakville take 26 pages to explain. Each taxi driver must meet particular criteria, and the cars need to be maintained in a specific way to meet the licensing criteria. It is a much more laborious task to get your taxi license.
To become and UBER driver you simply apply, follow the rules, take the on-line test, have a four door decent looking vehicle and off you go. UBER takes 20 percent for every ride, and the rest is paid via direct deposit to the driver on a weekly basis. The drivers I met are quite happy with the arrangement. However, in communities such as downtown Toronto, tickets are not unusual, so the drivers ask riders to have someone sit in front to decrease unwanted attention.
As with UBER drivers, riders are also given a star rating. When you select a ride, you see how many stars they have. Before you can book another UBER ride you need to rate the last driver. The driver also is shown who they are picking up and what rating they have. So both parties can determine if they wish to have that driver/rider in the vehicle. It is illegal for cab drivers to turn down fares.
So is UBER in Oakville a good thing, at this point the verdict is still out. If UBER is allowed to go unchecked, the local taxi industry claims it will be decimated as it has been in Pittsburgh. If that happens riders could end up paying major increases during peak times. There are benefits and deterrents to both.
What are your thoughts about companies like UBER: