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It's time to call Rideshare what it is: Taxi

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Samarov
1421 Rider
 Posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Riding my bike around Chicago these days I'm always wary of cars pulled over, idling by the curb, or, more often, blocking the bike lane. A few years ago most of these obstacles in my path were clearly identifiable by their markings—they were taxis. Now it's much more difficult to tell public vehicles from private. But from my many years as a cabdriver I can still catch the telltale signs.

Though the only outward thing to give them away is an airplane decal on the back window, a dumb pink mustache or that ominous on the dash, the drivers' behavior is very familiar. They pull illegal u-turns, they slow down and speed up eratically, wedge their way into traffic without looking, and generally clog up already congested roadways. In short, they are cabdrivers. We can say it's something new, different, the gig economy, blah, blah, blah. That's just a bunch of marketing bullshit that tech-bros cooked up to fool drivers and passengers. It's time to call this what it is: they are taxis and the people who drive them are taxi drivers.

The traditional taxi industry is its death throes. The unfortunate suckers stuck with medallions which lose value by the day are quitting or committing suicide and the only people taking taxis any more are either very old or, like me, refuse to use smartphones. The other night it took me almost half an hour to flag one on a busy corner in Wicker Park. That would have been unheard of even three or four years ago. Uber, et al are just about the only game in town so it's time to treat it the way Yellow, Checker, American United, and all the other taxi affilations were treated.

Municipalities should demand that public vehicles are cl...

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Riding my bike around Chicago these days I'm always wary of cars pulled over, idling by the curb, or, more often, blocking the bike lane. A few years ago most of these obstacles in my path were clearly identifiable by their markings—they were taxis. Now it's much more difficult to tell public vehicles from private. But from my many years as a cabdriver I can still catch the telltale signs.

Though the only outward thing to give them away is an airplane decal on the back window, a dumb pink mustache or that ominous on the dash, the drivers' behavior is very familiar. They pull illegal u-turns, they slow down and speed up eratically, wedge their way into traffic without looking, and generally clog up already congested roadways. In short, they are cabdrivers. We can say it's something new, different, the gig economy, blah, blah, blah. That's just a bunch of marketing bullshit that tech-bros cooked up to fool drivers and passengers. It's time to call this what it is: they are taxis and the people who drive them are taxi drivers.

The traditional taxi industry is its death throes. The unfortunate suckers stuck with medallions which lose value by the day are quitting or committing suicide and the only people taking taxis any more are either very old or, like me, refuse to use smartphones. The other night it took me almost half an hour to flag one on a busy corner in Wicker Park. That would have been unheard of even three or four years ago. Uber, et al are just about the only game in town so it's time to treat it the way Yellow, Checker, American United, and all the other taxi affilations were treated.

Municipalities should demand that public vehicles are clearly marked as such, insured properly, and that their numbers are capped. I know some cities are finally taking steps to control this industry but it's past time that the effort be undertaken in earnest. The Ayn Rand-loving creeps who own these apps think that they are "disruptors" or revolutionaries, but to me, they're exactly the same as the money-grubbing chiselers who ran cab companies. The only difference is they might dress a little better and get more expensive, fashionable haircuts. At root, it's unadulterated greed which drives them all.

A taxi is a unique combination of private and public enterprise. Though individual vehicles may be privately owned, the service itself is part of public transportation service and is thus regulated by local governments. As passengers and drivers we deserve to have safe, predictable, and dependable public vehicles rather than the Wild West chaos of surge pricing and incompetent drivers which is the norm now. Perhaps calling it rideshare rather than taxi makes people think it's some new thing which shouldn't conform to the rules of city life, but it's time to drop the charade and call a spade a spade.

Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, Hailo, jitney, whatever, it's all really the same thing. That thing is called a taxi.

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Comments

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    outlandish
    204 Rider Driver
     1 year ago  (edited 1 year ago)

    This is SO true. It's people driving around other people for pay. Simple as that. 

    I find it funny that, I think people used to look down on taxi drivers a bit. But somehow rideshare drivers are hip and cool now. Shrug.

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    ChristianPerea
    118 Driver
     1 year ago

    Yeah it's really difficult to call this rideshare anymore. I prefer to refer to it as Ride-Hail nowadays. 

    Show Hide  1 Reply
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      CharlieLazie
      101
       1 year ago

      I love it how the real rideshare services are still operating. They are usually community sites where people post their upcoming trips to share the ride.  Like these people are cost and environement conscious good people who genuinely want to "share" for the good of the word.  then Uber comes along and blow it up.

      Maybe the real victims aren't taxis but the real "rideshare" industry that got completely taken over by Uber's calling themselves rideshares.  or someone. I mean, who knows who or when the term "rideshare" started being used for Uber.

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    jonny
    15
     1 year ago

    I get what you're saying but i think there is a difference in people who drive for taxis and people who drive for uber.

    Show Hide  2 Replies
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      outlandish
      204 Rider Driver
       1 year ago

      The barrier for entry into Uber is lower. So you get more people just doing it part time to make a little extra money on the side. More people who have other jobs. So I think you are right in a way. Uber drivers are a broader spectrum of society than taxi drivers. At least where I am from, taxi drivers have always been a largely immigrant population. Uber drivers seem to be all over the map.

      Not saying that's bad or good. Just how it is.

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      Samarov
      OP 1421 Rider
       1 year ago

      Just a different dispatch system. Uber or taxi, they're just middlemen. Drivers get screwed either way.

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    kiissiik
    37
     1 year ago

    My friends and I used to argue over whether the word "Uber" would come to mean taxi one day or whether the word "taxi" would win out. These services are all the same, its just the wording that has changed.

    I think things are leaning towards "Uber", everyone will just replace the word taxi with Uber one day but the services will be the same.

    Show Hide  1 Reply
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      Samarov
      OP 1421 Rider
       1 year ago

      I hope not. "Uber" is way too Nazi-sounding and ominous. My joke alternative name for that company has always been HEIL!

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    dwayneJR
    69
     1 year ago

    For some reason I am surprised you refuse to own a smartphone. I never get that, why do you not want one?

    Show Hide  1 Reply
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      Samarov
      OP 1421 Rider
       1 year ago

      I do a lot of work online. I don't want the internet following me around when I close the laptop. I like experiencong the actual world with my eyes and ears rather than through a screen. Call me weird!

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    JaneElizabethNicolson
    16
     1 year ago

    Better service. Less expensive.  What’s not to like.  

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    joeyj
    426 Driver Rider
     1 year ago

    When you boil it down, the only difference is street hails. That's it. In the age of apps that's basically meaningless. Rideshares are taxis.

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    LCarpenter
    220 Rider Driver
     1 year ago

    Already? I knew that was ineviatble but I didn't want the excitement to be over yet.  Can we enjoy it just a little while longer?

    Show Hide  1 Reply
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      KamelKamelKamel
      79
       1 year ago

      NO.  This industry has been calling it wrong this whole time anyways.  "rideshares" always existed.  It's about people sharing rides.  Not cars.  Not with professional drivers.  Uber borrowed that term and it stuck.