Uber Identity Crisis: Who Am I? Cab, Limo Or App?

Posted on August 19, 2014 by - Also by this author

The below e-promo sent to an Uber user Aug. 18 betrays some contradictions about Uber, the TNC that wants to have it all its own way without following the same rules as everyone else.

The solicitation promotes price changes for Uber Black. Notice it refers to rates, which is a term used by the limousine industry. It then details the “rates” by calling them fares, a term used by the taxicab industry: $15 minimum fare, $8 base fare, plus 45 cents per minute or $3.55 per mile. It also mentions a $10 cancellation fee, a policy common to charter party carriers such as limo and bus services.

Given that Uber Black uses black “limo-style” vehicles that operate much like for-hire/hail taxicabs, what is Uber exactly? They call themselves “rideshare,” but how can they be sharing when all the clients are paying fares? Or rates? Or prices?  I don’t see any hitchhiking going on.

Uber also insists it is a technology company, but I don’t see Apple, Google, Oracle, Limo Anywhere, Livery Coach, or Enterprise GPS actually selling for-hire rides in vehicles.

Government regulators, the media and the TNCs need to get out the dictionaries and regulatory playbooks to figure out the terms. Before anything can be decided, everyone has to understand what words and concepts really mean, and apply them across the board. Then, they can finally put TNCs into the regulatory mix where they belong: As charter-party carriers or taxicabs.

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