Poor Taxi Service Is Why Uber Is Winning

I have a very contentious relationship with the taxi industry in Chicago and it keeps on getting worse everyday.

As a rule, taxis are an expense that I can rarely afford but sometimes you can't put a price on your personal safety.  If I have the money and the situation warrants it, I'll take a cab.

That is to say that I'll take a cab if one actually picks me up.

I've told tales in this blog of drivers refusing to take me home.  I even told a story of a driver who wouldn't let me in his cab until I told him where I was going and then took off when I didn't answer him fast enough.

One time, Ten plus years ago,  a night out got the better of me and I fell asleep in a cab only to wake up with the driver attempting to open a garage door.  I'm quite confident for what he had in mind he needed absolutely privacy.

After that, I started texting friends my cab number when I was on my way home after a night out.

The latest in my string of bad cab stories happened almost two weeks ago.

In front of the Willis Tower---in broad daylight with the assistance of a doorman---a cab from passed me by and picked up the people after me in the cab line.

I'm confident he passed me by because the people behind me had bags and were possibly going to the airport.  A much larger fare than a short trip within the downtown area.

And so it continues.

For every one of these stories there are at least a half a dozen more I don't discuss.  For every complaint I file with the city, there are so many others that I purposely let go simply because I can't devote my time to the effort.

With these types of taxi experiences, it was little wonder that when I was gifted a smart phone for my birthday two years ago, the first app I downloaded was Uber.

Clearly the service isn't something that I can use on a daily basis or even on a frequent basis, but despite my diminished income and employment status I still have a bank account and debit card which allowed me to sign up.

Black cars are nice to ride in but not when you're worrying about how you're going to pay your bills.

Luckily, the introduction of UberX made ride sharing cheaper than the cost of a taxi.

The cost is a major factor but what sells Uber for me is that I don't have to worry if my driver going to take me home to Woodlawn once I give him my address.

Normally one of the following is uttered to me when I want to go home:

  • You're going to have to pre-pay.
  • I'm running out of gas and can't go that far.  Or I have to stop for gas (usually with the meter running).
  • My shift is about to end, can you hail another cab?

With Uber I have a picture of the driver, the make and model of their car and the vehicle's license plate number.  The app provides me a way to contact them if necessary and I can see their vehicle as it's en route to pick me up.

That's superior to hailing a taxi in every way with none of the driver foolishness.

Yes, I know driving a taxi is extremely dangerous.  The driver has to make split second character assessments at all times.

I get it.

Yet if a driver assesses me and stops to pick me up, clearly I'm not deemed a threat.  It's only when I give my home address that the problems start.

The actions of taxi industry in our city has consistently shown me that they neither want nor value my business.    That's why I'm thankful for Uber.

If you live in what has been deemed a "bad neighborhood" and find that taxis and liveries aren't meeting your transportation needs, give Uber a try.

The taxicab industry in Chicago has already told you what they think of you.  Vote with your dollars and choose to give it to a business that values your patronage.


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