Start-up companies like Airbnb and Uber have cropped up over the past few years to offer alternative options to typical accommodations and transportation services for both business and leisure travelers on a global level. Both of these San Francisco-based companies' primary purview has been in more metropolitan cities and countries up until now. However, as awareness grows, even smaller towns have realized that a spare room, garage apartment and their own motor vehicle can bring in a little extra income on the side.
Uber in particular is garnering significant media coverage on a regular basis in regards to the pushback from taxi cab companies internationally, most recently in Germany. With the advenurous traveling spirit alive and well, and consumer's clamor for speedy and inclusive transportation operators on the rise, entrepreneurial endeavors in the realm of travel services continue to flourish. The question is, will Uber's guarantee of timely, comfortable ride-sharing services overcome their opposition?
International Cab Company Controversy
Uber began with more specialized transportation services, offering luxury car-hires throughout the United States and has gradually expanded to include more comprehensive services in countries around the world. This expansion that includes ride-sharing services has caused some unrest with taxi companies at an international level, who are not only feel animosity at what they consider infringement. It has also been reported that Uber has recently been dealing with dissatisfaction within the ranks of Uber prestige drivers. Uber luxury drivers are also reportedly seeing a reduction in income from the new available middle-class services their company is offering.
The most recent registered outrage on an international level regarding Uber has come from Germany, Travel Weekly reports that, "A court has barred ridesharing service Uber from operating in Germany." This shut-out is currently being fought by Uber, but it is not the first hurdle they've sought to overcome, and likely not the last.
Licensing Laws & Public Safety
Are there health and safety risks to using Uber? Perhaps a little more than your standard ride-sharing transportation company, only because there is typically a more rigorous testing and licensing process that is associated becoming a taxi or limo driver. Currently Uber has more relaxed practices in hiring local drivers, but with the impact of real-time reviews and social media sharing, you'll have to decide for yourself if it's worth giving Uber's ride-sharing or prestige services a try.
Out With the Old & In With the New?
Between the two factions, consumers are caught in the age-old struggle of whether or not it's out with the old and in with the new, or if there's an equilibrium that can be reached. It's a catch-22 when you consider your options. You can continue to utilize and stand behind your local, established taxi service businesses, or jump on the bandwagon of new business opportunities with companies like Uber who are in one respect, affecting the livelihood of one segment of the working class, while creating jobs for another.
Will the surge in similar ride-sharing transportation companies change how the existing taxi businesses are run? It's too soon to tell, but your words and actions will weigh heavily, if not yet on a global scale, absolutely on a local level.
Uber's Next Stop: Portland, Maine?
Facebook users in Portland, Maine, the home of the Auto Europe's headquarters , have recently been seeing recruitment ads in their newsfeeds that are Uber's way to test the waters for interest in prospective locations. A staff writer at the Portland Press Herald wrote an article on the subject, and interviewed local taxi drivers to gauge opinions. What came across most strongly from this piece is that Portland doesn't necessarily need a new taxi-styled, ride-sharing business in the mix, but a better way of organizing and dispatching the ones already in existence.
Perhaps the imminent presence of a new competitor will be the impetus for this change?