We're not afraid of UBER but maybe you should be.

A Slew Of Criticism

Since launching in 2009, Uber has expanded to 34 countries, bringing on-demand private transportation to major markets very quickly, and some may argue hastily.  Because of this rapid growth you can surmise they have gotten the attention of many of us traditional transportation providers. Articles criticising everything from business model to questionable earnings claims have been hitting my inbox since they came on the scene.

Why We're Not Worried

To be honest, these critiques of Uber's business practices have never interested us. We simply have never been afraid of Uber. Gardellas Elite Limousine has been in business since 1984. We've been building our business relationships based on a simple set of principles. If you offer excellent customer service, hire the best people and give them the best vehicles to get the job done then customers will continue to use you and recommend your transportation services to others. But lately my inbox has been getting emails from friends outside the industry, and these Uber articles are creepy and borderline scary.

I don't believe everything I read, So when I looked into some of the claims against Uber drivers it was with a healthy amount of skepticism.  What I found to be factual was enough to make wonder how Uber actually plans on ensuring passenger safety.

Decide For Yourself

In June of this year an Uber driver was arrested, after allegedly kidnapping an intoxicated woman and taking her to a motel. A police statement said that though there was “no sexual assault,” there was “some fondling through her clothes.”

Earlier in April of this year, Hannah Jegart tweeted Uber when her ride was interrupted when police pulled over the Uber car she was driving and arrested the driver, leaving her stranded.

Back in March 2014, a Chicago passenger sued Uber after one of its drivers refused to follow directions, and harassed and extensively groped the passenger. Police charged the driver with  “negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment.” Uber will face a case of common carrier liability.

The Daily Beast’s Olivia Nuzzi wrote about her creepy experience when one of Uber's drivers told her he had stalked and photographed her, and even showed her the photos to prove it. When Nuzzi contacted Uber, she was given a $20 free credit to say sorry—but also revealed it wasn’t the first complaint Uber had received about the driver. Disturbingly, the driver then began reaching out to people Nuzzi knew—and Uber gave her directly contradictory messages when she asked how he knew her full name.

In Nuzzi's article she also lists many other instances of drivers committing crimes, putting passengers in harmful situations and acting completely unethical.

But Wait, There's More...

So what is Uber doing about this? There in lies the problem; Uber has maintained that by only operating as a technology platform, it bears no responsibility for its drivers’ actions. In fact, Uber goes a step further. Uber states they do not hire the drivers, and when it comes to those drivers, they act as independent contractors. Uber claims it is only a technology platform that connects these independent contractors with potential clients.

We can only hope while Uber is denying their responsibility in part with connecting these troublesome drivers with unsuspecting clients that they start taking the safety of it's passengers seriously. Its clear there is a flaw in Uber's hiring or affiliation process and that process needs to be fixed,  because passenger safety should be the number one priority.

Posted on Nov 05 2014

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