By Jared Nielsenm, Marketing —
Wherever Uber or Lyft start operating, two things seem to happen in rapid succession. First, they take the market by storm—disrupting the cab companies’ business. Second, they face a backlash over lax security in selecting drivers. While part of this backlash is fueled by taxi cab companies trying to protect their business interests, the concerns are nonetheless valid. This process has once again started rolling in Toledo, Ohio. A website that tracks the numerous incidents involving Uber drivers has been created by the Taxicab, Limousine, & Paratransit Association (TLPA). There are several options for increasing safety each with their own advantages.
Currently, Uber, Lyft, and other similar companies are able to undercut the current taxi and limousine industry by avoiding many of the additional costs and licenses that companies in the industry have to pay. They are able to pass along these savings to customers and attract them that way. People who are less concerned with safety are happy to save money in exchange for the increased risk. However, the TLPA argues that if their association is forced by law to enact certain safety protocols it is only lawful that every transportation company abide by the same rules.
One way that Uber and Lyft could alleviate these concerns is to go through the same certification process that every taxicab company does. In New York City, transportation companies have to go through a more rigorous licensing process than anywhere else. If this process spread nationwide, Uber and Lyft would have to rely solely on their trendy appeal and user-friendly app to attract customers since they would lose much of their pricing advantage.
Another solution would be to find a cheap yet reliable alternative to screen potential drivers. If they could prove that this system was just as effective then they might be able to preempt legal backlash. They would need to find a way to check drivers quickly and cheaply yet with reasonable quality assurance. One potential solution would be EyeDetect, a quick way to screen people by what they know, not just what background checks can turn up. People know if they have done something wrong even better than any check can tell you. Thanks to EyeDetect’s impressive reliability, ride-sharing companies could show that they are concerned about customer safety while still maintaining their pricing advantages.