Help Us to Keep Rideshares Transparent!

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With the release of our new site, RideGuru, the TaxiFareFinder/RideGuru team has become passionate about bringing transparency to the ridesharing community. Rideshares, such as Uber and Lyft, have their benefits but they also can be hampered by a lack of transparency.

Take a look at the video below to see how RideGuru is helping to bring insight into the ridesharing industry and let us know your thoughts below!

Which Transportation Service is Best for you?

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so you need a rideEver wonder which service is best for you? Check out this helpful infographic that might lead you in the right direction! Start at the top and answer the questions to figure it out. Comment what you find!

Over 300 New Cities & Services Supported by TaxiFareFinder!

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As the world becomes a smaller and smaller place, our team at TaxiFareFinder strives to continually grow our site to include every corner of the world to make traveling as easy as possible for as many people as we can! Last week we added over 300 new locations and services to our site to bring our users the most comprehensive taxi and rideshare fare estimator on the web. Not only did we add new cities around the globe, but we also expanded on our rideshare services, adding more UberXL, Lyft Plus, and Uber Black estimates.

Some of the new cities we added include Troy, MI, Fall River, MA, Hoboken, NJ, Centennial, CO, Bethel Park, PA, Pawtucket, RI, Park City, UT, Concord, NC, Kaneohe, HI, Germantown, TN, Beaverton, OR, Bowling Green, OH, Everett, WA, Lafayette, IN, as well as a slew of cities in California, Florida, and Texas.

Is your city or favorite rideshare service not yet supported by TaxiFareFinder? Let us know in the below comments and we will add it to our site as soon as possible!

Uber Cuts Rates In These 101 Cities (A Full List)

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On Tuesday, we announced that Uber was lowering their fares in over 100 cities in order to drive more business. Uber has not officially published a list of the cities where rates were cut, but our team searched through our rate data to determine which cities made the list. See below for the 101 cities that we found now have lower rates.

 

The Cities
  • Akron, OH
  • Albuquerque, NM
  • Amarillo, TX
  • Asheville, NC
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Augusta, GA
  • Austin, TX
  • Bakersfield, CA
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Boise, ID
  • Burlington, VT
  • Cedar Rapids, IA
  • Central Atlantic Coast, FL
  • Charleston, SC
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Chattanooga, TN
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Columbia, SC
  • Connecticut
  • Dallas, TX
  • Dayton, OH
  • Denver, CO
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Detroit, MI
  • Fargo, ND
  • Fayetteville, NC
  • Fort Myers, FL
  • Naples, FL
  • Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Fresno, CA
  • Gainesville, FL
  • Greater Maryland
  • Greenville, SC
  • Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  • Hampton Roads, VA
  • Honolulu, HI
  • Houston, TX
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Inland Empire, CA
  • Kalamazoo, MI
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Killeen, TX
  • Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Little Rock, AR
  • London, Ontario
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Maui, HI
  • Memphis, TN
  • Miami, FL
  • Midland, TX
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Modesto, CA
  • Nashville, TN
  • New Jersey
  • New Jersey Shore
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Omaha, NE
  • Orange County, CA
  • Orlando, FL
  • Ottawa, Canada
  • Palm Springs, CA
  • Pensacola, FL
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Piedmont Triad (Greensboro), NC
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Portland, ME
  • Quad Cities
  • Quebec, Canada
  • Querétaro, Mexico
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Durham, NH
  • Richmond, VA
  • Rockford, IL
  • San Diego, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • San Luis Obispo, CA
  • Santa Barbara, CA
  • Santa Fe, NM
  • Sarasota, FL
  • Savannah, GA
  • Hilton Head, SC
  • South Bend, IN
  • Spokane, WA
  • Springfield, IL
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Stillwater, OK
  • Tacoma, WA
  • Tallahassee, FL
  • Tampa, FL
  • Toledo, OH
  • Topeka, Kansas
  • Tulsa, OK
  • Ventura, CA
  • Washington, DC
  • Wichita, KS
  • Wilmington, NC
Did your city make the list? Do you know of another city that lowered it’s Uber rates that is not on this list? Let us know!

What The Uber?! Uber is in Hot Water in China

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Recently, Uber has been struggling to gain ground within the rideshare market in China, with frustrating setbacks including having their Chinese headquarters raided by officials to being blocked on WeChat, China’s immensely popular mobile messaging platform. This week, Uber China has found themselves in hot water again as one of their drivers is suspected of robbing and molesting a female passenger at knifepoint. Sadly, while these occurrences are not new to Uber, this case has come at a particularly bad time for Uber China.

This latest assault happened when a 42-year-old female passenger hailed an Uber car in Chengdu late at night.  According to the woman, at one point during the fare, the driver stopped suddenly in a tunnel and pulled his knife on her. He then demanded she hand over her purse which contained more than 5,000 yuan (around $780). Afterwards he proceeded to drive the women to a secluded location, in the outskirts of the town, where he apparently molested her and took a few photos warning her that he would make the photos public if she were to speak of the assault.

The women did come forward to police and the driver was arrested on Wednesday. This is now the second known alleged sexual assault by an Uber driver in China in the last couple of months and we wonder how Chinese officials will handle this latest Uber assault. Uber has yet to make a comment.

If you have a What The Uber moment or want to share a What The Uber story please email[email protected] or use the hashtag #WhatTheUber to get your story featured and shared on our social media!

What The Uber?! Uber Hired 25 Drivers with Criminal Records Including a Murderer!

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Another weekly What The Uber story about how Uber isn’t as thorough as they should be when conducting background checks of their potential drivers!

The San Francisco district attorney’s office states that Uber allowed 25 drivers with criminal records to drive for the ride sharing service. One of these drivers was a convicted murderer who previously spent 26 years in prison before being released in 2008. The driver supposedly joined Uber in 2014 using a fake identity and gave over 1,000 rides with Uber before he was discovered. How do you miss that?!

This wasn’t the only mistake Uber made– over 20 more of their drivers were previously convicted of crimes and many spent a significant time in prison. Another one of the drivers was convicted for “committing lewd or lascivious acts against a child under 14” which was conveniently not found when Uber conducted a background check. This ex-driver gave almost 6,000 rides with Uber, and according to the records, some of these rides included unaccompanied children.

Some of the other ex-criminals were convicted of felonies such as kidnapping, selling drugs, and drunk driving.

San Francisco is pushing Uber to use fingerprinting technology in their background checks but Uber is strongly resisting, because they believe that no system is 100% foolproof. I’d say it’s in their best interest to give it a try.

If you have a What The Uber moment or want to share a What The Uber story please email[email protected] or use the hashtag #WhatTheUber to get your story featured and shared on our social media!

Felicia is an intern at Unleashed, LLC. She is from upstate NY, and is currently pursuing a Marketing degree at Bentley University. One day she hopes to travel the world and visit every continent.

What The Uber?! Uber “Mistakenly” Hires a Convict

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It is time for our weekly What The Uber story and this week we want to hear your opinions on the current Uber Dallas situation.

For those who are unfamiliar, last week in Dallas, ­­­a female passenger accused her male Uber driver of sexually assaulting her after he followed her into her home. To make matters worse, when the police looked into the Uber driver in question they found that he had been recently incarcerated on a federal weapons conviction in 2012 and that he was using a fake, expired city permit to drive for Uber. Any Uber driver applicant, you would think, would be immediately vetted from the process after serving time in jail or trying to apply with a fake permit! So how was this convict allowed to drive for Uber?

While Uber stayed mum about the situation for almost a week they are finally coming clean and explaining how they failed to catch this major red flag! According to Consumerist, “The screw-up began in Jan. 2014, when the convicted felon signed up with Uber — not as a driver, but as a “partner” to help drum up business for his family’s limousine service that was on the UberBlack platform. That’s when he presented the bogus permit, but since he was listed as “Will Not Be Driving,” on the account, it appears the company did not do any further screening. But then the real gaffe, one that would have devastating consequences, happened in April 2015, when someone at Uber “mistakenly” gave him access to be a driver for the company.”

We are glad Uber is admitting to their faults, but this is a pretty big “mistake” to make! How does someone just accidentally give a random partner access to be a driver? Uber did announce that since the sexual assault allegations, they have inspected the limo companies and livery drivers who use Uber and they also plan to increase their checks on driver permits in Dallas. We hope Uber has truly learned from this and plans to not only tighten their background checks in Dallas but in all their supported locations.

If you have a What The Uber moment or want to share a What The Uber story please email [email protected] or use the hashtag #WhatTheUber to get your story featured and shared on our social media!

What The Uber?! Road Rage Brawl

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Happy What The Uber Friday Folks! This week a couple of Uber drivers have earned our coveted What The Uber spot by brawling in the middle of rush hour traffic over an alleged clipped wing mirror.

According to Mirror.co.uk, the trouble started when one Uber driver cut in front of a second Uber driver causing the second driver to swerve and clip the wing mirror of a passing truck. This small incident ended up turning into a three-way fight between the two drivers and one of the Uber passengers. The other passenger, Seb Bench, managed to film the whole ordeal from inside his Uber ride.  (To watch the full video, click here)

After Seb stopped  filming, the situation apparently calmed down and he was able to catch a black cab to his meeting. Thank goodness this early morning commuter was able to at least make his meeting!

While roadside brawls are not that uncommon, we do find it a bit ironic that it just happened to be two Uber drivers. It makes you wonder what percentage of drivers on the road are in fact working for Uber nowadays!

If you have a What The Uber moment or want to share a What The Uber story please email [email protected] or use the hashtag #WhatTheUber to get your story featured and shared on our social media!

 

 

 

How to Boost Your Rating: Driver Edition

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Uber and Lyft drivers – you all know how important your personal rating is for your continued career as a rideshare professional. A low driver rating, generally lower than 4-4.5 stars, can result in the suspension or even termination of your job. Most passengers understand the high importance of giving a five star rating and will do so unless something awful or unacceptable occurs. Keep in mind the following tips to keep riders happy and maintain that high rating.

Be timely. Open communication is important to passengers. Text or call when you arrive at the destination: a simple “your Uber/Lyft has arrived!” text will be much appreciated. This ensures that you will not be waiting longer than necessary and they are aware that you are ready to begin the trip. Although passengers can monitor your location through the app, a gentle reinforcement will confirm and notify.

Be personable.  Confirm the name of the passenger as they enter the vehicle, “Hi, John!” to make sure that you have the correct rider. There are so many stories about rideshare mix-ups, so this friendly verification can be very useful for both parties.  Greet the riders in a cheerful manner, welcoming them to the vehicle.

Be flexible. Once the passenger is in the vehicle, the first subject to address is the end destination. Confirm that the address submitted through the app is correct. A route will be automatically calculated, but it is always a good idea to ask the passenger if they have a preferred way.

Be courteous. Every time you pickup a passenger, it’s like welcoming someone into your home. Act as a host making sure the ride is clean and comfortable. Is the temperature suitable? Is the music type and noise level all right? There should be no clutter, trash, or excessive dirt in the vehicle.

Be conversational (or not). Assess the mood of the rider. Sometimes you may be able to carry on a nice conversation while other times you may ride in silence. Small talk is generally always welcomed, but each ride differs. Some groups may want to converse amongst themselves without feeling as if you are eavesdropping and other groups may include you in conversations, asking for opinions and stories. Test the water with each trip.

Be responsible. Not surprisingly, one of the biggest factors of a rating is the quality of driving. If a driver speeds, runs through red lights, or seems distracted the rider will take notice. Abiding to the speed limit, traffic regulations, and never showing signs of road rage are very important to make the ride enjoyable. Safety should always be the number one concern of the driver and the passenger.

Be humble. Mistakes are bound to happen. However, the manner in which you deal with these mistakes is what will affect your rating.  If you inadvertently miss a turn or go the wrong way when the road splits, own up to it and apologize immediately.  The GPS will recalculate and you will be able to reach the destination a different way. Worst-case scenario: mark the trip as complete so that the passenger does not get overcharged.

Good luck, drivers!

 

A Tale of Uber’s Trials, Tribulations, and Regulations

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Uber has become a celebrity among startups, known for its innovation, motivation, and determination to always win. Cities and legislators have had a difficult time keeping up with the booming growth of the company, as the very concept the business is built upon is new and revolutionary.  With each new city entered, Uber faces a challenge and different regulatory obstacle from city officials and taxi industry supporters. Each place is approached and handled differently, but all with the same passion and fierce competitive spirit to successfully operate in a new market. Below are three recent battles Uber has fearlessly taken on.

San Francisco

San Francisco, California, the birthplace of Uber, is the very place recently involved in a court ruling that will significantly change the rideshare business model, that is, if Uber is unable to appeal the decision.  The California Labor Commissioner ruled that rideshare drivers must be classified and treated as employees as opposed to contractors.  Currently, drivers are considered independent contractors, which frees the company from any on-the-job expenses, health insurance, paid vacation time, and many other costly benefits.

Uber argues their contractor classification, citing the belief that the ride-hailing service is no more than a technological tool to connect drivers and passengers, rather than a full-fledged transportation service.  The company has already appealed the decision in the San Francisco Superior Court. However, if this ruling is not overturned and holds true, the rideshare business model faces the threat of destruction, or at least significant change. Drivers would be entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay, not to mention the possibility of insurance and additional benefits.

On one hand, this ruling could be seen as beneficial for certain jobseekers, taxi competitors, and legislators. However, on the other hand, this decision could be detrimental for the countless businesses built on digital platforms that utilize a sharing economy.  If all workers must be considered employees, company costs will increase, thus forcing service prices to dramatically increase for users. This will shake the foundation of companies like Uber who are built on the promise of low-cost, on-demand service for users, and flexible, quick income for workers.

New York

In a turn of events, Uber drivers and supporters were the attendees of a protest outside of New York City Hall, rather than the typical group of taxi drivers. After recently winning a regulatory battle in NYC about software update approvals, the company is once again involved in a battle with city legislators. The city is considering issuing a temporary freeze of the supply of for-hire vehicle licenses while a traffic study, approximately one year in length, is conducted. This study will investigate the effect the recent increase in taxicabs and for-hire vehicles has on congestion in New York City.

Representatives at Uber are arguing against this proposal, questioning the legitimacy of the study and if the true motive is a concern of air quality and traffic congestion. Rather, they say, the study is a front to limit overall competition, which will only hurt the citizens of New York through potential job loss. The transportation committee is fighting back and time will tell whether Uber is limited or pulls through with a victory in NYC again.

Portland

Portland, Oregon has been the location of a long, attention-grabbing battle for Uber to enter and operate in the city. It all started in December 2014 when the ride-share service began operating illegally without the permission of city officials.  As the battle between Uber and city officials began, the company threw a launch party and created Portland-specific marketing materials, essentially taunting the mayor and transportation commissioner.  Not surprisingly, this resulted in the city suing and shutting-down all Uber operations in Portland.

No stranger to legal action, Uber lobbyists descended upon Portland to work with city officials to reach a compromise. The months following were filled with protests led by angry cab drivers, endless meetings with city council, and aggressive communications from the Uber team. Eventually, city officials recognized that they could not hold the company back much longer and approved a 120-day trial operating period. Official ride-hailing regulations are still in the works, but the city did remove the rate cap for taxi rides in an attempt to appease the angry Portland taxi drivers.

 

News sources used in this article:

Forbes | NY Times | Skift