Ride apps – what are the problems with Uber?

Uber is one of the biggest lift apps around the world. With its affordability and service, it’s easy to see why so many people use it. However, this doesn’t mean that it hasn’t gotten its fair share of criticism and issues. In some countries, the company has been banned while others are still contemplating its legality. So where does this leave Uber in South Africa and in other countries? – we take a look.

What are the issues with Uber?

While Uber is one of the most popular apps when it comes to transport services, the company has faced a number controversies. Just recently Transport for London said that they wouldn’t be renewing Uber’s license to operate in the city. The reasoning behind this was that Uber showed a lack of corporate responsibility when it came to a number of issues regarding public safety and security implications.

But this isn’t the only city or country that Uber has run into problems with. It has also faced issues in Russia, China, Bulgaria, Taiwan, Italy, Canada, Australia and other countries. In India, Uber’s rival Meru took the company to court and accused the lift service of abusive practices, with an intent of eliminating competitors by granting huge discounts and incentives to customers.

Uber has also been accused of using unfair trade practices, as it is seen as bypassing business laws and evading proper taxes. Some of the issues also stem from the company being plagued with sexual assault allegations. With senior executives, such as CEO Travis Kalanick, having said destructive things about women and journalists.

It also faces legal restrictions in certain countries. This is because Uber doesn’t function as a normal taxi service. It often allows its drivers to work like taxi drivers, but without having the proper taxi license. This has caused many legal problems when the company enters new and heavily regulated markets. This is why some countries have completely banned it as they found it illegal under their state or national laws.

What about Uber in South Africa?

Uber is still legal in South Africa and is available in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Port Elizabeth. However, this doesn’t mean that the company hasn’t run into problems in the country. One of the biggest issues that Uber drivers have faced is clashes with metered-taxi operators. They are seen as unfair competition as Uber offers cheaper prices, which metered taxis can’t compete with.

So how does it compare to other transport apps?

Lyft is one of Uber’s biggest competitors in the US. While these two apps are very similar in terms of the cost and being user-friendly, they differ in the experience. Uber will be more corporate and professional, while Lyft will give you a more engaging and fun ride. This is where it can be said to be outdoing Uber, as drivers are instructed to greet you as a friend and even give you high-fives.

While Lyft is not available in South Africa just yet, if you are looking at using a ride app other than Uber there is always Snappcab. It works like Uber in the sense that you can open the app and hail your cab while tracking its progress on a map in real time. It sends you a picture of your driver so you know who’s coming to fetch you and you can pay via cash or credit card. It can be used on BlackBerry, Android, iOS and Windows Phone.

As more people use these transport based apps, we should be getting more local companies creating them in order to rival the global company. This way we can make decisions based on what kind of company we want to support, rather than having one which is dominating the market.