I’m a fan of Uber. My experience so far is that it offers a more swift, more efficient, more clean, more safe, and more civilized service than any recent experience I have had in a regular taxicab. There is also a media hate campaign against Uber. It is understandable cab drivers don’t like it, as it operates in the regulatory shadows and has fewer burdens of licensed cab companies. But the solution is not to kill uber, but perhaps to deregulate the industry as a whole.
There is also a vague feeling that uber may be very dangerous. For example, in India and now in the US, there have been isolated reports of uber drivers sexually assaulting female customers. This is dreadful, of course, but there is something inherently dangerous with getting in a car with a stranger.
Uber, in contrast to cabs, however, always creates an electronic record of customer and driver. A wayward Uber driver is almost certain to be apprehended. It’s like the old criminal law analogy of the “policeman at the elbow.” The relevant comparison is not zero assaults versus the small number of uber drivers who have abused their access. Rather, we must look to the background level of violence perpetrated by (and against) cab drivers. There have, in fact, been a number of far less publicized crimes–murders, even–that are logically far more likely in cabs due to the lack of any record of driver-passenger interaction and, to be frank, the lower social class and cultural backwardness of many of the almost-all-Third-World-immigrant drivers.
Wouldn’t it be something–something fanciful, that is–if the media looked at the trend of Third World immigrant crime with the same alacrity and search for patterns with which they evaluate Uber.