What Is Uber?

Description: Uber and black cars and taxis, oh my! The latest video in our Mashable Explains series takes a look at how Uber works for both employer and consumer.

Source:  Mashable.com

Date: Oct 9, 2014

Questions for discussion:

  1. Describe Uber?
  2. Would you use Uber? Why?
  3. Is Uber an example of dis-intermediation? explain
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73 thoughts on “What Is Uber?

  1. Brady T

    Uber is a revolutionary company that not only is going to force the taxi companies to change the way that they operate as Uber is able to offer their services more cheaply, more reliably and faster than most current taxi companies do now. As there is no limit to how many people can become Uber drivers as long as they pass the qualifications such as a driver’s license, own a vehicle and have insurance compared to the taxi companies being limited to the number of vehicles they own and how many people they can have trained.
    By being able to offer their services cheaper, existing taxi companies will also be forced to change how they operate as they can no longer charge exorbitant prices to their customers and with the ability of Uber users having their bank accounts tied to their usage, they no longer have to worry about having to have cash with them or losing their wallets after a long night of partying as they will still be able to have a safe ride home.
    With the opportunity of anybody to become an Uber driver, is also allows people the chance to work a second job that is flexible to the time based on their schedule. This can allow more people to earn a little bit of extra money which is never a bad thing and since Uber charges a flat fee per ride, with no extra charges, the people working for Uber are going to see more money in their pockets compared to if they worked for a cab company.

    Reply
  2. Jocelyn

    Uber is a car service established in 2009, competitive with taxi’s, that can give you a ride in short term notice through an app on a smart phone. Those needing a ride, if they want, can specify what kind of car they would like to be picked up in and once you know you are being picked up, you are given GPS locations on the car so you can track where your ride is. The great thing about Uber is that the payment system is linked though your phone so that the moment you reach your destination, your fare is paid automatically.
    Uber is an example of dis-intermediation in that there is no company that an Uber driver is linked to since anyone can be an Uber driver as long as they have had a background check, personal insurance and own a car.
    I would use an Uber driver because it is an efficient way to get around and it is a new and exciting way to get around. I would, however, feel guilty in using one because instead of paying a Taxi driver, which is there way of life, I would be paying someone who is doing this for extra cash.

    Reply
  3. Christy Weiss

    Uber is “a car service where you can get a ride on short term notice.” You can request a car to your current location via your smartphone, and you can receive updates on your taxi’s current GPS location when it is on its way to you. Uber also allows you to choose which car you would like to ride in, and charges rates accordingly.

    I would definitely use Uber. Uber is a very fast, efficient mechanism and I believe that it holds a distinct competitive advantage over the typical taxi system in many areas. Competitive advantage is found in the GPS location updates, as it can be incredibly hard to estimate when a typical taxi will be there to pick you up, and typical taxis don’t often stick to the time estimate that is given to you. Also, there is a competitive advantage held in the array of vehicles you can be picked up in, so everyone from professionals to students or even families can be picked up in whichever vehicle or rate best suits their needs. Uber also holds a competitive advantage in that they bill directly to your account, so you needn’t worry about paying for your cab as you get dropped off. Lastly, Uber has a competitive advantage in that they have avoided the cost associated with having “medallions” for its cab drivers.

    Uber is an example of dis-intermedation, in that it has removed the “middle-man” of having to order a cab over the phone, and wait while a dispatch worker checks the status of cabs in the area. The interaction is directly driver-passenger and it is immediate.

    Reply
  4. Natalie Schultz

    Uber is similar to a traditional taxi service with the main idea of getting people from location A to location B safely. Uber is different by having customers create accounts with them so they can digitally order the specific vehicle they please at the time they would like the service. They then wait for the confirmation that the driver sends out to show he had agreed to come and pick them up. Just like the common taxi service you are charged by the meter although the payment is not given by handing cash and a tip to the driver; it is done by being charged to your online account for you to pay for.

    After looking into the company a little further and exploring the website they have offered for you to sign up with I can currently say yes, I would like to use this service. By looking at where cars are around you and knowing instantly if a driver can come and get you or not, you eliminate the wait time you would have with a traditional cab service. Sometimes I see myself waiting half an hour or more to get picked up where Uber could eliminate this problem.

    This could be an example of both intermediation and dis-intermediation because it does take out the service man that you phone to book the cab making it dis-intermediate. But on the other hand you are still having to go on your phone, find the car you want and order it that way. Still waiting for the driver to confirm to you or turn you away.

    Reply
  5. Jayden Faulds

    Uber is a driving service much like regular taxi cabs that allow you to track a vehicle, choose which model of vehicle you would like and order it directly to your location. It is a safe and efficient way to get home after a night of drinking or a substitute if you do not have a vehicle. It is much like a taxi in the sense that it runs off a meter, keeping track of the money you owe and then automatically charges the amount to your personal account. It is even said to be cheaper then taking a regular taxi home. 20% of the earnings go to Uber itself, making 80% go to the driver. Giving Uber drivers more money then the average taxi driver.

    I would definitely take advantage of the Uber service if it was offered to me. I love the idea of being able to see how close the car you ordered is to your current location. Also if you don’t have the money the moment you get home, it is automatically sent to your personal account with Uber. I would definitely research more into the company before jumping on the opportunity to sign up, just to check the safety precautions and make sure everything was legit.

    I think they have been able to demonstrate dis-intermediation as they have allowed the costumer to order the car they would like and if the driver is available they can agree to come, taking away the middle man taking the phone call and then transferring it to the driver. The whole idea seems a lot more efficient then a traditional taxi service.

    Reply
  6. Ryan Ozar

    Uber is a car service that tailors to every customer for every need. The ability to use your smartphone to arrange a pick up and the fact that money is exchanged electronically is a good idea. I would definitely use Uber if it were available to me, having lower overhead than taxis I would assume the driver cares more about their job and therefore transferring that care to the consumer. Also, the ability to choose different vehicles, such as an SUV or luxury car, allows me to choose the type of transportation I needed that evening; a night out with friends, probably the basic car, but a night out for an anniversary? Splurge a little more and get that luxury vehicle for the night. Uber is a form of dis-intermediation as it cuts out the middleman (taxi companies, badge purchases) and this can be good in a way I stated earlier, but could also be concerning, as things like regulation and safety (which are normally provided by companies) could be lacking or even non-existant.

    Reply
  7. Ayesha S

    Uber is so helpful. My friend used it at one point in California. Her name is Stacy and her mom got it going on. No but seriously, uber is a company that makes it cheaper to travel, as it is cheaper than the average taxi. While the people who work as the drivers are not necessarily “professionals”, they still need to meet certain requirements: pass a background check, have a valid driver’s license and their own personal car insurance, etc. The vehicles are black, so people can feel safe travelling at night because they blend into the darkness of the night. Now, everyone can be batman. Chances are you could call them the driver “Alfred” as long as you pay them since they get 80% of the profit and the rest goes to Uber. What an amazing service! Would I use this? FOR SURE. Anyone who has ever had a dream of being Alfred should definitely work for this service. Taxis are old news especially in California. That is where Stacy’s mom has got it going on. I absolutely love the idea of Uber and being Batman and Alfred. I really wish this service was provided in Alberta. Hopefully it expands into Canada at one point in time. The end.

    Reply
  8. Arty K

    I would definitely use uber. Its a simpler way to get a quick ride when you need one and you don’t have to call the cab company and wait on the line. with uber you can actually see if there are any rides available and if any of the rides are close to your location. It is a much more convenient way to estimate the arrival of your ride, and the actual availability. On the other hand when you call a cab you always wonder if they really don’t have available cabs, or they just don’t want to come to your location, or if this is because you’re at a party, or at a bar, or any other place that the cab company may feel will result in your inappropriate behavior or in you damaging the cab. with uber you don’t need cell service, you can just join a free wi-fi on any device you have that would support the app, and get a ride. it’s also more fair, because the driver gets the majority of the money, which sometimes i feel bad about when i get a cab, because the cab driver, as mentioned in the video, doesn’t necessarily make that much, because they have to pay for their badge, and they have to pay to their employer.
    uber, in my mind, is just a more convenient cab, like cab 2.0 so i don’t see a reason why i wouldn’t use such a feature, or maybe even be a driver, if i had the chance.

    Reply
  9. Kristin Kobbert

    Uber is a service that allows anyone at anyplace to have access to a ride, essentially a taxi service. Uber differentiates themselves from taxi services in a couple unique ways. When using Uber a customer has the opportunity to choose what type of vehicle they would like and can track where their driver is when on the way to pick them up using the Uber app. Similar to a taxi Uber uses a meter system to charge their customers, but instead of handing over the payment when you reach your destination Uber automatically charges your account. Anyone that has a car, insurance and a license can become an Uber driver, so long as they pass a background check.
    I would personally use the Uber service, because I think that it makes everything easier and more convenient for me as a customer. I like how the app takes care of all the trouble of finding a ride, no waiting on hold for a taxi company to pick up and no struggling to find enough cash at the end. Uber lets you personalize your experience and I believe that is a huge competitive advantage over regular taxi companies.
    Uber is an example of dis-intermediation, because they take the middleman out of the equation. By choosing Uber instead of a taxi service both the driver and the customer experience lower administrative costs. An Uber driver does not have to pay for a taxi company car or pay for a medallion stating they are able to drive in the city area.

    Reply
  10. Jaime Zachery

    Uber is a car service in which the customer uses an app to request a nearby vehicle. It is similar to a taxi service but allows the customer to choose their ride based on the type of vehicle they want to be picked up in and how far away the vehicle is from their current position. The price of a ride varies upon vehicle requested, whereas, with a taxi it is generally a standard rate. Once you reach your destination, your account is automatically charged.
    I personally would not use Uber at this time. Since I live in Lethbridge, I have my own vehicle and it is not too much of a hassle nor too expensive to get a taxi when I need one. I would definitely use Uber if I were living in a bigger city where the cost of parking my personal vehicle was high and wait times for a taxi were inconvenient.The only deterrent for me using Uber is the fact that anyone can become an Uber driver and the drivers use their own personal vehicles. It isn’t stated whether there are background checks performed or what type of insurance is required on the vehicle.
    Uber is an example of disintermediation. Uber cuts out the middle man by using an app. The app removes the need of an office or call center because the user and driver communicate with it. Uber is similar to a private taxi service and each driver is kind of like their own boss.

    Reply
  11. Linden W

    Uber is a program that uses your GPS on your phone to determine your location for when you are in need of a ride. The program allows you to choose between different vehicles that suit your situation based off if you have many people or not and so on. You can then track and see where your ride is and when they will be showing up. I would use Uber because in certain circumstances you can be at a function or time of day where it is very hard to pick up a cab and people tend to take the cab that you called with your phone.
    This is an example of dis-intermediation because it takes out the middle man of having a dispatcher send out a cab to your location upon calling them

    Reply
  12. Xuan Wen

    Uber has been pretty successful in big cities as a phase taxi cabs which is the customer who needs taxi sent a message to the system and nearby taxi will come to the customer’s location to pick he/she up. It allows for customers to see an Uber car and be able to know the exact amount of time that it will take for them to get . This taxi system give people who need to have a taxi a lot of convenience. Unfortunately, I think this system can only be so successful in big cities because this system needs a lot of customers. For example, the city like Lethbridge is hard to run such a taxi system. Uber also have a lot of other benefit. For example, customer can choose different kinds of cars. Also, the price of Uber taxi is even lower than the usual taxi and different types of car have different price. In addition, everyone can be a Uber drive if you get background check, driver’s license, car insurance, and owe a personal car. I think this could be useful for people who needs emergency ride. Sometimes it is hard to catch a taxi in some location and Uber taxi solves this problem. Also, Uber gives their customer different type of payment ways. Customer can pay the bill automatic from their Uber account as soon as they get to the destination which also save some time. It also helps taxi drivers to earn more money; the average Uber driver earns $90000 a year. Overall, Uber taxi system is beneficial for both customer and drivers.

    Reply
  13. Ryan.kozole@uleth.ca

    Uber taxi service is an application that employs personal drivers with valid credentials to pick up customers that request the service. Customers have the options of picking the class of vehicle they want, are told where the driver is, his rating based on past customers and how long it will take for the driver of the specific vehicle requested to pick them up.

    In my Opinion, I believe that this is very efficient system that has benefits to Uber, the driver and Customer using the app. First of all, the expenses of Uber are reduced dramatically as the only main cost associated with the company would be the continued running of the app and upgrades that could be possibly made to improve; the company is not investing capital towards the purchase of a building to store taxis or the taxis themselves. With 80% of every transaction going to the driver, and Uber picking up the other 20%, this not only provides the driver with an increased annual income (he is banking 80% from the customer) but is also beneficial to Uber as they will have an increased amount of Income even though though are only collecting 20%. As I said before, their expenses are reduced for rent, purchasing of taxis as well as maintenance and insurance on those taxis as well.

    Uber is a great example of dis-intermediation and taking away the middle man (aka licensed taxi companies), which gives greater freedom and motivation to drivers to pick up customers when told by the app in order to bank more money for themselves instead of working for a licensed taxi company at an hourly wage rate.

    Reply
  14. James Bradshaw

    Uber is essentially an independent taxi service based on the specific location of the client in need of a ride. By using GPS the client can find a ride from an independent source and be billed automatically based on the distance covered. In big cities all over the world Uber has become very popular and has taken business away from other taxi services that have already been established. Uber is a good idea because it uses technology to bring the client and service together almost seamlessly in a quick and efficient matter. This dis-intermediation allows the taxi (Uber) drivers to cut out the middle man which in turn will lower administration costs and be more beneficial to both the end user and the driver.
    Some places have not adopted and/or allowed Uber to operate I am assuming due to legal reasons. There are still many questions to be asked including: how the government will tax drivers? Is there safety risks associated with the service? Will current taxi services push back against Uber?
    With the current technology available services like Uber will become more prevalent because of cost, availability and convenience. There will always be push back from governments and private companies because money makes the world go around and everyone wants there piece of the pie.

    Reply
  15. Jaeger Mitchelmore

    Much like a taxi cab Uber provides the services of connecting consumers to drivers. Unlike normal taxi companies Uber works of a mobile app platform and provides a few services that taxis dont. With Uber you provide the app ypur location and it connects you directly to the closets driver near by, it also gives you GPS location of the driver so you know exactly where they are at all times. Anybody can be a Uber driver they just need to sign up through the business. Uber creates it revenue by taking 20 percent of the fair as the rest goes directly to the driver. Uber also provides the ability for the user to select between a wide range of vehicles ranging from SUVs – to luxury sedans. I would personally use Uber based on the ability to see the exact location of the driver as I have been it situation before where the taxi has failed to show up. I also like the connivence of the money being taken directly off your account simplifying and speeding up the payment process. Only issue I can see with Uber is that its success will vary based on location, it will be successful in big cities where transportation is expensive and there is a large customer base. On the other hand Uber would struggle in smaller cities such as Lethbridge where transportation is relatively easy to come by and relatively inexpensive.

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  16. Jordan M

    Uber is a phase of taxi cabs, and has been very successful in bigger cities all around the world. It has become an innovation as they run half their product through a cellular device and app in order to be able to get the customer in touch with the service. It allows for customers to see an uber car and be able to know the exact amount of time that it will take for them to get there before they even consider booking it, which is something that regular cabs aren’t able to provide to their customers. Another feature of uber that is innovated is the fact that customers with the app on their phone have the ability to pay for the ride straight from their phone. Within this payment method, customers have the option to split fairs and chose how to pay. In this day and age having the product connect to the mobile devices is huge as everyone always as their phones with them. I am myself have had previous experience with Uber while on vacation. It was a great experience and the quality of the drive and driver was excellent, it wasn’t a fight to get a cab as the driver already knew who he was picking up and wouldn’t leave without us or let anyone else use his services. I would most definitely use their product again. I would also be in favour of having it come to bigger cities like Calgary as it is a breathtaking change to the cab industry and they make their product available to everyone with easy access and smooth service.

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  17. Vincent Varga

    I would use Uber based on the ability to view the exactly location of Uber vehicles to determine which one to pick and once booked how long it will take. My previous experience with taxis has been frustrating as the estimated wait time has traditionally been off. With the Ability for Uber users to see where an available cab is they can determine roughly how long it will take to arrive before they even book it. The payment method of using smart phones is also a handy feature of Uber. If it is possible to also split the payment of rides among passengers that would be incredibly useful in the university student market. Often groups of students may not have cash on hand to split the cost, but they will have their phone. I would also choose to support an Uber driver over a traditional cab driver as the Uber driver is able to act with more independence and quality as they know that they are being paid greater for their service. I would support Uber drivers in order to aid in transforming the cab business. As more independent style cab companies enter the market the cost for consumers will be lowered, while the cab drivers are able to generate much more income than previously possible.

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  18. Cynicx

    It’s hard to imagine that in a city the size of Lethbridge that a company (that is essentially a software application) like Uber would be successful. The membership fees would have to be low enough that it would be viable option over taking a cab. In a big city where getting around and the costs of owning and parking a vehicle are substantial it definitely makes more sense. What Uber has done is gotten rid of the middle man and essentially created independent cab drivers. They like to say that it is a personal private vehicle but in my opinion it is just a new form of independent taxi drivers. I would be interested to see how the insurance companies handle the first fatality that occurs. Will they cover the liability costs? From the sounds of it, Uber drivers are not required to carry additional liability insurance. But to me, you are accepting money to perform a task and in doing that you are taking on the liability, you are creating a contract. If the amount of insurance you have isn’t enough to cover resulting lawsuits, or if the insurance companies refuse to pay for these lawsuits, i see this company being on the hook, especially in the United States. It is a great scheme but I don’t know how it is going to hold up when someone gets hurt. If some of these drivers are doing this on a full time basis, I don’t see the insurance companies backing them up.
    This is really a case of the laws not keeping up with the technology. One of my big concerns is how the taxation is applied. I’m a big proponent of people paying their share of tax to support society. If these Uber drivers are making money but at the same time incurring extra wear and tear on the city infrastructure I want them to be taxed appropriately. Public transport and cab licensing fees are hopefully directed into the city infrastructure budgets to offset the wear and tear created by these entities.

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