Had a lively debate over Uber’s legitimacy the other day.
There are two primary points against Uber:
Uber evades taxes. The government collects fees and taxes, excessively in some cities, from the taxi industry. These costs are generally transferred to the consumers in the form of higher fares, with the assumption that taxi customers are mostly out-of-towners and it is OK to tax them more. Uber, or similar ride-sharing businesses, under-cut this revenue sources.
Uber is dangerous. The customer is most vulnerable in a car driven by a stranger. The government regulates and tracks taxi drivers. People should feel safer.
There are disagreements from the other side of the table.
So what!? Taxation is a form of wealth redistribution. The same customers who use taxis will spend the same money on the same society. Uber, if thriving, will generate wealth in the society. If not, it does not matter.
Really?! Can someone produce evidences that taxi is really safer than Uber? All we have is theories and sensational news stories. People get robbed by taxi drivers everyday too. With Uber, the customer knew the name of the driver and his/her rating before he/she gets into the car. That feels safer to me.
Government does not protect any industry or a group of people, it exists for the most good for the most people. Any change, progress or not, disrupts some existing businesses. Several years ago, Shanghai taxi drivers protests that subways are hurting their business and people thought that’s OK. Why would Uber be different?