Business Disruption is Good

The Voice of San Diego has an interesting map from Uber showing the usual routes taken by Uber, the “ride sharing” company. The author of the piece tries to make the point that Uber is only used by the young and affluent, as if it is some class distinction.

Any “disruptive” service is more likely adapted by young and or affluent, but it is interesting to me that there is now Uber in Temecula. (I research alternatives for my community “Aging in Place” organization.)

Today Uber (based in San Francisco) announced it is in 100 cities in 35 countries. LyFt — another San Fran competitor, also in San Diego — is in more than 30 cities, and still another, SideCar is in third and moving up.

Options are always good. Competition benefits the user, but not the cab companies. Uber differentiates itself by being app oriented — you call through your cellphone, you see by map how far the driver is from your site, you get a photo of the driver — and when the ride is over you pay and tip through the app, and rate the driver and car. (He also rates YOU!)

Uber releases anyone who cannot maintain 4.5 on a 5.0 scale.

I love business disruption. Cab companies have had the monopoly far too long, and I was in San Diego back when the Mayor lost his job by what was called the Yellow Cab Scandal. Cities limit the number of medallions they are willing to approve, and cities are badly served by the cab company influence. In San Francisco there is one cab for every 550 residents, but in Milwaukee it is one per 1,800.

Uber has four levels of service: UberX is the economy ride; UberBlack is a four-door sedan; UberSUVis self descriptive, as is UberLuxury. Uber is now establishing a package delivery service.

Courts, in places like St.Louis and Houston are looking into the disruption, as cities and cab companies lose taxi revenue and customers, but in the end technology will win. It always does, but it is called disruption for a reason — and in Paris, France the cab drivers physically attacked Uber cars leaving the airport.

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