Editorial: The impact of ride-sharing
By Diane Sterritt
Ride-sharing services are killing the taxi industry.
My name is Diane Sterritt. I have been a taxi driver here in San Diego for 23 years. Our business has drastically declined.
They’re doing what we’re doing (taking people places for money), but they’re not regulated like we are.
First, they don’t need to take a drug or safety test, nor do they need a business license or go to the Sheriff’s Department for fingerprinting or a background check.
We need to do this every year.
You see, Uber does their background check electronically, so you never know if the driver is lying.
An Uber driver hit and killed a 6-year-old girl in San Francisco. When the police investigated it, it turned out that the driver had previously been convicted of reckless driving and never should have been on the road. Uber denied the claim, saying the driver hadn’t picked up the customer yet and isn’t responsible.
All San Diego taxis must have a $1 million insurance policy. In addition to that, we need a yearly vehicle inspection done by the Metropolitan Transit Development Board (MTDB).
The ride share companies only have limited liability coverage.
Also, a San Diego woman was recently charged $92 to go 2.7 miles. Uber said it was because of a surcharge when they don’t have enough drivers on the road. Why do they take it out on the customer? It’s not their fault.
These ride-sharing services should be accountable for what they’re doing and held to the same standards taxis are. In my opinion, this is not right and totally unfair.
I also want everyone to see this link on Über’s disclaimer, available at uber.com/legal/usa/terms.
Once the customer downloads the app, they would rather just scroll down to the bottom of page and click on “I AGREE” than read and know about the disclaimer. Uber is basically saying they don’t provide transportation (but yes they do), and they don’t control the third party (the driver) to whom they give the calls to via the Internet or iPhone. They say they are not liable or responsible for anything that they do for providing this service. It is already charged to the customer’s credit card and in turn Uber sends the driver a direct deposit into their bank account.
Long story short, below is a portion of their disclaimer.
[Editor’s Note: This online document is presented to customers in all capital letters but for readability’s sake, we have changed that format here.]
“You acknowledge that Uber does not provide transportation or logistics services or function as a transportation carrier. Uber’s services may be used by you to request and schedule transportation or logistics services with third party providers, but you agree that Uber has no responsibility or liability to you related to any transportation or logistics provide to you by third party providers through the use of the services other than as expressly set forth in these terms.
Uber does not guarantee the suitability, safety or ability of third party providers. It is solely your responsibility to determine if a third party provider will meet your needs and expectations. Uber will not participate in disputes between you and a third party provider. By using the services, you acknowledge that you may be exposed to situations involving third party providers that are potentially unsafe, offensive, harmful to minors, or otherwise objectionable, and that use of third party providers arranged or scheduled using the services is at your own risk and judgment.
Uber shall not have any liability arising from or in any way related to your transactions or relationship with third party providers.”
I just wanted your readers to know this information.
What Uber, Lyft and Sidecar are doing is not right for San Diego or any other city. Their customers can’t even complain about them, because all they know is that they got into a black Prius.
If they had called a taxi instead, the cab company’s name and cab number is on both the front driver’s and passenger’s side door, and our sheriff’s I.D. card is on display inside the cab, in view of the passenger.
The public and our communities need to know the truth.
I also did a Yahoo search of American cities that have banned Über. San Diego should be one of them. Here is that link.
People need to educate themselves.
I’m only one person with one voice, but that’s where it starts, and I know that I speak for all the other San Diego taxi drivers who feel the same way I do.
—Diane Sterritt has been driving a cab in San Diego for 23 years and is just trying to get the word out. She lives with her two dogs, Lily and Zoe. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taking issue with the new piazza
I wish to comment on the January 2015 Downtown News article, page 10, “New piazza breaks ground,” by Christopher Gomez, “District Manager of Little Italy” [See Vol. 16, Issue 1].
The Union-Tribune (sic) front-page announcement of the piazza said it was to be funded in part with money paid by real estate developers.
Isn’t that tax money collected for homeless programs, to offset the number of homeless displaced by real estate development?
I can just see us homeless stretched out on the new piazza, enjoying the sunshine. Would not a new Little Italy homeless center be a better use of that particular money?
Somebody tell Marco (Li Mandri) it looks really pretty, but does not lower rent prices nor increase wages so that we can live indoors.
Just another example of our skewed priorities in San Diego, where another pretty development is more important than people suffering and dying in the cold.
— Dr. John Kitchin, representative of the San Diego homeless, via email