For young people living, working and studying in the heart of a busy city transportation is a big part of the daily lives of Seattle University students. Fortunately, many venues and necessities are near enough to walk. Other alternatives for students include bussing, biking or even utilizing Public Safety’s Nighthawk system.
There are some occasions, however, that require a taxi and it’s important for students to know what their options are when it comes to hailing a cab on short notice. Many students have probably heard of a car service called Uber. Uber is just one of several new systems that uses apps to give customers an easy way to order a cab, and provides direct information about who is coming to pick them up and when the car will arrive.
“I’ve been using Uber for a little over 6 months, and it has been a 5 star experience every time,” wrote a Seattle user on Yelp. Based on a plethora of positive reviews, it sounds like people are impressed and excited about what Uber has to offer.
Recently, however, Uber has been raising more controversy than praise, both here in Seattle and on a national scale.
In Seattle, taxi drivers are causing a scene by protesting the rise of these new car services. According to the Seattle Times, taxi drivers have gone to City Hall to protest the crisis that competing services are causing. Many taxi drivers and Seattle citizens alike are asking the City to take control of the taxi business, imposing regulations on these car services, the vehicles that they use and the fares they charge.
Opponents of this movement, however, argue that a taxi monopoly is both illegal and autocratic. They point out that taxi drivers who feel like they are being displaced by competing services have the option to simply find a new job with Uber and other car service companies.
While the debate continues here in Seattle, a recent New York Times article expressed pressure that Uber is facing on a national scale. According to the New York Times, Uber creator Travis Kalanick is facing lawsuits and negative media attention after being sued by Uber drivers who claim that the company is stealing their tips.
In addition to pressure from drivers, Uber is also facing a lawsuit from the family of a 6-year-old girl who was killed by an Uber driver in an accident in San Francisco. This incident has raised questions about the quality of Uber drivers and raises pressure for cities like Seattle to take control of the taxi industry.
For now, it looks like Uber is going to be busy taking care of its reputation and its drivers. Until then, Seattle U students and all Seattle residents have a lot to consider when deciding the best way to get around town.
Alaina Bever is a sophomore mechanical engineering major interested in bioengineering. This is her second quarter as a staff writer for The Spectator. In her free time, Alaina enjoys running, baking and writing.