Why don't Uber drivers turn into taxi drivers

Driving service: What Uber drivers experience in Düsseldorf

He always has a bad feeling when he turns into the airport. “The only trouble is with these taxi drivers. They honk, block the way and shout provocatively whether we can drive. ”Ertan angrily explains how much he worries about the situation with the taxi drivers. Ertan is an employee of a rental car company, in his fifties and has been a Uber driver for two months. Before that he was a taxi driver in Emmerich on the Dutch border.

Ertan talks about the intimidation he is experiencing more and more often from taxi drivers. For the taxi drivers, the unloved competitors are easy to recognize because everyone knows that the Uber drivers receive a certain Toyota model from the rental companies.

Taxi drivers around the world are fighting against Uber

All around the world, drivers of the American company are hostile to taxi drivers. In cities like Istanbul, Uber drivers have been attacked and ambushed on the streets. The taxi drivers criticized that Uber drivers could avoid the high fees. As a result, the US driver service has been banned throughout Turkey since the middle of last year.

It's not as bad in Düsseldorf as it is in Istanbul. Xerdan knows nothing about physical attacks, he is also an Uber driver in the state capital. But he has to deal with insults again and again. He just drove friends to the train station, not as an Uber driver, but as a private person. The taxi drivers immediately took photos and called out to him that he was not allowed to park there. Why was he recognized? He also drives a Toyota. Another time he would have picked someone up from the Düsseldorf trade fair and a taxi driver almost drove into him. Xerdan points to the scratch in the window. That happened to him last week and it is not a coincidence. Friends' cars who are also Uber drivers are regularly scratched. Almost amused, he says: "Private people with Toyotas have to be careful, otherwise their cars will also be scratched."

With demonstrations in 30 large and small cities, taxi drivers want to oppose the planned liberalization of the market. The taxi drivers want to stand up to Transport Minister Scheuer.

In Germany, the transport service market could be liberalized

Last week there were demonstrations by taxi drivers across Germany against the liberalization of the transport service market. Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) plans that essential requirements for new mobility service providers should be canceled. That would mean that there would be no longer any restrictions on car rental companies and drivers of travel agents like Uber no longer have to return to their headquarters. They should be able to wait on the streets for their customers - just like taxi drivers in the past. Taxi drivers are already worried about their jobs as Uber undermines the market with lower prices. The classic taxi services therefore vehemently oppose further advantages for competing providers such as Uber.

For the Uber drivers, the resolution of the reversing control would be positive. Xerdan tells how often customers cancel their trips when the Uber drivers are stuck in traffic and take a little longer to get to the pick-up location. Then they would have to return to headquarters with no income. It becomes uncomfortable when taxi drivers follow you and check whether you are actually driving back to your headquarters. “Who gives you the right to persecute us? There are controls in Germany for this, ”asks Xerdan angrily.

After the demonstrations last week and because of the resistance from the Union, Transport Minister Scheuer first wants to set up a federal-state commission and look for a joint solution. The question of the market liberalization of the transport service market has thus been postponed.

Investment in the future of the driving service

Uber started its service in Düsseldorf on October 1, 2018. It was the third location after Berlin and Munich - Uber has also been in Frankfurt am Main since the end of December and Uber started its services in Cologne and Bonn last week. Since it is forbidden in Germany that private individuals without a personal promotion license are used as drivers, Uber works with rental car companies. The passengers are therefore not transported by Uber itself, but by a rental car with a driver. Therefore, Uber positions itself only as a travel agent.

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The prices at Uber are so cheap because the load on Uber vehicles is much higher than that of taxi drivers, said the German Uber boss Christoph Weigler the news channel n-tv. Another attraction for customers is that the company works with fixed tariffs. The price is already fixed before departure, regardless of how long the journey through traffic jams or detours ultimately takes. Please note: The prices of Uber trips may vary depending on demand.

For his boss, owner of a rental car company, it is currently not paying off at all, says Ertan. He himself made eleven trips that day, but earned barely 100 euros. If a customer wants an Uber, even for a mile, Uber guarantees that trip. The drivers can pass a customer on, but a driver is usually always available to take the passenger to the desired destination.

And so his boss has to pay him a fixed hourly wage with the low income and give him 25 percent as a service fee to Uber. Ertan believes his boss sees this as an investment in the future. He has heard of other cities, in India and South Africa, where Uber has large market shares. In fact, two travel service providers, Ola Cabs and Uber, share the market in India. In South African cities, Uber is fighting against the Estonian company Bolt (formerly Taxify) for market dominance.

In Germany, the market share is currently fairly manageable. Many of Ertan's customers are booking Uber for the first time and have been critical by then. You are unsure whether everything is going right with the payment process via PayPal. But Xerdan is of the opinion that more and more customers are switching to Uber because a high level of security is guaranteed. Through the service of Uber, the name of the driver and their previous ratings are known. In addition, if something is forgotten during a trip, Uber and the driver can be contacted.

The transport service Uber has bought its Middle Eastern competitor Careem. At $ 3.1 billion, it is the largest technology acquisition in the region.

Better demonstrations than violence against Uber

And what does Ertan think of the taxi drivers' demonstration last Wednesday? Actually, he didn't even notice, his son would have told him. He has no objection to demonstrations: “Uber and other platforms will only get cheaper in the next few years. In ten years, robots will drive customers and in another ten years there will be no more taxi drivers. You have to adapt again and again. Many of my Uber friends were originally taxi drivers too. "

Xerdan has no problem with the demonstrations either - they should take to the streets rather than threaten Uber drivers. Before coming to Düsseldorf, he worked in Great Britain for two years. There never was a conflict between taxi and Uber drivers, but the court took action against Uber. If the taxi drivers want to demonstrate, they should, in his opinion, do so and thus draw attention to their concerns. If the German government then came to the conclusion that it had to sanction Uber, that would be understandable for Xerdan. But intimidation and provocation should not resolve this conflict.

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