We were in a period of a few decades where we grew used to the methods of transportation we had. We could call taxi cabs, take trains and buses, fly on planes, and take manually operated vehicles. As the 21st century progressed, more and more changes happened, and one of the most intriguing was Uber.
Uber became extremely well known because of how simple it was to use and how much more convenient it was than a conventional taxi service, for both customers and drivers. Customers could request pickups at their location and they would be paired with a nearby driver as opposed to waiting for a cab to leave from the station or to flag one down on the street. They would get notifications on how long until the vehicle arrived and how long until they would be at their destinations. It was also much cheaper.
Drivers, too, found that driving for Uber meant a more freelance job that doesn’t require shift work and the usual hassles. You could opt not to drive at all if you wanted to. Although the cheap pricing meant it was harder to earn money, eventually Uber began to implement tip options and more favorable perks for its drivers, who became one of the faces of the gig economy.
It has gotten to the point that “to Uber” has become a verb in our language, and we’re having trouble getting around a lot of the new qualities that come with rideshare.
“It’s become common for people to just get into strangers’ cars, to get paid to drive by someone you didn’t even interview with or meet face to face,” said Daniel Azizi, founder of Downtown LA Law Group. Everything that we were told to avoid is now happening every day.
Other Forms of Travel
Uber’s success has led to other companies springing up as competitors, but it has also influenced other companies to get even more serious about providing wide-scale transportation. In addition to Uber, there’s Lyft, another chauffeur company; Turo, a company touted as the Airbnb of cars, which allows individuals to rent other peoples’ cars; Lime, which has bikes for rent in many cities; Bird and Spin, which both provide motorized scooters for people to use for a small fee; and many others.
As users, we have to figure out how to protect ourselves from companies that introduce products and policies that are still being unraveled. What happens if you’re in a car crash with an Uber? What happens if someone steals my car after I put it on Turo? These are questions that are still being answered.
An even stranger transportation method that has been introduced is the concept of a self driving car. By all rights and purposes, many vehicles like trains and planes essentially travel with little input from operators, but everyday travel is not as free and open. The streets are congested and many accidents don’t happen because of human reflexes and the power of sight. Self driving cars are a whole new breed or transportation that may change the landscape of driving as we know it.
Uber has experimented with self-driving cars recently, but pulled them after an accident in which a woman was killed while crossing the street with her bicycle. Tesla is the most visible leader of the movement, and it wants to create simple transportation for everyone. We’re seeing transportation become more fluid and open, as well as safer for the earthen environment, but it still poses a risk for the social environment. It’s as if we’re struggling to keep up and catch up as there are more options to get around than ever before.
Best Ways Forward
No matter what transportation method you might be investigating, you should know that there are rules, regulations, and laws that govern the usage. You should take care to be safe and responsible. You can reread some of the terms and agreements that were presented to you when you agreed to the products and services.
With the recent introduction of motorized scooters from Bird and other companies, for example, you should know that a helmet is necessary, as is riding on the street to avoid pedestrian traffic. People who frequently use Uber and Lyft should always take a driver’s rating into account. Anyone with a self driving car should stay as alert as possible and be ready to take control if any dangerous situation unfolds.
Even though this extra level of care may cut into the enjoyment and efficiency of these modes of transportation, it will ultimately help prepare us for the future.