By Shawna Mizelle
Many have witnessed the various technological changes in the past few years, but the rise of Uber, a car transportation app, has been a sight to see.
Uber technologies launched their app in Washington D.C in 2011, making it the seventh city with the technology. Some six years later almost everyone in the Metro area is accustomed to the app and it’s features.
Since coming to D.C. Uber has overcome many legal issues, competitors such as Lyft, and taxi cabs. Whether or not Uber has put a dampen on taxi cab business is debatable. In 2016, the San Francisco Yellow Cab company was forced to file for bankruptcy—the rapid change in car service played a role in this.
Mrs. Porter of the Taxi Transportation Service states that they have not seen a direct impact in business due to Uber. Mrs. Porter says, “Business comes and goes. It’s not constant, but it’s not lacking.”
A consumer report compared the two avenues of transportation and their cost noting that although Uber may be better for longer trips over $35 that the taxi cab is a cheaper alternative when Uber’s surge prices are through the roof. Majority of the people using taxi cabs now are older or visiting from another town, while Uber is geared towards tech savvy millennials.
Although Uber is geared specifically towards smartphones, they didn’t stop there. Studies show 77% of Americans own a smartphone, but Uber offers options for the quarter that doesn’t as well. By offering online services that can be obtained by anyone with internet access Uber once again uses technology as an advantage over it’s competitors.
Emmanuel Charles, a Ward 8 resident believes Uber has provided much needed competition.
“Before Uber WMATA was the only major way of transportation around the city. Taxis also played a big part of how commuters got to and from. I always had a feeling something like Uber would come along because public transportation simply can not be trusted. With the ever so constant track work, delays, and buses seem to come when they feel like it; people need something vastly more convenient than WMATA and prices more reasonable than the fare for a taxi,.” he said.
Blessing Marzo who has been in the district for the past six years believes that Uber provides another choice for commuters. She notes the efficiency and convenience of the app, but states “Sometimes Uber can take advantage of the consumers need by adding ridiculous surge prices.”
Uber’s algorithms up the prices when there is an increase in demand, thus generating more profit. According to a study Uber is worth almost 70 billion— a number that could not have been obtainable without technology.