Uber: Commuting Honeymoon Over?

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Uber, the transport company was every commuter’s and traveler’s dream. Seen as the better alternative to taxis, Uber promised a comfortable ride at your beck and call, anytime and anywhere. Using the Uber app, you can just hop in, and arrive at your destination in over 72 countries safely and comfortably. No more hailing cabs in the rain or elbowing out other commuters during peak hours!

Simple and seamless travel, from booking to paying made its growth over the last seven years phenomenal. In response to customer needs, Uber now offers ride-sharing, self-driving, pre-scheduled trips, and courier delivery for food and packages. Far from charging premium rates, Uber does what its slogan promises,”get there” at reasonable costs.

“When you make transportation as reliable as running water, everyone benefits.” – UBER

Its app is a universal language across borders and cultures – just tap your destination and you don’t even have to exchange a word with the driver during the whole trip! Features like fare estimate, split fare and send status make it more convenient than regular taxis. The driver profile makes travelers feel safer, even on foreign soil.

 

Trouble in Paradise

Despite the controversies that led to the resignation of its CEO and co-founder, Travis Kalanick, Uber continues to operate profitably in 632 cities and dominates the U.S. market with 80% share. After giving up China with its numerous roadblocks, it foresees potential growth in Southeast Asia and India where people are predicted to favor convenience over low car acquisition rates. But the honeymoon is clearly over with Uber’s popularity dipping, even as it continues to expand aggressively.

Given the thumbs up by passengers does not mean that drivers are happy about the low rates the company set to keep upfront fees competitive. To make matters worse in the early part of the year, about 200,000 passengers disenchanted with Uber’s close ties with President Trump opted out. Scandals like: bad treatment of drivers, CEO outbursts, the threatened pullout of the Uber app from the Apple app store due to irregularities, loss of $700M in revenue are eclipsed by its non-disclosure of data hacking affecting 57M passengers and drivers more than a year after it was discovered in October 2016.

Why Passengers Choose Uber

Passengers have sworn loyalty to the Uber brand despite the company lapses.

“Uber was convenient and a sure ride during surge hours. Upfront fees make it easy to stick to a budget. Service is consistent and Uber is always my first choice when going overseas for business or pleasure. No worries about leaving valuables behind!” – Sarah E., Manager of an IT company

“Cars are new and drivers are courteous. In Lisbon, rates were super cheap and always available. It was good in L.A. but expensive. Seattle had better rates and made it safe to travel at night. Portland was expensive so I took the train instead. Madrid was fun though the drivers spoke very little English. They were very accommodating in Madrid and Portugal. Best of all, I didn’t have to worry about currency exchange since I could use my credit card.” -Karla, Blogger (Karla Around the World)

It does seem to be the company to beat and still heads and shoulders over Lyft and Grab, its erstwhile competitors. But its loss of about 55M web visits and fall to #3 as the most searched company serves as a wake-up call. That said, Uber’s reign is far from over.

Uber map by Laurenellen McCann