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Published on April 30th, 2019 | by Sponsored Content


A Taxi Is Greener And Safer Than Ride Sharing With Uber Or Lyft

Despite the surge pricing, minimum fees, and uncertainty, people love ride sharing through companies like Uber and Lyft. Ride sharing is a popular alternative to driving a car or taking a cab, but calling ride sharing “green” is debatable.

It’s tempting to believe every aspect of the sharing economy is somehow more sustainable than traditional options. Airbnb and carpooling seem like sustainable alternatives to hotels and taxis. In some ways, they might be. However, there is clear evidence that Uber and Lyft aren’t really that green.

Which is greener? An Uber or a taxi?

The popularity of ride sharing means fewer people are calling traditional cabs. That doesn’t seem too sinister on the surface. What’s so bad about hailing an Uber over a cab?

In some cities, cab companies are held to high environmental standards for all of their vehicles – standards that don’t apply to ride share companies. For instance, in San Francisco, the 2008 Green Taxi Ordinance has been effectively lowering greenhouse gas emissions and reducing gasoline consumption by 5.3 million gallons each year. Uber and Lyft aren’t just disrupting the taxi system; they’re setting back green initiatives.

Although the setbacks seem dismal, there is hope. Cities across the U.S., including Chicago, are working on legislation to regulate ride sharing companies as taxis. If those laws are passed, Uber drivers will be required to meet certain standards when operating in those cities. This might include being required to comply with the city’s green initiatives.

Taxis are still the safest “green” option

Even if ride sharing was truly green, it still wouldn’t be worth the risk. Aside from the potential risk of physical assault, kidnapping, and even murder, one crash as a passenger in an Uber can devastate your life and leave you with unpaid medical bills not covered by the driver’s insurance. Some drivers don’t realize they’re considered a commercial driver and need to get more coverage. There’s no oversight by Uber to verify they’ve got the right coverage.

“Drivers hired by Uber, and other ride-sharing companies, are hired as independent contractors,” Rosenfeld Law Firm explains. “They sign an agreement stating that they will follow the applicable traffic laws, but they are not employees of Uber. This means that Uber does not screen its drivers to ensure that they carry the necessary level of insurance coverage for a commercial driver.”

Unfortunately, you can’t know if your driver has a commercial policy before you book the ride. If you ask to see their insurance policy before getting into the car, it might cause a fuss. Uber does offer third-party coverage to its drivers, but not all drivers buy it, and that coverage is severely limited.

There’s no way to guarantee you won’t be involved in an accident while riding in an Uber. Careful Uber drivers can still be hit by another driver, and the way drivers are paid puts immense pressure on them to speed.

Uber creates an unconscious incentive to engage in unsafe driving

Just as fees vary for passengers, pay varies for drivers. Uber pays drivers based on several variables including distance and time. The faster they get to the destination, the more they get paid.

In addition to incentives to speed up a bit (or a lot, depending on the driver), drivers are required to use an app on their smartphone multiple times during the process of picking someone up and dropping them off. The result is a distracted driver.

Some cities are regulating ride share drivers

In an effort to improve public safety, Chicago has passed laws that regulate Uber and Lyft drivers. For example, all ride share drivers are required to get a chauffer’s Transportation Network Provider’s (TNP) license and follow several other requirements. They must display their company emblem in the passenger side window, and carry specific paperwork including their Uber or Lyft ID, their latest inspection report, and their TNP terms of service agreement.

Rules are even more strict for Chicago ride share drivers picking up passengers at the airport, McCormick Place, and the Navy Pier.

Ride share regulation across the states is coming soon

Ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft can expect to eventually be regulated across the board as part of the taxi industry; just like Airbnb is now treated as part of the hotel industry and hosts are required to pay hotel taxes in many states. Until then, individuals may want to consider purchasing their own personal injury insurance.

This post is supported by Rosenfeld Law Firm.

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