How uber brand beats the generic taxi jose roberto martins
Uber has to do with high standards of quality, services, respect and the strict supervision of consumers. As long as they keep such standards (positioning branding) more and more taxi drivers will have to combat their old-fashioned style by working well and provide a better service
It does not take too much effort to accept that the first taxis were, in
fact, horse carriages which responded for an “industry” chain which
involved drivers and many other professionals such as farriers, vets,
stable boys, blacksmiths, manure collectors among others.
Back to 21st century I've been using taxi services here and there long
before the innovative Uber service. In Manhattan I use to feel like those
promotional inflatable air dancer fan tubes, shaking my hand in the air
praying to be seen by taxi drivers and, moreover, to meet English-
speaking ones whose cabs are clean.
Since many licensed taxi companies choose to lease vehicles to
independent contractors for the day or the week taxi drivers usually runs
against the clock to pay their flat fees. Sometimes it looks that all other
civilian cars and people in the streets are their nemesis.
So why not make their lives more stressful by stopping at crosswalks or
close intersections a behavior repeated to exhaustion in NY, Miami and
even in Tokyo, where many are non-English-speaking drivers which
iconic white gloves combined with linings in seats are purely cosmetic as
they also encroach into areas where pedestrians are.
In Paris, the good surprise to interact with educated taxi drivers who
even got out helping with the bags, gentleness common in Lisbon and
Santiago. Beware of taxis in Buenos Aires where I was lucky to be just
scammed one or two times with the “no change” excuse.
In Rio, Salvador and São Paulo, where I live, we can find a plethora of
bad examples which I presume summarizes taxi services in many other
cities all over the world. Here many cabs also spikes dramatically during
rush hour or in rainy days, do not stop when they are empty mostly
because they are at lunch, or attending fixed customers elsewhere.
Many cars are not clean, smell the cigarette and, at best, drivers ask if
we want them to turn on the air conditioning, so in summer. Not to
mention the fear of taking a cloned taxi and being assaulted.
Many are usually conducted by untrained drivers, who do not know the
city or pretend not to by driving us for unwanted city tours while listening
to their favorite radio station. If eventually connected, we hopefully can
count on Google Maps or Waze to monitor such evil behavior. But at the
end most of them don’t care about our wellbeing anyway.
I believe that the main issue on poor taxi services is its aged business
model where most of drivers are not the legal trained owners of their
taxis. At least they could keep their entire fare, minus expenses.
But this is rare in big cities like Sao Paulo, NY, Hong Kong, Paris or LA
where most untrained drivers leases their vehicles by paying a daily rate
out of their incoming fares plus the cost of gas. From experience we
learned that where businesses are in the care of its owners we can find
a higher level of commitment to consumer’s contentment.
Taxi owners have a plenty of benefits in Brazil. To offer a medium to low
quality important public service they can buy new cars with 30%
discount, receive financing incentives and the exemption of the annual
licensing tax which is due by every auto owner in Brazil. They can even
have exclusive free parking in public spaces for customer`s waiting
among other benefits which cost them irrelevant taxes.
On the other hand such generous system is not focused on monitoring
and punishing basic issues such as illegal cars, not licensed drivers
including potential ones with extensive criminal records, pending transit
fines and so on. I pay taxes for rendering my consulting services but I`m
not sure that all taxi drivers are paying theirs!
A taxi license (“medallion”) is a legal business elsewhere but in Brazil
self-employed drivers cannot legally negotiate their licenses. But is well
known that such unlawful deals occurs all around.
I’m sure I didn`t approach the exceptions all over the world where taxi
drivers are rendering a valuable and significant service but, on average,
I couldn`t meet them in enough data as to cause me a better impression.
I believe that Uber helped to improve taxi services and was not created
to replace them. Most of professionals criticizes such innovative service
but I see it as inevitable so its better to deal with all the challenges
involved such as positioning, communication, branding, marketing
strategy and so on.
After all Uber has to do with high standards of quality, services, respect
and the strict supervision of consumers. As long as they keep such
standards (positioning) more and more taxi drivers will have to combat
their old-fashioned style by working well and provide a better service.