Uber/Lyft Are Taxi Services

Access via mobile app doesn't change that fact.

April 25, 2016

I think a wee bit too much fuss is being made about the innovation and transformative potential of Uber/Lyft services.

Uber/Lyft are taxi services. Calling them "peer-to-peer" or "ridesharing" or "app-based" doesn't change the fact that someone is chauffeuring someone else around for a fee. Whatever the regulation for taxi service, it should be the same for all.

Uber is not Peer-to-peer because a third party (Uber) mediates the transaction between driver and rider. It is in fact the service provider: it develops and markets the service, sets prices, receives and makes payments, and is the employer of the driver.

Uber is not a ridesharing service; it is a taxi service because one person (driver) is hired to chauffeur another person (rider). There is no sharing; the trip serves only the rider.

"Ridesharing" is when two or more people share a trip. That's called car pooling. Of course, two or more customers can and occasionally do share a taxi ride. Uber has an mobile app feature to facilitate this. A good idea.

Also, there are not fewer trips or vehicle miles traveled with Uber/Lyft service or other types of taxi services. In fact, taxi services cause extra vehicle miles traveled due to "taxiing" and driving to pick up a customer. To reduce vehicle miles traveled would require car pooling or mass transit---Let's focus on that.

Carlo Moneti