Taxi drivers protest against Uber

What is Uber? It’s a service which is in competition with taxis. Uber drivers use their own cars.

People wanting to use Uber have to install an app on their phone and enter their credit card information. Then, using GPS on the app, they enter their pick up location and find the nearest driver The price of the ride is agreed on at the beginning. At the end of the ride, the Uber driver debits the credit card. Both driver and passenger give a rating to the service and can comment. The service is usually cheaper than a taxi. Uber takes 20% of the fare.

Most Uber drivers work part-time. They may be students or have another part-time job. They use their own car which has to be less than 10 years old and have a current Warrant of Fitness. Uber checks the criminal and driving record of the drivers. However, they do not have a special passenger licence or third party insurance whereas taxi drivers have to have these. Taxi drivers also have to keep log books to show they are not working too many hours.

Uber started in California in 2009 and has grown rapidly. It’s now worth $US60 billion. Uber says their drivers can earn $25 an hour but in April, Uber dropped the price of rides by 20% so it is harder to earn that much. Uber now has 1700 drivers in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Christchurch taxi drivers protested outside the office of Christchurch Central MP Nicky Wagner. They say that Uber is unfair. They are losing business to unfair competition. For most taxi drivers, this is their full-time business.

Some cities around the world do not allow Uber.

Vocabulary

• debits (v) – takes the money from the account
• rating (n) – eg on a scale of 1 to 5
• current (adj) – has not expired, still true today
• Warrant of Fitness (n) – WOF, check that a vehicle is safe (brakes, tyres etc)
• third party insurance (n) – if the driver hits another vehicle, it covers the cost of repair to that other vehicle
• log book (n) – record of hours worked






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