Since the original publication of this article Uber has returned to San Antonio and Lyft is now offered here.
Warning this post will be full on rant mode.
I got an email yesterday evening that really upset me. It was from Uber notifying its San Antonio customers that it was leaving the San Antonio market.
Why does this have me so furious?
Not allowing Uber to remain in San Antonio is an injustice to the city’s residents. In case you don’t know the details let me review the situation for you.
Uber began operating in the San Antonio area in spring of 2014. After many months of negotiations, the city of San Antonio decided that each Uber drivers needed to carry $200,000 in excessive insurance. (Coming from someone who was an insurance salesperson for 2 years, that is a lot! And definitely not inexpensive for a driver. Most people carry $25,000- $50,000)
Why is this regulation insane?
Think about it like this: most uber drivers aren’t driving Ubers for funsies. They are doing it for extra funds. Having to purchase that much additional insurance would more than likely cancel out any additional funds they made driving for Uber.
What do I have to say to the city I love that has greatly pissed me and a large part of its community off?
San Antonio is one of the fastest growing cities in the country! It is constantly being ranked on different list including Milken Institute’s list of Top 25 Best-Performing Large Cities 2014 and #4 in U.S. Population Growth.
San Antonio was also listed on Trulia.com list of 10 Surprisingly Hot Markets for Millennials. As a millennial, it is astonishing to me that one of the most fastest growing cities would keep its citizens from something that could save so many lives. Another list San Antonio maintains a place on is DWI’s and death in alcohol-related crashes. According to Madd.org Texas leads the nation in deaths caused by drunk drivers and had almost 100,000 DWI arrests in 2013.
Officials argue that if these drivers wouldn’t take a taxi then they wouldn’t take an Uber, but Uber customers aren’t Yellow Cab customers. Yes, Uber is more trendy than a taxi but that isn’t its only advantage.
Uber is quicker to call than a taxi. Because there are so many Uber drivers you can often find one less than 10 minutes away, while calling a taxi to a non-downtown location can take up to half an hour. Uber also has more convenient payment options, it comes directly out of your Uber account, no money changes hands. Uber is arguably safer. You receive a photo of your driver and the make and model of their vehicle before they arrive. There is little way of knowing that your taxi driver is actually a taxi driver before you get into their vehicle and not someone who may have stolen or carjacked the taxi. Uber is also typically less expensive than a taxi and offers rewards to repeat users and users who refer the service. Yellow cab doesn’t do this.
Millennials are all about brand loyalty, customer rewards, deals and convenience. There are not customer rewards with Yellow Cab.
During the 1 year Uber has been in Bexar County, I have used it on countless occasions. During my nearly 8 years in San Antonio I’ve used a taxi twice.
Not only are you cheating Uber drivers out of secondary income, which is great for the economy, but you are taking a wonderful system away from residents that could save lives and make our streets safer.
What do you think? Do you use Uber? Should San Antonio lower the insurance requirements? Tell me below.