Taxis, Ubers and the Bitter Pill – by Lucy Watson
Ok, so it’s a Friday night, and you’re a bit thirsty. This a perfectly reasonable thing for you to be feeling – it’s the weekend. You’ve had a tough week at work and you’d just like to unwind. So imagine you walk into a bar. After all, bars serve drinks, don’t they? And drinks are delicious and refreshing. Only when you get to the bar it takes 20-30 minutes for the bartender to arrive. You stand there. You check your watch. “This is odd,” you think. “It’s a Friday night. Aren’t they expecting me?”
Suddenly they appear; 3 or 4 bartenders rush in, but they keep just walking past you, for no apparent reason, even though they don’t appear to be busy. “How weird, isn’t it their job to serve me?”
Finally one of them comes up to you and asks you what you want. When you say, “Just a beer, please.” he walks off, as this order is not big enough to warrant his time. “But,” you think, shaking your head in confusion, “I just want a beer, isn’t this the place I come for that?”
After another interminably long and frustrating time another bartender comes up to you. He’s on the phone to someone else but takes your order. When you ask for a beer, he rolls his eyes, says OK and continues talking on the phone. He then wanders around the bar for another ten minutes, and can’t seem to find the beer anywhere. It’s like he doesn’t know where he’s going. He also continues talking on the phone this entire time. You try to talk to him a couple of times, but then you realise he’s not talking to you. I mean, why would he be talking to you, he’s only serving you?!
After what seems like forever, you get your beer. You go to pay, and get out your credit card. He tells you there will be a surcharge for using your card. “WTAF?! It’s 2015?! Why would I be charged extra to pay by card?!”
The next morning you wake up, and you realise that you left your bag at the bar, so you ring head office, but there is no record of who was serving you, or that you were even there.
Would you go back to that bar? Of course you wouldn’t. Except if that bar was the only bar in town, so if you wanted a drink, it was the only place you could go.
Until, all of a sudden, there’s a new bar in town. There’s lots of bar staff, and they’re always very prompt and friendly with their service. You know their name, and you can even rate them, so you know you’re getting the best service. The drinks are cheaper, and not only are you not penalised for using a card, you are charged automatically so you don’t even have to worry about paying! It would seem like a miracle.
Now would you go back to the old bar? Of course you wouldn’t.
That’s why taxis striking today is so ridiculous. This isn’t about regulations, or fairness. This is about service.
People use Uber because it offers them something they have been missing. You want to beat them, taxi drivers? Don’t look at the government. Look at your customers. They’re the ones you’ve been driving past on Smith St at 1am. They’re the ones you’re charging extra for using a credit card. They’re the ones you’re not talking to in the back of your car when you drive them home. They’re the ones who have good money, and just want a safe, comfortable and pleasant drive home.
You want to win? Do better.