According to Bill Rouse, the GM of Yellow Cabs of Los Angeles, riding in an Uber car is more dangerous than catching a traditional cab. Firstly, he says, there’s a chance that your driver might be a convicted felon – a situation, he says, that was particularly true of some of the earliest Uber drivers in Los Angeles. Equally worrying, Rouse says, there are “major gaps” in Uber’s insurance which is putting the public at rest in such tragic cases as the death of the six-year old girl, Sophia Liu, on New Year’s Eve of last year.
The key issue, Rouse says, is regulation. The self regulation of the sharing economy, he insists, “doesn’t work”. So not only does Uber need to change its insurance policy to cover their cars 100% of the time, but vehicle inspection needs to be put into place and there needs to be much more extensive checks of drivers’ backgrounds.
But for all his criticism of Uber, Rouse accepts that some of their drivers are happy. And he also acknowledges that the traditional yellow cab industry needs to change. In particular, he says, taxis in Los Angeles and San Francisco need to increase supply if they are to effectively compete against Uber and Lyft.