It seems like the word “Uber” has become synonymous with “taxi” these days, but according to the company, that’s not something they’re OK with.
The popular e-hailing app has provided services to millions of users across the world, and saw its popularity in South Africa skyrocket shortly after its introduction in 2014. The group have also launched their takeaway delivery service – UberEats – to much acclaim in Mzansi.
However, calling them a taxi service really doesn’t tick their boxes. We’ve seen previous communications where Uber representatives have asked for the “t-word” to be dropped from any description of the company.
Well, a company spokesperson responded to our queries and claimed that the devil is in the detail. Drivers have a certain “flexibility” when it comes to how and when they work, and they aren’t technically employed in a direct partnership with Uber.
The company claim that these people are just “connecting” two parties who require a service – one who wants to travel somewhere, and another who would like to be paid for giving them a lift:
“Uber does not employ the driver-partners. But using our technology through the app, we connect people that provide transportation services with others who need rides. The drivers who use our app are totally free to choose if, when and where they accept rider requests; they are not obligated to work a required number of hours or shifts.” – Uber’s official spokesperson.
However, many Uber drivers may not be legally obligated to work shifts, but those who rely on it as a sole source of income still have to put in long hours at peak times to make a living. Plus, their explanation still sounds a lot like how any other business works.
Nonetheless, we respectfully accept how Uber wishes to identify. They prefer another “t-word”, with their official term of reference being a “technology company”, rather than a taxi service.
So the next time you hop in a technology to get to work – because they’re generally cheaper than taking a metered technology and save you from queuing at a technology rank – you’ll be a little wiser.