The readers’ forum

Uber challenges the status quo

 

Although our airport, for years an embarrassment, has finally been upgraded to meet modern standards, Miami-Dade's taxi service continues to embarrass. Cabs in bad shape and unfriendly drivers are the rule, not the exception.

Enter Uber. This past Memorial Day weekend, my family and I traveled to Washington D.C. One of our sons, who attends school in the area, turned us on to Uber. It is a terrific system. You download the Uber app and you're ready to start calling for rides immediately.

The cars were all in great shape, especially the black-car service, the drivers were unfailingly polite and courteous, the cars showed up on time and the fares were very competitive. The app allows the passengers to rate the drivers, and the rating appears on the Uber app. It also tells you how close the car is to you. And, at the end of your ride, your Uber account gets billed and you don't have to worry about making payment to the driver. You simply step out of the cab and thank the driver who, incidentally, has probably already thanked you for riding with him or her — imagine that!

I agree with the Miami-Dade taxicab industry on one thing: It is right to fear competition from Uber and similar services. Competition, however, is actually a good thing. This is not a matter of subjecting the taxi industry to unfair burdens in order to compete.

The stark fact is that the taxi industry in most major cities has evolved with the times, while ours has not. That is why, when one can use credit cards to pay for cabs in other major cities, there was a huge battle earlier this year to require cabs here to start taking them, and then only in the next two years.

It took years for MIA to improve in spite of Miami-Dade politics. Remember when it was the only major U.S. airport without baggage carts? But instead of improving to effectively compete, the taxi industry continues to use its political influence, such as campaign contributions, to thwart competition and reform, the residents be damned.

Thus, it was not a surprise to read that, after refusing to license Uber, our county government is actually fining it for operating. Sadly, it looks like our politicians — with few notable exceptions such as Mayor Carlos Gimenez — continue to be guided by their self-interest (campaign coffers) rather than by what is best for the residents who elected them.

At the end of the day, that is the high fare that all in the community must pay.

Carlos M. Sires, Pinecrest

Read more Letters to the Editor stories from the Miami Herald

  • The readers’ forum

    Why Zo is the Heat’s MVP

    The Miami Heat lost the battle against the San Antonio Spurs for the NBA title and the subsequent battle against the Cleveland Cavaliers for LeBron James. However, the Heat won the more-important war with Miami-Dade County for what has been referred to by some as a sweetheart deal for the AmericanAirlines Arena.

  • New Dade County Youth Fair

    As a lifelong resident of Miami-Dade, a business leader and a member of the Florida International University President’s Council, I would like to thank our Miami-Dade commissioners and Mayor Carlos Gimenez for their reaffirming support to provide additional county-owned land for FIU adjacent to its Tamiami Campus and to find a new, suitable location for the youth fair.

  • Healthcare issues

    Re the article Doctors declining to accept Obamacare plans came at an interesting time for me. I knew it wouldn't be easy carrying insurance purchased through the exchange, as everything comes with a price, but I had no idea it would be so difficult to find a doctor that accepts said insurance.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category