Two of my Facebook buds “liked” the Uber ridesharing/taxi service. I know one isn’t a driver, and I don’t think the other one is, but I assume they might have both gotten a ride, or maybe they like the idea of it. In fact, back when I was looking hard for a job, I put Uber and Lyft in my back pocket as something I could do if necessary. I mean, it’s just being a taxi driver using your own car. What could possibly go wrong?
Apparently, a lot, as our friends over at Buzzfeed discovered. Actually, I found out that despite what its name might imply, Buzzfeed wrote an extensively-researched article about Uber which has absolutely convinced me against rolling the dice with Uber, at least for now. Honestly, I like the idea of ridesharing or carpooling, and I'm probably still listed on the Wisconsin rideshare board, still waiting for the phone call to set up a carpool two years later. If it's really ridesharing, I suppose we shouldn't be charging money, but that's an argument for another day.
I’m just going to mention a few highlights from the linked article, since I want them to get most of the hits for their research. I did not conduct my own research, though I got far enough in the signing up process a few months ago to know that my 2009 Lincoln MKZ in black was kind of a preferred car, but not as preferred as a hybrid version.
Anyhow, had I signed up to be a driver, I apparently would have had some decisions to make about the registration and insurance on my car, and this is probably different in each state. I looked into using my veggie oil Mercedes or Suburban as a taxi several years ago, only to learn that they were both considered too old to pass as such in Wisconsin. I never even looking into the insurance, but apparently that would have cost me more than three times more than my current coverage. According to Buzzfeed, Uber is encouraging people to use non-commercial vehicles and not get commercial insurance. I can’t say whether that’s policy or not, but I can say that it is not a worthwhile endeavor if I have to make Lisa’s car commercial-only and pay, let’s assume, five times more in insurance.
The result is that people don’t do it. They don’t make their cars commercial and they don’t get commercial insurance. Uber has coverage for when passengers are in the car or when the car is responding to the app. However, it your real insurance company is not going to cover you at that time, won’t cover you when you’re waiting for a call, and will probably try to get out of covering you on the way to church with your family. On top of that, if you’re the one who gets rear-ended by an private driver in between jobs, you’ll have to sue the individual.
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