UberX, the non-professional version of driver service Uber
, is a rideshare service wherein any Tom, Dick, or Harriet can sign up to be a driver and offer themselves and their vehicle for hire. The whole thing runs on mobile apps; riders use an iOS
device to book rides, and drivers use the same to accept a gig, process payments, and of course, navigate.
Like other similar rideshare services, there are obvious (and serious) pitfalls to this sort of paradigm. To help things a bit, Uber is introducing a $1 Safe Rides Fee
to uberX fares in the U.S., which gives riders the peace of mind that their drivers has undergone “an industry-leading background check process, regular motor vehicle checks, driver safety education, development of safety features in the app, and insurance.”
A buck seems like a small price to pay for all of the above, although it does beg the question of why that wouldn’t all be included standard.
Competitor Lyft, for instance, clearly spells out
some driver requirements including passing a phone screen and having an in-person meeting as well as clearing background and DMV checks. Lyft then provides up to a million dollars in liability insurance per occurrence.
Regardless, it’s an interesting approach to getting around a city without your own vehicle.