By any measure, Uber has not had a good year so far in 2017. It seems that as soon as one controversy fades, another one crops up just in time to revitalize the hashtag: #deleteUber. It’s hard to imagine exactly what it might feel like to be on Uber’s crisis management team at the moment, but one imagines that it can’t be particularly pleasant.
In case you’ve been unaware of Uber’s woes, here’s a recap: first there was the company’s ill-timed Tweet which was interpreted as a lack of solidarity with the Trump Travel Ban protestors at New York’s JFK airport back in January. That spawned the aforementioned hashtag and eventually led to Uber CEO’s Travis Kalanick’s decision to step down from the US President’s economic advisory council. Next was the viral tell-all blog post from former Uber engineer, Susan Fowler, which detailed the allegations of sexual harassment she reported to HR while working at the company—and the company’s subsequent refusal to deal with them. And if all that wasn’t bad enough, don’t forget Kalanick getting caught on camera berating one of his own drivers saying “Good luck to you, but I know [you’re not] going to go far!”
With all that controversy, it’s easy to see why people are looking far and wide for suitable alternatives to Uber. This is essential because during its short existence, Uber has become a near-requirement for some people. Meanwhile, the conventional taxi industry has not modernized in the time it’s taken Uber to gain prominence. It’s still not uncommon for taxis to refuse to accept a credit or debit card, and you can’t summon one to your front door with the same ease you can an Uber.
However, not to fear, if you’re offended by any of Uber’s recent gaffes—and quite frankly, it’s rather hard not to be—there are some viable alternatives you can download or hail today.
Download Lyft: Lyft is Uber’s main competitor and has likely been more than happy to absorb customers from Uber in the wake of all its gaffes. It works in much the same way, and in fact many drivers have both apps downloaded on their phones so they can accept rides simultaneously. The downside, of course, is that Lyft does not operate as globally as Uber does. While widely available in the US, it has yet to expand internationally.
Seek out local alternatives: Austin, Texas, home to the highly attended SXSW festival every year, has neither Uber or Lyft as the city requires background checks for drivers, which those apps do not comply with. In the absence of those companies, local alternatives have popped up there. As TechCrunch reported, “these apps all essentially provide the same experience as Uber and Lyft — drop a pin and a car shows up. All of them comply with Austin’s background-check law, and some of them even charge drivers and riders less than Uber and Lyft did.” So it may be the case that your city or area has the same options.
Hailo: One of the biggest gripes of traditional taxis is that they’re not there when you need them. The app Hailo – which operates in 16 cities worldwide – matches taxi drivers and riders via an app. The difference is that the drivers using the app are licensed by the city they operate in. Fares can be higher than Uber, but you have the usual convenience of paying by card and a car on demand.
Waze Carpool: Better known for being a driving directions app owned by Google, Waze has recently introduced a carpool service. As TechCrunch explains, “Unlike Uber and Lyft, the service is not targeting professional drivers, but regular users who want to save some money by sharing their ride. Users can enter their desired destination and see if someone else happens to be headed their way.” While this may not be ideal for rides to dinner or late night rides home, for predictable travel times—such as getting to and from work—it could be just the thing.