I have no real issue with Uber’s business idea. I find it progressive, innovative, and as an entrepreneur I admire the Uber movement. This company is essentially a technology company and it’s good at what it does – connect riders with drivers, and build community. But sadly, that’s about all they’re good at.
UberX vehicles have to be 4-door vehicles 2005 or newer. That means, the vehicle could be up to 11 years old! I am willing to bet that most riders believe the UberX vehicles are safe, mechanically-speaking. After all, every vehicle has to undergo the Uber Vehicle Inspection. Check out their inspection form with me. There is absolutely no mention of brake lights, reverse lights, or daytime running lights! It’s not listed on the inspection form, Uber doesn’t even acknowledge that a technician should check it as part of their safety inspection.
Other items missing include leaks in the fuel system, exhaust system, and brake hydraulic system as well as rust in the frame or floor panels. These are just a few of the items missing completely from the inspection form. So now you can have a vehicle with fuel leaking and Uber deems this car safe! Heaven forbid you create a spark near this vehicle — KABOOM.
It’s not the driver’s fault, really. All they know is that they gave an Uber form to the technician to fill out. Why would the driver question Uber’s form? They would assume that Uber is asking technicians to inspect all safety items. And now you know how their preferred garages (Canadian Tire and Midas, to name a few) can charge $34.95 for such a subpar inspection! A Ministry safety inspection goes for over $100 at the same garages.
Uber misleads riders and drivers into believing that they are in a safe vehicle. The Ontario Ministry of Transportation has very specific requirements about what is road worthy. Consider this, a vehicle could be safe according to Uber yet fail miserably when held to the provincial safety standards.
Want to compare something? Toronto’s taxi industry has their vehicles inspected by the city twice per year. According to Kristine Hubbard, Operations Manager with Beck Taxi, "every taxi is required to attend the inspection facility on Eastern Avenue twice a year in order to operate. This is not specific to Beck Taxi, it is a requirement for every taxi licensed by the City of Toronto and is arranged directly between the City and the taxi owner/operator."
Listen, I’m not for taxis or for Uber. Honestly, when a car comes in for safety inspection I don’t care which company it’s from – I am looking at whether it’s safe or not, according to the Ministry’s rules. It’s my trade license on the line, you know. uberX vehicles are commercial in nature – they’re used to directly generate profit. If they want to continue with this business model, I am suggesting that at minimum they undergo a yearly provincial safety inspection.
Think twice the next time you jump into that uberX vehicle.