July 24, 2017
Viewpoint

Trust your business to vetted car services

Brian Hogan

The best place to start with any discussion about Uber is the company's terms & conditions statement, which reads; "You understand, therefore, that by using the application and the service, you may be exposed to transportation that is potentially dangerous, offensive, harmful to minors, unsafe or otherwise objectionable, and that you use the application and the service at your own risk." Well, there's a red flag.

I would venture to guess most Uber drivers are hard-working, honest folks. But this disclaimer drives home the fact that Uber does not have the vetting process undertaken by licensed limousine companies. The drivers are independent contractors fighting for the next fare. Anyone who has a car and license to drive it could be pulling up in front of you.

Furthermore, it is important to know, as a business owner, the vehicle you are trusting your valued employees to be driven in has documented reports of continued upkeep and maintenance, and that all insurance policies are posted and ready for inspection. Business travelers need to think of Uber as what it really is, just another version of a taxi service, a nameless, faceless car waiting to be electronically hailed. Familiarity is the key here, as most business travelers prefer to work with chauffeurs who they are familiar with because they have used them in the past, who know their likes (morning paper and bottled water) and dislikes (loud music blasting from the radio).

Another key difference, and one that can't be overlooked, is in order to save significant money an Uber driver may not be reporting to their insurance carrier they drive for Uber. Therefore, should an accident occur, the Uber driver may not have the proper insurance coverage. On the other hand, most limousine companies will have a million-dollar policy in place per accident.

Yes, Uber has developed a demographic niche. Maybe it's a young couple heading home from a restaurant, or a small group heading out at closing time when driving their car is not a wise option. But executives often look at other factors when choosing transportation – like the customer service training and vetting level of the chauffeur, and the overall quality of the vehicle. And for the most part, Uber doesn't currently fit into that level of corporate service.

So as an industry, we are tasked to deliver the service, the drivers, the vehicles, and, perhaps most importantly, the peace of mind to our business clients. As limousine and car service operators, this should always be in our corporate DNA. No matter who or what the competition is.

Brian Hogan is president of Corporate Coach & Limousine in Westford.

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