If you haven’t heard of Uber or Lyft yet, then you’ve been living under a rock for the last five years. (Apologies accepted.) But have you thought about hiring a Lyft driver or an Uber transportation service lately and realized that it’s not exactly what you’re looking for? Yeah, most people are too. There’s an ever-growing trend of people traditionally familiar with raid-hailing companies (i.e. taxis) to hire “ride-sharing” services like the above-mentioned when they go for a night-on-the-town or even to a business meeting. By the way, don’t ever call Uber “ride-sharing”, you should call them transportation network companies (TNC).
90,000 TNC Rides in Seattle Now
Lately, though, consumers are noticing (and feeling) a huge gap in the transportation industry; limousine companies (AKA “black car services”) are being pushed out by these mega-companies. But are they? It would appear at face-value that luxury transportation is losing a footing in the market. After all, The Seattle Times reported that 90K people use TNC services now, which exceeds the city’s light rail service. Uber and Lyft even launched their own versions of luxury transportation services called Black and Lux, respectively; however, if you actually look closely, those services still leave a huge gap in the transportation market. Do you really think that customers/clients which previously used black car services will switch to being picked up by random strangers driving a “luxury vehicle”? Yeah, um no. They’re not.
Do you know why they won’t switch? Privacy, that’s why.
Imagine for a moment… you’re a frequent traveler for business and you fly into SeaTac; you always hire a black car service from one of your favorite providers in the city and you fly into Seattle about twice a month from Texas, New York City (NYC), or Silicon Valley. Your income is over 150K per year, and value is important to you. You value your career, your time, and your safety. Each time you fly into the city, you’re greeted by the same driver (or set of drivers) that takes you to-and-from your hotel and/or convention center each time. There’s a relationship of trust, and of rapport.
Why would you change this? You wouldn’t.
Scared Straight in an Uber
There’s a fairly recent Reddit comment that describes the horror of not only riding in an Uber but also driving an Uber. The user describes how one night, they picked up two young college girls on a Friday night and took the two youngsters to their desired location. After they get out of the vehicle, the Uber driver is shocked to notice that those two “innocent but drunk college girls” slashed and stabbed the leather in the driver’s car. Not only did the girls deface their property, but after reviewing the dash cam, they were surprised to see the two girls making gun gestures to the driver behind their back. Kinda creepy right?
In another incident, a black man is harassed and threatened by another black woman ( Uber rider) about how much of a terrible person he is because he didn’t have an iPhone charger in his car. The woman states that she will accuse the man of raping her, and then punch herself in the face to prove that “he did it”. The man keeps calm and eventually the woman gets out of his car. She never pays for the ride, and the guy gets it all on tape.
Now, don’t you feel safe renting an Uber or Lyft in Seattle? I don’t think so.
Airport Black Car Services vs. Uber/Lyft
According to a study from UC Davis, when individuals were asked if they would consider using Seattle’s public transit if an TNC was available, the majority said “no”. Even though Uber estimates that only 1.5% of trips in the Seattle region are attributed to “ride-sharing” services like Uber. do you really know the difference between using them and using a limousine service or private luxury transportation company? A few things to consider when taking “an Uber or Lyft”.
Let’s break down the actual pros of using a black car service AND taking an Uber like those in the Seattle, Washington area versus grabbing an Uber at 2:00 AM when you’re wasted and need to get to your hotel room. We’re not going to discuss the cons, just the pros of each one and let you decide. But first…
have you ever used a black car service? If you haven’t then chances are pretty high that you’re not going to start now. So keep taking your TNC. 😉
The Pros of Taking an Uber
- Uber and Lyft have great apps and they’re easy to use. It’s not rocket science to prove that Uber and Lyft’s mobile applications are some of the best in the world. And because of their amazing apps, comes a great user experience and high engagements.
- TNCs are more readily available when you’re in a pinch. Hammered on a Saturday night, fear not, Uber is here! Yeah, you get the point. Driver-availability is through the roof and
- They’re cheap; however, when high demand is high for the social transportation platforms, surge-pricing practice or pricing rounding will often double or even triple which makes these trips not affordable for most.
The Pros of Taking Luxury Vehicle Transportation
- Security. We talked about this before, but for those individuals that value privacy, they also value security. Black car services are maintained by working professionals that call their cars “home”. This is a huge pro for those that want a personalized service to an already-busy and hectic weekend, or weekday business trip.
- Private transportation services generally manage all your transportation needs for a particular time period. In town for a business trip and need to get to a restaurant directly from the airport? Luxury vehicle services will most likely take care of that for you.
- They’re vetted. A lot of luxury transport companies take vetting extremely serious. If you hire a black car service, there’s a good chance your driver will already have his/her background checked and driving record reviewed and approved.
- High-Standards. If you get out of an Uber and your driver comes to open the door for you, explain to that individual that they’re in the wrong business. But seriously, they are. Uber drivers don’t hold doors for you, but corporate and business transportation service drivers do. They’re like a waiter on wheels. Professionalism is guaranteed from the drivers as they are seasoned, experienced drivers that have to go through extensive training and background checks to transport anyone in their service vehicle.
- Knowledge. Drivers have fantastic, local knowledge of the city you’re in (in this case Bellingham, WA.) and will probably make suggestions for: restaurants, popular sites, of-the-beaten-path scenes, and other local insights.
So do you think you’ve got what it takes to survive the brutal cut-throat environment of Uber, the TNCs, the Lyfts, ride-sharing, ride-networking, car-pooling, vehicle-sharing services of any major city like LA or San Fransisco or Seattle? If you can’t describe the industry, then how can you describe the experience? You can’t.
We’ll let you decide on a guaranteed luxury car experience or a shot-in-the-dark with door number two.