Taxicab alternative gets thumbs-up in Charleston

Staff Report
Published July 17, 2014

Respondents to an informal online poll said Charleston needs an alternative to traditional taxicab companies, but several expressed concerns about a new online app that pairs private drivers with riders.

A majority of readers said Uber should be allowed to operate in South Carolina, and they said they would use it in the Charleston area. The company launched in South Carolina last week, which prompted state regulators to declare it illegal.

(Photo/360b/Shutterstock.com)
(Photo/360b/Shutterstock.com)
Not all of the more than 100 respondents thought the mobile application should be exempt from regulations or from fees that taxis and other businesses pay.

The top concerns over using Uber were overall safety and insurance. One reader asked who would pay in case of an accident.

“Most of the cab companies are unresponsive, and not being able to get a cab for a short ride is a major drawback in this city,” the reader wrote. “Have used the bike cabs frequently, and they help with this need. The insurance issues concern me regarding Uber. Not sure who would pay if there were a bad accident and the owner’s insurance company refused to pay.”

Some also expressed concern about riding with a stranger, but several readers who had used Uber in other cities said the drivers were generally easier to get along with and nicer than cab drivers.

More than 81% said Uber was appealing because of ease of use. Access to a mobile app was the second-most appealing aspect of Uber, and one reader said that if taxi companies had a mobile app, they would use that.

Here are a few other selected comments. You can read all of the data and comments farther down. Comments have been edited only for typos.

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“I believe it should be regulated, properly insured and proper commercial drivers’ license such as is required for a taxi or limo operator.”

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“If it’s convenient and legal, and will allow me not to have to drive my car and find parking, I will use it.”

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“The cab and bus service in Charleston is deplorable. The sooner we can get all the politicians out of this mass transport phase of our lives the better. Capitalism is the only answer.”

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“Have used Uber extensively in DC and Boston as a fast, reliable alternative to taxis — which here in Charleston, taxis are neither fast, or reliable.”

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“All transportation services should be held to the same standard regardless of whether they are a mobile app or locally operated business.”

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“Ride-sharing services have been extremely popular and are demanded by consumers. We should not let regulations designed for the past be an impediment to innovative technology in South Carolina.”

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