March 25, 2017

Letter to the Editor: Response to #DeleteUber

By Webster sports announcer John Hoffmann 

I read and enjoyed your recent column that included references to cab drivers and Uber.  A Trump spokesperson could not have done a better job.

I say this as someone who worked 30 years in law enforcement, including five years as the chief investigator for the Montgomery County Maryland Transportation Division overseeing the taxicab industry in suburban Washington, D.C.

I have also worked on and off in journalism as a feature writer, columnist, sportswriter and as a news reporter for several magazines covering the Department of Justice and Congress in Washington, DC. After returning to St. Louis I was an editor for a TV/radio news service and an AOL columnist.  I now operated a news website that covers West County.    

Here is the big problem with your column. Twice you wrote about cab drivers belonging to unions.  They don’t belong to unions.  They are independent contractors.

The apps to get an Uber are great.  The problem is that first of all there is a limited amount of business for the taxi industry.  Competition is good however, when you flood the playing field with too many service providers there is not enough business for the Uber drivers and the taxi drivers to make a living.

The other problem is public safety.  Taxi companies are required to have the cars inspected and provide proof they are being serviced showing they are safe.  Uber drivers don’t have to provide that. Also, background checks by fingerprinting will reveal arrests from out of state jurisdictions. Uber refuses to have their drivers fingerprinted.  Cab drivers must have fingerprint background checks.

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