Travelling for young people could not be easier in the 21st century. Modern technology has made it quick and effective to find accommodations, restaurants, and perhaps most importantly, transportation. Tourists in Madrid can travel from place to place with modern chauffeur services such as Uber and Cabify. These services offer several benefits over the traditional taxi, such as shorter wait times and payment through the app rather than exchanging cash in person. In addition, these new services have opened room for competition in the market, resulting in lowered prices – a significant benefit for young people travelling on a budget.
While both Uber and Cabify experienced rocky beginnings and extreme opposition from the previously-unchallenged taxi industry, a lot of millennials, myself included, think the new services are far more effective and economical for travellers, with Cabify, in my opinion, ultimately being the best transport service for young people.
For starters, these services offer economical benefits. As of 2013, Uber introduced the new UberX, lowering the average Uber fare by 10 per cent in comparison to a taxi. In August of 2016 a Deloitte Report found that Uber rides were on average 20 per cent cheaper than a taxi. This means individuals using Uber have more money leftover to spend on food, shopping and nightlife.
The Deloitte study also shows that people spend approximately 8 minutes waiting for a taxi, as opposed to just 4.5 minutes for an Uber, meaning that on average, Australians alone could save 800,000 hours just by using Uber instead of a taxi.
In May 2017, techcrunch.com reported that Cabify had raised close to $100 million as part of an effort to expand in Latin America and Brazil. The media outlet attributes Cabify’s success to recent scandals within Uber that have resulted in negative publicity.
For example #DeleteUber began trending on Twitter after Uber continued to offer its services around John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York where taxi drivers were not available as a protest against President Trump’s travel ban.
In addition to Uber’s temporary ban, some consumers may prefer Cabify due to the recent allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination in the top levels of Uber management. The blatant sexism reported by many female employees working in the corporation is something many people will not want to support. Even so, Uber has made personnel changes at the top and has indicated it wants to change some of its policies.
Madrid resident Camila Lopez, 20, says she prefers to use Cabify over any other transportation service. “I prefer Cabify because it works perfectly in Madrid. It arrives very fast to pick you up and it is usually cheaper than taxi and Uber,” she explains.
She does admit she occasionally takes a taxi due to their convenience. “I usually take a taxi if I am in a rush because I can get one easily just by standing in front of my house.” She continues, “I also take taxi sometimes when going out with friends at night because we can get it whenever we want.”
In addition, some users may prefer Cabify because of the backlash Uber received when it initially started up in Spain. In 2013, before Uber was officially legalized, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that a mass taxi strike was held in several European cities, including Madrid, as an outcry against Uber and Cabify, with the taxi drivers alleging unfair competition. They argued that these new transportation services had an unfair advantage as their regulations were less severe.
While Cabify never had any issues with Madrid city regulations, Uber was banned from Madrid for a brief stint before returning in March of 2016.
However, Uber eventually showed its willingness to comply with the city when they changed their model to fit with Madrid regulations – something previously unseen in the other European cities where Uber had forced its way in to.
Despite this, the tensions are still raw. The main associations representing taxi drivers called a 24-hour taxi strike towards the end of my trip to Madrid, demanding further action against services such as Uber and Cabify. El País newspaper reported a broad following among taxi drivers for the strike in Madrid and Barcelona.
On one of my Uber trips in Madrid, my driver Omar said he thinks the regulations for Uber are quite high, explaining all drivers undergo extensive background checks and drive specially marked vehicles, typically black vehicles with VTC letters. He doesn’t think Uber drivers have an unfair advantage. A recent driver of only 3 months, he says he’s never experienced any harassment or issues from a taxi driver and doesn’t know anyone who has.
The regulations put in place, such as background checks, are working for users. Lopez says, “I have personally never felt insecure in any of them,” regarding her safety in Cabify, Uber, and taxis.
Lopez says she uses Cabify simply because it is cheaper. “I have been using Cabify for 2 years. I had the Uber app for a bit longer but don’t use it that much.” She went on to say that she would only use Uber over Cabify if they had a special promotion going on.
Although the companies were not immediately accepted in Madrid, this was the case for every city they were introduced to. New ideas are often met with skepticism and only become normalized over time. Young people should use Cabify because it is safer, more economical, and because the corporation shows respect for the cities it operates in as well as its employees.
Uber and Cabify can be accessed via their app, but information on taxis in Madrid can be found here: https://www.madrid-tourist-guide.com/en/transport/madrid-taxi-service.html