There are plenty of pros and cons when it comes to deciding whether to use a traditional taxi service or a ride-hailing app, but the one thing you should never compromise on is safety. Either way you’re trusting a stranger with transporting you and your loved ones, but which one is the more reliable bet? What’s safer, taxis or ride-hailing services?
Vehicle and driver standards
While ride-hailing is still fairly new legal territory, bylaws have been put in place in recent years to bring it closer to the level of regulation of taxis, and the basic requirements are now fairly similar. Industry regulations and requirements for both industries differ depending on the location, but overall both taxi and Uber drivers are subject to license, registration, insurance, and vehicle inspections, as well as background checks.
In Ontario, Uber drivers must be over 21, and vehicles can be no older than 10 years old, with slightly stricter standards in Hamilton and Toronto (nine years and seven years respectively). As for taxi companies, Torontonian drivers by law have to be at least 18, and vehicle models can be no older than seven years old.
While this might seem like it puts ride-hailing on par with traditional taxis, there is one other factor to think about: oversight. Uber and Lyft might have the latest technology at their disposal, but because they are vast tech companies, their main avenues for monitoring driver performance are customer ratings and location tracking.
Taxi companies, on the other hand, benefit from being able to check performance and vehicle condition in person and at any time, not just at the initial sign-up, so this round goes to the taxi companies.
Cashless payment limiting the chances of robberies or payment disputes, instant rating systems that let you leave real-time feedback, seeing the driver’s photo and contact information before the ride, and passenger access to tracking information are all safety pluses for the ride-hailing side.
While there are plenty of tech-enabled taxi companies that also have these features, it comes down to the choice of each individual taxi company. For that reason, ride-hailing services have the edge here.
So what if the worst actually happens and you’re in an accident?
If you’ve been following ride-hailing news, you’ve no doubt already heard some of the worst stories, and how the companies have changed policies to make their passengers feel more secure.
The thing is, ride-hailing services are not nearly as responsible for what happens in their rides as taxi companies are because their drivers are independent contractors, not employees, and they have no ownership over the vehicles. Uber’s terms and conditions even state that the company is not liable for any damages resulting from personal injury or property damage when using their services.
Still, they do offer additional insurance, and if you are injured in an accident, the amount of additional coverage the driver gets could impact how much compensation you are eligible for. Both Uber and Lyft have insurance programs that only kick in when the driver uses the app to start a ride, and part of the coverage is dependent on them already having their own personal contingent and collision coverage (which they should have, to be fair).
On top of the usual mandatory insurance, taxis must also have additional levels of insurance, including insurance for damage to a passenger’s property, which is notably absent from ride-hailing services.
Overall, despite the efforts of regulators and the companies themselves to amp up security, taxi companies have the more passenger-friendly policies, at least where safety is concerned.
While you can try to prepare for the worst, you can’t anticipate everything, and car accidents can be debilitating. If you or someone you love is involved in an accident, contact Helping Hand at 1-844-288-HURT to find out if you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries.