Uber May Bring UberX to South Jersey

It’s probably illegal in Philadelphia.

uber-philadelphia-uberx-south-jersey-940

Over the weekend, a colleague told me that he had seen an Uber Philadelphia advertisement soliciting drivers for UberX, the low-cost Uber alternative that exists in some 40 U.S. markets, from Boston and New York to Milwaukee and Tulsa.

I thought it a bit odd, since UberX is very similar to SideCar, the car service app that was so memorably booted out of Philadelphia in 2013 by the Philadelphia Parking Authority. While an Uber driver is a licensed limo driver who shows up in a suit and a nice black sedan, your UberX or SideCar driver is basically your Uncle John in his flannel shirt and 2009 Buick. And the PPA, which regulates taxis and limousines in Philadelphia, doesn’t like that very much.




But it turns out that Uber is looking to bring UberX not to Philadelphia but to South Jersey, where there's no PPA to get in the way. A spokesperson for Uber told me that the company is "testing the viability" of UberX in South Jersey. Legally speaking, an UberX driver would be able to pick up from South Jersey and drop off in Philadelphia, but they wouldn't be allowed to pick up in Philadelphia. "The city of Philadelphia has proven time and time again to be against innovation," the spokesperson added.

To the customer, UberX works the same as Uber. You pull up the Uber app, select UberX, pinpoint your location, and an UberX driver will be dispatched. The app will display the driver's photo, name and license plate number. And also as with Uber, there's no cash or tipping involved, since everything goes onto your registered credit card.

I've used UberX in both New York and Boston, and I have to say that the UberX slogan (above) is true. They really are better, faster, and cheaper than a taxi. But like SideCar, UberX has had its share of legal issues, including in Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

It remains to be seen how the various municipalities of South Jersey will deal with UberX, but with the number of friends I have who have received DUIs in the Garden State, UberX sounds like a very good idea.

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  • DTurner

    How about more Zipcars in SJ as well?

  • MichaelTompson

    Ride-sharing companies are breaking laws and regulations every day. From regulatory fee evasion to use of smartphone while driving (and even two smartphones(!) as was recently uncovered by Mr. Raplan – an undercover reporter who drove one of the ride-sharing cabs for a week and had far from stellar results). Use of smartphone(s) while driving is strictly prohibited and is a major cause of serious, fatal, accidents. In fact, ride-sharing drivers were already involved in fatal and severe accidents. With no commercial liability insurance to cover losses and medical bills involved. Most readers would likely already know, the commercial liability insurance expense and enforcement is just not there for any of the ride-sharing law-breakers. To make things worse, ride-sharing drivers were also caught engaging in other criminal activities while driving passengers. The bottom line is that regulators who blindly support ride-sharing law-breaking model are gravely wrong and misguided.

    • Handy Graph

      Please back up your accusations with some citations.

      • MichaelTompson
        • Handy Graph

          Letters to the editor and a slanted accident report?

          Fine. Outlaw cars altogether. Oh, while you’re at it, outlaw pedestrians.
          No need for car or pedestrian bureaucrats though. Too bad for them.

          • MichaelTompson

            Breaking laws and price gauging by ride-sharing corporations that already are valued in BILLIONS is not a laughing matter…

            I understand your intention to ridicule my posts and take them to the extremes by adding your own misdirections such as “Outlaw cars altogether” but this is a losing proposition on your part.

            You can’t play the words game for long…. same as “ride-sharing” is not really a ride-sharing but corporate-controlled for-profit for-hire transportation service.

          • Handy Graph

            The laws you sissies set up to protect yourselves are laughable, baby boy.

          • MichaelTompson

            The laws that you, a young and obviously very naive futurist, claim to be laughable have evolved for over many decades. These laws and regulations are more mature, consistent, fair and logical in their present form than a mind of a futurist could ever be. But why raise self higher when one can believe cheap ads and smiley ride-sharing actor pics? Why dig dipper? Why look beyond advertisements and ride-sharing self-promotions when one can call the other a sissie and be done? When insults become the main tactic and intentional strategy executed by ride-sharing followers, physical aggression must not be that far away… I hope your otherwise not very handy graph points to other direction, HandyGraph.

          • Handy Graph

            Started driving a cab on the south side of Chicago in 1973 after two tours in combat zones.
            Driving cabs and owning cab companies were never full time jobs to me. Providing quality service to worthy customers is fun no matter what area: Plumbing to roofing to wiring… In no case does regulation or taxation add quality or reduce cost.
            I was one of a few drivers back in the 70s who had “safe passage” from the original Blackstone Rangers. That was a medallion cab in Chicago when the City was a war zone itself. I’m a white guy who never backed down to some of those black thugs whose names have become infamous since. I bought my own UHF radios to communicate with them, and I was their first call. My reliable service to them, when no one else would venture into their turf, paid a large part of my tuition bills.
            When I haven’t been deployed overseas ever since, I’ve dabbled in transportation services in five major metropolitan areas. There isn’t any government “official” in any one or the surrounding suburbs that isn’t for sale. In many cases they own their own cab companies and are protecting their own “turf.
            The underside of corruption is no more apparent than in the regulated cab business. Uber is appropriately named. It will soar high above the old model you seem to love.
            My guys and I service more than just the bad neighborhoods now. We’re regional.

          • MichaelTompson

            “In no case does regulation or taxation add quality or reduce cost.” — this is not about costs, this is about conducting one’s business as a law abiding unit or a bullying private for-profit corporation that is valued far more than ANY medallion company out there. I pay taxes – it’s a burden don’t get me wrong – but it’s part of doing business. Having double standards just because one business is valued in billions and is offering a fancy GPS-app is unfair. And likely corrupt.
            Uber was originally named Uber Cab. Then, after the owners – California billionaires, realized that they can play with words, laws and regulations – they quickly renamed it to Uber. You see, by claiming to NOT provide a for-hire chauffeuring service (which it no doubt is), but a “ride-sharing” service, ride-sharers were able to skip on regulatory and taxation costs. But even here they misfired because many states have ride-sharing DEFINED and they are clearly NOT in a ride-sharing business. Soaring high is one thing, conducting one’s business legitimately is another. Allow any corporation, in any industry, to skip taxes and regulatory expenses, and it will grow unbounded enjoying its otherwise illegitimate advantage. If that’s the secret sauce behind the so heavily sugar-coated and self-advertised “new” model then I doubt it can last long in its present form. The corruption problem is real and somehow I doubt that Jim & Tony Cab Inc. will have the same “corruptibility” leverage as the multi-BILLION dollar corporation that already showed itself ignoring laws, regulations and ethics, repeatedly.

          • Handy Graph

            Most big city cab companies started with little, if any, barriers to entry. Today, they erect as many as they can to avoid competition. Most own crappy cabs and lease them at exorbitant rates to barely qualified drivers who are lucky to make $50 a day.
            If the existing cab companies had maintained even minimum standards, there would be no demand for better service. If anyone is greedy, it’s the owners of those medallions who rake in big bucks on the backs of some pretty desperate drivers.
            Oh yeah, the regulatory apparatchiks do pretty well on their official salaries, but even better with what they don’t have to report. Inspectors and Taxi police are plum jobs for reasons other than that they are glamorous. The higher-ups have different means.
            Look. Let’s say you need a 35 mile ride to Ohare Airport on a snowy early morning. Would you rather ride in a 4 wheel drive Escalade or a broken down rear wheel drive Crown Victoria picked up cheap at a police auction? Would you rather pay about $60 or $70, because the guy driving the Caddy will charge you less for better traction, heated leather seats and free WiFi to boot.
            If you choose the junker, you can be happy that the driver will probably clear about $15 after gas and lease. That the Uber guy keeps about $30, assuming he leases, or $45 if he owns his own shouldn’t really bother you.
            If traditional cab companies want to stay in business, they’re gonna have to start competing. If they don’t, the value of those precious medallions are going south. Fast. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of crooks.

          • MichaelTompson

            Quite a biased response. Handy Graph. Vast majority small business cab owners are decent and hard-working men and women who provide a good, if not excellent, level of service. Unlike Uber drivers who are eternal employees, majority of cab drivers are small business owners whose level of service is governed by the city the operate in, and not corporate-controlled social media webpage. Have there been exceptions to the rule? Of course. There have been horrible rides in UberX / Uber / Lyft too, including rapes. Sadly things of this nature happen no matter how hard we try to prevent them.

            The prices of ride-sharing cabs are inconsistent and unregulated, more often than not these rides will be MORE expensive than regular taxi operators’ prices. What’s more important is that UNREGULATED ride-sharing companies have already been caught gauging prices (cornering markets) to their own advantage. Please read these links:
            http://gigaom.com/2014/02/26/uber-admits-to-encouraging-surge-pricing-withholding-drivers/

            Unethical behavior by few ride-sharing companies doesn’t end with evasion of regulatory, tax and municipal expenses. Here, a ride-sharing company making false calls to competitor operator’s call centers:
            http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2014/01/24/uber-admits-to-dirty-tricks-in-nyc.html

            Skipping on regulatory, tax and municipal business expenses is not innovation, there is a much more fitting word for that. Sadly, so far, the word games and magical “we are in ride-sharing business” sentence have managed to confuse majority of public. But it is changing. Here are results of a poll taken in Florida where MAJORITY of responders said that they believe that ride-sharers ARE taxi services and should be regulated as such:

            “Mears Transportation Group, a large Orlando-based firm founded in 1939, commissioned a poll in February,
            and found 78 percent of Floridians believe Uber
            should be regulated like taxis and other transportation providers.The poll surveyed 3,024 Floridians in
            four metropolitan areas Jan. 7-Feb.13, with a 1.8 percent margin of error.”

            Finally, I would like to mention that calling hard-working people “crooks” as you do, is unfortunate. But not really surprising… When ride-sharing multi-BILLION dollar corporations are proudly and aggressively refusing all and any regulation, are dodging tax payments, are breaking laws – unpunished, unstopped and unchallenged, it’s no wonder that those very few who benefit from this so called “new model” are calling the rest of the bunch – “crooks”. The bias is obvious. And incorrect.

          • Handy Graph

            You are a hopeless stooge.

          • MichaelTompson

            You are a paid Uber shill who lies and deceives to promote
            private corporate agenda.

          • Handy Graph

            You’re a fool who knows nothing of the cab business. I started driving a taxi on the south side of Chicago during Black Power days. Have done it on and off in different cities for the last 40 years. It’s a fun job if you let it be. The problem has always been the owners. Especially in big cities with their corrupt political connections.
            Uber, Lyft and others let drivers be their own bosses. No more cheap owners or sleazy cab commissions.

          • MichaelTompson

            I know enough to smell a rat when I read your posts. Your uber lies misdirections
            and propaganda are obvious. I’m all for technology. I’m all for innovation.
            Nonetheless, you want to complete? Then compete FAIRLY.

    • Joey

      You are brain washed by the media. Stopp believing the negative press. Uber is way better superior service than those cabs. I’d rather ride in a nice comfortable Lexus than a dirty smelly old broken down taxi car. Uber is here to stay. Negative press is a conspiracy

  • Krish

    Recent days uber focusing on cheap ride sharing service with advanced features. They also being providing free Taxi dispatch software in San Antonio.

  • Handy Graph

    Uber in New York and other observations.

    http://jewishworldreview.com/0414/rhart040314.php3#.Uz1c7O41irs

    You’re nuts, Thompson.

    • MichaelTompson

      HandyGraph, it is obvious your well-being depends on uber-fraud growth. Perhaps you are an employee, perhaps an internet support group which
      uber has hired to create its social media image. Either way – facts are – uber is a foreign offshore tax-evading entity that breaks laws, evades taxes and
      dodges court orders. It competes unfairly, and admitted to that.
      It’s time you start operating legally and fair with thousands of small transportation businesses you are so keen on destroying. Technology is
      not a concern, there are hundreds of apps that do the same as uber.

      • Handy Graph

        What’s smaller than a single driver operating his own vehicle with an automatic dispatch and payment system? What do these well established companies have to fear, if they’re so good?
        Uber is based in San Francisco. Not foreign.

        I’ve been retired for awhile now, but I’m thinking of buying a conversion van and going with Uber or Lyft. Just for the hell of it. I could easily gross $50K a year in the Chicago suburbs with only about 30 hour weeks of airport runs, some party gigs into the city, and some school trips. If I wanted to haul drunks around on weekends, I could make another $10K easy. But, I don’t. Vomit in the back is not nice.
        Haven’t worked out the personal costs, but it would be profitable. Much more than owning a limo or driving a broken down cab for one of the established companies.
        If I weren’t contemplating a move from Illinois, I’d probably be on it already.

        • MichaelTompson

          False. Read court document produced by uber itself. Uber is a foreign offshore entity.

          According to the legal terms section of its website, Uber B.V. is a
          private limited liability company established in the Netherlands.

          “Uber under no circumstance accepts liability in conection with
          and/or arising from the transportation services provided by the
          Transportation Provider or any acts, action, behavior, conduct, and/or
          negligence on the part of the Transportation Provider,” a section on
          liability says.”

          Address:

          CompanyUber B.V.
          AddressBarbara Strozzilaan 101
          CityAmsterdam – 1083 HN
          CountryNETHERLANDS

          Location TypeSingle address

      • TaxisSuckInPhilly!

        So, I just spent the last three days in downtown Philly and took about 10 different cab rides. TERRIBLE!!! The worst cab drivers I have ever dealt with and I travel all over the country for work. I had one guy try to kick me out after he asked me if I was going to pay cash and I said no. I had another guy YELL at me for paying with a credit card at the end of a ride. Uber takes this type of nonsense right out of the picture. I use Uber everywhere I can and love it for the convenience and the customer service you get from the drivers. I have yet to be disappointed. THOMPSON–sounds like you’re a shill from the PPA who is getting some kid of kickback from the terribly run taxi services in Philly!!!!!

  • Northeaster

    The problem with UberX is it essentially the same thing as a hack, which IS illegal. Uber is more like a private car service, so its not.

  • http://uber.com/invite/ubermeplease ubermeplease

    You can sign up right now with promo code “UBERMEPLEASE” and get $20 off your first UBER ride!

    http://uber.com/invite/ubermeplease

  • thegreengrass

    Whoa, interesting to see some more car service options coming to South Jersey.

    • Handy Graph

      Buy a decent car, and do what John Stossel did.

      • thegreengrass

        I have an awesome car and I have no idea who John Stossel is.

        • Handy Graph

          You should check it out. Stossel is a libertarian consumer reporter on ABC. Writes columns, too. You’d know him if you saw him.

          What city are you near?

  • Hamilton

    Why is Uber exempt from State laws ?!!! According to law they are in violation yet the PUC encourages this type of lawlessness .

    V C Section 23123.5 Electronic Wireless Communications Device
    Prohibited Use

    Electronic Wireless Communications Device:
    Prohibited Use

    23123.5. (a) A person shall not drive a motor
    vehicle
    while using an electronic wireless communications device
    to write, send,
    or read a text–based communication, unless the
    electronic wireless
    communications device is specifically designed
    and configured to allow
    voice operated and hands-free operation to
    dictate, send, or listen to a
    text-based communication, and it is
    used in that manner while driving.

    (b) As used in this section
    “write, send, or read a
    text-based communication” means using
    an electronic wireless
    communications device to manually
    communicate with any person using a
    text-based communication,
    including, but not limited to, communications
    referred to as a
    text message, instant message, or electronic mail.
    Cal
    (c) For
    purposes of this section, a person shall not be
    deemed to be
    writing, reading, or sending a text–based communication if
    the
    person reads, selects, or enters a telephone number or name in
    an
    electronic wireless communications device for the purpose of
    making or
    receiving a telephone call or if a person otherwise
    activates or
    deactivates a feature or function on an electronic
    wireless
    communications device.

  • Oxish

    As a legal Taxi operator in South Jersey I have to say that the Huber company is unwelcome here, We have to pay for licenses in every town we pick up from as well as needing to be finger printed and vetted by the local authorities… Stay away we will fight you every step of the way.