With the recent report of Detroit cab drivers protesting about the coming of Uber and Lyft, both ride sharing services that use an app to connect passengers to rides, we felt it was important to chime in. The cab drivers are talking about a 60 percent to 70 percent drop in their traffic downtown, and it is in significant part a problem of their own making.

Anyone who follows Daily Detroit knows that we like to have a good time. Lists of happy hours, the best places to have a drink, and restaurant reviews pepper our site.

On this quest for the best in the D, almost every member of our team has had one or multiple horror stories dealing with Detroit cabs. It wasn’t part and parcel to the stories we were writing about, so we left out the incidentals on cabs.

Now, we’re complaining about cabs. With good reason.

This topic has been on our mind for quite awhile. Over the last five months, we’ve informally compared 30 rides with Uber and 30 rides with Detroit cabs of various sorts.

Of the 30 plus Uber rides, one driver got a bit lost and there was one ride with a mischarged bill to the tune of $4. Someone in customer support, by the name of Rikki, quickly refunded that within a day.

The 30 or so Detroit cab rides was an entirely different story. On more than half of the rides, cabbies flat out refused to run the meter, a violation of city law. This ties with one of our editor’s personal cab anecdotes involving a driver kicking him out of the car on the way home because he asked that Detroit cabbie run the meter. The driver was insistent on a flat fee.

He’s not used a Detroit cab since.

Running the meter is something by law that the driver is mandated to do, and not running the meter is rampant across the city. Ironic seeing that cab drivers protested Uber drivers do not follow the law.

Uber doesn’t have a perfect history with charging people either, but it’s a lot clearer. You’re welcome to split costs among riders, and you will receive a fare estimate. Not to mention, we’ve had cabs admit to us they won’t pick up people off the street.

That’s not very useful to an out-of-towner.

Among all calls for Detroit cab service, drivers didn’t show up once within an half hour. Unlike Uber or Lyft, which were always prompt, and the ride-sharing app alerts you when to be ready.

The app is part of the cabs losing business. And, apparently, the Detroit cabs are soon launching their own app.

But that’s not the whole story. There of course are notable exceptions, but Detroit cabbies aren’t doing themselves any favors by providing on balance, horrendous service, and then trying to use the city and state government to defend what remains of their declining business.

Sure, the cabbies complain about bond plates – and maybe they have a point. Uber is also not without its own foibles, but compared to what else is out there, it’s a marked improvement in a city that, between the buses and the cabs, is known for unreliable transit.

When out of town friends visit, we never recommend Detroit cabs anymore. We tell friends to download the apps and see who is available. There is no real comparison to the service between the ride-sharing apps and Detroit the cab system.

Ride-sharing services are decimating Detroit cab business because, with the exception of a select few, ride-sharing is a flat out a better experience.

That experience is what the Detroit cabs should be focusing on. The people are voting with their wallets.

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