The Storm Around Uber Shouldn't Kill The Ride-Hailing Concep
Uber is in a pretty bad place at the moment. The company seemingly built its business on ignoring the law, playing fast and loose with driver and passenger safety and failed to promote or enforce a working culture which protected the rights of all employees.
The news that Google has initiated action for patent abuse and the whiff of industrial espionage coming from the scandal, tied to more and more examples of the way that Uber treats its employees - a behaviour apparently reinforced by executives all the way to the top of the company - have been enough to turn the tide of internet opinion against the company. Positive news has been replaced with a backlash reporting which can't be doing anything positive for the company's image.
Just because Uber is turning out to be a car crash of poor governence this shouldn't change the basic value in a technology based ride hailing service.
What it should do is allow Uber's competition and existing taxi companies to do a better job of getting their services working properly. It's clear that customers want to be able to arrange a taxi from a smartphone app, and be able to track progess of the car to the pick-up point.
Currently Uber's ubiquity and strong media presence makes its lead almost unassailable, however with the latter severely damaged maybe there is still an opportunity to prevent Uber becoming the de facto Facebook for ride hailing and prevent the concept of the service being damaged by its most visible provider's fall from grace.