Just to clear things up once and for all -- Uber does not own vehicles, the company merely connects you to those who do.
Hearns says that although some taxis in San Francisco bear the brand "UBER TAXI" on their sides, users should be aware that these vehicles have "no relationship" to the Uber network or company. The community manager says that any taxi driver on the Uber system is licensed independently by the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency and each driver is already working with an established taxi company.
Just to bring home the point, Hearns says that the firm does not own or operate any vehicles on the network. In addition, it is against company policy to hire drivers.
"Our aim is to provide a reliable and consistently positive experience by working with great partners," Hearns commented. "We've heard that these taxis are causing confusion, and we have reached out to their owner to ask him to stop using Uber's name."
Confusion over the Uber-branded taxis zipping through San Francisco is just the latest problem to be laid at the company's door. Standard taxi drivers in areas Uber operates have lodged complaints against the firm, believing that the company's price brackets and system are unfair on competition.
In addition, local vehicle regulations remain a constant thorn in Uber's side -- as the California Public Utilities Commission case shows. The CPUC issued fines against the company last year for allegedly operating a "charter-party carrier" service without adhering to regulations. However, following negotiations with the CPUC, the fine has been eliminated -- which means Uber is free to continue operating in California for now.
Uber's business is expanding quickly, and now operates in areas including San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, London, and Berlin. Uber's UberX service -- which uses hybrid cars and charges customers less than for traditional rides -- is a recent expansion for the company. The UberX service is an invite-only service, and the firm says that passengers will enjoy shorter waiting times.