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Uber’s activities did not change the understanding of customers by the other agents involved in the market processes. So, here again, Uber did not creatively destroy the industry. It is true that some of the other agents started to offer much more convenience to their customers. Taxicabs are adopting apps, technology- based hailing, price estimates, location trackers, and information regarding quality. But even buses and subways ask for customer feedback, update the status of routes, notify customers in case of delay, and sell tickets through apps.
Indeed, as mentioned above, surge pricing is directed at motivating customers to share excess and idle capacity during times of increased scarcity. Were Uber an employer, this type of encouragement would not be needed. Granted, it was Uber itself that complicated the case by calling the riders “customers” and the drivers “partners”. The term partner denotes 38 H. SCHNEIDER some other quality to the driver than that of a customer. A partner could be an employee or a supplier. But Uber corrected the terminology, applying the term customer also to the driver.
Is it the car? Then why isn’t Kamiko’s friend, Roger, who offers her a ride, a taxi? Or is it the paid transportation service? But then again, the bus is a paid transportation service. And the bus usually transports more people simultaneously, but Uber can do that too. Why, then, is Uber often perceived as some type of taxicab, and why is it claimed that it stands in direct, often unfair, competition to the “traditional” taxicab companies? The easiest answer to that question is: Because the public discourse has been framed this way.