Is the city of Houston in the midst of a taxi war? That’s what some Uber drivers are telling us.
An Uber driver says the resentment against local operators has grown so strong, the city’s taxi driver have resorted to aggressive scare tactics while on the roads.
Houston cabbies say the claims are bogus.
“And that’s when he lost it. I mean at first he started yelling and screaming that he hates Uber and everyone who drives with Uber,” said Uber driver Slavi Ginzberg.
Ginzberg says the aggressive, profanity-laced tirade he captured during a road-rage incident with a Houston taxi driver on April 20, 2017 is not unusual.
“They start cursing at you, flipping you off,” Ginzberg said. “For no reason. Just when you have your Uber dressing on and they see you, and they come out. Yeah it happens, it happens a lot.”
He claims the resentment cabbies hold for Uber drivers has finally reach the boiling point – and they’re kicking things up to the next level, even trying to run him off the road.
A second video Ginzberg shot in February shows a taxi driver intentionally preventing the Uber driver from changing lanes.
“In a situation where you feel threatened, some people respond that way,” said an owner of a cab company. “Everyone from the president down, respond with words that get bleeped out. It’s part of being human.”
The owner admits tensions have risen because of Uber’s growing presence in the market, but believes incidents like these are rare.
The Uber lot at Bush Intercontinental Airport is swimming with eager drivers anxious to secure their next fares and there are more cars than there are spots in the lot.
Drivers snake up-and-down the aisles in a serpentine path looking for a place to park for a minute before it’s time to get back out on the roadways, which some of them say is more dangerous now than before.
“Ten or 12 taxi drivers came and told me I had to move,” another Uber driver said. “They got mad and started cursing at me.”
However, Taxi drivers we found in downtown Houston disagree.
They say the deep-seeded resentment that Uber drivers claim has become aggressive, does not exist.
“Absolutely not,” said taxi driver Daniel Abebe. “Because it’s not personal to us.”
But try telling that to Ginzberg who recounts the profanities.
“You’re f***ing Uber. F*** you, Uber. I hate you Uber,” Ginzberg recalled the man screaming at him. “I don’t want to become an animal like he is.”
© 2017 KHOU-TV