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Let down by a lousy UberX driver? They probably skipped the 'optional $65 customer service training course'

Satnav? More like sadnav

By Shaun Nichols, 10 Oct 2014

Amid complaints about some badly behaving drivers, you may not be surprised to hear that Uber's training course for cabbies is not only optional – it costs them $65 each to sit through it, apparently.

A Forbes blog post claims the taxi app maker's bargain-basement UberX service charges drivers to take a class on providing good customer service and other skills.

We're told the courses are not mandatory, and that becoming an UberX cabbie only requires a background check, proof the car had been inspected for safety, and of course a valid driving license. The regular Uber service has stricter requirements such as the successful completion of mandatory training.

The Register contacted Uber on Wednesday night for comment, but we've yet to hear back from the biz.

By comparison, the drivers of London's famous black cabs require at least two years of training and must pass The Knowledge test, while becoming a cabbie in San Francisco requires certification from passing a training course and a session with city authorities that includes lectures from Wheels for the Blind, cyclist groups and paratransit agencies.

This would be less of an issue were it not for complaints about the alleged reckless behavior of some drivers operating in the sharing economy.

An UberX driver was charged in San Francisco last month after allegedly hitting a customer on the head with a hammer. It's claimed that, during a late-night trip, the driver pulled the passenger from the car and attacked him with the tool. The cabbie has pleaded not guilty.

In a separate case, the National Federation for the Blind is filing suit against Uber over allegations that UberX drivers are ditching blind people during pickups and, in one case, bundling a guide dog into a trunk.

Just something to think about next time you're in need of a ride home and reaching for your smartphone. ®

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