Uber (and Lyft) solved the abysmal state of taxi companies and things like the medallion system and horrible, horrible customer service from taxis in cities all over the world. They made your trips tracked for fraudulent bathing and so you can track who your driver was, and made it possible for abusive customers to be identified as well. And they did this while offering more or less universal service in cities across the globe, which was a godsend in the days when people actually travelled and stuff.
I’ve taken literally hundreds of taxis in my lifetime in at least 10 different major metropolitan areas, and the combination of outright fraud by taking a longer route, copying my credit card, hostility towards non-cash payments, and times my partner was harassed by an otherwise anonymous cabbie are far too numerous. If I never take another taxi where I am expected to pay directly without the safety of my route being recorded and the driver being identified, all the better.
All of the above is independent of their shit business model and treatment of workers. In some cities, their rides are even metered at taxi rates just like taxis, in taxis, with the meter running. I’ve had countless Uber rides in taxis by actual taxi drivers (who were also Uber/lyft drivers) and had more than my fair share of conversations with those drivers.
Many of them preferred cash passengers for obvious reasons but also recognized the benefit of not worrying about payment and being able to report asshole patrons and being able to widen their customer pool.
IMHO there are two core issues here. The first is that the existing taxi industry was corrupt, exploitive, and stagnant in the first place, while the second is Uber and Lyft took a good idea - modernizing and centralizing taxi services - and shit all over them with a terrible business model.
Hopefully, the latter will shake out in the end, and the former can finally be laid to rest, even if it’s a newcomer or competitor that has to get it right in the future.