Even without the franchise model, I have heard many people claim that they won’t use UberX precisely because they can’t trust the drivers. Add to that press that can sometimes find examples to back it up and you have a situation where characteristic (1) of a disruptive innovation, especially initially, was satisfied: customers did not consider UberX as safe as traditional forms of transportation. But critically, for younger people, taxis were expensive and so UberX (and Lyft) came in at the low-end and served the under-served. Just ask my teenage kids who believe they will never have a reason to drive. Uber, to them, is freedom.
Now Uber may not be done disrupting yet. Many speculate that they could up-end models of car ownership which will lead them to disrupt traditional car businesses. But even aside from that, there is a case to be made that taxi companies, for many, many years, dismissed the notion that someone could enter and earn customer trust easily and so lagged on general innovations that may have closed that entry point: in this case, mobile apps. But they did not and, for that reason, I am comfortable in adding them to the disruption bin. Yes, Uber is now great but, initially, and maybe for a surprisingly short period of time, it wasn’t. We should not lose sight of that in understanding how all this came to be.