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Government Transportation Politics

How Uber Takes Over a City 230

schwit1 suggests Bloomberg's story on one aspect of Uber's corporate behavior that may leave a sour taste in the mouth of anyone who'd like to believe the Uber-vs.-the-Cartels narrative. The company hired David Plouffe, known for managing Barack Obama's rise to fame, and many others as well, to help them navigate inevitable and ongoing moves for regulation. The scale is impressive; according to the article: Over the past year, Uber built one of the largest and most successful lobbying forces in the country, with a presence in almost every statehouse. It has 250 lobbyists and 29 lobbying firms registered in capitols around the nation, at least a third more than Wal-Mart Stores. That doesn't count municipal lobbyists. In Portland, the 28th-largest city in the U.S., 10 people would ultimately register to lobby on Uber's behalf. And while the article focuses mostly on the example of Portland, the effort is ongoing and nationwide.
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How Uber Takes Over a City

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  • Coming over here taking our illegal immigrants jobs!!
    • Re:Damn you Uber (Score:5, Insightful)

      by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @07:42AM (#50010319) Homepage Journal

      You think an illegal immigrant is going to apply for a commercial driver's license as required by taxi companies?

      Methinks you're confusing "immigrant" with "illegal immigrant." But don't feel too bad. There are millions of bigots like you out there, so you're not alone.

      • Re:Damn you Uber (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Intrepid imaginaut ( 1970940 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @08:13AM (#50010433)

        In many parts of the world taxis are private vehicles with a sign stuck on top, drivers hold their own licenses and companies act as advertising agencies and dispatchers. A recent trend is for one driver to join a company then keep their car running 24-7 as their buddies illegally act as taxi drivers in shifts, splitting the profits. This is an actual thing. Whether or not it's predominantly immigrants, illegal or otherwise, is another question mind you.

        • Re:Damn you Uber (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @10:15AM (#50011249) Journal

          True indeed, but also consider that in many of those parts of the world, the drivers are also stuck with having to grease the palms of some local poobah just to avoid having the wrath of the local constabulary come down on them.

          Okay, it ain't that much different from how Portland works, but at least in PDX's case, the money is (well, mostly) passed along above-board, and it goes to the local government's coffers instead of some local sleazebag's pocket (well, mostly).

      • Re:Damn you Uber (Score:5, Informative)

        by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday June 29, 2015 @08:51AM (#50010619) Homepage Journal

        You think an illegal immigrant is going to apply for a commercial driver's license as required by taxi companies?

        Hahaha that's a good one. I had to use an alternate SSN with the CA DMV for a while because someone was pretending to be me... a much shorter, more Mexican version of a Mexican. He had a driver's license and apparent right to work. You think the taxi companies, who don't give a fuck about you because they don't have to because they have a monopoly, are going to do their due diligence? No, they're going to do the absolute bare minimum because they think you're just another asshole who needs ferrying, like everyone else, and protecting you is last on their list of things to do.

    • Re:Damn you Uber (Score:5, Interesting)

      by eulernet ( 1132389 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @08:24AM (#50010477)

      In France, it has been shown that Uber's drivers are mostly children from immigrants (in french, the politically correct term is "enfants issus de l'immigration").
      Since most of them are jobless, it's a way for them to make money legally.

      The problem is that it destroys the jobs of taxi drivers, but does not create new jobs.
      A journalist calls this "the 'sharing of remains' economy", where the real jobs disappear, and only some small cheap tasks remain.
      The two providers for this kind of economy are Amazon and Uber

      • The problem is that it destroys the jobs of taxi drivers, but does not create new jobs.

        Well it's entirely possible that oversupply of drivers will push down the cost of taking a taxi. This in turn could lead to more taxi journeys, or more jobs in other service sectors, as people spend that saved money elsewhere. Also it could push down the cost of living. I'm not saying this will be the outcome, but that your argument relies on an assumed, and unjustified, premise.

        • Re:Damn you Uber (Score:5, Insightful)

          by eulernet ( 1132389 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @10:21AM (#50011301)

          but that your argument relies on an assumed, and unjustified, premise.

          It's not my argument. Here is the original article in french:
          http://www.slate.fr/story/1034... [slate.fr]

          This in turn could lead to more taxi journeys, or more jobs in other service sectors, as people spend that saved money elsewhere

          Yes, there is this theory about redistributing money, but I call that bullshit.

          People who take a taxi are not the poorest ones.
          When you take a taxi, it means that you can afford it (there is an amusing story about an INA director who spent 40,000 euros on taxis each year).
          When you have no money, you use the public transportation (it's reasonably cheap in France).

          It's easy to criticize the taxi drivers, because they are too expensive.
          If you were in the shoes of a taxi driver, don't you believe that this system is killing your job ?

          Right now, programmers and system admins are very expensive.
          Let's imagine an Uber for our jobs in a near future.
          I'm sure that you'll enjoy this service.
          After all, this is called "progress" and "free market" !

          • by houghi ( 78078 )

            The Uber job for IT has a name. It is called 'outsourcing'.

            It is cheaper for the customer. It is easier on the regfulation and it creates jobs by making it cheaper. So more IT people will be enslaved, uh, hired.

            I am sure you can find more similarities. The difference is the location and Uber just changes the local regulations by lobbying. Instead of exporting the jobs to a foreign country, because iof regulations. They change the regulations.

      • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @08:55AM (#50010653)

        The problem is that it destroys the jobs of taxi drivers, but does not create new jobs.

        Does it really? Or does it make using a taxi service a better value so that the usage of taxis overall grows? Do we really want to subsidize a jobs program for taxi drivers or is there a better way to employ those resources? While there is some clear disruption going on it's not at all clear that that is a bad thing. If you spend two dollars on a taxi ride that could only cost one dollar then you have effectively subsidized the taxi driver and cannot use that extra dollar for some more productive use. If there is some externality that would be a serious problem for society then that is a relevant concern but providing a subsidy to taxi drivers when one isn't needed is stupid.

        A journalist calls this "the 'sharing of remains' economy", where the real jobs disappear, and only some small cheap tasks remain.

        That's a nonsense argument because it doesn't consider opportunity cost. Saving "real jobs" even if they are inefficient means that you have capital allocated in a sub-optimal way. Rather than employing that capital (both human and financial) in an optimal way you waste it subsidizing obsolete business models. If you take your argument to its logical end most of us should still be working on farms where the "real jobs" were because improving productivity and capital efficiency would be a death spiral. Fortunately the real world doesn't work like that. Efficient allocation of capital in the long run benefits society.

        • Efficient allocation of capital in the long run benefits society.

          If the amount of labor needed to produce one person's worth of goods and services is less than one person's worth of effort, then you are going to have people sitting around doing nothing. So your argument is that our society will do better and better as we have more and more people sitting around doing nothing.

          I'd say it's better to efficiently allocate HUMAN capital to maximize our benefit to society.

        • >Does it really? Or does it make using a taxi service a better value so that the usage of taxis overall grows? Do we really want to subsidize a jobs program for taxi drivers or is there a better way to employ those resources? While there is some clear disruption going on it's not at all clear that that is a bad thing.

          This is a problem. I mentioned this elsewhere that everyone's thinking about the taxis vs Uber problem, but nobody is thinking about the bigger issue coming down the road: Self driving car

      • ... Since most of them are jobless, it's a way for them to make money legally.

        Not really legally since Uber is illegal.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 29, 2015 @07:57AM (#50010381)

    ... just remember: sometimes you need lobbyists to protect yourself from government.

    This is an example of it: a social app's userbase is trying to protect themselves from the rent-seeking taxi cartels.

    • Exactly. No one would think to lobby the government if the government were not so powerful and meddlesome. People work to persuade the bureaucracy because doing so has a huge ROI.
    • ... just remember: sometimes you need lobbyists to protect yourself from government.

      This is an example of it: a social app's userbase is trying to protect themselves from the rent-seeking taxi cartels.

      They have more lobbyists than Wal-Mart because Wal-Mart obeys the law. Uber is operating illegally and so they must use lobbyists to try to get the laws changed so that Uber will be legal.
      They are trying to protect themselves from the government, but only because they started out being on the wrong side of the law. I don't see any social justice here.
      Why refer to taxi companies as cartels? It wasn't their idea to institute medallions. It was the governments, due to overpopulation of taxis. The only thing

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 29, 2015 @07:58AM (#50010383)

    The Uber vs the Evil Cartels has always been a pile of shit, designed to appeal to a certain kind of idiot who will drool all over it ... but it's a lie, and it's always been a lie.

    It's systematically ignoring laws and regulations while going "wah wah, we're teh underdogs".

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Uber are just a bunch of self entitled douchebags, with a lot of backing who throw temper tantrums to insist they be allowed to not be covered under laws.

    Fuck Uber.

    • by king neckbeard ( 1801738 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @08:14AM (#50010437)
      Uber being self-entitled douchebags doesn't preclude evil cartels.
    • by stealth.c ( 724419 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @08:24AM (#50010479)
      It's the laws that are bullshit. Look at what kind of service Uber facilitates. How is it that only now anyone is introducing a reputation system to this industry? How is it that only now the barrier of entry to this industry is coming down? What exactly does a stringently controlled supply of government-licensed "taxi" drivers do for the consumer anyway?
      • by Holi ( 250190 )
        How are the laws bullshit? Do you even understand why the medallion system was implemented? I'll give you a hint, it has nothing to do with so-called taxi cartels.
        • The intent of the medallion system is irrelevant. What is relevant is the outcome it has produced. That outcome was evidently so bad at serving the consumer, that a firm can risk legal trouble and still make billions.
          • Uber will become the same thing. They're just new and flashy now. Once the taxi industry is gone, there will be a new low bar. And now the drivers will be payed almost nothing (if they exist at all by then, of course) and the cars will suffer for it.
        • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @08:59AM (#50010689)

          Do you even understand why the medallion system was implemented? I'll give you a hint, it has nothing to do with so-called taxi cartels.

          Let's see. A bit of reading shows that the medallion system was implemented because of "public fears" that taxi drivers were driving too much, and therefore not doing proper maintenance on their vehicles.

          So, the solution to "public fears" was to limit the number of taxis (which would require the taxi drivers to drive even more, thus further limiting their time spent on maintenance, OR to reduce the general availability of taxis, since they'd have fewer taxis working fewer hours each)....

          Yeah, that's a strong argument in favour of the medallion system alright.

        • The reason the medallion system was implemented has nothing to do with how it ultimately ended up being run. It's a government granted monopoly to the rich with an obscene barrier to entry disguised as a regulated but open industry.

          Whatever reasons various governments had for implementing the system they had doesn't change the fact that the free market is attempting to offer a competing service with dramatically improved customer experience. Most people wouldn't complain if local taxis offered what uber doe

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 29, 2015 @09:06AM (#50010725)

        It's the laws that are bullshit. Look at what kind of service Uber facilitates. How is it that only now anyone is introducing a reputation system to this industry? How is it that only now the barrier of entry to this industry is coming down? What exactly does a stringently controlled supply of government-licensed "taxi" drivers do for the consumer anyway?

        The free market can only produce generally beneficial results when certain conditions are in place, one of the most important of which being the lack of asymmetry of information between customer and supplier. For example, in the restaurant trade customers can judge the service, prices and food quality for themselves and can decide whether the bargain is acceptable. Customers cannot really judge the food safety, due to a lack of opportunity (and prospective customers traipsing through the kitchen might be a hazard in itself), a lack of expertise in microbiology and the "contract-forming cost" of having to do a complete investigation each time before sitting down and eating. Therefore most jurisdictions have laws for government hygiene inspections but not for setting food prices.

        With taxi hire, it is difficult for the consumer to learn many key things about the prospective bargain, such as the competence and record of the driver, the maintenance record of the car and the availability of insurance should there be an accident. It is not efficient for each consumer who wants a ride to summon a taxis/Uber and do in-depth checks on the car and driver, even assuming the consumer has suitable skills in car maintenance, insurance underwriting etc. Plus, the consumer would have to be prepared to repeatedly dismiss low-quality ride offers and wait for a new candidate to turn up. It's not plausible. The free market doesn't work when there are persistent information asymmetries that are expensive (relative to the basic cost) or difficult to overcome. The result is that the low quality businesses drive out the high quality business, because the higher quality businesses can't prove themselves as such to justify a higher price. They can't prove they aren't just boasting.

      • How is it that only now anyone is introducing a reputation system to this industry?

        Because a reputation system would have been harmful to the cartels' profits so the politicians were well-paid to ensure that didn't ever happen?

        How is it that only now the barrier of entry to this industry is coming down?

        Because a reputation system would have been harmful to the cartels' profits so the politicians were well-paid to ensure that didn't ever happen?

        What exactly does a stringently controlled supply of government

        • Those type regulations don't exist everywhere and they still cry foul when they are asked to have insurance other than the personal minimum liability required by the state for a private noncommercial car. It appears to me that they simply want to first reduce their costs as much as possible by putting the burden of maintaining a fleet of vehicles on the drivers but when they have trouble finding drivers because they can't support the burden they try to claim they are exempt from insuring and licensing their

        • Wait ... which part of this situation hasn't been obvious for 80 years? The same conditions apply in nearly every politically-regulated industry (which is why consumer-regulation is always far more effective).

          The folks from Enron (who aren't presently in jail) have a bridge to sell you! There are plenty of times where a regulated industry is ideal. Public transportation happens to be one that I highly agree with. I want the government mandating safety rules for airplanes, trains, and livery services. If you don't want that, try living somewhere in Latin America or Africa with all those freelance taxis. Where airplanes get so overloaded that passengers don't have room to sit. And if you survive all of that,

      • I totally agree... not just for this type of business, but for just about all that require licences.

        the whole licensing and regulation of an industry is just a barrier that benefits the established players, and works to keep our new competitors by making it very difficult or very expensive to get your license...

        chicago is a good example, just to be allowed to have your taxi service, you need to buy a medallion for each car, at a cost of around $1M each. Very few cabbies own their own cab, they work for the

        • chicago is a good example, just to be allowed to have your taxi service, you need to buy a medallion for each car, at a cost of around $1M each.

          LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE

          http://chicagodispatcher.com/chicago-taxicab-medallion-prices-p235-117.htm

          Multiple medallions were sold in May 2015 for an average price of $242,000

          FAIL

    • It's systematically ignoring laws and regulations while going "wah wah, we're teh underdogs".

      Uber is not unregulated and they do not stand in opposition to regulations in general, contrary to what many seem to believe.

      What we're witnessing here is not State Vs Anarchy Round One. What we're witnessing is quite simply State Regulation vs Corporate Regulation. The existential question Uber faces is, can they convince society and government (not the same thing) that they're better at regulating taxi drivers via

      • they're better at regulating taxi drivers via their technology than local taxi commissions are via paperwork?

        Gosh as a profit-making corporation, will they even care at all about regulating taxi drivers? Their shareholders will tell them most emphatically that they need to spend as little as possible on regulation so that they will have maximum dividend payouts.

  • Uber isn't stupid (Score:3, Interesting)

    by prisoner-of-enigma ( 535770 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @08:12AM (#50010427) Homepage

    Uber isn't stupid. They know the existing transport monopolies are maintained due to political connections aka lobbying. Uber knows there is no way it will be able to upset this status quo without support from local politicians. That, unfortunately, means lobbying. Love it or hate it, it's how things get done these days.

    • by stealth.c ( 724419 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @08:32AM (#50010523)
      Americans seem to have a gigantic blind spot when it comes to government corruption. Sure, people tend to nod at generic whining about "corrupt politicians" but they are hopelessly incapable of spotting that corruption when it happens. They will blame non-government actors all day long for making and offering bribes. As for the politicians who habitually take bribes? Crickets.
      • they are hopelessly incapable of spotting that corruption

        To call out that corruption in a different situation is to deny yourself the very corruption you enjoy in your favored situation.

        The State is the great fiction through which everyone endeavours to live at the expense of everyone else.
        - Frederic Bastiat, 1848

        The patterning comes from young children not challenging their parents' misbehavior, for genetic fear of being left to starve on a hillside. The fundamental problem is American adults who are wil

  • GOOD. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stealth.c ( 724419 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @08:16AM (#50010447)
    Uber is 1000 times better for transportation than the taxi cartel, and no thanks to government's relationship to this industry, lobbying aggressively is an act of self-defense. Instead of denigrating Uber for playing this game, blame the governments which have made this necessary, and blame yourselves for not voting the bastards out when they create cartels.
    • Re:GOOD. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @08:26AM (#50010493)
      Unless you have been in a serious accident in an Uber car and had to rely on whatever insurance was in place for treatment, you haven't really had the full experience yet.
      • I said it's better, not perfect.
      • Unless you have been in a serious accident in an Uber car and had to rely on whatever insurance was in place for treatment, you haven't really had the full experience yet.

        I thought our national health insurance system was supposed to have solved all problems of this nature by now.

        Why the fuck, in 2015, are Americans still relying on private insurance companies for health care? So much sigh.

    • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @08:41AM (#50010565)

      Uber is 1000 times better for transportation than the taxi cartel

      Why? Seriously, I haven't used Uber and the last time I rode in a taxi was years ago so I have no dog in this fight. Why did you think Uber is better? Better service? Better value? Or is just that they are sticking it to The Man? I'm legitimately asking because I just don't really see what is so amazing about Uber as a casual observer. Saying they are "1000 times better" is obviously hyperbole but what makes them better if indeed they are better?

      If they are actually providing a better value then more power to them. I'm definitely for disrupting industries that need disrupting. If the only advantage is that they aren't the incumbent companies then that isn't an adequate reason to my mind to support them with actual dollars. It just not clear to me which is the case here.

      • If they are actually providing a better value then more power to them.

        Of course they are. They don't need to pay for a license. They pocket 90% of the savings and the user gets the other 10%.
        Force them to pay the same licenses fees as every other taxi driver, and their price will be the same as regular taxis. Possibly even more if they can get them out of business.

        • Of course they are. They don't need to pay for a license. They pocket 90% of the savings and the user gets the other 10%.

          There is more to value than price. Presumably they are cheaper from what you are saying. (I honestly have no idea and can't be bothered to look) But what about the service itself? Is it a better service? Are they more timely? Is it safe? Are the vehicles clean? Is it reliable? Basically, when you consider everything and weight it according to what really matters, is Uber a better value than a traditional taxi?

          Force them to pay the same licenses fees as every other taxi driver, and their price will be the same as regular taxis.

          As a potential customer I don't give a crap about whether or not they have to pay license

          • afaict, from a NYC perspective, Uber is much better if you live in Brooklyn or Queens because, unlike yellow cabs, it's actually possible to get one by using the app. I've heard that in other cities, e.g. San Francisco, the cab service is about as bad as Brooklyn. I'm sure that in these areas, Uber is a big improvement over what was there before.

            If you live in Manhattan, it's largely a matter of taste. the cars tend to be cleaner and the drivers friendlier, etc., but will cost you ~20% more. There is better

          • There is more to value than price. Presumably they are cheaper from what you are saying. (I honestly have no idea and can't be bothered to look) But what about the service itself? Is it a better service? Are they more timely? Is it safe? Are the vehicles clean? Is it reliable? Basically, when you consider everything and weight it according to what really matters, is Uber a better value than a traditional taxi?

            Short answer: no, it isn't. On average I would even say it is worse. There isn't always a Uber driver available. There isn't one waiting for you at the airport. Drivers are less professional. They are possibly not insured.
            If it was the same price, I'd take regular taxi all the way.

            As a potential customer I don't give a crap about whether or not they have to pay license fees. That doesn't improve or detract from the service as far as I'm concerned. I also don't care about the legal battles over the licensing. What I do care about is whether at the end of the day Uber better value for money. So I put it to you again, why is Uber better? Why would I give Uber my dollar instead of a traditional taxi company? Where will I get the best value for money?

            In my city Uber is about 10-15% cheaper. The only reason to use it is price.
            If licenses are a bad thing, then we should end them democratically for everyone. But if, as a society, we think they should remain, then Uber drivers sho

          • by GlennC ( 96879 )

            In other words, "I'm getting what I want as cheap as possible, screw everyone else and damn the consequences."

      • by flopsquad ( 3518045 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @09:47AM (#50010963)
        My wife and I use Uber on a regular basis. We, and most of our friends and acquaintances, have switched to ridesharing platforms and have not looked back. The main reasons are:

        1) Convenience - car to your doorstep in minutes, rather than 20 minutes after the 15 minutes you waited on hold. Immediate availability and prompt, easy service is probaby 90% of the reason we use Uber. Certain use cases are possible now that were highly impractical before, like requesting an Uber from the office at lunchtime and having it be there by the time you get out of the building. I don't live in NYC so street hailing is a long shot and phone dispatch is a long wait.

        2) Ease of Payment - just arriving at your destination completes the transaction on your chosen credit card; no more lies about only accepting cash and dirty looks when the cabbie has to dust off the old credit card imprint machine.

        3) Quality of Service and Ratings - I have had mostly great experiences with Uber drivers, who get 5 stars. I had one that was awful, he got 1 star and a report that he (literally) didn't know how to drive. The ratings seem pretty accurate. In cab world, it's a crap shoot, and the quality of drivers has been 50/50 at best. To be fair, none of the bad cabbies have been as bad as the one awful Uber driver I had. But I've had plenty of great Uber drivers that were better (personality, road knowledge, driving skills) than all but the best few cab drivers I've ever had.

        4) Cost - at least in my region, Uber is not really competing on cost; that is to say they're often as or more expensive than a comparable cab ride. Sometimes, certain rides are a few bucks cheaper, but it's almost never a pricing slam dunk that would drive choice over the above reasons. The cost is always reasonable unless it's big surge, in which case I can choose another RS, a traditional taxi, public transport, etc. They don't pull any funny business with the cost, unlike many cabs I've been in--no games with meter vs zone pricing and haggling over a short ride that somehow costs double what's on the sticker.

        For us, the Uber platform has just been a hands-down better experience. It's not a bunch of hoopdies offering cut rate prices, it's a fast, no-hassle experience for which we frequently pay extra.
        • Oh and I forgot 5) Cleanliness and Smell. Speaks for itself.
          • Of course it smells clean, Uber hasn't been around for that long. They will have forced taxi's out by the time they start smelling 'off'. Do they even have a requirement to make the seats washable? Eww.
            • Of course it smells clean, Uber hasn't been around for that long. They will have forced taxi's out by the time they start smelling 'off'. Do they even have a requirement to make the seats washable? Eww.

              Seeing as Uber comprises an army of private people's vehicles that they have to drive around in all the time, and not a commercial fleet of 24/7 3-shift cabs, I don't think that's accurate. Plus bad-smelling ride == bad review, so in theory even if it did happen its self-correcting.

              As for "forcing out," even though I personally prefer Uber to traditional taxis, I don't think the latter is going extinct any time soon.

              Fluff, I see from your many posts on this issue that you have a very negative view of

        • > 2) Ease of Payment

          2.a. Payment is handled via Uber, not the driver, and price is agreed ahead of time. No possibility for hidden charges, unapproved charges, sightseeing tours, etc.

          2.b) Pricing Standardization. Ever been in a DC Taxi before they installed meters? They had a "zone" system and your rate was based on how many zones you crossed. Not familiar with the city? Good luck figuring it out. Every city has its own quirks and pricing games. With Uber, you know exactly what you're going to pay

      • I used Uber for the first time while on vacation a few months ago. Up to this point, I was hesitant to use the service. I'm not sure why in hindsight, but my girlfriend insisted it was a good service. I was extremely impressed. We used it for four trips. We were picked up each time within five minutes by new, clean cars. The drivers were courteous and made pleasant conversation. In total I spent ~$25. So, yeah, I'm sold. It was much better experience and better value than any cab ride that I've eve

      • Why? Seriously, I haven't used Uber and the last time I rode in a taxi was years ago so I have no dog in this fight. Why did you think Uber is better? Better service? Better value? Or is just that they are sticking it to The Man? I'm legitimately asking because I just don't really see what is so amazing about Uber as a casual observer.

        I can't say for everywhere, but, where I live, Uber is better because I can actually get one. Last time I needed to go to the airport, I called a taxi service, and the dispatcher basically laughed at me. I called another taxi service, they told me to call the first taxi service. Finally I requested an Uber and they picked me up right away. In a clean car, cleaner than any taxi I've ever been in.

        So that is basically why. Better availability, cleaner.

        I will say that my first experience with an Uber drive

  • Do we really need to go much further?

  • Maybe they could start with Illinois. Our elected politicians are not doing such a great job.

    They could start by taking over Chicago.

  • by MasseKid ( 1294554 ) on Monday June 29, 2015 @08:30AM (#50010511)
    I mean seriously, why is this a surprise? How else are you going to fight a legislated cartel except with lobbyist? They would be fools not to have lobbyists, and quite an army of them, if they're going to go after an industry that's as heavily legislated as taxis.
  • One of theses days, Craigslist Rides will come into being.
  • Lobbying doesn't immediately mean evil, you sophomoric children. Lobbying is how laws are changed, so it's what you do whether your goals are positive or negative.

    Uber isn't a philanthropic organization, but nonetheless we should cheer them on, because how the Uber situation falls out helps determine what you are allowed to do with your car. You are being told that you are not permitted to use your car as you see fit, to make money, in a capitalist system in which it is essentially illegal to be out of money.

    If you're cheering for the entrenched taxi services, you should know that taxi licenses do not protect you from any of the problems you think Uber causes. Taxis will come very late, even take other fares while "on their way" to you, or simply not come at all, and there is no recourse against them whatsoever when that happens. Taxi drivers regularly rape and/or assault passengers. Taxi drivers regularly take the worst possible routes, especially at times of day when it's difficult to get another fare, so as to run up your meter. Taxis are dirty and they smell bad. Taxis are often very poorly maintained, and I've often heard alarming thunks and rattles from beneath them that, had I heard them under my vehicle, would have kept me at home with a wrench in my hand.

    Can anyone name one reason why "traditional" government monopoly-licensed taxis are superior to Uber? One reason which is not complete bullshit? Because so far, nobody has come up with even one.

    • what you are allowed to do with your car

      You can do whatever the fuck you want to with your own car on your own property. But when you take it out on government provided roads and engage in commerce with government-supplied currency, you have to play by their rules.

      Taxi drivers regularly rape and/or assault passengers.

      Do you REALLY assert that the answer to this problem is to have more and more unregulated taxi drivers?

  • I'm not sure I understand the narrative direction here.

    While most people likely find the whole lobbyist thing distasteful, it would be rather ridiculous for a business that challenges long-entrenched collusive bureaucracies (defending millions of dollars of registration fees etc) to proceed without due attention to those realities.

    • Only if you don't see the benefits that we get from it that we will lose. I'm tired of typing them. There will be no Taxi industry if Uber is allowed to continue. Perhaps there needs to be a new set of rules worked out that eliminate the bad effect while not giving up the good, but starting a corporation that won't even call their employees what they are is no way to do it.
  • I am amused by the continued anti-Uber diatribes. Uber doesn't "take over" by lobbying, or by defrauding their customers. Uber succeeds by providing a far superior, less expensive, more convenient transportation service than existing taxi companies.

    I've had enough horrible cab rides in enough cities to have zero sympathy for traditional taxi services. I will take Uber or Lyft over a regular cab any day of the week. I have never had an experience with either one of those services that could hold a candle

    • by xaxa ( 988988 )

      At least with Uber I know I'll be in a clean vehicle with a driver whose name and face are shown to me before I get in.

      I used Uber for the first time on Satur^W Sunday morning in London, and although the registration number of the car was correct, the driver wasn't the one pictured. I assumed they were sharing a single car / account.

      Is this uncommon?

      • And you still got into the car?
      • I used Uber for the first time on Satur^W Sunday morning in London, and although the registration number of the car was correct, the driver wasn't the one pictured. I assumed they were sharing a single car / account.

        In that case you do not get into the car, but contact Uber and tell them why you didn't take the ride [driveubersd.com]. It is against Uber policy for multiple drivers to use the same account. Uber should refund your cancellation fee.

        • In that case you do not get into the car,

          HOW CONVENIENT! Maybe you should try calling a REAL TAXI if you actually want to get somewhere.

    • Slow down. So previous to Uber, everyone had agreed to play by these rules. The service is what it is, but it is protected by law because it was agreed to. Now Uber comes along and stands in a room with these people and tells them they are going to play with their rules and their rules don't happen to cost them as much. Sorry, they're the bullies in the playground. How just is the Uber cause anyway? The people aren't winning here. All they get is something cheap. Mark my words, as taxi's die out, Ub
      • Sorry, let me explain what I mean. Uber will relax the requirements for the cars, and the drivers will eventually follow suit. Except now these are cars that are getting older, and never even built as proper taxis in the first place. Just health-wise to be inside the car, that will be a nightmare. It's not a stretch.
  • I question whether Uber drivers will ever want to serve the core. Short trips and high accident rate doesn't sound like a recipe for success.
  • ...by providing a convenient service that the public wants at a price it believes to be fair?

    • ...by providing a convenient service that the public wants

      yes indeed the public wants to ride in uninsured taxis so they will have to pick up their own medical bills if there is an accident

      • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

        yes indeed the public wants to ride in uninsured taxis so they will have to pick up their own medical bills if there is an accident

        How is this different that if I get into an accident as a passenger in a friend's car? Is this a huge issue? Should I refuse to let friends drive me anywhere?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'd like to know how many people who are pro-Uber have ever driven a taxi. As a former taxi-driver, I say fuck Uber. There may be a lot of compelling reasons to attack so-called big taxi, but that also only exists in the largest cities. I drove a taxi in a smaller college town, where everyone has to get registered, have a background check, etc. Uber came in and refused to do this, though they could afford to pay lobbyists. When they went into NY, for example, they agreed to follow certain laws and then comp

  • I for one, welcome our new Uberlords.

I owe the public nothing. -- J.P. Morgan

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