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California Becomes First State In Nation To Regulate Ride-Sharing

samzenpus posted about 10 months ago | from the take-a-ride dept.

Transportation 184

Virtucon writes "Ride Sharing Services such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar received a big boost today when the California Public Utilities Commission approved rules that would allow them to continue to operate as long as they followed a few rules. This makes California the first state to adopt such rules and is expected to preempt local governments who are trying to clamp down on these services and regulate them like local taxi companies."

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184 comments

Why is it called ride sharing? (5, Insightful)

immaterial (1520413) | about 10 months ago | (#44898325)

I must be missing something about this concept. If you're getting paid (with a net profit) to drive people around, why is it called ride sharing? How is it not a taxi service?

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898339)

It's like how an SUV is called a "light truck" to get around more stringent CAFE regulations.

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (0)

alen (225700) | about 10 months ago | (#44898367)

most so called SUV's on the road today are nothing more than station wagons with larger tires and taller struts to make them higher off the ground

station wagon was always an uncool name until SUV's became popular

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (4, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 10 months ago | (#44898409)

I tell people that unless they're covered with mud, they're just a poorly designed minivan.

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 10 months ago | (#44899139)

Every time I see a nice shiny SUV, I look for mud. Usually there is none, and I judge the driver/owner to be an idiot.

It might not be right, but I haven't been proven wrong yet.

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44899265)

Every time I see a Hummer I start shooting my AK-47 at it, throwing bombs, and yelling "Allahu Akhbar!"

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (2)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 10 months ago | (#44899443)

You too? I thought I was the only one. Yeah, Go Akhbar, whoever you are!

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44899493)

Every time I see a nice shiny SUV, I look for mud. Usually there is none, and I judge the driver/owner to be an idiot.

It might not be right, but I haven't been proven wrong yet.

So, simply because I like to take care of my Jeep and wash the mud off after hauling my boat in and out of the lake, driving through winter conditions, etc. you'll judge my need for one.... and who is the idiot?? Stop acting like a two year old and grow up...

Re: Why is it called ride sharing? (1)

Therad (2493316) | about 10 months ago | (#44899217)

Why on earth would you want to drive a car designed for city use through mud?

Re: Why is it called ride sharing? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44899387)

If you don't like the way I drive then stay off the foot path.

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898649)

station wagon was always an uncool name until SUV's became popular

Spoken like a true sheep.

Wagons are cool, have always been cool, and only idiots like you
don't grasp that truth.

Look up "Chevy Nomad".

Google "Audi RS2".

The fundamental mistake an idiot like you makes is in assuming that the limit
of his own knowledge is equal to the limit of all knowledge. It's not, and there is
a world out there which is much much larger than your tiny little sheep brain can
even begin to comprehend.

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898713)

You pathetic useless worthless faggot pieces of subhuman waste
can mod a post down but all that proves is what pieces of shit
you are.

The truth on Slashdot lies at the -1 level and all the rest is pointless
debate by scum who should be used for fertilizer.

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 10 months ago | (#44898789)

http://hooniverse.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Hemmings-Motor-News-Chevrolet-Caprice-Classic-for-sale-Mozilla-Firefox-3142011-93440-PM.bmp.jpg [hooniverse.com]

That's cool? You said they have "always" been cool, but the faux wood look was never in. The real wood look wasn't in much either.

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44899165)

Learn to read.

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (3, Informative)

tlambert (566799) | about 10 months ago | (#44898491)

It's like how an SUV is called a "light truck" to get around more stringent CAFE regulations.

Actually, no.

According to 49 USCS 32901 [Title 49. Transportation; Subtitle VI. Motor Vehicle and Driver Programs; Part C. Information, Standards, and Requirements; Chapter 329. Automobile Fuel Economy], the term "work truck" means "a vehicle that--
(A) is rated at between 8,500 and 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight; and
(B) is not a medium-duty passenger vehicle."

So it's by weight. The Cadillac Escalade was intentionally redesigned to add 200 pounds to it to make it legally a "truck". And yes, it was to get around CAFE regulations, but it also reduces property taxes in most jurisdictions, since trucks are considered work vehicles. In addition, as a work vehicle, you can get a license plate as a commercial vehicle, which permits stopping/parking in loading zones.

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (3, Informative)

WWJohnBrowningDo (2792397) | about 10 months ago | (#44898673)

My source [epbbd.com] says the Escalade is 7,100 pounds gross. Perhaps you have a better source that puts it above 8500 pounds?

Meanwhile this link [csa.com] backs up everything GP said.

The basic definition of a light truck--any truck or truck derivative with a gross vehicle weight rating of 8,500 pounds or less--allows plenty of room for family vehicles. Because light trucks is considered a separate category from passenger automobiles, vehicle manufacturers have been able to build and market SUVs and other large vehicles with a less stringent CAFE standard, currently 20.7 miles per gallon (mpg). Furthermore, most SUVs and pickups, and all vans, are currently permitted to emit 29% to 47% more carbon monoxide and 75% to 175% more nitrogen oxides than passenger cars.

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (1)

sribe (304414) | about 10 months ago | (#44898799)

My source [epbbd.com] says the Escalade is 7,100 pounds gross. Perhaps you have a better source that puts it above 8500 pounds?

Yeah, 8,500 sure seems unlikely. Considering that my GMC 4000 doesn't weigh much more than 9,000 ;-)

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 10 months ago | (#44898823)

The PT Cruiser was the Neon with a hearse body kit on it. The made the rear seats fold flat (and actually reduced cargo capacity to make that happen) so that they could get it certified as a "light truck" for the better CAFE rules. "light truck" saves about $2000 in CAFE penalties, per car. Sell 10,000 of them, and the government paid Chrysler $20,000,000 to call them "light trucks".

The rules are stupid, but that's what they were at the time. I haven't kept up since that stupidity, but I did hear that Ford is canceling the Ranger because of the increased CAFE on light trucks, and others are adding weight to their trucks.

I knew more than one doctor that bought a full-sized Chevy Surburban for a commuter vehicle because it cost less than a Ford Taurus to operate (the rules on the vehicles by weight counted it as a "truck", not even a light one, so it was a "work vehicle" even if used in a non-work capacity).

But that's what you get when you listen to the Big-3 when writing laws. Though I'm sure a number of committee members are now board members of car companies - selling out our safety and environment for profit.

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898637)

It's like how an SUV is called a "light truck" to get around more stringent CAFE regulations.

Well duh.

Complex regulations are ALWAYS worked around by everyone.

Imagine that.

It's just another example of how people fight an overweening government's attempts to control behavoir

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (5, Interesting)

erice (13380) | about 10 months ago | (#44898403)

I must be missing something about this concept. If you're getting paid (with a net profit) to drive people around, why is it called ride sharing? How is it not a taxi service?

A taxi takes you where you want to go. A ride share takes you where you want to go providing it isn't too far out of the way from where the driver was going anyway. Think of it more like paid hitch hiking. That's the idea as Lyft presented to New Tech Meetup a few months ago.

It gets less clear when drivers use the service to make trips they would not otherwise have done, just to collect the fare. As I understand it, "professionals" doing just that for trips to and from SFO.

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898539)

I must be missing something about this concept. If you're getting paid (with a net profit) to drive people around, why is it called ride sharing? How is it not a taxi service?

...A ride share takes you where you want to go providing it isn't too far out of the way from where the driver was going anyway...

.

No. I've used Lyft on multiple occasions, and every single time it was exactly like a taxi--"Take me to location X". There was no waiting around for someone travelling a similar route or anything along those lines.

What I actually really like about it is the rating system. Lyft provides a "suggested donation" for the traveler. The traveler can pay as much as they want (with a minimum of $5, IIRC), but Lyft tracks the value as a % of the suggested donation (which is *always* less than the cost of a taxi). Lyft drivers, then, have the ability to look up passengers that average, say, minimum 80% of the suggested donation. So if you're continually paying very little, you're going to quickly find yourself out of a ride. And on the flip side, travelers get to rate the driver--how friendly were they, how clean was their car, etc. And living in Chicago, I can tell you that I have taken far more filthy taxi rides with complete asshole drivers (who refuse to take the route I tell them) than I care to count. So while I haven't used the other services, I have nothing but good things to say about Lyft.

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (5, Interesting)

joocemann (1273720) | about 10 months ago | (#44898579)

So what you're saying is that they are using a loophole by relying on their drivers to lie about what they were doing. A lawyer might even argue that, of course, the driver was going in that direction because money was waiting for them when they arrive! How keen!

Pffft. Why not just deregulate taxi driving and be honest about it. I know Lyft drivers. They are *not* picking people up randomly. They treat it as a job and appreciate the income.

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (5, Informative)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 10 months ago | (#44898427)

How is it not a taxi service?

Legally the difference is that taxi cabs can be hailed on the street. No other type of private transportation (limos, airport shuttles, ridesharing, etc.) can be hired this way -- they require a separate, prior arrangement.

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (1)

immaterial (1520413) | about 10 months ago | (#44898503)

I see. Makes sense, in its way. Are the other services you mentioned (limos and shuttles) already regulated in some way? I would expect so, so it seems like they should just expand the current definitions to apply to for-profit "ride sharing." I guess the ad-hoc nature of these arrangements requires something special.

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (2)

icebike (68054) | about 10 months ago | (#44898695)

A separate prior agreement that you can make via a phone call while chatting with the driver.

If Taxi's want to compete, let them build a rating system like Lyft or Uber.
Put a QR code on their doors people can find out about the surly bastard driving and the condition they keep the vehicle in.

There are apps for this in the taxi world, mytaxi is a common one. TaxiMagic is another.
mytaxi-Driver skips the cab company and goes direct to the cabbie, and its the equivalent of a street hail.
With some of these apps you can pay the fare through the app.
But they are still way more expensive than lyft or uber.
Oddly, many cities forbid these apps.

The only advantage taxi's have, is that, at least in some jurisdictions, the driver passed a background check, if not the sniff test.

Re: Why is it called ride sharing? (1)

Therad (2493316) | about 10 months ago | (#44899245)

Taxis already have something similar to qr code on the chassi. It is called a license plate. all that is needed is an app for the functionality you are talking about.

Oh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898891)

"Legally the difference is that taxi cabs can be hailed on the street."

What about hitchhiking?

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (5, Funny)

TheRealDevTrash (2849653) | about 10 months ago | (#44898449)

Hipsters don't take taxis.

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898651)

I fucked a hipster who did Lyft for her second job, and while she was in denial about being a hipster and was uptight about my racism and kind of a bubbled shut-in, we still fucked on the first date. Her vagina was so close to her anus that we had to do doggystyle, and she was so tight I came in an embarrassing 2 minutes. Since we drove to my place, she actually called a fellow Lyft/er to take her back to her place before telling me she didn't want to sleep with or date me again.

She's the one with the coke-bottle glasses and the septum piercing.

-- Ethanol-fueled

American Exceptionalism and Moral Superiority (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898497)

Yes, I do! I find it quite amusing that America was schooled by Putin on exceptionalism.

For a country one who claims to boast its own national exceptionalism and moral superiority. Yet, forgets to mention they are the holders of the largest national debt known to man. If you ask me. I find this fact hardly exceptional or superior ... heck it's not even moral!

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (2)

mjwx (966435) | about 10 months ago | (#44899079)

I must be missing something about this concept. If you're getting paid (with a net profit) to drive people around, why is it called ride sharing? How is it not a taxi service?

Because they haven't paid the Californian govt for a license.

There may also be liability issues. Certainly in Oz if you paid for a "private" car insurance policy the policy may be declared null and void if you're using the car for commercial purposes.

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 10 months ago | (#44899407)

It's called ride sharing to try and make people think it's about some green service instead of noticing that it's really just another type of taxi.

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (2)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | about 10 months ago | (#44899455)

The difference is that a ride sharing program has a driver who is not licensed to drive taxis or limos, is not properly insured, and is not required to maintain their car. You're entirely correct that these ride sharing programs are nothing but an end-run around the regulations for taxis and limos. We need to regulate them for the exact same reasons we need to regulate taxis.

Re:Why is it called ride sharing? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 10 months ago | (#44899473)

The real question is... why, if it is a taxi service, is it treated any differently? Taxis rip you off.. I've been ripped off by Taxi drivers that are highly regulated in NYC and then, less than 20 hours later treated excellently in a completely unregulated taxi in Africa.

Riders of the Storm Return (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898333)

And so will ... the Hitcher.

The Third World was first (0, Troll)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about 10 months ago | (#44898347)

So the US has become a Third World nation. Ridesharing is a well established mode of transport for the middleclass in Africa and Southeast Asia who can't afford to ride single passenger taxis but want something more comfortable than the local equivalent of a bus.

Re:The Third World was first (2, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 10 months ago | (#44898369)

So if the US does something that a third world nation does, that makes us a third world nation? By that logic, Americans who breathe have turned the US into a third world nation.

Re:The Third World was first (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898439)

Do you know who else also breathed? Hitler. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Re:The Third World was first (3, Funny)

FishOuttaWater (1163787) | about 10 months ago | (#44898705)

Yes, but he stopped, so it's ok now.

Re:The Third World was first (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 10 months ago | (#44898719)

Do you know who else also breathed? Hitler. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

I only breathe in Gandhi fashion - if Hitler style is the only one available, I don't breathe.

Re:The Third World was first (2)

rmdashrf (1338183) | about 10 months ago | (#44898517)

Not directly, but at least my expectation of a first world country would include excellent public transport. In the US public transport has been killed by privatisation and corporate lobbying.

Poor public services are an indication of a third world country however, the way things seems to be going in the US is that the only thing that's going to be 'first world' quality is the military.

Not only happening in the US though in Europe the neo-liberalist governments are killing affordable public transport, housing, healthcare and education as well. That does seem to happen due to influences from the US government; EU politicians trying to be more like the US.

Re:The Third World was first (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 10 months ago | (#44898645)

Sieg Heil, Comrade! To the barricades! The Americans (our culture's fear and hate objects) are making bad things happen to us again! Because if there's one thing we know, it's that EU bureaucrats love to slavishly follow AmeriKKKa!

Re:The Third World was first (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898721)

That does seem to happen due to influences from the US government; EU politicians trying to be more like the US.

Right... because the US invented greed and abuse of power. Before the US came to be, Europe was a wonderful land of peace and rainbows and unicorns! Before the influence of the big, mean, scary US ruined their utopia.

Re:The Third World was first (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898887)

In the USA, by constitution, the Federal government shouldn't have much to do with "affordable public transport, housing, healthcare and education"... but military is mentioned.

Individual states can do what they want... or could, if the the Federal government only did what was enumerated for it to do in the constitution...

Re:The Third World was first (2)

dan the person (93490) | about 10 months ago | (#44898627)

No it's when the US does something the third (and second) world pioneered. Third world didn't pioneer breathing. (though you could argue they pioneered human breathing if you believe we first evolved there. Of course back then it would have been the most highly developed and thus a first world continent).

This ride-sharing is very common in the former soviet bloc too, though it's of the rather more basic wave-your-arm up and down at all the passing cars type technology rather than using phones.

Re:The Third World was first (2)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 10 months ago | (#44898639)

No, but just because we can lampoon his analogy with hyperbole doesn't make him any less right. These services got popular not because hipsters care about the environment but because there's lots of people that need to get places and can't afford cars and regular taxis anymore. It points to a general decline in income and standard of living.

Re:The Third World was first (1)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about 10 months ago | (#44898653)

Point taken. So let me retcon my post a bit. I was thinking of comparing ridesharing to fund transfer via cellphones. Cellphone-based payment was first widely deployed in the Third World, probably because most people there don't have access to the real Internet.

Incidentally I don't think being Third World is necessarily bad. With a Third World mindset, you easily learn concepts like recycling and repurposing, how one nation's junk can be turned into another nation's transportation, information and even weapons systems. That is the maker spirit at its most basic, making not to satisfy an itch but to survive.

Re:The Third World was first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898983)

Worst thing that will come of this is they will start claiming they have the right to stop any vehicle with more then one person in it and check IDs, ask where each works, etc etc and probably try to claim to be able to search as well. Enjoy your car pooling, family trips etc, keep your lawyer on speed dial if you have one.

Re:The Third World was first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898389)

Ooooooooooooh fucking no! God forbid you have to come into close contact with filthy humans on your way to work.

Re:The Third World was first (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898425)

So the US has become a Third World nation. Ridesharing is a well established mode of transport for the middleclass in Africa and Southeast Asia who can't afford to ride single passenger taxis but want something more comfortable than the local equivalent of a bus.

Ooooooooooooh fucking no! God forbid you have to come into close contact with filthy humans on your way to work.

You're trying to fight stupid with stupid. That never works.

Re:The Third World was first (2)

EzInKy (115248) | about 10 months ago | (#44898393)

"Hey Ez, where you headed?"
"Going to the store to get some beer."
"Mind if I go? I need a few things too."
"Sure, no problem."

I'm sure I'm not the only one in shares rides either.

Re:The Third World was first (1)

Luke has no name (1423139) | about 10 months ago | (#44898395)

So the US has become a Third World nation.

and

Ridesharing is a well established mode of transport for the middleclass in Africa and Southeast Asia who can't afford to ride single passenger taxis but want something more comfortable than the local equivalent of a bus.

don't correlate.

Re:The Third World was first (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about 10 months ago | (#44898455)

So the US has become a Third World nation. Ridesharing is a well established mode of transport for the middleclass in Africa and Southeast Asia who can't afford to ride single passenger taxis but want something more comfortable than the local equivalent of a bus.

I think you are confusing sharing rides with ridesharing.
Ridesharing is where you call the company in advance, and they come and pick you up, possibly picking up other people along the way and then drop you off and charge both of you the full fare amount, which is usually about the same as a cab ride. So essentially, if you and the person you are sharing with had gotten together and called a cab, it would be half as much to pay the cabbie as you would have paid the ridesharing service.

Re:The Third World was first (1)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about 10 months ago | (#44898601)

You're assuming that people in the Third World don't have cellphones they can use to send SMS message to the driver/owner of the vehicle for a pickup. While most (Third World) riders would happily and sometimes quite literally hop aboard the nearest passing vehicle for hire, some have made arrangements for scheduled pickups. Probably not the same hi-tech GPS/computer-based dispatch system described by Wikipedia, but if this were another patent story, consider this as prior art.

Re:The Third World was first (1)

EzInKy (115248) | about 10 months ago | (#44898615)

I think you are confusing sharing rides with ridesharing. Ridesharing is where you call the company in advance, and they come and pick you up, possibly picking up other people along the way and then drop you off and charge both of you the full fare amount, which is usually about the same as a cab ride.

So in actuality, it is faresharing. People have been sharing rides from at least the first time the decided to jump on the backs of horses.

Re:The Third World was first (0)

joocemann (1273720) | about 10 months ago | (#44898617)

Welcome to reality. We've been getting screwed as 99%ers for a couple decades now.

Scan around the odd pics on the internet. You want a sign of the times? There are dozens of pictures of people that are driving on the street WITH NO TIRES AT ALL. They are driving on the metal rim. Deduce it. It's simple. The frequency of that kind of absurdity has gone up not because there are more ridiculous/insane people driving -- it has increased because the ability of people to afford their lives is being so heavily squeezed now that they simply cannot, and yet they still have to get to the store and to work. So they drive on metal rims.

I don't know anyone under 40 that isn't struggling. And that's because I don't have banker friends.

Re:The Third World was first (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898765)

Ridesharing is a well established mode of transport for the middleclass in Africa and Southeast Asia

Having lived & worked as an expat for the past 18 years between Africa and Southeast Asia

Utter B[raise fist to mouth][cough]ULLSHIT

Re:The Third World was first (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 10 months ago | (#44898843)

So, the adoption of a good idea makes a nation that is by definition a part of the first world into a third world one? Okay. Let's go with that.

Considering that ride sharing is still in the process of taking off, I'd have thought that the widespread adoption of ethnic foods in America would have been a much larger threat to our status as a first world nation, at least if we're relying on your logic, but hey, you know your logic better than I do.

Re:The Third World was first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898909)

Not quite, the Third World [merinews.com] lacks seats.

Re:The Third World was first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44899385)

Thirld world nations were initially described as such because they were not U.S. allies and they were not U.S.S.R. allies. Technically, the U.S. could never become a third world nation since part of the definition of third world is being not with the U.S.

Taxi Medalion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898371)

Taxis in most major cities have a medalion fee. $400K in Chicago, $1M in NYC, and so on.

This is a pure case of someone in California found a way to make a profit and the state can't allow that.

Re:Taxi Medalion (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898381)

"This is a pure case of individuals rather than corporations in California finding a way to make a profit and the state can't allow that."

FTFY.

Re:Taxi Medalion (4, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about 10 months ago | (#44898483)

"This is a pure case of upstarts rather than entrenched interests with political connections in California finding a way to make a profit and the state can't allow that."

Adjusted that FTFY of yours for you. (Because there are a few notable non-corporate examples from time to time.)

the taxi services have a right to be pissed (5, Interesting)

hguorbray (967940) | about 10 months ago | (#44898401)

considering that a medallion in San Francisco can cost upwards of $200k

http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/flag-might-drop-on-more-taxi-medallions/Content?oid=2193759

-I'm just sayin'

Re:the taxi services have a right to be pissed (4, Interesting)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 10 months ago | (#44898493)

The taxi services were enjoying the monopoly and have a share of the blame too. It is not as if they were trying to fight the medallion system. I personally cant wait for the medallion system to collapse, or prices to plummet.

Re:the taxi services have a right to be pissed (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 10 months ago | (#44898679)

google returns 5 pages of taxi services in San Francisco, that is one shitty monopoly, or maybe you do not understand that word too well

Re:the taxi services have a right to be pissed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898749)

And how many of them are duplicate websites, subsidiaries, different brand names and/or partner agencies?

If you look at the local level, theres a LOT of monopolies in the U.S. Most of them are simply due to the nature of the industry they're in (ie. utilities) or extremely small market size (a small town of a couple hundred people is not going to have more than a dozen stores). But others are simply due to regulations being written in a way that effectively make it impossible for competitors to move in. (ie. cable TV/internet/cell phone/taxi service)

Re:the taxi services have a right to be pissed (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898767)

The SFMTA reports that there are only twenty-nine taxi companies that legally operate in San Francisco. Those 29 taxi companies operate a total of 1,707 cabs. (One medallion allows one cab to be operated.)
I can tell you from hard, long experience that this is far too few cabs for the city.

Data source, straight from the horse's mouth: http://www.sfmta.com/services/taxi-industry/medallions/medallion-holders

There are currently 1,430 people waiting to acquire a taxi medallion. http://www.sfmta.com/services/taxi-industry/medallions/waiting-list

It is said that one is often on the waiting list for ten years. In order to acquire a medallion, you have to meet a boatload of somewhat reasonable requirements, then be able to pony up $300k. From that $300k, the city takes $100k, and the remainder is given to the previous medallion holder.

As of this moment, the city does *not* create new taxi medallions. This is the very definition of "lucrative, performance insensitive monopoly".

Re:the taxi services have a right to be pissed (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 10 months ago | (#44898859)

google returns 5 pages of taxi services in San Francisco, that is one shitty monopoly, or maybe you do not understand that word too well

The monopoly is the single organization authorized to sell taxi medallions: The City of San Francisco.

Re:the taxi services have a right to be pissed (4, Interesting)

Thomasje (709120) | about 10 months ago | (#44898801)

Don't hold your breath waiting for prices to plummet when taxis are deregulated. This has already been tried in the Netherlands, and the result was that prices went up, not down, and service got worse, not better, capitalist dogma notwithstanding.
The problem is that taxi drivers need to make a certain amount of money to pay their cost of living, and if the number of cabs goes up while the number of passengers doesn't, they end up spending more time waiting for fares, and less time actually driving. And they can't just hop off to a second job while they are waiting. So, they have to *increase* their rates in order to make up for their reduced number of trips, so taking a cab becomes more expensive, and they will tend to refuse short trips, trying to hold out for the more profitable longer ones, so taxi availability gets worse.

Re:the taxi services have a right to be pissed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44899525)

they will tend to refuse short trips, trying to hold out for the more profitable longer ones, so taxi availability gets worse.

They already do that. Routinely. Regularly. You simply CAN NOT get a taxi in many parts of San Francisco. They will refuse to come.

So if the monopoly solution is a failure, and you're saying the free market solution is also a failure, guess we need a third solution.

Re:the taxi services have a right to be pissed (3, Interesting)

tlambert (566799) | about 10 months ago | (#44898525)

considering that a medallion in San Francisco can cost upwards of $200k

http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/flag-might-drop-on-more-taxi-medallions/Content?oid=2193759 [sfexaminer.com]

-I'm just sayin'

Only if they damn well show up when I call them, rather than taking nearby, more lucrative fares when they get flagged down on their way to me. If their dispatcher agrees on their behalf that they will show up, they need to damn well show up.

If they don't show I, I really don't give a flying what they paid for their medallion (and most Taxi drivers in SF are contract workers, with the medallion being owned by the taxi company; the driver is just an employee with no benefits who has to follow radio orders).

Re:the taxi services have a right to be pissed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898555)

Preach it.

I don't have enough digits to count how many times I've been sitting for hours in an out-of-the-way part of the city waiting for a cabbie that dispatch promised would come "five minutes from now".

If you can't provide an adequate level of service, I don't give a shit how much you paid for the privilege, you need to go out of business.

Re:the taxi services have a right to be pissed (2)

flimflammer (956759) | about 10 months ago | (#44898687)

Indeed. The worst situation was when I called in a pickup, and the Taxi driver outright lies to dispatch saying I wasn't there so they can avoid actually picking me up. I was at a large stadium in the middle of the night, standing at the entrance to the parking lot. There was one way into the parking lot. I was the only person there. He then told dispatch that I wasn't there. Cabbies deserve to be fired over this crap.

Re:the taxi services have a right to be pissed (1, Informative)

joocemann (1273720) | about 10 months ago | (#44898633)

Personal XP here. SF cabs will skip you for the fare they just noticed on the street. Uber (a rideshare company) will be there waiting for you at least 2 minutes before you asked for them. No, I don't own stock in Uber -- but I wish I did. They just bought 2500 driverless cars from google (approved by DOT) for their fleet.

You do realize that was a fantasy article... (3, Insightful)

moosehooey (953907) | about 10 months ago | (#44898661)

...about the future. Google isn't selling any driverless cars.

Re: the taxi services have a right to be pissed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898729)

You're just sayin' what? I wasn't paying attention.

No, they don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898769)

Just because some government people got into bed with some business people and they came up with a mutually-beneficial system of corruption, that's no excuse for anybody else being forced to suffer; it's called crony capitalism and it's evil. The pols get money from their taxi company friends and in exchange they use the force of law and the powers of taxation to suppress any innovation and any competition... The rest of the human race was not in on the deal and ought not to be under any obligation to "play along".

The people of San Francisco should vote all the turkeys out... but they won't because the old sex and drugs and rock-and-roll game is more important to them than anything else; as long as the pols are "gay friendly", "pot-friendly", and hand out plenty of gimmes (like food stamps, housing assistance, free phones etc) the voters there will let them do anything they want no matter how foul.

Re: the taxi services have a right to be pissed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898913)

Doesn't matter. Ability for the taxi services to operate and make a profit does not trump citizens rights to free will. This is a direct attack against the free travel of the citizenry. Gloss it up however they want, but it's wrong and nothing more than industry propping.

state law pre-empition (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 10 months ago | (#44898411)

your town don't matter. state takes all. well, if the feds don't mind.

Which Nation? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898421)

California Becomes First State In Nation To Regulate Ride-Sharing

California is not a name exclusive to the world-rulers-why-even-mention-that-we-are-the-centre-of-everything-united-states-of-earth.

Re:Which Nation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898515)

Probably the nation to which California belongs, dipshit.

Re:Which Nation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898567)

Good thing there is only one california:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_%28disambiguation%29

And is "California Becomes First US State To Regulate Ride-Sharing" that hard for someone trying to deny the rest of the world even exists?

Re:Which Nation? (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about 10 months ago | (#44898711)

No distinction is necessary. Out of all of those "ambiguities", none of them are also states named California. Baja California is Baja Califonria. Not California. You can stop being a pedant now.

Re:Which Nation? (2)

PPH (736903) | about 10 months ago | (#44898907)

Thank goodness we've got this little tiff out of the way. And I thank my good fortune that I live, unambiguously, in Washington.

Re:Which Nation? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 10 months ago | (#44898741)

In case you haven't been paying attention the last 13 years..... the entire world is under the authority of the united states.

Re:Which Nation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898829)

I'm confused. Are you referring to one of the municipalities on that page? Or to either "Baja California", the 29th Mexican state, or "Baja California Sur", the 31st Mexican state? Because the only STATE named "California" is the one in the USA. There's also Baja California, and Baja California Sur, but I imagine, if the article was referring to one of those, it wouldn't have truncated them to just "California", y'know, because it would cause confusion towards the one state called California. Unless there's another state called California that the Wikipedia article you mentioned doesn't know about.

Re:Which Nation? (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | about 10 months ago | (#44898865)

Because California is its own Nation. Keep in mind we do have the worlds 5th largest GDP thanks to Intel and Silicon Valley

Are you sure about that? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898489)

According to:

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/09/19/4325586/digital-dispatch-services-expand.html#.UjsS_WRgbrQ

North Carolina passed similar laws back in August.

Makes sense in LA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898527)

Public transportation is garbage, traffic is garbage, roads are garbage, and taxis are stupid expensive. LA pretty much encourages drunk driving. If someone wants to go somewhere and drink, there is a >50% chance they will drive away plastered. LA imports dumbass people by the boatload...

Is any regulation necessary? (2)

mendax (114116) | about 10 months ago | (#44898605)

A very conservative friend seems to think I'm rather liberal when I think regulation is a good idea sometimes. Regulation *is* quite often a good idea when history has amply demonstrated that a business model cannot operate in a legitimate or non-abusive manner without it. Classic examples of this are banks and the the Wall Street financial market as well as the taxi business in places like San Francisco and New York, automobile manufacturing, trucking companies, and the labor markets. Great evils of various kinds have occurred when these things were not regulated. But sometimes overregulation creates problems. A great example is the airline industry. At one time, the airlines were highly regulated. Regardless of who you flew with, the fare would be the same for the same route and they were high. Airline travel in those days was quite expensive. Since airlines couldn't attract customers using fares, they differentiated themselves by offering great service (even in "cattle" class), better planes, etc. For example, when was the last time that any of you flew a Boeing 747 on a domestic flight that wasn't a leg of an international flight? In the 1970's, wide-bodied planes were common on the higher trafficked domestic flights. These days, airline service is awful but relatively inexpensive.

So I ask the question: Does ride-sharing really need to be regulated beyond a requirement that the vehicles and drivers have proper insurance? Is it anything like the wild west of unregulated taxi services in places like New York and San Francisco that created chaos?

Re:Is any regulation necessary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898753)

So I ask the question: Does ride-sharing really need to be regulated beyond a requirement that the vehicles and drivers have proper insurance?

Here is a clue for you, since you are so obviously clueless :

Regulation of ride sharing is about collecting tax revenue.

Ride sharing in California (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44898643)

Makes me think of Ride, Ride, Ride, I'm I'm hitchin' a ride [youtube.com] , a breezy top 40 song from 1970.

Really? (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 10 months ago | (#44898715)

Yay! We're being regulated!

That's a "boost"?

Re:Really? (1)

erice (13380) | about 10 months ago | (#44898847)

Yay! We're being regulated!

That's a "boost"?

Certainly. The state regulates them a limited fashion and prohibits municipalities from regulating them out business.

A Few Rules (5, Insightful)

jimbrooking (1909170) | about 10 months ago | (#44898845)

The rules in the article are as follows:

"Regulators would require drivers to undergo criminal background checks, receive driver training, follow a zero-tolerance policy on drugs and alcohol and carry insurance policies with a minimum of $1 million in liability coverage."

That seems like some pretty heavy lifting that will probably dissuade lots of otherwise good-natured and willing drivers, no?

A useful low carbon society maneuver (1)

beachdog (690633) | about 10 months ago | (#44899291)

Ride sharing is an important social innovation for moving to a low carbon emission society.
The global warming benefit of ride sharing is when you raise the number of people riding in a conventional commuter automobile less CO2 is emitted per passenger mile. The financial aspect of ride sharing is substantial amounts of personal cash are released when cars are not driven.

I live in California and I have seen that free ride sharing services like 511.org mostly do not work. There are many reasons why these ride sharing services do not work. The Lyft business model addresses some of the social needs that must be met for ride sharing to work. The California State law echoes the Lyft safety requirements. The State law apparently formalizes some of the social and safety issues that ride sharing needs if it will be a major activity.

I have been studying and writing about the California public bus system for many years and I am absolutely delighted to see Ride Sharing beginning to get started.
http://lessco2essay.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

No Body Walks In LA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44899375)

Yes that is the title tag line of the '80s hit by Missing Persons.

So the by-line is IF Cal Gov is going to mine money then there must be a WAY.

Ah Ha!

CHPs!

Remember CHPs from the '70 TV!

Now, Cal Gov Jerry 'Moon Beam' Brown has invigorated CHPs to investigate the number of riders per car.

If the number is greater than 3, IT MUST BE A RIDE SHARE! and subject to taxation by the newly enacted law.

So CHPs will, if the number of 'riders' is greater than 2, will pull over the INFRINGING ASSAILANT and issue a ticket for a COURT APPEARANCE.

Cal Gov is banking that anyone who gets a Ride Share Ticket will ignore the court appearance, and then forfeit $1000 and the driver's license earns 3 demerits which with another demerit will require forfeiture.

Don't you Cal Residents Love Precious Gov Moon Beam.

BULLSHIT. (0)

jcr (53032) | about 10 months ago | (#44899537)

Imposing new regulations on these services isn't a "boost", it's the government trying to protect the cab companies (who pay shitloads of bribes to politicians) from new competition.

The customers of Uber, Lyft, and the rest were doing fine without this.

-jcr

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