Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Melbourne Uber Drivers Slapped With $1700 Fines; Service Shuts Down

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the permission-is-mandatory dept.

Australia 255

beaverdownunder (1822050) writes "Victoria Australia's Taxi Directorate has begun a crackdown on Melbourne Uber drivers, fining them $1700 each for operating a taxi service illegally, with total fines apparently equalling over $50000. In response, Uber has shut down its Melbourne service, and has refused to comment on whether its drivers will be compensated, since Uber told them they were providing a legal service. (Fined Uber drivers could take the company to the state's consumer tribunal: stay tuned!) Uber is set to meet with the Directorate next week but it is likely the demands the Directorate will place on Uber drivers, such as mandatory criminal record checks, vehicle inspections and insurance, will make the service in Melbourne unviable. Meanwhile, the New South Wales government is awaiting a report to determine if Uber drivers operating in that state are doing so illegally, warning that drivers could face substantial fines if they are found to have been operating in breach of the law. In South Australia, it doesn't even appear Uber will get off the ground — the state has made it clear that those who operate as an Uber driver will be driving without being covered by the state's mandatory insurance coverage, essentially de-registering their vehicle and making them liable for fines and license suspension."

cancel ×

255 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Death sentence (5, Insightful)

jrumney (197329) | about 3 months ago | (#46948433)

but it is likely the demands the Directorate will place on Uber drivers, such as mandatory criminal record checks, vehicle inspections and insurance, will make the service in Melbourne unviable.

Those aren't unreasonable demands of someone wanting to carry passengers for hire. They are checks that pretty much the entire Western world has come up with after numerous problems with unsafe, uninsured and unsavoury taxi drivers. If this is enough to make Uber unviable, then I wouldn't want to be one of their investors.

Re:Death sentence (5, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | about 3 months ago | (#46948481)

Exactly. I'm surprised this is legal anywhere (well, any developed country). And was it not obviously in breach?

Users of `look-after-my-child-for-a-few-hours.com` better watch their backs!

Re:Death sentence (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 3 months ago | (#46948581)

Users of `look-after-my-child-for-a-few-hours.com` better watch their backs!

I feed baby meat. Is good meat.

Also, baby's name is Piotr now. After my mother.

Re: Death sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948487)

Can you name the markets where Ãoeber complies with even those most basic requirements?

Re: Death sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948633)

I thought Unicode support was a basic requirement of a website in 2014...

Re: Death sentence (2)

91degrees (207121) | about 3 months ago | (#46948785)

Yes, but in Slashdot land, it's still 1997.

But the beta is all Web 2.1.4 up the arse! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46949245)

I want to say it is no worse than any other web site, but it is. The old /. was shit, but it was OUR shit.

Short attention span world (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948603)

Uber is attempting to cash in on the short attention span crowd - people who might like to be a taxi driver for a day or two, but not really bad enough to jump through any kind of hoops to do it. Taxi service (putting passengers' lives at risk) might not be the best place to do this. Same for food preparation.

Re:Death sentence (5, Informative)

putaro (235078) | about 3 months ago | (#46948607)

Uber has different levels of service. This appears to be a crackdown on "UberX" which lets anyone drive for extra cash. There's also "Black Car" which uses limousine services (i.e. "Town Cars") which are licensed and insured. That probably remains legal unless there is some problem with them picking up fares anywhere.

We used Uber Black Car and regular taxis in San Francisco recently. San Francisco taxis have really gone to the dogs - we had one driver who did nothing except talk on the phone and swerved in and out of traffic. The limo drivers were much nicer, the cars were nicer and the price was about the same.

Re:Death sentence (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#46948629)

but it is likely the demands the Directorate will place on Uber drivers, such as mandatory criminal record checks, vehicle inspections and insurance, will make the service in Melbourne unviable.

Those aren't unreasonable demands of someone wanting to carry passengers for hire. They are checks that pretty much the entire Western world has come up with after numerous problems with unsafe, uninsured and unsavoury taxi drivers. If this is enough to make Uber unviable, then I wouldn't want to be one of their investors.

I'd agree with you on that. It would be different if this app was being used for car pooling or just to find someone else going to the museum today. But instead Uber and other companies like them have just turned it into a quasi-legal taxi service with full-time drivers. I'm not sure if I agree with the out-right ban on them. I'd prefer to see them forced to disclose information when you apply for the ride about their insurance, criminal history, etc... in the application.

Re:Death sentence (4, Informative)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 3 months ago | (#46948747)

Taxis in Victoria are regulated where each vehicle is licensed by paying tens of thousands of dollars to the state government.

In such an industry, freelancers won't be tolerated.

Re:Death sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948973)

So the answer is to swing the pendulum to the far opposite side and put people's lives and well-being in jeopardy?

Re:Death sentence (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 3 months ago | (#46949177)

No, you let people decide if they care to. Uber hasn't been killed off by a string of murders and rapes; it's been killed off by politicians.

Re:Death sentence (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 3 months ago | (#46949225)

Catch a tram if you're too cheap to pay for a taxi. Use a designated driver rather than queuing for a taxi at 3am on a Sunday morning.

Re:Death sentence (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 3 months ago | (#46948675)

What's really the difference between this and an online dating service though? You meet people online, some of them might turn out to be jerks or even dangerous. Use your own judgment. There already exist online systems where you can arrange carpools or split a ride with someone. Why does making the cars "for hire, at a profit" change the dynamic so much. In university we has a bulletin board (physical one) where you could post where you were going for the weekend or holidays, and people could check if anyone was going to the same place, and they could split the gas, or the owner of the car gets free gas and lunch, or whatever else the two parties decided was fair. This is basically an online version of something that has existed since car ownership became common place.

Re:Death sentence (3, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 3 months ago | (#46948713)

What's really the difference between this and an online dating service though? You meet people online, some of them might turn out to be jerks or even dangerous. Use your own judgment. There already exist online systems where you can arrange carpools or split a ride with someone. Why does making the cars "for hire, at a profit" change the dynamic so much.

If you go to an "online dating service" where you meet a person and then pay them for a service rendered, that's pretty much changing the dynamic as much as you can (and would also be highly illegal in most places). Similarly, with Uber you aren't just meeting up and sharing a ride (where the most you would pay is for some gas), you are getting a service from the driver and paying them accordingly. Big difference between the 2.

Re:Death sentence (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 3 months ago | (#46949097)

So what if it's Craigslist and they sell me a TV/Stereo/Bike, and tell me to come to their house to pick up the item? I'm paying for a product in this case. If the goods end up stolen I may end up without anything. If there product isn't any good, I end up with little recourse. Sure, tha't's not a service, it's a physical item. What about dog grooming? That's a service. Your dog may end up with a bad haircut, or even injured/dead. What makes driving someone around such as special case or any other service? Sometimes the person you end up meeting up with is dangerous. Prepare yourself accordingly and take precautions.

Re:Death sentence (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 3 months ago | (#46949597)

What makes driving someone around such as special case or any other service?

Governments have people brainwashed into thinking that people can only drive with the bureaucrats' blessing and that they have deserve control over every aspect of motor vehicle operations.

It's very lucrative for those governments to have the people believe such things.

re: Death sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46949277)

> and would also be highly illegal in most places

Not really. Prostitution is generally legal.

Re:Death sentence (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 3 months ago | (#46949267)

Another problem is that taxi drivers are among the most violent professionals out there, using lots of aggression to protect their livelihood if they have to. Now, it wouldn't take too long before taxi drivers start "ordering" rides with Uber, just to harass or attack those Uber-users.

Re:Death sentence (5, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 3 months ago | (#46949005)

Criminal record check is completely unnecessary. How are convicted felons ever going to find work if we put background checks on everything?

Re:Death sentence (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46949293)

Criminal record check is completely unnecessary. How are convicted felons ever going to find work if we put background checks on everything?

Uh, that's the idea. Then, when you disagree with the government in the future, they can give you a criminal record that prevents you from ever working again.

Re:Death sentence (3, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 3 months ago | (#46949029)

It's not about safety checks and insurance. It's about established factions limiting competition.

Otherwise it's as easy as "Sure, I meet safety and insurance requirements! Gimme my license!"

Re:Death sentence (3, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 3 months ago | (#46949247)

Exactly. In NYC a taxi licence costs one million dollars. Hardly about background check and vehicle inspection.

Re:Death sentence (4, Interesting)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 3 months ago | (#46949161)

In one of our most crime-riddled cities, we engage in the practice of slugging. This amounts to carpooling without speaking: a slug gets into your car and rides along the way, no conversation, no compensation, because you're going the way they want to go.

Mostly, this has lower risks than taking a taxi. I don't understand why; more rapes, assaults, and robberies happen in bona-fide taxi service. This offends the rational senses.

Re:Death sentence (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 3 months ago | (#46949211)

It seems like more and more companies can't resist the temptation of going into illegal territory.
First Google, with their effort of scanning and publishing copyrighted books, publishing copyrighted videos.
Now also Airbnb and Uber.

Re:Death sentence (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 3 months ago | (#46949325)

"Unviable" here means "They won't make the same profit margin they expected, which were based on skirting the laws." So yeah, you wouldn't want to be an investor.

The idea isn't totally dead if you start regulating it a bit. Smartphone apps to arrange rides opens up a middle ground between full-time professional taxi drivers and your friend taking you someplace that previously wouldn't work. You couldn't easily find someone who happened to be driving to the airport next week that had some extra space, you had to either beg someone to go out of their way or pay for a taxi at inflated rates (due to the city and airport taking a cut). The cat is already kind of out of the bag, I'm skeptical that the fight over ridesharing is one that cities and taxis are going to win in the long term.

Re:Death sentence (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about 3 months ago | (#46949471)

Free ridesharing is surely here to stay. However, considering that a lot of countries are slowly transitioning to a cashless economy, having more and more transactions proceed through electronic payments that can be easily tracked, I suspect it will be increasingly difficult for drivers to make any significant amount of money without at least declaring it in taxes. And if the tax office finds out about your work, so can other government regulatory agencies.

Interfering regulations .. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948443)

Criminal checks, insurance, vehicle checks .. what is the world coming to when you can't just get in some random fscked up car with an uninsured criminal ?

Re:Interfering regulations .. (2)

91degrees (207121) | about 3 months ago | (#46948901)

Actually you can. They're just not allowed to charge you for it.

Re:Interfering regulations .. (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 3 months ago | (#46948977)

Not even.

Hitch-hiking is illegal here in Victoria.

Re:Interfering regulations .. (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about 3 months ago | (#46949279)

While the status of hitchhiking in Victoria is disputed (the wording of the law is no different from many countries where hitchhiking is considered legal, and the police don't enforce it anyway as hordes of foreign travellers in Oz can tell you), the OP may have been referring to rideshare websites or bulletin boards where people exchange free lifts, not actually standing along the road.

Re:Interfering regulations .. (5, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 3 months ago | (#46949531)

You can, nobody is stopping you. But if he charges you for it he will be encroaching on the taxi drivers' turf and cutting the city out of its share of the loot and for that he will be fined and/or imprisoned.

Occupational licencing in almost every case is nothing but a racket to artificially limit the number of practitioners and keep the prices high and to collect a tax by a different name. At least you can make a bogus safety argument when it comes to driving, but what about hairdressers, photographers, interior designers etc etc all of whom require a licence in many jurisdictions and who have to pay the city or the state an annual hefty fee in addition to taking useless courses and passing tests (more fees) in order to be able to work, despite the fact that many other jurisdictions don't have those requirements with provably zero ill effects. 1 in 3 Americans [buzzfeed.com] today are not allowed to work in their profession without a government license.

time to accept bitcoin! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948485)

this would be a good distributed autonomous corporation

The historical cycle (5, Insightful)

hessian (467078) | about 3 months ago | (#46948539)

Step 1:

Get rid of all regulation.

Free market, yo.

Step 2:

A young girl is murdered and rape in a cab in a horrific fashion.

The democracy demands solutions!

Step 3:

Regulate. When that doesn't work, regulate some more.

Step 4:

Prices are high and a de facto exclusive license exists. People notice this is bad and want deregulation.

Re: The historical cycle (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948593)

If it moves, regulate it. If it's still moving tax it. If it stops moving, subsidize it...

Re: The historical cycle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948669)

This sounds crazy.. as in "there is no point". There is a reason it works this way though.

Before this three step process the best and brightest win the majority of business. After this three step process the government picks the winners.

Re: The historical cycle (1)

Brulath (2765381) | about 3 months ago | (#46948987)

The best and the brightest, or the most sociopathic? Like many political ideas - most noteworthy being communism - they sound good when you think about them on a local scale, where everyone knows everyone else personally, but once you start adding in layers of detachment the rules break down very quickly; the "best and the brightest" aren't likely to win very often when fighting sociopaths.

Re: The historical cycle (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about 3 months ago | (#46949067)

Sorry, but the most sociopathic are busy being the government.

Re: The historical cycle (1)

Racemaniac (1099281) | about 3 months ago | (#46949189)

and ceos and religious leaders and [fill in random position with a lot of power]

Re: The historical cycle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46949313)

and ceos and religious leaders and [fill in random position with a lot of power]

Except democracy actively selects for charismatic sociopaths. CEOs, at least those who've built companies from scratch, generally have to actually be able to do something useful too.

Re: The historical cycle (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about 3 months ago | (#46949449)

True, some CEOs are sociopaths (Steve Jobs is the textbook example), but they do not have the power to arrest and kill you (at least not yet). This may change if people pushing for an even bigger government get their way, though...

Enough warning? (3, Interesting)

axlash (960838) | about 3 months ago | (#46948547)

I wonder if the directorate gave the drivers enough of a heads up before the crackdown; if not, that would seem a rather harsh move.

Re: Enough warning? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948643)

How much warning to stop breaking the law is "enough"? It is, by definition, something you should never have started. Why should they give any warning at all?

Re: Enough warning? (2)

fredprado (2569351) | about 3 months ago | (#46949089)

Considering the size and number of laws and regulations that exist in all countries these days, chances are you break a few of them quite often too.

Re: Enough warning? (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 3 months ago | (#46949357)

It's up to the individual to do due diligence before commencing any such venture.

Operating an underground taxi should set off warning bells such as 'do I need government accreditation?'

Re: Enough warning? (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about 3 months ago | (#46949479)

Well, it shouldn't as in many many laws that are completely counter intuitive. It makes no sense at all to regulate this kind of business and this kind of artificial restriction of offer harms the population far more than it protects them.

With apologies to Pink Floyd (5, Funny)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 3 months ago | (#46948563)

We don't need no regulation
We don't need no quality control
No background checks in the taxis
Melbourne leave those cars alone
Hey, Melbourne, leave those cars alone!
All in all it's just another car on the road
All in all you're just another car on the road

Re:With apologies to Pink Floyd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948649)

You changed too many words.

"
All in all it's just another car in the wall
"

Works just fine.

Re:With apologies to Pink Floyd (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 3 months ago | (#46949157)

I'm not even sure what I'm trying to say. Reading TFS, "We don't need no regulation" came into my head, and the rest just followed.

Refine as you like to suit your taste.

Uber drivers are wanted for treason. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948573)

They will be hanged at sundown. Get your tickets while they last.

Why does the AU gov hate fun? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948575)

Their video game ratings system is constantly banning awesome games. Now they're missing out on a great car service. I love Uber.

They don't hate fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948845)

Australia has limited fun resources, hitting peak fun in the late 1980s. At its height, they even made the incredible mistake of exporting fun via Crocodile Dundee. Additionally, since Australia is so far away from the rest of the world, importing fun is extremely expensive. As a result, Australia must conserve and ration what little fun they do have if they plan to have any fun in the foreseeable future.

A Solution (1)

neoshroom (324937) | about 3 months ago | (#46948617)

>such as mandatory criminal record checks, vehicle inspections and insurance

Allow drivers to send those in via taking pictures of them with their phones. Have the drivers maybe pay a small fee to get some kind of background check on their driving records which the DMV should have anyway (instead of a criminal background check, which does't seem relevant). Problem solved.

Re:A Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948679)

A criminal background check could be relevant .. no one wants a rapey driver.

Re:A Solution (3, Informative)

GameMaster (148118) | about 3 months ago | (#46948715)

What in the world makes you think a criminal background check isn't relevant? You want convicted sexual predators driving taxis around? How about people that have been convicted of fraud? You want them being responsible for operating the meter in an honest manner? There are enough issues with slimy/fraudulent practices in taxis services as it is, now you want to do away with the criminal background checks entirely? You're nuts.

Also, you seem to have completely ignored the third issue at stake here: insurance. Personal auto insurance != commercial auto insurance. The moment your insurance company finds out you were driving people around for profit at the time of your accident they will, completely legitimately, refuse to pay out any claims. While it's completely fine that you don't get paid after committing insurance fraud (which IS what you're doing when you violate your CLEARLY WRITTEN insurance contract to drive for profit) the important thing here is that anyone you've hurt (such as your fares and/or whatever/whoever you hit) are now left with no way to be compensated unless they can squeeze the money out of you. Since it's unlikely that people like Warren Buffet or Donald Trump are going to be Ubering in their Bentley, this means that those people are almost certainly screwed.

Re:A Solution (3, Funny)

jrumney (197329) | about 3 months ago | (#46948775)

(instead of a criminal background check, which does't seem relevant).

They could just have an option in the app: I want my driver to be: 1: a rapist; 2: a murderer; 3: prone to violent outbursts but hasn't killed anyone yet that we know of

Re:A Solution (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 3 months ago | (#46948865)

Individual towns of Long Island, NY, require cabbies to get a hack license, in order for the driver to pick up passengers from train & bus stations, and street hails. To get a hack license the driver needs to be fingerprinted, with the prints checked by the towns police dept. for any felonies. Also needed is a fitness note from a doctor. Only when all requirements are met and approved by the town is the hack license issued. p This process began to be adopted by all towns in L. I. approximately 20 years ago after a female taxi passenger was raped by a gypsy cab driver.

Re:A Solution (2)

Trepidity (597) | about 3 months ago | (#46948921)

I think the problem is that almost no Uber drivers actually have valid commercial insurance at all, not that they lack documentation of it. And Uber contends that making them pay for it would make the service unviable.

Uber drivers presumably do have personal vehicle insurance, but a photo of that wouldn't be sufficient. Personal insurance policies typically explicitly exclude incidents that arose when operating the vehicle for pay, so they wouldn't cover a crash that happened during a trip booked via Uber. For that, you need commercial insurance.

Protectionism (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948623)

Once again, big business and government combine to profit at the expense of individuals.

Nobody asked me if I wanted to pay for all the red tape surrounding taxi services. If I want to take an informed risk, I should be allowed to have that opportunity.

Re:Protectionism (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 3 months ago | (#46948937)

'big business' ? Oh, the irony.

Uber are a $US3Billion American company, trying to increase their profitability by launching a stealth, rogue, taxi service in a foreign country.

Re:Protectionism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46949095)

If existing prices and regulations were even close to being "fair", Uber could not exist as a company.

Uber will never operate in Bangkok, for example, because the prices and regulation there are reasonable.

Re:Protectionism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948971)

Once again, big business and government combine to profit at the expense of individuals.

Nobody asked me if I wanted to pay for all the red tape surrounding taxi services. If I want to take an informed risk, I should be allowed to have that opportunity.

Partially agree. But at the very least, the government/taxi scam of "medallions" that artificially limits supply should go.

The geek tries his luck. (2)

westlake (615356) | about 3 months ago | (#46949239)

If I want to take an informed risk, I should be allowed to have that opportunity.

You don't know if the driver has a license to drive, insurance, a criminal record, or that his vehicle is being properly maintained.

That isn't a calculated risk --- it's a roll of the dice that may be loaded against you.

Compare to taxi service (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 3 months ago | (#46948685)

The idea is quite simple that they produce something similar to a taxi service at lower cost. The lower cost must come from somewhere. It mostly comes from taxi drivers having to pay extra money for driving people around in taxis, and these guys don't want to pay that extra money. For example, my (British) car insurance says that I'm not insured if I drive people around for money. If I do without getting different (more expensive) insurance, then I'm driving without insurance, which could bankrupt me and the passengers in case of an accident, and would get me into all kinds of trouble if caught.

Re:Compare to taxi service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46949455)

The idea is quite simple that they produce something similar to a taxi service at lower cost. The lower cost must come from somewhere. It mostly comes from taxi drivers having to pay extra money for driving people around in taxis, and these guys don't want to pay that extra money..

The real scam though isn't the somewhat legit costs of making sure taxi drivers are licensed, not TOO criminal, and don't gouge customers in a way that gives the city a bad name with tourists. The scam is medallion programs that artificially limit the number of taxi drivers to limit competition. That medallions go for almost $1 million in NYC shows the value of that... And of course, the riders must pay for the price of that medallion.

so much unsaid for uber. (5, Informative)

nimbius (983462) | about 3 months ago | (#46948687)

Uber seems like a libertarian scam at best. You have an unlicensed, unregulated cab service with unverified and wildly variant service levels. Compounding the issue further, youre faced with an entity that assumes the 'fare' it pays you is commensurate enough to ensure your maintenance, upkeep, and fuel costs. While it might be true for a 13 year old crown victoria, Im willing to guess the fare earned for a jaunt across town in some strangers Benz doesnt begin to cover ceramic brakes and ferromagnetic suspension work.

There is literally nothing in the contract agreements for Uber or even at the government regulatory level that would prevent what essentially amounts to 4chan on wheels from picking you up, driving you to the middle of nowhere, and kicking you out covered in mustard without saying a word. If you lost your phone or wallet in the car, no ones beholden to return it. The automobile provided might even be some dukes of hazard two seater with a supercharger, no seatbelts, and a dead hooker in the trunk and this is all perfectly acceptable based on the terms you agreed to with Uber. And the worst part is that protective measures like a commercial drives license simply dont exist. Your driver could be a meth-addled convict with a bottle of jagermeister between his legs, but since he never had to go through a background check or a drug test or even a physical, the hook he uses to steer the car between epileptic bouts of withdrawal is in Ubers understanding a sterling example of a world class taxi service without the hassle of icky cabs. When he wraps the front end of his 1971 plymouth duster with the missing front brake around a utility pole, nothing in his insurance (should he care to buy some) is required to cover any part of you the paramedics collect from the street as they hustle you to the ER.

Re:so much unsaid for uber. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948989)

Libertarian scam?

Why do you think taxis are so expensive? It's because of the existing scam involving local government and taxi companies. At least Uber is a cheap "scam".

Re:so much unsaid for uber. (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 3 months ago | (#46949353)

He didn't say the alternative was not also a scam, that's a strawman. In a two way fight, both parties can be scumbags.

Re:so much unsaid for uber. (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 3 months ago | (#46949275)

I have ceramic brakes. I've always used them. Replace my brakes every several years. They cost $50 a pair, and stop a hell of a lot better than old style brakes--especially ceramic with 18% copper impregnation.

Re:so much unsaid for uber. (1)

GlennC (96879) | about 3 months ago | (#46949641)

Good for you.

Can you verify that ALL Uber drivers have similar brakes (or even WORKING brakes) on their cars?

Re:so much unsaid for uber. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46949601)

4chan

I would totally take a ride somewhere from my homeboy mootles.

Re:so much unsaid for uber. (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 3 months ago | (#46949691)

There is literally nothing in the contract agreements for Uber or even at the government regulatory level that would prevent what essentially amounts to 4chan on wheels from picking you up, driving you to the middle of nowhere, and kicking you out covered in mustard without saying a word.

I thought Uber has a reputation system? Does it not have a reputation system? Customer regulation is always more effective than contractual or governmental regulation if the systems are in place to make it work. Did Uber die out in Oz because everybody was getting sprayed with condiments or did it get shut down by a crony government because it was too successful?

Uber? (1)

rebelwarlock (1319465) | about 3 months ago | (#46948703)

Horrible summary doesn't even bother to tell us what Uber is. Massive summary + complete lack of useful info = no clicky. Find better clickbait.

Re:Uber? (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 3 months ago | (#46949111)

Any publicity is good publicity.

But Montreal? (1)

Tester (591) | about 3 months ago | (#46948719)

I don't get Uber. In Montreal, they offer their service, but they actually work with licensed taxis, at the official regulated price, just like any other taxi company. I don't understand why they can do it here, but make a big thing about it in other cities.

Libertarian view... (4, Insightful)

bradley13 (1118935) | about 3 months ago | (#46948729)

The libertarian view of this: Uber customers know that they are calling a car driven by some random person. If they want to do that, really, it's their own business. If they want the assurance of a background-checked driver, they are also free to call a taxi company. What's wrong with keeping the government out of it and letting people choose?

Re:Libertarian view... (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about 3 months ago | (#46948813)

Libertarian chooses unregulated cab. Said unregulated cab hits pedestrian. Insurance company of unregulated cab says 'your policy is for personal use only, we are not paying'. Who pays for pedestrian's injuries, the libertarian?

Re:Libertarian view... (2)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 3 months ago | (#46948917)

Libertarian chooses unregulated cab. Said unregulated cab hits pedestrian. Insurance company of unregulated cab says 'your policy is for personal use only, we are not paying'. Who pays for pedestrian's injuries, the libertarian?

The Libertarian chooses not to give a flying frak about the pedestrian. That is the "beauty" of such an ideology and the power of making choices </sarcasm>

Re:Libertarian view... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948947)

Who pays for pedestrian's injuries, the libertarian?

I assume the libertarian would say that the cab driver is personally liable as his insurance is invalid.
Some might also say the pedestrian gets to inflict similar injuries on the cab driver, or that his relatives can kill the cab driver if the pedestrian dies (I've always thought this was a problem though - if someone kills me, *I* can't be compensated in any way by anything that happens to them after my death).

I'm not sure what libertarians would say re the monetary compensation in the case where the cab driver has no worthwhile assets and is unlikely to ever have any. Slavery perhaps?

Re:Libertarian view... (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 3 months ago | (#46948955)

Libertarian chooses unregulated cab. Said unregulated cab hits pedestrian. Insurance company of unregulated cab says 'your policy is for personal use only, we are not paying'. Who pays for pedestrian's injuries, the libertarian?

Why should he? Not like he was driving, nor is the car his property. In the case you describe, the driver is at fault, not the passenger.

Or are you of the opinion that if you get a ride with a (soon-to-be ex-)friend, and he hits someone, and turns out to have no insurance, that YOU are liable for the injuries?

Re:Libertarian view... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46949057)

Or are you of the opinion that if you get a ride with a (soon-to-be ex-)friend, and he hits someone, and turns out to have no insurance, that YOU are liable for the injuries?

He's of the opinion that we should be suing the families of that Malaysian plane that disappeared. After all, those fucking libertarians just had to fly with some crazy, deranged pilot. It's totally their responsibility.

(Too soon? Of course. But this is what you idiots sound like when you're talking out your ass about what "Libertarians" believe.)

Re:Libertarian view... (4, Interesting)

jittles (1613415) | about 3 months ago | (#46949131)

Libertarian chooses unregulated cab. Said unregulated cab hits pedestrian. Insurance company of unregulated cab says 'your policy is for personal use only, we are not paying'. Who pays for pedestrian's injuries, the libertarian?

Why should he? Not like he was driving, nor is the car his property. In the case you describe, the driver is at fault, not the passenger.

Or are you of the opinion that if you get a ride with a (soon-to-be ex-)friend, and he hits someone, and turns out to have no insurance, that YOU are liable for the injuries?

That depends. I know someone who sued a passenger in a car for negligence. In this case, the passenger was stone cold sober and let his friend drive him around after having a few too many drinks (blood alcohol more than 3x the legal limit). The driver ran a red light and almost killed my acquaintance. The driver was uninsured and had no assets. The passenger, on the other hand, was insured and had plenty of real world assets. The passenger was at the bar with the driver when they got drunk. The passenger knew the driver was drunk and still let them drive them both around. I can understand someone wanting to hold the passenger accountable for his inaction. In fact, the passenger was held liable. So perhaps the Uber passenger could be liable for the actions of an uninsured driver.

Re:Libertarian view... (4, Interesting)

bws111 (1216812) | about 3 months ago | (#46949577)

Answer the question: who pays to cover the pedestrian? One option is the driver. Of course, if the driver has little assets (and chances are he would not be driving a cab if he was rich), he can't pay. The only other person involved in this wonderful libertarian world would be the passenger. But, of course, HE couldn't be expected to pay. So that leaves only two choices: either the pedestrian himself is responsible for all his bills (including loss of income, etc), or all of society pays (either through the goverment, or through higher insurance rates for everyone). And if random people and/or all of society are going to have to cover the cost of damage inflicted by a cab driver, then all of society damn well has a right to insist, through (gasp) regulations, that the driver of a cab must demonstrate the financial wherewithall to pay for damage he potentially causes (usually by purchasing insurance).

Your 'friend' example is stupid, because drivers ARE required to carry insurance. If they don't have insurance, society covers the cost, but the driver has violated a law.

Re:Libertarian view... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46949021)

The libertarian pays IF he did not complete his due diligence when contracting the car. He should have conducted driving and drug tests of the driver in advance.

Re:Libertarian view... (1)

Bacon Bits (926911) | about 3 months ago | (#46948843)

Nothing is wrong with that. If you change the law and level the playing field first. You can't say one company is unregulated and everybody else has to be regulated. What kind of free enterprise is that? If you want to allow unregulated taxi services, change the law to allow that. I'm sure the other taxi services would love that idea, too. Going out and just doing it in direct violation of the law is plain stupid.

Re:Libertarian view... (1)

dumky2 (2610695) | about 3 months ago | (#46949121)

As a libertarian, I have to point out why the question of regulating businesses on roads is not as easy as you suggest (just de-regulate). The State owns the roads.

If you want to offer some service on private property, the analysis you described works. Consumers should be cautious, which in the presence of competition (ie. competition is not forbidden) leads to better quality over time. Voluntary solutions (insurance, auditing, etc) can appear to address the brunt of the problems faced.

But the vast majority of roads are not private property, they are government-owned, government-managed and tax-funded.
Thus the dynamics of choice and improvement are mostly lacking (there remains competition between government jurisdictions). It is very difficult to explore and discover trade-offs that are closer to optimal.

Re:Libertarian view... (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about 3 months ago | (#46949303)

Don't most American libertarians want the government to privatize all roads, or at least all highways?

Internet solutions and human nature don't mix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948765)

Why is it that every new Internet based solution concocted for the last decade or so always seems so great on the face of it, but fails horribly when that solution is cut loose on the general public? Just about every e-commerce project I can think of has massive problems of being exploited by society's dark underbelly... Was it a "good thing" to unleash the Internet on the general public?

Pitfalls of sharing economy (5, Insightful)

wired_parrot (768394) | about 3 months ago | (#46948777)

This is why I am critical of the sharing economy. It is is the pinnacle of outsourcing where the management (uber, airbnb) reaps the cream of the profits at little risk, while their "subcontractors", so to speak, take the burden of all the risks (legally and financially), while also having to shoulder maintenance and operating expenses. The responsible and ethical move for these companies would be to properly inform these subcontractors the insurance requirements, legal risks, local workplace standards required for operation, and try to assist them if possible to meet these requirements.

Instead, they prefer to claim ignorance and shoulder all responsibility on their user base. When legal problems inevitably arise, they cast their users/subcontractors adrift, letting them fend for themselves. It's utterly disgraceful.

Re:Pitfalls of sharing economy (2)

CRCulver (715279) | about 3 months ago | (#46948909)

While the mainstream, monetary payment-driven sharing economy is indeed riddled with problems, for every exploitive service like this there are community-driven, freely usable services that work more according to a gift economy. You cite Airbnb, but well before that site arose people were offering each other hospitality through Couchsurfing* with no money exchanged, just a desire to help fellow travellers and pay the hospitality one received earlier forward. Analogous to Uber are free ride-sharing services, or if you like to hitchhike you can share your tips with your fellow hitchhikers on Hitchwiki. Even food-sharing has been facilitated through internet projects coordinating "Food Not Bombs"-style community dinners or sites like Trashwiki which allow dumpster-divers to pool their knowledge. And is Wikipedia not the best example of succesful and non-exploitive sharing? Its profit-driven competitors have all fallen by the wayside.

(* The Couchsurfing management did sell out its user base after a few years, and I mention it here only because it is the most well-known such service, but there are other, more idealistic hospex communities with the same basis.)

Re:Pitfalls of sharing economy (1)

CaptBubba (696284) | about 3 months ago | (#46949045)

When money changes hands everything changes. Expectations both from the customer and in terms of legal liability are so much higher that you cannot compare gift or free exchanges to a fundamentally commercial one such as Uber or AirBnB. There is all sorts of really interesting research into this from the psychology side showing that things shift the instant people see something as a monetary transaction instead of a social one.

The services like to act as though they are some hybrid between the two (Lyft is particularly over-the-top about this) but they are not. Just as you can't be "a little pregnant" you can't be a little commercial in nature.

Re:Pitfalls of sharing economy (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 3 months ago | (#46948983)

while their "subcontractors", so to speak, take the burden of all the risks (legally and financially), while also having to shoulder maintenance and operating expenses.

You make it sound like the "subcontractors" are forced to do this. They're not. They're big boys, and should be able to assess their own costs for this, and whether it's worth their while or not.

Thats right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46949677)

And considering the economic viability of these business ideas, they won't be around very long so any investment on the part of the individual should be considered lost.

This "sharing" economy or whatever the buzz word for it is, is nothing but another incarnation of questionable internet businesses with the sole goal of a lucrative exit strategy that would enrich the principals only.

let Uber be Uber (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948803)

Seems like many people like Uber and are happy to take their chances, as with the conceptually similar airbnb.

Slugging in DC works pretty well with same "risks".

I just like to see cartels challenged...

Or sue the government (1)

dumky2 (2610695) | about 3 months ago | (#46949001)

I find it somewhat ironic that the only recourse mentioned in the summary is for the drivers to sue Uber. What about suing the government instead?
It seems ridiculous to have legislation which is so obscure that you can't know for sure if something is legal or illegal until some regulatory agency made a ruling.

Re:Or sue the government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46949359)

Driving for money is a commercial service. When you recieve your yearly vehicle registration you are offered to pay either a personal rate (cheaper) or a commercial rate.
both include mandatory third party insurance as part of the cost. If you have paid the personal rate you may not use the vehicle for commercial use. The insurance will not be valid. This is not obscure in any way. Only morons cannot understand this.

Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46949085)

Fuck uber. Those arrogant dicks should be shutdown everywhere.

Same Tactic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46949659)

The Hillsborough Public Transportation Commission in Tampa Florida is trying the same tactic against Uber and Lyft here. http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2014/05/07/ptc-will-continue-to-ticket-uber-and-lyft-drivers.html . $800 tickets for a corrupt organization that caters to established cab and limousine companies. Good read.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>