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Milwaukee City Council Proposal Would Pave Way For Uber, Lyft

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the anti-coordinative-forces dept.

Government 76

New submitter rjune (123157) writes with some rare positive news from the online ride-sharing world, specifically from Milwaukee. "Ald. Robert Bauman is drafting a proposed ordinance that, if approved by the Common Council, would change the way public passenger vehicles are regulated and licensed. The proposal, expected to be outlined on Friday before the Common Council's Public Transportation Review Board, not only lifts the cap on taxicab vehicle perimits but accommodates new smartphone app services such as Uber and Lyft. Both Uber and Lyft are already in the marketplace." I wish that the cities I spend the most time in would do the same, but they've been busily protecting the local cartels, instead.

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that's a nice city you got there. (2)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 5 months ago | (#46963737)

it would be a shame.......

Clearly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46965351)

... you've never been to Milwaukee.

Re:Clearly... (1)

tmosley (996283) | about 5 months ago | (#46966003)

I think, if this move is indicative of a new philosophy among the local politicians, that it might become a much nicer city in the near future.

Let's talk about it after it passes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46963739)

Drafting a proposed ordinance = vaporware

Dear Timothy (1, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 months ago | (#46963765)

You're job is not to inject your opinion into slashdot posts.

You are well known to be an utter moron, no one wants your opinion. Seriously, NO ONE wants your opinion.

Second, if you had half a clue, you'd know why the current implementation of Uber and Lyft is a disaster waiting to happen. I would actually appreciate it if you used them more and got into a car with someone who did you much harm, resolving two issues at once. A) Getting rid of your ignorance and lack of ability to think more than 2 seconds ahead, and B) illustrating why using random people without proper licensing is a stupid idea and why we have cab regulations like we do now.

On that same note, I think limiting the number of cabs in a city is pretty dumb and just a policy created by corruption and payola (to borrow a term from another industry). However, You (timothy) aren't bright enough to realize that Uber and Lyft can't do what they do and offer ridiculously lower rates while at the same time providing the same level of safety. If you think getting into a car with random people with no vetting or background checks is a great idea, why don't you just hitchhike with lonely truckers, all that'll cost you is a BJ or a hand job.

Again, keep your personal fucking opinion off of the articles you post and learn what you're job as an editor is supposed to be. How the fuck does someone like you stick around for so long?

Re:Dear Timothy (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 5 months ago | (#46963869)

if you had half a clue, you'd know why the current implementation of Uber and Lyft is a disaster waiting to happen.

Uber and Lyft can't do what they do and offer ridiculously lower rates while at the same time providing the same level of safety.

I'm very interested in your thoughts here. Personally I've been using Uber and Lyft for about 6 months and I absolutely love the convenience and pleasantness. My understanding is that both services provide insurance to cover the passenger. Uber just started to charge a $1/ride fee.

what is it you think is the problem? what do you think will surface? please no snark, I'm genuinely curious.

Re:Dear Timothy (1)

penix1 (722987) | about 5 months ago | (#46964065)

I am not the original poster but I think I can answer that...

Those services are no better than hitchhiking since there is no vetting of the driver. Insurance won't stop you from being taken to the woods, beaten, raped, robbed and murdered (not necessarily in that order)... The same goes for the driver. They are not trained what to do in a situation where the passenger may be violent looking to rob them. True cabs are designed to protect the driver as much as possible usually with barriers between the driver and passenger. True cab drivers are trained to take the shortest route from point A to point B especially in cities like London where cab driver training takes years.

Re:Dear Timothy (1)

rel4x (783238) | about 5 months ago | (#46964125)

The drivers are vetted by positive reviews and insanely difficult minimums...and it works fantastically. I'm aware there's theoretically an introductory period where bad people can slip through(not sure what Uber does on their own) but I've never met a bad one...while I've rarely met a traditional cab driver I'd put against an average Uber.

Re:Dear Timothy (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 5 months ago | (#46965135)

THIS.

I can't tell you how many cab drivers have screwed me over. Taken me for a ride that involves going an incredibly wrong direction for an incredibly juicy fare.

Additionally, how do you know your cab is real? Sometimes taxis are "fake" -- not actually registered but painted to look so. You run a risk any time you hop in a cab.

Re:Dear Timothy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46976743)

Agreed. I have been ripped off often by bad cab drivers.

Re:Dear Timothy (3, Informative)

ArmoredDragon (3450605) | about 5 months ago | (#46964275)

Those services are no better than hitchhiking since there is no vetting of the driver. Insurance won't stop you from being taken to the woods, beaten, raped, robbed and murdered (not necessarily in that order)

Sorry but that's a load of crap. Regulated cab drivers have done all of these things.

These services offer the advantage of making that less likely to happen than with a regulated driver for a few reasons:

1) There's a pretty clear cut record of the fact that your last known activity was getting in a taxi via Lyft or Uber, regardless of payment method.
2) There's a well established identity of the person who is driving you (if they are a veteran to the service, they will have numerous ratings.)
3) Both you AND the driver are carrying smartphones that are metering how far you've gone, which means a third party is also tracking your movement and has a very good way for the authorities to trace your last steps.
4) You made your destination clear to a third party before going for a ride, and if your driver significantly strays from that destination at the time that something happened to you, then he's got some splainin' to do.

These safety features don't exist with a traditional taxi. The few that do (e.g. calling the cab company and telling them to pick you up) don't carry any kind of audit mechanism (with Lyft and Uber, there are six audit sources that should match up 100% of the time, so there's no possibility of any two parties conspiring against a third.)

Sorry but your concerns are not legitimate. It's just a tired old argument to keep an already protectionist racket in place. The city governments won't listen to any of the four points I made though because they WANT to have an oligopoly that they can suck more money from. If its tax revenue they need, then just make it a fucking tax instead of making it hell to be able to get a ride without owning your own car. It's not as if they couldn't tax these services (they already plan on regulating them out of the market, whereas simply taxing them would be a lot easier to do.)

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46964485)

> Those services are no better than hitchhiking since there is no vetting of the driver.

Tell you what.

Walk yourself through the process of becoming a Lyft driver. Take a note of all the information you have to put in. Visit with a mentor for the test drive, and take a note of all the information the mentor collects on you and your car.

Then come back here and tell us why what I just quoted from you isn't total bullshit.

Re:Dear Timothy (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 5 months ago | (#46964573)

Insurance won't stop you from being taken to the woods, beaten, raped, robbed and murdered (not necessarily in that order)...

How is that different from a taxi? Is the taxi medallion going to protect you? When I use Lyft, at least I can read the driver's reviews, and see what others experienced. When I get in a taxi, I know nothing.

Re:Dear Timothy (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 5 months ago | (#46965111)

Check your axioms, namely:

"Hitchhiking is bad"

Tell me some stories of people you know who had a bad experience hitch hiking.

I know MANY people who hitchhike all the time. Students, young women, people who you would expect would be the victims of these types of "bad things" that the people who accept hitch hikers would do.

None of them have bad stories (I've asked out of curiosity), but many have stories of the time in the porsche/jaguar/mercedes decided to pull over and let them ride along in luxury.

A lot of people want to believe that their fellow members of humanity are simply evil. I don't get that. Even "bad" people don't see themselves as evil, and with the exception of a few extreme sociopaths people are basically good.

Re:Dear Timothy (1)

nbauman (624611) | about 5 months ago | (#46965307)

Check your axioms, namely:

"Hitchhiking is bad"

Tell me some stories of people you know who had a bad experience hitch hiking.

I know MANY people who hitchhike all the time. Students, young women, people who you would expect would be the victims of these types of "bad things" that the people who accept hitch hikers would do.

When I was in college, my housemate's girlfriend was raped, shot in the head, and left for dead, although she did survive. It does happen.

Re:Dear Timothy (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 5 months ago | (#46966443)

On a traveling mailing list I was on, some one posted a horror story urging women traveling alone to find travel partners and be careful about getting in cabs. Apparently the cabby took her to the middle of no where, robbed her, raped her, and left her tied up until a local farmer found her the next morning.

Re:Dear Timothy (1)

Carnildo (712617) | about 5 months ago | (#46964149)

what is it you think is the problem? what do you think will surface? please no snark, I'm genuinely curious.

1) Drivers deliberately taking sub-optimal routes to run up the meter.
2) Drivers putting in too many hours a day, leading to an increased accident rate.
3) Drivers using the cheapest cars they can buy/skimping on maintenance to keep their costs down.
4) Drivers extorting passengers to pad their income ("An extra $20 off the books, and I won't take the scenic route").
5) Drivers refusing to take people to low-profit destinations ("Take you out there? The hour I'd spend getting back to the city for my next fare would eat my profits for the week")

Re:Dear Timothy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46964223)

Due to work travel I've been to numerous major cities in the United States. Most of what you describe fits the officially sanctioned narrative of taxi cabs.

Re:Dear Timothy (2)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 5 months ago | (#46964225)

you're referring to uber drivers or taxi drivers? because uber and lyft take care of these.

1) there's a background check process when you sign up.
2) the user rates the driver 1-5 after every interaction, and you can provide feedback with every rating like dirty car, bad routing etc.

the other thing is that uber and lyft have 100% control over whether a driver works or is cut off. I'm sure if people complain about low-profit routes or extortion they would be "fired". I've never heard concern about working too many hours in a day, but presumably uber or lyft can cut the drivers off after a certain number hours if it became a problem.

I find the whole system to work really well.

Re:Dear Timothy (2)

ArmoredDragon (3450605) | about 5 months ago | (#46964411)

Drivers deliberately taking sub-optimal routes to run up the meter.

Apparently you've never ridden in a taxi before.

That aside, both the passenger and the driver are aware of the optimal route. The client did schedule the route on their smartphone you know, the same kind of smartphone that already has the optimal route calculated, and the source and destination are already known before the driver even picks them up, so your number 4 and 5 are completely moot, and essentially just pulled out of your ass.

Guess who does those things though? The already existing taxi drivers.

Lyft also screens both drivers and passengers, by the way (criminal and DMV) and both the driver and passenger rate one another. Regular taxis offer no such service.

Re:Dear Timothy (1)

Carnildo (712617) | about 5 months ago | (#46964635)

That aside, both the passenger and the driver are aware of the optimal route

The passenger is aware of what his smartphone thinks is the optimal route.

Consider going from the Spokane airport to the Lakeside area: Google Maps routes you via I-90 and the Maple Street Bridge, but during rush hour, this is a wonderful place to run up the meter, with delays of 10-30 minutes on a 30-minute trip. Going via the Sunset Highway instead avoids much of the traffic (and cuts a quarter-mile off the meter), but to someone who's not a local, it looks like you're being dragged off into the middle of nowhere to be mugged, or at least ripped off on the taxi fare.

Now, as someone from out of town, how are you going to judge if the driver is telling you the truth about why he's going somewhere your smartphone doesn't want him to?

Re:Dear Timothy (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 5 months ago | (#46967271)

you're saying this is unique to uber/lyft but not to taxicabs?

Re:Dear Timothy (1)

ArmoredDragon (3450605) | about 5 months ago | (#46971003)

In my experience, Google Maps is VERY good at avoiding this kind of thing. It maintains a realtime traffic density map for this exact purpose. A taxi is going to be inherently less reliable here, namely because they have to guess what the traffic is going to look like based on the time of day, day of week, holiday, time of year, and least of all practical, construction detours. Google on the other hand tracks these in real-time.

Re:Dear Timothy (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 5 months ago | (#46964599)

Are you talking about Uber/Lyft or completely unregistered/unorganized ones? I have been using uber in SF bay area. You missing one key point, there is an abundant number of drivers for Uber to choose from, and if the drivers/cars are even slightly unsatisfactory, Uber will drop them in a heartbeat and recruit someone else.
1) Their rating gets affected. Uber lays off anyone with less than a 4.5/5 rating. Uber also has a complaint service, you can use to report drivers. The local Yellow cab on the other hand always does this. I have never had an Uber driver take me the long route.
2) This a valid point. It is possible for Uber for take of care of this on the server side. I am not certain they do, but I hope they do.
3) Again, a valid point. I do agree, public transport vehicles should be held to higher standard than other vehicles. I am happy that the car are the cheapest cars, but I do hope Uber mandates regular maintenance. I also doubt they can be any worse than the yellow cabs we have here
4) This only works if the drivers are anonymous. It is absurd to think vetted drivers can get away with this.
5) Uber doesnt allow drivers to refuse rides. If they do, they are fired.

Dear BitZtream (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46963891)

Still living in an era where new and better things scare you because they make you fell that you may loose your job or not be able to follow the market ? Cry me a river and continue to support your local cartel....

Meanwhile; two words for you : "Darwin Law".... adapt or get off the train.

Re:Dear Timothy (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about 5 months ago | (#46964055)

So getting into a car with a Uber driver with lots of good feedback is more risky than getting in an average cab? I don't think you've been many places or taken many cabs.

Re:Dear Timothy (1)

flaming error (1041742) | about 5 months ago | (#46964475)

"You're job is not to inject your opinion into slashdot posts."

Actually, part of the job of editors is to editorialize.

Re: Dear Timothy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46964903)

But this whole story now appears no more than advertising. Fuck this "editor", and fuck uber. Nothing better than advertising hiding as news to get a company on my personal blacklist.

Re:Dear Timothy (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 5 months ago | (#46991379)

"I would actually appreciate it if you used them more and got into a car with someone who did you much harm, resolving two issues at once."

I'm not one to waste time on trollish assholes like you but seriously, you need to take some medication or at least get some therapy. Here you are telling this person to die in a car accident. Seriously? You think its healthy and normal to rant like this? Go get some help for your anger issues. I have never encountered someone this site that spews so much anger and hate at others.

And shame on the person who modded this "Insightful".

Busy protecting the cartels? (5, Informative)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 5 months ago | (#46963827)

Busy protecting the cartels

I see this argument all the time but for the most part there is little substance behind it. Most cities are only trying to ensure that some basic rules are being followed. Like background checks on the drivers, that the cars are maintained and insured with commercial drivers insurance and that the drivers aren't driving 18 hours a day.

I'd be willing to bet that most of the drivers for Lyft and Uber are doing so with their regular non-commercial insurance (which won't cover a damn thing once they find out they were) and are driving significantly more hours than allowed and that at least some of those drivers are able to drive so long because they are taking amphetamines (just like truckers do that drive those kind of hours).

Outside placed like New York these taxi commissions are charged with protecting the public from taxi drivers that have a dozen rape convictions, taxi's that haven't seen a mechanic in 20 years and drivers running around hopped up on speed driving 36 hours straight. The vast majority of these commissions are only interested in these public safety objectives and Uber and Lyft don't give a damn about. The few places they've been threatened with the same rules and expenses they drop the market because they can't make money, which is frankly understandable because in competitive taxi markets (ie almost anywhere outside NY and DC) the margins are razor thin and Uber/Lyft can only make money because they don't do the checks everyone else has to.

Re:Busy protecting the cartels? (2)

rjune (123157) | about 5 months ago | (#46963887)

There is some substance behind the charge that the current system favors the cartels. The Institute for Justice, https://ij.org/milwaukee-taxis... [ij.org] has some interesting background on this. The current system freezes all newcomers out of the market and gives the current (limited by law) permit holders a monopoly. The present system has been ruled unconstitutional: http://www.jsonline.com/news/m... [jsonline.com] The ordinance as drafted: "The proposal requires permits for all public passenger vehicles, and all vehicles must be inspected. In addition there are penalties for operating a public passenger vehicle without a permit and driving a public passenger vehicle without a license." so public safety is protected. Lyft and Uber could require drivers offering rides to have the proper licensing. These services aren't going to go away, its time to completely legitimize them.

Re:Busy protecting the cartels? (2)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 5 months ago | (#46964339)

There is substance to it in some locations. NY and DC are prime examples of a protected marketplace where the regulators and taxi companies are in collusion to limit competition. In these market the regulator isn't a regulator anymore, they are part and parcel of enforcing monopolies for the benefit of the existing taxi services. This is the reason NY medallions are so expensive.

But have you considered that in some markets those limits have a place in some markets. Limited markets had problems in the past with too many taxi's driving everyone out of business. This happened because too many people and companies put taxi's on the road, the result was far more taxi's than there was demand and ultimately driving all of them out of business. It also resulted in a bunch of the taxi's cutting corners in ways that put the public at risk.

I'm all for leveling the playing field and bringing these internet taxi services into the fold but that means they obey the same regulations as everyone else. I don't want my wife killed by some Uber or Lyft driver that's been driving for 30 hours and fell asleep at the wheel nor do I want convicted rapists out there driving cars in a taxi service hunting for new victims. Most of the municipal taxi regulations throughout the country are good regulations, we shouldn't be painting the entire country with the incompetence seen in NY's regulator and demanding an end to sensible regulations where the regulator isn't in the pocket of the taxi companies.

Re:Busy protecting the cartels? (3, Interesting)

nbauman (624611) | about 5 months ago | (#46965387)

There is some substance behind the charge that the current system favors the cartels. The Institute for Justice, https://ij.org/milwaukee-taxis... [ij.org] has some interesting background on this.

In New York City, there were good reasons to limit the number of taxis. If we had twice the number of taxis, we would have bumper-to-bumper traffic jams during the rush hours, and nobody could use the streets. Taxi drivers are using a government resource -- the streets. The owner of those streets has a right to regulate the use of those streets in a way that maximizes their use. The owner of a private gated village has a regulate the use of cars on its streets.

Free markets don't always work, particularly when they use a common resource. It's called the tragedy of the commons.

Re:Busy protecting the cartels? (1)

Cyberax (705495) | about 5 months ago | (#46969581)

Ok, that makes sense. IN MANHATTAN. But nowhere else.

It's impossible to get a yellow cab in Brooklyn or Queens. You have to call a car service (typically a company named something like "Supreme Leader Taxi and Limousine Service"), listen to 5-10 minutes of music then try to explain where you need a car to someone who barely speaks English. Then wait for 20-30 minutes to get a car. Maybe.

Re:Busy protecting the cartels? (1)

nbauman (624611) | about 5 months ago | (#46970187)

I dunno. I used to live in Brooklyn, and it was easy for me to get a cab on main streets, like Kings Highway or Ocean Avenue, any subway stop, or any cluster of stores and restaurants.

OTOH, when I called a car service to get to the airport from Manhattan, they wouldn't show up on time, and sometimes I'd have to drop them for a yellow cab. The car services book their cars solid when they can, and if you cancel because they didn't show up on time, oh well, that's a ride they wouldn't have gotten anyway.

I often get cabs on Long Island, and one of my pet peeves is that they don't usually have working seat belts. That tells me the rest of the car isn't kept up with too well either.

I have noticed when I go out of town that when I pay a $50 fare between the airport and downtown, I usually get better service and a better car than I do when I get a low-priced car and they're competing on price.

When every ride is the lowest bidder, they're not making enough to maintain their cabs, and an experienced driver is going to quit the business when he can.

In those cases that the Institute of Justice is suing over, they have immigrants from Jordan and India who want to compete with Americans by working cheaper.

If I live in a town like Milwaukee, I would welcome immigrants, as I would welcome anybody else, if they want to contribute to the community.

But it's reasonable for a town to decide that there are a lot of residents driving a cab, they make a reasonable income from it, and we don't want to introduce so much competition that nobody can afford to run their cab safely, and nobody can make a living any more (and we have to give them food stamps and Medicaid).

The Institute of Justice says that Ghaleb and Jatinder have a "right to earn a living".

I'm sorry, America has a free market economy. You don't have a "right" to earn a living. If you want a right to earn a living, go to the Soviet Union (oops, sorry, that's not around any more) or Israel where the government will find a job for you.

In the wonderful American free market economy, if you can't earn a living somehow, people like the Institute for Justice will tell you that you can sleep under bridges and starve to death, because the government doesn't have any obligation to give you a handout.

So when they suddenly worry about poor Galeb and Jatinder, they're not really trying to enforce their right to earn a living. They're just using them as foils to attack government regulations. They're also using them as foils to drive the incomes of working people down further and further, to help the Koch brothers and the others who fund the Institute for Justice https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] destroy unions and pick up desperate workers at increasingly lower wages.

Re:Busy protecting the cartels? (1)

Cyberax (705495) | about 5 months ago | (#46970233)

I lived for a couple of years right on Kings Highway and I never managed to get a yellow cab. Though a lot of limousine service cars violate their rules and pick up passengers on streets.

Re:Busy protecting the cartels? (1)

nbauman (624611) | about 5 months ago | (#46970575)

I thought I could go to Google satellite and find yellow cabs along Kings Highway, but I tried it and I couldn't find any. Maybe the neighborhood just went to pot when Dubrow's closed.

Uber has been approved in several cities and we'll see how it goes. The cabs of the future may well be smartphone-guided. But the NYT wrote a story about Uber in NYC, and were twice as expensive and took twice as long to show up in Queens. They also have demand pricing, where they raised their prices tenfold during a storm.

I wonder what Uber's relationship to its drivers is. They seem to have some features of employees and some features of independent contractors that vary among cities, not always in accordance with local regulations.

In California, an Uber contractor killed a child and injured two adults in an accident, but Uber said that since he wasn't carrying an Uber passenger at the time, they weren't legally responsible. The contractor was apparently a licensed, insured commercial driver, but in some arrangements the driver is supposed to be like AirBnB.

Re:Busy protecting the cartels? (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about 5 months ago | (#46964071)

I see this argument all the time but for the most part there is little substance behind it.

Depends on how you define "cartel". I've lived places where the number of medallions was not set by the city, but by those who own medallions. The only way to make new medallions is for the current owners to vote in new ones. And they *never* do. That meets every definition of "cartel" I know, and isn't a silly conspiracy theory as you postulate.

Re:Busy protecting the cartels? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46964477)

What a shock to see so much rejection on /. over and idea like this. Are there dangers? Yes, but people are complaining about carbon emissions, and yet feel Tesla has some how reversed carbon emissions buy recharging a car on a primitive carbon based electrical grid, ANYWAY, you want some type of transit system that is accessible there you go....

The Taxi industry is pathetic to begin with, you think any of them follow 'regulations'? There unions and unions can get away with anything. The response from the industry itself is laughable anymore. This is what is known as 'progress' and people will lose out. by thinking you have some special skill sitting around all day driving people (and jacking up their fares).

It amazes me the number of people on /. that think their geniuses, and yet something as simple as this gets bad mouthed because they couldn't think of it first. Or we get the idiotic argument over regulations, government/union control.

Re: Busy protecting the cartels? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46964913)

Slashdot intuitively detects and rejects shills. Stop pushing so hard.

Drivers are insured (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 5 months ago | (#46964817)

I'd be willing to bet that most of the drivers for Lyft and Uber are doing so with their regular non-commercial insurance

Why do you think that?

The mainstay of at least Uber is the black town car, which has commercial insurance. Why would it not, when it does the rest of the time? You could already hire town cars before, Uber just made it really easy.

UberX is what uses non-commercial drivers - but there Uber provides extra insurance to cover the driver and passengers. I don't know how much but I know they give that to anyone they qualify to be a driver.

Outside placed like New York these taxi commissions are charged with protecting the public from taxi drivers that have a dozen rape convictions, taxi's that haven't seen a mechanic in 20 years and drivers running around hopped up on speed driving 36 hours straight.

Some of that can be taken up by up-front screening (which Uber does). Some of it (hopped up on speed) is taken care of swiftly by bad reviews, which means people will not choose you.

I take it you don't use cabs often? Because the experience in a cab can be HORRIFIC. It will take a long time before Uber or Lyft or the others offer an experience as bad as decades of taxi commissions have brought into being.

Re:Busy protecting the cartels? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46964901)

>New York these taxi commissions
because only the government can protect the public...

>dozen rape convictions
>hopped up on speed driving 36 hours straight
the FUD train is pulling into the station! all aboard!

Insurance? (4, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 5 months ago | (#46963865)

How will they regulate insurance? Professional drivers carry different (and more) insurance.

Also, has anyone given a thought to supply and demand? There was just a story that said people weren't doing this out of love or entrepreneurial, but out of desperation (thanks! 30 years of declining wages). One of the other reasons to limit the supply of cabbies is so somebody can make a living off it. I suppose it's OK that we're all working 4 jobs 16 hours a day too though...

Re:Insurance? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 5 months ago | (#46965169)

Also, has anyone given a thought to supply and demand?

The average Slashdotter doesn't think about anything except how to justify himself getting what he wants, when he wants it, at the lowest possible price (or preferably free), and utterly without a care for long term consequences or the effect on others.

um... (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 5 months ago | (#46964423)

So I don't know if any of you live near Milwaukee... But I do... In Wisconsin an "Alderman" is the absolutely lowest elected public office there is. 3 of my neighbors have been Alderman. People just vote for whomever they know. They don't even know what their policies are... not that it matters, they have no power. An Alderman riding to work on his recumbent bike and introducing some hair brained scheme that will never even remotely be considered is about as common here as cows. How is this news?

Re:um... (2)

haaz (3346) | about 5 months ago | (#46967217)

Milwaukee alders are very powerful in their community and on the city council. What's different here is that Milwaukee is the largest city in the state. It's the state's economic driver. So what happens here has resonance.

What may not be so different is that here, the taxi scene is dominated by one company with a de facto monopoly made possible by previous city action. Ald. Bauman is interested in expanding the choices available to consumers. Hence this action.

I serve on the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors. That body has been maligned so many times it's not funny. One of my colleagues was just elected as an alderman. But that's another story.

Meanwhile, I've got this open data resolution that I'm working on...

Limited licenses (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 5 months ago | (#46964537)

The main reason for limited numbers of licenses is so that driver can make a living wage. I drove cab for 8 years and I could tell when too many cars were on the road. Our company rarely had all our cars on the road at the same time. There are a few problems that Uber causes to this model.
1. Gravy drivers. There will be drivers who only work the good times and do their regular jobs the rest of the time. This causes too many drivers to be available in good times and too few drivers available during off time.
2. Part time drivers. Someone who goes out a couple of hours a few times a week is not trying to make a living. They are doing it for "extra money". They don't care if they make less than a living wage because it is just mad money anyway. That have another job to pay the bills.
3. Fad. Sure there are quite a few Uber drivers right now. It is new and interesting. Wait till some drivers have to deal with obnoxious drinks puking in their car a few times. The fad will wear off and many Uber drivers will quit.

Wait till the cab companies can no longer find drivers for their cars because drivers can no longer make a living wage. Watch for cabs becoming almost unavailable during low times. People will sing a different tune when it takes a couple of hours to get a cab at 2AM.

Puking not nearly as bad (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 5 months ago | (#46964837)

Wait till some drivers have to deal with obnoxious drinks puking in their car a few times.

It won't be a few times because after about two they would be booted from the service for bad reviews from drivers.

People are more likely to puke before, or outside of an Uber car because there are long-term consequences unlike with cabs.

Re:Puking not nearly as bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46965117)

Yes! I love it when private organizations can just ban people from essential transportation services using their own processes not subject to any oversight! Licensed cabbies are cartels that need to be replaced immediately!

Re:Puking not nearly as bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46965305)

I've had licensed cab companies refuse my fare or no-show on many occasions, and Uber never has.

I support Uber because it provides a better service than cabs ever have, for not a whole lot more money.

If I call a cab company I can expect that 30-40 minutes later a cab will show up 75% of the time; if I order an Uber it's there within 10 minutes every time, and usually less than 5. I don't want to be forced to use a substandard service because of political payoffs and old business models being unable to compete with computers.

Re:Puking not nearly as bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46967051)

I've had licensed cab companies refuse my fare or no-show on many occasions, and Uber never has.

This is still a very different situation than what the is claimed to happen with Uber. I think it would be pretty impossible to actually get yourself blacklisted from traditional cab service.

Re:Puking not nearly as bad (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 5 months ago | (#46965149)

I am not talking about the same person doing it over and over. I am talking about different people doing the same thing.

Re:Puking not nearly as bad (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 5 months ago | (#46968179)

I am not talking about the same person doing it over and over.

Nor am I. I am saying:

A) Anyone would be less likely to puke because it affects future use of Uber.

B) The population of people who vomit in cars will be culled early from Uber use, so the drivers percentage-wise have to worry about that much less.

Also of course, just as cabs sometimes do the Uber driver can refuse service if they are at all concerned about someone being so drunk they cannot be transported.

Re:Puking not nearly as bad (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 5 months ago | (#46968347)

Also of course, just as cabs sometimes do the Uber driver can refuse service if they are at all concerned about someone being so drunk they cannot be transported.

That is interesting because taxi drivers are not allowed to discriminate that way. the idea of "I don't like you I won't pick you up" does not fly in the taxi industry.

The main point is still valid. It is a fad right now as it is fun and interesting. The turn over rate in Uber is going to run through most of the available driver pretty quickly. This will happen after the professional taxis are driven out of business and we will be left with very few rides left and it will take a while for the professional business to re-build.

Re:Puking not nearly as bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46965291)

Argument about the effects on the service in general still holds. You get some customers for uber service possibly in top time thus decreasing the motivation for regulars to be there altogether. So win/win for some route/times and lose/lose for regulars/'unusual' routes&times.

These problems can be addressed but not by uber and its customers as they have no interest there. General public as /. crowd are indifferent because of their and/or theur intelectual capacity. In these situations I feel good we have usa to try things out (and stick with bad solutions too).

Re: Puking not nearly as bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46965711)

Do you believe someone who is intoxicated enough to vomit will be concerned with a rating?

Re:Limited licenses (1)

duke_cheetah2003 (862933) | about 5 months ago | (#46964865)

3. Fad. Sure there are quite a few Uber drivers right now. It is new and interesting. Wait till some drivers have to deal with obnoxious drinks puking in their car a few times. The fad will wear off and many Uber drivers will quit.

Take it a step further and how about the first crime committed against a fare from a driver? Going to see some "Oh yea, we needed to regulate that, didn't we?" popping up really fast when a drunk pretty girl gets more than a ride to her destination.

Re:Limited licenses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46965115)

It's easier to get away with crimes as a licensed cabbie than as an automated dispatch service driver.

Unless Uber itself destroys evidence (which is already illegal) there will be lots of timestamped and geotagged audit trail evidence for use against a driver, much more than in the case of a cab where the identity of the fare and destination is only known to the fare and cabbie.

Re:Limited licenses (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 5 months ago | (#46965159)

Except that many cabs are dispatched and use meters that report back to the dispatch. Generally when a meter is turned on it reports to the dispatch the the car is in use and not to send calls to it. You also forget about the cameras that are in most cabs.

Re:Limited licenses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46965205)

> Except that many cabs are dispatched and use meters that report back to the dispatch.

Usually they ask for a first name and a phone number, so even in the best case they have less information about the passenger and destination than a "cloud cab" like Uber.

> You also forget about the cameras that are in most cabs.

Which a nefarious cabbie can easily defeat by "accidentally" jostling it off in a useless direction. Vegas has these in almost all the cabs, but in a substantial subset they're either obviously nonfunctional (all cables pulled, no blinkenlights) or (un)intentionally misaligned.

Re:Limited licenses (1)

duke_cheetah2003 (862933) | about 5 months ago | (#46965527)

Except that many cabs are dispatched and use meters that report back to the dispatch. Generally when a meter is turned on it reports to the dispatch the the car is in use and not to send calls to it. You also forget about the cameras that are in most cabs.

Um, isn't one of the 'great things' about Uber and their kin is any John Doe can offer to give someone a ride if he's got nothing better to do? And who is making sure John Doe's vehicle is up to regulation with a proper meter and recording devices? Oh whoops, no one!

Re: Limited licenses (1)

robbyb20 (651479) | about 5 months ago | (#46966361)

Uber isn't comprised of just uber-x(personal cars). In chicago, we have registered taxis, town cars and SUVs that operate with livery lics. Also, if you look up chicago uber chart, you should find a graphic that shows it's uber drivers are required to hold more insurance than standard taxis, especially for uber-x.
http://blog.uber.com/chistanda... [uber.com]

Re:Limited licenses (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 5 months ago | (#46967387)

wow i don't think you've ever used the service before. 1) it takes a couple weeks to get accepted into uber, because there are background checks and vehicle checks and insurance checks. 2) there are no meters or recording device. the smartphone app is the meter.

Re:Limited licenses (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46967485)

I've noticed a common thread with the Uber haterade crowd: none of them seem to have ever used the services they hate.

Re:Limited licenses (1)

Alien7 (310889) | about 5 months ago | (#46966715)

Here in Milwaukee it already takes a couple of hours to get a cab at 2am, that is, unless you call uber

Re:Limited licenses (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 5 months ago | (#46967395)

that's ultimately the main truth. people love the service and experience in riding uber. nobody likes yellow cabs. the only thing protecting them are govt patronage. have they thought about being more pleasant?

Re:Limited licenses (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 5 months ago | (#46968359)

Wait till the uber drivers get tired of being up late and the wait time goes to 4 hours.

Re:Limited licenses (1)

Cyberax (705495) | about 5 months ago | (#46969645)

Hey, I'm about as socialist as it's possible in a capitalist country. I totally support the right of cabbies to make a good wage. And in theory, taxi regulations are the text-book case of protecting consumers.

However, taxi companies need to get their shit together. Right now all the taxi services in the US that I've seen are an embarrassment. A general computerized dispatch with easy-to-use phone apps is a must, with an ability to get a fare estimate beforehand. As it is, getting a cab at 2am right now is way easier with Uber - I know this because I used it many times to get home at 3am.

As for your objections, they are valid. But Uber can fix them by providing incentives to drivers to work full time - by increasing the fare prices at night or by introducing a realtime marketplace for fares.

You're expecting something else? (1)

duke_cheetah2003 (862933) | about 5 months ago | (#46964839)

I wish that the cities I spend the most time in would do the same, but they've been busily protecting the local cartels, instead,

And if you were in the taxi business, you'd be trying to protect your interests too. Why is this a surprise, or unexpected?

Re:You're expecting something else? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46965123)

Because they're abusing government to keep their dated and substandard services competitive. That makes it everyone's problem.

Re:You're expecting something else? (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 5 months ago | (#46967415)

i understand people wanting to protect their own business. but when they use illegal business practices to do so it's monopoly. and when the govt does it for them, it's some combination of graft, bribery, or worse

if yellow cabs think they're better than uber then let everybody compete on a level playing ground. if taxi people are right, uber is a fad that will burn itself out in a couple years.

Sign, "protecting cartels" (2)

ddtstudio (61065) | about 5 months ago | (#46966289)

Yes, and cities also ask private and Uber cars to stop at red lights and stop signs. And obey the speed limit signs. And small and large companies to follow published pollution, hiring, and health & safety regulations.

If you can't make your smartphone-enabled car service make a profit while following the same public, published, long-established safety and other regulations that taxi companies have to and found a way to follow, to all our benefits, then maybe you should rethink things. At least don't whine about it.

"What do you mean, _I_ can't own a slave? You're stifling innovation! And my business model didn't account for paying salaries!"

Here in milwaukee... (3, Insightful)

Alien7 (310889) | about 5 months ago | (#46966625)

I've lived here in Milwaukee on and off for the last decade or so, and I can tell you right now this is the right decision for our town. Milwaukee is a city whose economy is entirely based on alcohol, that being said we have had awful cab service for as long as I've lived here. All summer long drunks flood the street for this festival and that festival, and every weekend the wait for a cab is frequently over an hour, sometimes it takes 20 or 30 minutes just to get on the phone with a dispatcher. Seeing as how the underfunded and overpriced bus system stops running an hour before bar close what we end up with is a plague of drunk drivers. Our cab companies have failed to provide us with the proper service we need (presumably because of the cost of keeping up an unused fleet in the winter months) , Uber gave the city an alternative and we made sure nothing would impede the solution to our problems.

This is also a social and economic justice issue (1)

Bob Richards (3648767) | about 5 months ago | (#46967515)

Uber and Lyft have a "select" clientele, that is, people who have smart phones and credit cards. In most cities regulators require licensed operators to transport all riders. Uber and Lyft will not be serving the people who most need transportation services. Many cities, Madison WI for example, do not limit the number of permits available, nor is there any reason for one provider to sell permits to another. Any licensed provider can buy as many permits as they like for virtually nothing compared to the price of medallions in some cities. The United States has a well documented problem with the widening gulf between haves and have-nots. Uber and Lyft exacerbate this problem rather then solve it. Almost all current taxi operations are locally owned. The money spent on the services stays in the community, with drivers and owners as members of the community. Having some folks with dumpsters full of (ad)venture capital scrape money out of local economies and send it along to their already rich shareholders is not a model for healthy communities. Taxi regulations are certainly of variable quality, but we should all respect communities trying to stay safe and economically healthy through regulation.

Why flat numbers of taxi in peak hours? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46976073)

Protect traditional taxi does not means to ban uber, and allow app call taxi does not always means un-regular taxi services:

Why flat rate? Why a constant taxi supply while the requirement is never a constant?

All drivers that provide services must be qualify, traditional or app drivers

All cars that provide services must be qualify : with proper insurance and regular safety check

App taxi does not allow when the requirement can be fullfill by traditional taxi, i.e., they are not hurt the traditional taxi

All fair rate can be determined by market, every transactions must be recorded to be tracked and compare with by others. The app can provide distance, traffic conditions to all parties.

In a internet of things world, sticking to market is still the only solution.

Andy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979023)

Ride-sharing is a taxi operation.
Why regulate them differently? Just regulate them all the same way. That would be fair, no?

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