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Uber Demonstrations Snarl Traffic In London, Madrid, Berlin

Unknown Lamer posted about a month and a half ago | from the libertarian-fantasies dept.

EU 507

Graculus (3653645) writes with news that, as threatened, cab drivers in several European cities mounted a protest against Uber today. From the article: "Uber Technologies Inc., the car-sharing service that's rankling cabbies across the U.S., is fighting its biggest protest yet from European drivers who say the smartphone application threatens their livelihoods. Traffic snarled in parts of Madrid and Paris today, with a total of more than 30,000 taxi and limo drivers from London to Berlin blocking tourist centers and shopping districts. They are asking regulators to apply tougher rules on San Francisco-based Uber, whose software allows customers to order a ride from drivers who don't need licenses that can cost 200,000 euros ($270,000) apiece." The Guardian covered the London protest, which ended peacefully 3 p.m..

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507 comments

Competition Sucks (1, Insightful)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213011)

Competition sucks. Gotta keep that privileged access to the market.

Re:Competition Sucks (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213049)

If Uber were really offering legitimate competition, I would be more sympathetic. But they're partly undercutting existing taxis through ridiculous things like using drivers who lack commercial vehicle insurance, which is rather irresponsible.

Re:Competition Sucks (1, Insightful)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213119)

It appears that Londoners were adopting Uber rapidly when all the taxis went away to protest.

the reality is that the cat is out of the bag. If Uber stop existing, it won't alter the fact that ad-hoc ride calling schemes will continue to exist legal or not, because the technology exists and is ubiquitous.

Lawmakers would be wise to work with the real worlds, rather than against it. But they don't generally do that, so it'll be messier than it needs to be.

Re:Competition Sucks (5, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213145)

If people start losing their driver's licenses when they're caught doing commercial driving without being properly insured, I would guess fewer of them will take the risk.

Re:Competition Sucks (4, Interesting)

meta-monkey (321000) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213427)

Regulation is fine. Insist that Uber drivers have commercial insurance. An insurance company will offer "uber insurance" for a few extra euros and they'll make some money and the public will be safer. Uber could even partner with an insurer to make that happen more quickly and smoothly. But there's no reason you need a 200k euro license to drive people around.

Re:Competition Sucks (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213523)

How the heck does this make the public safer? It makes it more likely to get money from your opponent's insurance if he kills you on the street, but that's about it.

Insurances never make anything more secure. They make the loss more bearable. At best.

Re:Competition Sucks (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213535)

You mean impose punishments that are way, way out of proportion compared to the "crime"? Like insane fine blown out of proportion have stopped filesharing? That way?

Re:Competition Sucks (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213367)

Lawmakers in Britain don't have to do anything, as Uber is already able and does comply with all licensing requirements.

Re:Competition Sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213129)

> drivers who lack commercial vehicle insurance

What exactly is the difference between me giving a couple of friends a ride somewhere, and me giving a couple of strangers a ride somewhere? The line between commercial insurance and personal insurance is a scam invented to do one thing - make insurance companies rich.

Re:Competition Sucks (2)

Trepidity (597) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213169)

It's generally riskier for the insurance company. People who offer transportation services for a fee have heightened liability to passengers (which is passed on to the insurance) than people who are driving friends/family. They also typically have a higher risk of incurring a payout in a given year.

Vehicle insurance is a fairly competitive market, and most of the rates are set pretty straightforwardly by actuaries.

Re:Competition Sucks (4, Informative)

grumpy_technologist (2610431) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213161)

all ridesharing transportation partners carry best-in-class commercial insurance coverage in the event of an accident.

Also, their coverage is considerably higher (in dollar amount) than commercial taxis in major cities. Uber provides this for their drivers. The drivers do not need to purchase this.

source: http://blog.uber.com/uberXride... [uber.com]

Re:Competition Sucks (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213239)

Uber supplies insurance protecting the passenger from loss and liability up to $1 million.

Re:Competition Sucks (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213549)

$1 million coverage is not enough.

Re:Competition Sucks (4, Insightful)

bigpat (158134) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213261)

Yes, if these are people who's job it is to drive people around in order to make money then that is a limousine or taxi service and it should be regulated the same way.... but $270,000 license fees sound more like glorified bribes to prevent competition than something close to a legitimate license fee.

If the taxi drivers were protesting the absurd license fees, then I would be more sympathetic.

On the other hand if part of the uber service is simply a better way of matching people for sharing the costs of carpooling and ride sharing, then that is a service that is sorely needed and really isn't a taxi or limousine service.

Re:Competition Sucks (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213541)

but $270,000 license fees sound more like glorified bribes to prevent competition than something close to a legitimate license fee.

I don't know where the article got that number from. In London, a taxi driver license incurs fees of a few hundred dollars. And a Taxi vehicle license is less than a hundred. Perhaps they are quoting the cost to be a licensed taxi operator (the company that runs many taxis).

(NB: Uniquely, London does require potential Taxi drivers to know all the streets, important locations and routes for central London. A monumental feat of memorisation that generally takes 2-5 years of hard work to complete, buzzing around the city on a scooter. Called "Doing The Knowledge". So it's certainly hard to become a taxi driver there. It's far more of a bar then the costs.)

Re:Competition Sucks (1, Interesting)

swillden (191260) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213285)

If Uber were really offering legitimate competition, I would be more sympathetic. But they're partly undercutting existing taxis through ridiculous things like using drivers who lack commercial vehicle insurance, which is rather irresponsible.

Is it?

The fact that commercial vehicles must have said insurance by law doesn't mean it's actually necessary even for them. In many cases, those sorts of legal requirements are imposed not because they're actually necessary per-se, but because they establish obstacles to entry of service providers into the market, and aren't obviously arbitrary. They are arbitrary, just not obviously arbitrary.

In a market where information is highly asymmetric, establishing arbitrary obstacles to entry is actually a useful thing to do, because the mere act of bothering to clear the hurdles demonstrates a high probability of good faith on the part of the company trying to enter. Individuals or organizations trying to brand themselves as cabs, for example, in order to more easily rob unsuspecting patrons will wish to be able to establish themselves quickly and then disappear quickly.

The Internet, particularly the mobile Internet, however, breaks down information asymmetries. Uber uses different mechanisms that have much lower friction to establish trust in its drivers, eliminating the need for arbitrary obstacles. Do Uber's mechanisms work? I don't know. They appear to, and time will tell whether or not something more is required to make the service safe and effective.

This then means we have to revisit the basis for requiring commercial vehicle insurance. Since it's no longer required as an arbitrary (but not obviously arbitrary) obstacle, is it actually required? What problem does it solve that's not solved some other way?

FYI, I suspect I know what the problem is, and I think it probably is a real problem. My point is that all of the assumptions about what is necessary for ordinary commercial operations do have to be re-evaluated because in the new context they may not make sense, even if this one does. We shouldn't just blindly apply the old rules, but should instead see what problems arise and apply the rules that make sense to resolve the problems.

Re:Competition Sucks (0)

swillden (191260) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213345)

Update: As others have pointed out, Uber already addresses the question of liability coverage by providing the coverage itself... so the potential problem arising from drivers not having coverage is already handled via another mechanism, making the law irrelevant (not inapplicable in a legal sense, just irrelevant in the sense that it's not actually accomplishing anything).

Re:Competition Sucks (1)

cowwoc2001 (976892) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213325)

Sounds like a problem for insurance companies, not the government. What is the difference between the two kinds of insurances except for the price? If you drive someone "occasionally" should your insurance really cost as much as the full commercial insurance does?

Re:Competition Sucks (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213347)

But they're partly undercutting existing taxis through ridiculous things like using drivers who lack commercial vehicle insurance, which is rather irresponsible.

That's not true for the countries these demonstrations are in. For example in Britain all Uber drivers and cars are required to be licensed as "Private Hire" drivers and cars (2 separate licenses.) In order to get the private hire car license, you must present the certificate of commercial insurance to the local council.

Uber's competition in Britain at least is completely legitimate. They are obeying the law. And the department that issues licenses for London have come out and said as much.

Re:Competition Sucks (1)

js3 (319268) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213075)

How so? Requiring one party to pay 200,000 euros to operate a taxi while not enforcing that on another party is not competition. That privileged access is a requirement from the government itself.

Re:Competition Sucks (2)

Jody Bruchon (3404363) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213087)

Yes, and the solution is to eliminate that requirement.

Re:Competition Sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213135)

Yes, and that hasn't happened yet. So in the meantime taxi drivers are getting angry. This is leading to demonstrations.

Re:Competition Sucks (2)

kaizendojo (956951) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213551)

And do what, pay back those taxi drivers that already bought their hack license? Sure, that'll happen. Cause the government loves to give back money.

Re:Competition Sucks (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213151)

>That privileged access is a requirement from the government itself.

And they are lobbying their governments to keep that privileged access. Being undercut by a cheaper competitor is certainly competition.

Re:Competition Sucks (2, Insightful)

praxis (19962) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213257)

>That privileged access is a requirement from the government itself.

And they are lobbying their governments to keep that privileged access. Being undercut by a cheaper competitor is certainly competition.

Party A plays by the rules and therefor has higher costs. Party B does not play by the rules and has lower costs. Party A is angry at the unfairness of this situation. I agree that the rules are dumb, but unfairness rankles me more. Either Uber buys taxi licenses for its drivers or we abolish taxi licenses. Until then, the should both play by the rules.

Unfair Competition Sucks (1, Flamebait)

globaljustin (574257) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213105)

Competition sucks. Gotta keep that privileged access to the market.

Uber is a taxi service that uses a different words to describe itself and phone apps instead of a radio dispatch

Uber is a taxi service that gets to bypass all the rules for taxi services.

Uber gets to do this b/c of hype, idiots like you, and bribery.

Re:Unfair Competition Sucks (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213187)

Competition sucks. Gotta keep that privileged access to the market.

Uber is a taxi service that uses a different words to describe itself and phone apps instead of a radio dispatch

Uber is a taxi service that gets to bypass all the rules for taxi services.

Uber gets to do this b/c of hype, idiots like you, and bribery.

And it is the way it will be. Reality sucks for some.

reality is what we make (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213241)

And it is the way it will be. Reality sucks for some.

so you agree that it's wrong, and bad for our industry....what Uber is doing..

we can force Uber to play by the same rules as everyone else, any government can, using the same mechanism they use to make Taxi companies compete fairly/safely

you're probably one of those "privacy is dead" people...wake up and start living your life

you've abdicated your own agency in your life choices...you're behaving like a serf w/ the "free market" as your master

you can choose that existence if you want, and suffer and whine your whole life, or you can join those of us who are working to **fix things**

this Uber flap is an easy fix...people like you are part of the problem

Re:reality is what we make (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213491)

>so you agree that it's wrong, and bad for our industry....what Uber is doing..
At some legalistic level. What has become of the taxi industry and the laws applicable to it is worse.

>so you agree that it's wrong, and bad for our industry....what Uber is doing..

Maybe bad for your industry. Not bad for mine and it may be a wash for consumers. Lower prices, greater availability, more convenient interface, fewer protections.

>you've abdicated your own agency in your life choices...you're behaving like a serf w/ the "free market" as your master
Not me. I've never used them. Buy I can see why people would. Taxis in London are daylight robbery and horrifically bad service.

>you can choose that existence if you want, and suffer and whine your whole life, or you can join those of us who are working to **fix things**
How so? How are you fixing the taxi industry? I'm not in this fight. It sounds like you are.

Re:reality is what we make (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213513)

you're behaving like a serf w/ the "free market" as your master

Wait, what...? You want the government dictating who is and is not allowed to drive people around, but people who want the freedom to do so without government approval are the serfs...?

Apparently freedom is slavery and all that.

Re:Unfair Competition Sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213563)

I used to live in the UK; there was already a two tiered system where black cabs could take a fare hailed on the street, but minicabs (cheaper, less regulated I guess) you had to call & they would come pick you up. Which, now that everyone has a phone, and with apps, is even easier than waiting for a black cab.

Re:Competition Sucks (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213177)

Competition sucks. Gotta keep that privileged access to the market.

I am hardly wholly sympathetic to the taxis; but there is one important aspect that is often elided in the hagiographic "Hail Uber, destroyer of corrupt taxi monopolist cartels!" pieces: In regulated markets, taxi operators are subject to a variety of rules, some of them costly (insurance, metering accuracy consumer protection stuff, getting the much-coveted and supply limited taxi medallion in the first place), that Uber is just too hip and 'disruptive' to bother with.

If you wish to adopt the 'bring on the competition and let the cards fall as they may" view, it is an imperative that the existing taxi providers be released from the assorted regulatory burdens that Uber just ignores. Failure to do so is, in effect, a substantial subsidy to Uber under the guise of 'competition'.

If you take the position that taxi regulations exist for good historical reasons, founded on what happened before there were such regulations, it is similarly imperative to keep them from being flouted by assorted twee distinctions-without-difference "Oh, this isn't a taxi, it's an independent entrepreneur(who just happens to be hardwired directly into our business' software systems; but never you mind that, having 'employees' might expose us to obligations) offering social ridesharing!".

Regardless of whether you prefer the status quo, or would prefer to set the status quo on fire, anyone who does abide by taxi-related regulation and has to compete with people who don't has a very legitimate grievance. Whether that ought to be resolved by eliminating that regulation or extending it is a different matter; but either position still leaves the existing taxi guys getting the short end of the regulatory situation as it is now.

Re:Competition Sucks (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213557)

Uber handles the insurance issue by providing it themselves. They insure their drivers for $1 million.

It's perfectly reasonable to extend regulations for vehicle safety/inspections, posted notices, etc to Uber drivers, but the taxi drivers aren't protesting Uber because of public safety, they're protesting because Uber drivers aren't bothering to play the medallion game. That I have no sympathy for.

Re:Competition Sucks (2)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213267)

I'd be less pissed about the competition from Uber and MUCH MORE pissed about the ridiculous cost of those licenses. I mean, $270,000, REALLY???

Disruptive technology (1)

Camel Pilot (78781) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213015)

That is why they call it Disruptive Technology... in this case the reaction is quite literally disruptive.

Re:Disruptive technology (0)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213071)

The required licenses must be expensive for a reason. Insurances, liabilities, warranties, security, etc. If you bypass all that, it's like a store selling items on the sidewalk with no rent or taxes to pay. Sure it's cheaper, but if something goes wrong, you're SOL.

Re:Disruptive technology (3, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213127)

The required licenses must be expensive for a reason.

Existing taxi companies lobby for restrictions on the number of cars... No reductions for them, of course. But we have to 'keep the roads clear'.

A LOT of the taxi requirements in many areas* amount to anti-competitive measures along the lines of the rules that ban Tesla from selling cars in many states due to independent franchise requirements.

*given that taxi rules will vary down to cities in most cases,

Re:Disruptive technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213249)

The required licenses must be expensive for a reason.

Existing taxi companies lobby for restrictions on the number of cars... No reductions for them, of course. But we have to 'keep the roads clear'.

A LOT of the taxi requirements in many areas* amount to anti-competitive measures along the lines of the rules that ban Tesla from selling cars in many states due to independent franchise requirements.

*given that taxi rules will vary down to cities in most cases,

Some professions have a closed number. Think doctors or notaries for instance. Do you find that anticompetitive ?
Taxi drivers is just one of those professions. If you make it so that there are too few taxis in a city it doesn't work, the same if you give a licence to anybody. Too many taxis and you end up with each taxi not making enough for a living.
There has to be an equilibrium somewhere. And no sometimes the market does not self regulate, hence laws and regulations. Uber is a taxi system without calling it explicitely a taxi system. It evades the rules and regulations put by the legislator to enforce a viable taxi system. Hence why taxis are demonstrating in london, madrid, paris, berlin, rome etc... It's not a small issue and no I'm not a taxi driver.

Re:Disruptive technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213191)

And yet, if you get in to an accident with passengers your personal insurance is often adequate enough to deal with it. " Insurances, liabilities, warranties, security" - this is all **bullshit**. No special knowledge (except perhaps route knowledge, which anyone can gain with experience) is required to drive a car with "Taxi" written on it.

Commercial insurance doesn't offer any more protection or security than personal insurance does. They charge more because they can, not because it conveys any real benefit.

Re:Disruptive technology (1)

JMZero (449047) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213199)

Taxi licenses/medallions aren't really about any of that - they're about limiting the number of taxis. After that, it's just supply and demand as medallions are resold.

For an example of how crazy this gets: http://blogs.reuters.com/felix... [reuters.com]

So the reasonable complaint here would be something like "there'll be too many taxis if their numbers aren't capped somehow" or "the competition here is completely unfair". Insurance (and associated regulation) would mostly be a separate matter, and have very little to do with that $200,000.

Re:Disruptive technology (2)

jandrese (485) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213553)

The required licenses must be expensive for a reason

The reason is to create a barrier to entry into the taxicab market so the established players can charge higher fares. That's the only thing those licenses provide. The cab companies are complaining about the system that they themselves set up.

Re:Disruptive technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213101)

We need more disruptive technology. Things don't change without it. Outmoded methods need to go the way of the dinosaur.

Re:Disruptive technology (2)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213281)

The reaction is an illegal impedance of traffic, disrupting economic activity and costing millions of dollars. In the United States, peaceful protests are protected speech; physically impeding the movement of any person is not peaceful protest, and you can be arrested if your protest does not part and allow safe passage to all who don't care for your shenanigans. Clogging the streets in protest is, thus, a criminal act; I would be surprised if the UK considered such things legal, rather than an organized protectionist racket.

Re:Disruptive technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213447)

The reaction is an illegal impedance of traffic, disrupting economic activity and costing millions of dollars. In the United States, peaceful protests are protected speech; physically impeding the movement of any person is not peaceful protest, and you can be arrested if your protest does not part and allow safe passage to all who don't care for your shenanigans. Clogging the streets in protest is, thus, a criminal act; I would be surprised if the UK considered such things legal, rather than an organized protectionist racket.

The right to strike is one of those rights you silly americans don't have. or had in the past and have forgotten about it.
To strike is absolutely legal in europe.

So, potentially obstructing emergency services (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213019)

I'm sure that's against the law.

Oh NOEEES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213025)

Not a better method! Don't take my JARRRRB. Lets pass laws to keep inefficiencies in the market so I don't have to adapt! Its almost like a whole new MPAA or RIAA. Seriously people. New business models are GOOD.

Re:Oh NOEEES! (1)

praxis (19962) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213341)

Not a better method! Don't take my JARRRRB. Lets pass laws to keep inefficiencies in the market so I don't have to adapt! Its almost like a whole new MPAA or RIAA. Seriously people. New business models are GOOD.

Either Uber plays by the current laws, or we free the current taxi companies from those same laws. Allowing one group to legally operate under different (and cheaper) laws because they are newcomers is pretty unfair. In my city, both taxis and Uber use a smartphone app to dispatch and have up-front flat rates, yet they are regulated differently and I think that sucks.

Good advert for Uber (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213033)

Well the protest backfired - drove more people than ever to download Uber in London

http://order-order.com/2014/06... [order-order.com]

Wrong amount (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213035)

200 000 Euro equals = 294 000 Canadian Dollar, not 270 000.

Oh, you meant U.S. Dollar? Then specify the fucking units.

And by the way, stop using a comma to separate thousands. How the hell can you write arrays and coordinates if you have commas in the numbers themselves, you stupid idiots?

Re:Wrong amount (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213077)

Isn't 200k a little steep for a taxi license?? No fucker in the world would have one if they were that price? Perhaps over a lifetime? Shitty write-up not clear at all!

Re:Wrong amount (1)

heezer7 (708308) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213133)

Following our typed numbers, spaces in your arrays and coordinates makes more sense?

Wrong amount (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213213)

You came to a website based in the US, read a story about dollars, and your mind was completely blown as to which dollars they were using. Nope, couldn't figure that one out.

But everyone else is a stupid idiot. Not you.

Wrong amount (1)

drummerboybac (1003077) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213301)

Meet our good friend the pipe
It can be used to, among other things,| seperate values, | Eh|

Perhaps the headline would be less confusing (4, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213051)

If it read, "*Anti-*Uber Demonstrations Snarl Traffic..."

scabs suck. next you'll skip paying bribes. (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213063)

$300,000 for a license to operate a cab?!!
Look at me, mr internet entrepreneur guy, disruptin' your business model because I'm a special fuckin' snowflake and the rules don't apply to me!

Re:scabs suck. next you'll skip paying bribes. (4, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213097)

In Europe that isn't even usually the case. In Sweden, one of the countries where Uber is whining about "regulation", the taxi market is deregulated. Anyone can offer taxi services, at any price, providing they meet four basic consumer-protection requirements:

1. They have a commercial driver's license

2. They have commercial vehicle insurance

3. They post their rates openly and visibly

4. They have a functioning meter, which is inspected occasionally to ensure that it is billing the same amount as the posted rates

Re:scabs suck. next you'll skip paying bribes. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213475)

Other than all these regulations I'm about to list, it's completely deregulated!

Re:scabs suck. next you'll skip paying bribes. (1)

Nezic (151658) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213123)

You may need to hash out your post a bit.. I can't tell if you're mad at the cost of the licenses or mad at uber drivers not needing to pay it.

Anyway, if it really costs THAT much for a taxi license then the regulators are crazy. Why aren't the protests directed at that?

$300k is cheap (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213181)

A NYC taxi medallian can break $1M. [businessweek.com] .

And that doesn't include other regulatory costs, insurance, vehicle, nothing.

If not this... (3, Insightful)

suman28 (558822) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213069)

Something new (i.e driverless Google cars) will come along to threaten their livelyhood. Wouldn't today be the best time to start evaluating a different way to earn a living? How many ways can you possibly protest and keep innovation away from people's daily lives?

"disruptive" = scam (-1, Flamebait)

globaljustin (574257) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213079)

Uber is a scam.

It's a successful scam that uses cool mobile internet technology...but besides the technicals,

Uber is a scam.

It's people giving rides to people for money, connected via Uber's software.

Uber is acting as a taxi company but b/c "innovation" and hype and an app they get to break all the rules.

Uber is a scam.

"disruption" is a word for cheating.

Re:"disruptive" = scam (1)

Ksevio (865461) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213139)

How is it a scam? I can see calling them a taxi company without proper licensing, but they're providing a service people want, not scamming them out of money.

scam is a scam...target is taxi companies (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213275)

scamming other Taxi companies

a scam is a scam whether they are taking out competition or tricking customers

Re:"disruptive" = scam (1)

Jody Bruchon (3404363) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213251)

You'll have to explain exactly how it is that people giving other people car rides for a few bucks is a scam.

naive and fatuous (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213293)

see above comment to Ksevio

also, you're being naive and fatuous...."Uber is just giving people rides"

you're practically echoing Uber PR....do you work for Uber PR?

it's illegal to run a unregulated taxi service...that's what Uber is doing and it's unfair...

**thats the cause of the protest**

Re:naive and fatuous (4, Interesting)

Jody Bruchon (3404363) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213531)

I'm looking at it from a bottom-up perspective. You're looking at it as "industry exist, industry is regulated, therefore anyone who wants to do something similar should be regulated exactly the same way." I'm looking at it as "why do we need the regulation that exists? What justifies each specific regulation? Are those justifications sufficient to reasonably support the regulation? What is the definition of a "taxi service" and how does it apply to Uber?"

Also, a correction to your statement: Uber is NOT giving anyone a ride. Uber is a middleman service. They don't employ any of the drivers. By your logic, anyone who organizes a carpool is a taxi service and subject to the same onerous regulations that a taxi service is. If that means paying exorbitant amounts of money to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars for a "taxi license" then so be it. Don't like it? Don't set up a carpool or vanpool.

Re:"disruptive" = scam (1)

onkelonkel (560274) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213253)

"Scam" Do you know what that word means? A scam is a confidence trick or fraud. How exactly is uber tricking people out of their money?

scamming their competition & taxpayers (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213319)

Uber's targets are other taxi companies and taxi drivers

as I said above scams are scams

Uber is scamming other taxi companies (and taxpayers)...THAT'S WHY THEY ARE PROTESTING

Re:scamming their competition & taxpayers (1)

beltsbear (2489652) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213463)

You need to learn what the word scam means. Uber may be breaking laws or violating rules, but so long as they reliably and fairly do what they advertise, it is not a scam.

show me (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213521)

ok beltsbear...

you think Uber is breaking laws about competition but it's not a "scam"

Uber may be breaking laws or violating rules

right...

in money/business when someone breaks laws or violates rules at the harm of others...

it's a scam

if I'm so wrong, show me a definition of scam that proves me wrong

also, it doesn't matter...you agree that Uber is breaking laws and getting away with it...no matter what you're agreeing with my central point...this is entirely a conversation over a definition of a word...you agree with me on the facts

Re:"disruptive" = scam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213273)

>Uber is a scam.

No it is not.

>It's people giving rides to people for money, connected via Uber's software.

Yes it is. It's a service that allows people to pay for something they want.

>Uber is acting as a taxi company but b/c "innovation" and hype and an app they get to break all the rules.

The rules are shit, and they're designed to make it impossible for anyone else to enter the market without a lot of money. They are monopolistic and exclusive.

who and how Uber is scamming (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213445)

I've seen 4 comments and 2 downmods in 20 minutes for my comment...

I'm at fault here...I always forget how naive /.'ers are about scams

Uber is scamming ****OTHER TAXI COMPANIES**** and calling it "disruption"

They are taking advantage of bribable or dumb localities that will *let Uber run unregulated Taxi service*

Uber is a taxi service....they are scamming other taxi companies **and taxpayers who pay to regulate them**

Besides scamming taxi companies (or "disrupting" them...) here's an example of what happens when you have unlicensed taxi companies...http://valleywag.gawker.com/uber-driver-arrested-for-kidnapping-a-drunk-woman-1585725711

"Uber Driver Arrested for Kidnapping Drunk Rider"

Fighting over horse whip monopoly (1)

sinij (911942) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213081)

Cab drivers are almost thing of the past. Moment automated cars show up there won't be such thing anymore.

200,000 Euros? (3, Insightful)

jfbilodeau (931293) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213083)

Maybe the problem is not with Uber, but with the cost of being licensed. Is ~200,000 Euros really justified?

Re:200,000 Euros? (1)

zapatero (68511) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213233)

The license and gov't regulation really is the issue of the "fairness" here. The Taxi industry is highly regulated and licensed, in Europe & the U.S... Taxis & Limos that enter an airport area are highly monitored, and regularly fined if it's found by the monitoring police that the vehicle lacks a current license.

Uber side steps all of this gov't regulation, and, say what you will about that regulation, it is unfair to those drivers who are paying the governments the right to pickup and drop-off passengers at the airport. Of course those licensed taxi and limo drivers would be pissed.

One way to make it fair is to drop all the licensing requirements of the taxi drivers.

Re:200,000 Euros? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213235)

This is specific to Paris I think. read this for a breakdown of the situation in Paris http://www.rudebaguette.com/2013/08/07/anatomy-of-the-paris-taxi-market-past-present-future/

Re:200,000 Euros? (3, Informative)

Firethorn (177587) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213313)

Maybe the problem is not with Uber, but with the cost of being licensed. Is ~200,000 Euros really justified?

200k EU is cheap compared to NYC's $1M medallians [businessweek.com] .

It's blatently anti-competitive.

Re:200,000 Euros? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213333)

It is basically a formalized "legitimate" bribe to prevent more competition. The cab companies probably pushed the government to raise their own license fees, impose more and more regulations and limit the number of licenses. The equivalent has happened in many industries where corporations push and push for more and more regulations in order to block competition. Then they complain about all the regulation, but it is only for show since what they really want to say is look at how hard it is to do business only we have all the lawyers and capital and "skills" to do it so competitors need not even try to enter the market.

f*ck über (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213091)

F uber and their wannabe taxi service. They claim to have a nice idea, sure it might work in places where there is no established and well covered taxi service in place but when compared to real taxi services like London cabs, it pales in comparison.

No joerandom with gps can navigate complex streets like the real cabbies.

I understand the need for this kind of service in countries like Sweden where taxis are allowed to charge $1000 for 20min drive as long as they list the prices on the car windows clearly.

Go and run your business in such places and stop shoving your shit to the rest of us, we'll call you if we want it.

Re:f*ck über (1)

lhaeh (463179) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213221)

Why not give the people the choice? If über is so bad, peopel won't use it.

I'd much rather spend a bit more time in traffic then spend a bunch more money.

Re:f*ck über (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213519)

Give the people choice? Oh no, you are a terrorist!

f*ck Ãf¼ber (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213309)

No joerandom with gps can navigate complex streets like the real cabbies... we'll call you if we want it.

it's driving a car, not building one. How complex can streets get?
Oh shit, this street is too complex! Better call a cab!

And if they are doing business in your neck of the woods, there must be some demand for it.

Horse meet car, car meet horse. (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213107)

I the UK during the early days of cars they had a law:
Secondly, one of such persons, while any locomotive is in motion, shall precede such locomotive on foot by not less than sixty yards, and shall carry a red flag constantly displayed, and shall warn the riders and drivers of horses of the approach of such locomotives, and shall signal the driver thereof when it shall be necessary to stop, and shall assist horses, and carriages drawn by horses, passing the same,

So basically it limited all cars to the speed of someone walking in front. Oddly enough not much of the early history of the automobile was written in the UK during that time period. What I am waiting for is a false flag operation on the part of the drivers where they pretend to be an Uber driver and then proceed to do the worst trip ever, and then post the results to Youtube. What they are forgetting is that it all boils down to a simple fact, if people didn't like Uber, then people wouldn't use Uber. But at the same time, under their proposed rules; if people don't like London cabs then too bad.

Uber is Pushing Clarity (2, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213131)

Pro or Con, Uber is pushing the boundaries and bringing some clarity to the old system. Some terms for discussion:

Rent seeking [econlib.org]

People are said to seek rents when they try to obtain benefits for themselves through the political arena. They typically do so by getting a subsidy for a good they produce or for being in a particular class of people, by getting a tariff on a good they produce, or by getting a special regulation that hampers their competitors. Elderly people, for example, often seek higher Social Security payments; steel producers often seek restrictions on imports of steel; and licensed electricians and doctors often lobby to keep regulations in place that restrict competition from unlicensed electricians or doctors.

Fascism [econlib.org]

Where socialism sought totalitarian control of a society's economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. Where socialism nationalized property explicitly, fascism did so implicitly, by requiring owners to use their property in the "national interest" - that is, as the autocratic authority conceived it. (Nevertheless, a few industries were operated by the state.) Where socialism abolished all market relations outright, fascism left the appearance of market relations while planning all economic activities. Where socialism abolished money and prices, fascism controlled the monetary system and set all prices and wages politically. In doing all this, fascism denatured the marketplace. Entrepreneurship was abolished. State ministries, rather than consumers, determined what was produced and under what conditions.

I find it particularly interesting that not only does Uber do background checks on its drivers and allows the rider to rate the cabbie and cab, it also allows the cabbie to rate the rider, potentially increasing safety for the cabbie in ways that the government model does not and can not. Cabbie murder is a real thing [google.com] and government does not offer a solution. But it's still not surprising that the cartel members are upset that their cartel membership is losing value.

Re:Uber is Pushing Clarity (2)

DJCouchyCouch (622482) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213271)

> it also allows the cabbie to rate the rider, potentially increasing safety for the cabbie in ways that the government model does not and can not.

Rider murdered me in the face. One star.

Why does MADD not support Uber? (4, Interesting)

lhaeh (463179) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213141)

You would think MADD would support deregulation of the taxi industry. Afterall, a big reason people drink and drive is because of the high cost of cabs. It's almost as if they care more about keeping people from drinking them keeping them safe...

Re:Why does MADD not support Uber? (1)

praxis (19962) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213395)

People drink and drive mostly in locations where there are not alternatives to driving. I've not really seen many drunk drivers downtown as people walk to the pub. All the drunk drivers I've seen have been in the suburbs. There, taxis cost the same, but the pub is further. It appears that pub density is the problem, not taxi prices.

Re:Why does MADD not support Uber? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213559)

During prohibition the federal government deliberately poisoned alcohol knowing people would drink it and thousands of people died as a result. Some people care more about stopping alcohol consumption than they do about people.

€200.000 for taxi licence? (1)

jonr (1130) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213153)

I find that very hard to believe.

Re:€200.000 for taxi licence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213339)

I find that very hard to believe.

Don't it's the truth.
Here in Italy a taxi licence does cost between 200 000 € and 300 000 €.

Re:€200.000 for taxi licence? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213363)

It is believable. A taxi medallion in New York City can cost over $1 million.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/15/nyregion/1-million-medallions-stifling-the-dreams-of-cabdrivers.html

LOL Uber is competition ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213209)

LOL if uber is fair competition, then time to give 300,000 H1B visas for some 'fair' competition!

Freedom of choice, let the users decide. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213305)

The cab customers that want the consistent price and quality government control offers can use legal taxis, the user that prefer lower cost or the specific attributes of the Uber service can use Uber. I see no problem except that the government is imposing its will illegitimately.

taxi? or limo? (3, Informative)

cellocgw (617879) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213365)

A couple examples: the slang for rides in NYC is "yellow" for a taxi and "black" for a limo. The limos can pick anyone up but AFAIK can only charge a fixed fee for a given destination. Taxis are metered for time and distance (w/ airport exceptions).

Here in the Boston area, limos are fixed-fee either per hour or per location (airports again), and are barred from being flagged down--they're reservation-only. Taxis can be flagged, but I think they are not allowed to pick *anyone* up if they are outside their designated geographic zone. E.g. pick up in Boston, deliver to Worcester, but not allowed to pick up any ride in Worcester.

So part of the big question is: is Uber a taxi service or a limo service?

Re:taxi? or limo? (1)

jfbilodeau (931293) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213485)

...or is it a third type of service?

Streisand effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213403)

European cabbies are low on credibility, and most people has never heard of uber. Streisand effect seems the most likely outcome :)

London needs Uber (1)

beltsbear (2489652) | about a month and a half ago | (#47213437)

I took a taxi in London in 2005, it cost me $80 for a 15 minute trip. Yes, the exchange rate was bad, but I am sure that it is similar in price today. Yes, I took the underground there but it had closed for my return. Uber would bring competition and potentially lower prices.

In related news, hundreds of thousands of Londoners just found out about Uber.

Re:London needs Uber (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213569)

I took a taxi in London in 2005, it cost me $80 for a 15 minute trip. Yes, the exchange rate was bad, but I am sure that it is similar in price today. Yes, I took the underground there but it had closed for my return. Uber would bring competition and potentially lower prices.

In related news, hundreds of thousands of Londoners just found out about Uber.

Then you got scammed as simple as that. Surprising as this was London.
I make routinely 15-20 minute trips in taxis in Milan and it costs me something around 20 €. Not freaking 50-60 €.
Ok Milan is not London, but still the price difference is too much to be only "legal". I think the taxi driver though you were a tourist hence a good target to scam.

What about self-driving cars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47213461)

Self-driving cars are obviously coming. Once they are here, the next step will be for taxi cab companies to get rid of their dumb car fleets and replace them with self-driving cars - getting rid of all the cabbies in the process. I mean, as a profession, that of taxi driver has its days numbered. In Western countries it has two decades at best. I guess cabbies will start going on strike soon over their impending doom.

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