×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

The Great Taxi Upheaval

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the point-A-to-point-B dept.

Transportation 218

An anonymous reader writes: Uber, Lyft, and a variety of competitors are becoming ubiquitous. Their presence is jarring not because of how different they are from conventional taxis, but simply because they're different at all. Taxis really haven't changed much over the years. Watch a movie from the '90s and you can't help but chuckle at the giant, clunky mobile phones they use. But you can go all the way back to movies from '30s and scenes with taxis won't be unfamiliar. New York Magazine has a series of articles about the taxi revolution currently underway. "So far, Uber appears to be pinching traditional car services—Carmel, Dial 7, and the like—hardest. (They have apps, too, but Uber's is the one you've heard of.) The big question is about the prices for medallions, because so much of the yellow-cab business depends on their future value. ... [I]t's hard to see how those prices won't slip. Medallions, after all, are part of a top-down system formed to fight the abuses and dangers of the old crooked New York: rattletrap cars, overclocked meters, bribed inspectors. Its heavy regulation in turn empowered the taxi lobby and (somewhat) the drivers union. That system may be a pain to deal with, but in its defense, it provided predictability and security. The loosey-goosey libertarian alternative, conceived in the clean Northern California air, calls upon the market to provide checks and balances. A poorly served passenger can, instead of turning to a city agency for recourse, switch allegiances or sue."

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

The Free Market has the Technology Now (2, Insightful)

drfred79 (2936643) | about 5 months ago | (#47588931)

What was previously missing from the free market was perfect information. We live in an age where perfect information can be possible. Over regulation is now a hindrance to society.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47588955)

Really? Perfect information? You trust an app from one vendor to give you a fair pricing vs. another vendor?

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (3, Insightful)

Imrik (148191) | about 5 months ago | (#47588971)

You don't have to get all your information from one source.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47588995)

Really? You trust everything you read online?

Something about a bridge to sell you....

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (1)

drfred79 (2936643) | about 5 months ago | (#47589025)

If one app has one price and says they are the cheapest and another app has their price and says they are the cheapest I am capable of the critical thinking skills necessary to ignore the cheapest statements and look at the price. It's something I was just born with.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (3, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | about 5 months ago | (#47589071)

And if one service offers an obstensibly cheaper price but has deficiencies that could actually cost you more money, result in tragedy, etc., how do you know that? The cost of a service is not necessarily what it says on the price tag. So, in the absence of any real regulation, you would have to rely on third-party opinions about the company in question, and "perfect information" it isn't.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (1, Insightful)

drfred79 (2936643) | about 5 months ago | (#47589121)

Sorry, but I'll stick with innovation over regulation.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | about 5 months ago | (#47589365)

Why can't we have both?

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 5 months ago | (#47589559)

Why can't we have both?

It is difficult to have both regulation and innovation, because regulations often specify, in detail, how things are to be done. So there is no wiggle room for improvement. Well written regulations can require safety testing and "best practices" but leave implementation details open. Unfortunately, most regulations are not well written, or, even worse, are crafted to favor politically connected incumbents. So we see lots of innovations in unregulated industries like semiconductors and software, and little innovation in heavily regulated industries like plumbing. Toilets haven't significantly changed in over a century.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 5 months ago | (#47590003)

You're cherry picking.

Plumbing has evolved only as much as the consumer wants it to. In the developing world you get a hole in the ground. In the western world moving from lead to copper to plastic is about all that was needed. In Japan you get robotic toilets. If there was no regulation at all, it wouldn't have progressed any more.

The car industry has lots of regulations, yet they make plenty of innovations. The wrench industry is pretty free of regulations, yet the last great innovation was the socket set.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47590007)

Sorry, but I'll stick with innovation over regulation.

Spoken like somebody who has little experience with either. The world could do with a lot less of those types and their inflated sense of self worth.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589195)

And if one service offers an obstensibly cheaper price but has deficiencies that could actually cost you more money, result in tragedy, etc., how do you know that?

And yet you seem to think that a "kinda regular" inspection by a harried municipal bureaucrat will somehow magically eliminate the chance of fraud, tragedy, etc?

Look at any of our heavily regulated industries (Oil, Airlines, Medicine, Finance) and tell me how well that regulation is doing at averting tragedies and reducing the prices people pay?

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (5, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | about 5 months ago | (#47589241)

And yet you seem to think that a "kinda regular" inspection by a harried municipal bureaucrat will somehow magically eliminate the chance of fraud, tragedy, etc?

A complaint directed to a government bureaucrat has the possibility of threatening the firm's ability to do business overall. In the absence of regulation, a customer who has been wronged has the ability only to sue with regard to his own personal case, and that prospect doesn't trouble companies: they'll take the hit in court, and it may be that the plaintiff can't even collect from them anyway.

Look at any of our heavily regulated industries (Oil, Airlines, Medicine, Finance) and tell me how well that regulation is doing at averting tragedies and reducing the prices people pay?

I don't deal with oil or finance, but my experience with medicine and airlines in the US, where I was born, and in the EU, where I have lived for a long time now, certainly speaks in favour of more regulation.

That healthcare is cheaper here for the individual is obvious. As for airlines, consider this: delays in flights in the EU are quite rare now that the airlines would have to compensate passengers; it wasn't fear of losing face and negative online reviews that made airlines stick to their promised schedules, it was the state imposing a heavy cost. As soon as I step outside the EU and fly in parts of the world without a similar law, the punctuality of departures is visibly worse. And the regulation imposed has been smart; airfare is very low in the EU now, often lower than other forms of transportation.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (2)

sphealey (2855) | about 5 months ago | (#47589317)

- - - - - In the absence of regulation, a customer who has been wronged has the ability only to sue with regard to his own personal case, and that prospect doesn't trouble companies: - - - -

Actually, the consumer of the non-regulated service will find that he has signed a binding agreement to settle all disputes in arbitration, using an arbitrator selected by the provider, with no recourse to the courts.

sPh

Guess what percentage of arbitrator awards are in favor of the party that selected them?...

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589235)

>And if one service offers an obstensibly cheaper price but has deficiencies that could actually cost you more money, result in tragedy, etc., how do you know that

The same source my parents and their grandparents used: The news and reviews. Some things don't change all that much, although how it's delivered is rather convenient today, since I can check those prior to using the service using my smartphone.

>So, in the absence of any real regulation, you would have to rely on third-party opinions about the company in question, and "perfect information" it isn't.

And with regulation all services are so terrible that a famous movie suggested the recently covered in marshmallow goo characters "feel like the floor of taxi cab", and jokes abound about daring to lick parts of a subway train to see what diseases you'd pick up. I'd rather read reviews and find the services that strive to improve past the basics.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 5 months ago | (#47589489)

And if one service offers an obstensibly cheaper price but has deficiencies that could actually cost you more money, result in tragedy, etc., how do you know that?

You can check independent review sites, such as yelp.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589547)

independent review sites, such as yelp.

+5 Funny.

Wait, that was a joke, right?

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 5 months ago | (#47590017)

Can, yes. Want to, no.

Take away regulation and you're adding innumerable chores to the public, as they need to do their own safety checking of things they previously just knew were fit for purpose.

And that's the best case. In the more common case they public simply don't have the information or knowledge required to evaluate.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 5 months ago | (#47589529)

And if one service offers an obstensibly cheaper price but has deficiencies that could actually cost you more money, result in tragedy, etc., how do you know that?

The same way you know that for traditional taxi services: they don't stay in business.

Sheesh. Is this really a question? How do you know when you buy a plum in the supermarket that it isn't poisoned? Is it just a wild-assed guess? Or is it more likely that purveyors of poisoned plums didn't get any repeat business?

Re: The Free Market has the Technology Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589355)

Yes I always compare the prices of several companies. Verify there insurance. Inspect the cars and check their paper work before booking a ride.

These companies are just tring to push a loop hole in laws that where written to protect the public from unscrupulous taxis.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (0)

sillybilly (668960) | about 5 months ago | (#47589231)

One of these days a toll bridge is gonna be really profitable, and possibly maintained by a private owner with better overall economic efficiency than a corrupt tax collecting government that only cares about stuffing their own and constituents pockets, contributors pockets, from the tragedy of the commons treasury. The treasury needs a private owner, called a monarch, because this land of the free home of the brave all men are created equal communist creation failed miserably against the upper class landlord-nobility/free-yeoman/tenant-servant class based system. I'm not a member of any political party, but if I had to join one, hands down it would be the Tea Party. Expenses and taxes are sucking the living life out of me, and do no allow me to have a family. And one of them, lawn mowing, is an outright crime - exterminating bugs and plants that are self sufficient, welfare free, and instead maintaining a welfare supported pesticide and insecticide hosed lawn that has no useful purpose other than someone distorted sense of beauty, while everyone is bankrupt, and while they do it they overcharge on it, so they can make a profit, and live, all at my expense, so I can die. That's what taxes have degraded into, give it to one guy, so he can live, and take it from another guy, so he can die, by exterminating his ability to have a family. Or turn him into a liar, who cares none about credit, and fair give and take. The government right now collects taxes not for military defense or to support the elderly, and infrastructure like roads, but to support young breeders, on welfare, breeding out of control, not watching their external resource limit, because there isn't any, other than the availability of tax money. And I have yet to ever see property taxes, sales taxes, income taxes go down, they always keep inching higher and higher. Reagen & Bush, have tried, but the government debt is ever increasing, and the solution is to raise payroll taxes, and by far the biggest cost is the Social Security Welfare State, not the military, and in that, it's not the aged baby boomers, but people of their prime. It's impossible to compete in the global market place on price, in absence of import tariffs, when your basic expenses demand a humongous minimum wage. And in the basic expenses by far the biggest one is housing. They are trying to say, no, it's health insurance. Bullshit. Everyone pays for housing. I just read a story on how a girl bitten by a poisonous snake in Papua needed 7 hrs to get to the hospital by canoe, jungle, etc., and was saved. How great hospitals are! You know what? Girls like her have been bitten by snakes for hundreds of thousands of years in Papua, and died, but the village survived, because it was one of them picked off, here and there. When everyone has to bear a massive abusive health care cost, and housing cost, the life is sucked out of everybody because they cannot afford to propagate it, and make children, and the whole village and community collapses and dies in disarray, and the remnants have to start from scratch. Economics is the stuff of life. The Mayas collapsed economically by overgrowing their resources, but the remnants, the people lived on, without their grandiose village, or culture that built the pyramids and computed astronomical orbits to higher precision than the Europeans or anyone in the world up to that point. They lost all that culture and technology during the collapse. Same with Angkor Wat, as far as we can tell, it was an economic collapse, and the architectural skill, the technological good life, was lost with it. If people don't put a leash on their dicks, instead of let it run all over the place, generating a bunch of economically fucked baby mommas who have to pull the whole weight themselves, we're gonna have just such a thing, but the royalists and nobility fans at the top of the government want exactly just that.

Uber and Lyft are privatizing the taxi business by removing corrupt paternalistic and abusive government checks, and allowing the free market to optimize the economic decisions of safety, by making the correct economic gambles, by participants that are invested, and care deeply for correct economic decisions. Privatizing the government itself would mean having a monarch with a heir, that does not get elected, but is above the law, in a Saddam or Qaddafi dictator way. Sometimes a private do anything you want owner like that is the best that can happen to a country, especially if his heir is guaranteed access to the throne. And you could have mini-kings, or princes, for each state, swearing fealty to the one on top. This kind of top down dictatorship system is what's most efficient in the military for instance, inside a democracy, and it would be hard to see a voting, everyone's equal democracy running the military and deciding tactics, strategy, and plans, in times of dire urgency, such as war. In times of peace when we haven't waged a war for 2 decades and won't foreseeably for another 2, you could probably have a voting system on what to do, inside the military. But we never had such a time, we always fought wars. We had a good life time and economic abundance for over a century in the USA, starting around 1850 stretching all the way to 2020, so democracy for its economic management was well suited. But we're fast approaching a brink, there is still time, hopefully a few decades, but sooner or later.. In the feudal system, under a codified monarchy, or under a despotism with a dictator like Saddam or Qaddafi, the government was pretty much equivalent to the military, and was running the country for its best own self interest which, in effect, included the best self interest of the country.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 5 months ago | (#47589309)

Yeah, housing cost has pretty much turned into a Dutch Tulip Mania, where the free market perceived value is totally disconnected from the true economic value or usefulness of the object, when it comes to prices vs. other prices. People kept bidding up the price not because of the economic usefulness, but expectations of future price, that had nothing to do with reality. See the Wikipedia page on it. $700,000 for a wood house? If it was a castle built of stone then yeah, 10 million, but $700,000 for a wood house? When I can get a used computer for $30 that lasts me 5 years, and compared the economic value of that to my rent, or even a gutter system that costs $18,000, or whatever the siding cost, on a house, there is a massive abyss, and orders of magnitude difference, as in a totally different mindset, one is living in a dreamworld. You know what? Let the rain fall to the ground, fuck the gutters. Fuck the housing code, tell the inspectors to take their code book and shove it up their own asses, then take it out and choke on it. For thousands of years people had houses without gutters, and lived and died, and went about their business just fine.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (-1, Flamebait)

sillybilly (668960) | about 5 months ago | (#47589333)

Yeah, and put a leash on your dick, dawg. Just because you got a big black cock, and all women, white and black are addicted to it, and find it irresistible, it does not mean you're not economically responsible to back these baby mommas up with a child support payment too. Nigga can't get no job. Nigga can't keep no job. Then nigga fuck that booty in the ass, please. Ass, the other vagina.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (1)

msauve (701917) | about 5 months ago | (#47589413)

Unless it's a huge mansion, you're not paying $700K for the house. You're paying the bulk of that for the real property the house sits on.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (1)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 5 months ago | (#47589921)

Unless it's a huge mansion, you're not paying $700K for the house. You're paying the bulk of that for the real property the house sits on.

Eh, not so much [zillow.com]

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (1)

msauve (701917) | about 5 months ago | (#47590005)

Do you have a point? Not only does that link NOT point to wooden houses (there is one 6600 square foot brick home estimated at $10,414,740), it doesn't provide an empty property price for comparison.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (3, Informative)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 5 months ago | (#47589381)

I hate all the FUD about uber/lyft drivers ripping you off. here's how it works: when you end your uber ride they email you a receipt. it shows the route taken (on a map image), total distance, total duration, cost per mile, cost per min, and total price. that's perfect information. you can validate the route taken using your smart phone (either a route tracking app or by looking at your position during the ride), the distance traveled using google maps, and the total duration by looking at your watch. it doesn't get any more transparent than that.

and if you didn't like your ride, give them a low rating. any one or two star review, you'll never see that driver again. if a driver's rating gets low they'll fire him. it's really really simple.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (2)

davester666 (731373) | about 5 months ago | (#47589933)

Great. At the end of the ride, you have "perfect" information, just like EVERY other form of travel. Except at that point, all you get to do is go "next time, I'll make a different choice" and fork over whatever amount the app says is owed.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 5 months ago | (#47588957)

A look at how other online rating systems have been rigged suggests you're being hopelessly naive.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 5 months ago | (#47589253)

Not to mention "perfect information" as used in theory basically means "everything communicated via instant telepathy", in practice nobody has the time for that. At best you sample just a little bit and hope it's representative for the rest.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (4, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | about 5 months ago | (#47588985)

And yet we all hate massive, faceless corporations that abuse us as customers but those are the most successful corporations, and often when dealing with companies we're stuck with either a premium price or dealing with the lesser-of-evils.

The "Free Market" is a myth. Suing to recover one's losses is a myth, at least as far as getting the defendant to actually respond to suits in small-claims is concerned. One can win by default judgement and then what? Good luck collecting.

There's a reason for taxi medallions, registrars of contractors, business licenses, landlord-tenant laws, and other regulation services, and it's to keep those that run those businesses honest and to protect the consumer. A bad-apple can operate for YEARS when new customers in a market don't know to avoid them, even if existing customers have reviewed them as bad. After all, when you're new to a market you don't necessarily even know how to find the reviews for that market, and a private service like Uber, while interested in providing reviews, won't go out of their way to disrespect their drivers as it in turn disrespects their very service. They have to tread a fine line as their service is dependent on their service providers, so they literally can't afford to be free-market in this sense.

I practice caveat emptor. Something that seems too good to be true often is. Something that starts out cheap and good probably won't be cheap and good for very long once its inertia sets in. Think about radio stations, when a station has a complete format change, the new station is often great, few ads, very short self-promotion clips, lots of music, DJs that don't talk that much. But that's when they're in the initial attract-listener phase. Once they've got a listener base they can sell ads. They need to bring the cost of the music down so they make longer self-promotion clips, and they have their DJs talk more since DJ airtime doesn't really cost anything, and soon they're no different that their competitors.

Medallions (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589521)

The reason for taxi medallions is to prevent competition, end of story. $1M in NYC, $800K in Chicago, yet DC has none and are DC cab known for being horrible?

Talking to a Chicago cab driver of 28 years, what happened was a Russian bought 80% of all cabs in the city. He talked to the mayor and a year later there was a medallion law in Chicago costing $800k to operate a new cab. Guess what? All existing cabs were grandfathered in and got their medallions free. So anyone who operated a cab on the day that went into effect got $800k for each one. They haven't sold any new ones since then, but now that Russian owns tens of millions in cab medallions, and I'd be willing to bet he donated heavily to help Rham get elected as mayor.

Its a corrupt system, pure and simple. People telling you different are part of the corruption or ignorant.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589723)

You must be one of those people on the city council who gets paid for the medlions you hand out, or work for them. Look around you, look how underutilized out vehicles are If someone could make a few bucks giving someone a ride it is win win for everyone. This concept used to be called hitchhicking and it is still practiced in many underdeveloped parts of the world. When a place becomes developed the elite realize that hitchhiking represents a loss of revenue, so the create scare stories about crazy people wanting rides or giving out rides just to kill you, because that is what strangers do. They create a system of fear and hysteria where everyone is distrustful of everyone else. I predict that the billionaires that control the world will hire a few bizarre individuals to really chop up someone is some strange and bizarre way using uber or a similar service. It will be on the nightly news, and government will once again supply us with the regulations to keep us safe.

Look around you. Doesn't that person look a little funny. He is probably a wife beater / child trafficer / terrorist / or right wing anti government extremist. Best to report him right away,

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (1)

matbury (3458347) | about 5 months ago | (#47589747)

Couldn't agree more. It's not in the public's or consumers' interests to turn taxi driving into one of those "Work for yourself and earn $10,000 a month!" scams that we get in our junk mail. Worse than turning your livingroom into a mini one-person sweatshop with no health a safety, it unleashes tired, stressed, desperate, overworked drivers on the public at large and it's the public who have to pick up the bill for the legal costs and deal with the traffic carnage, bodily harm, and loss of life after them. The roads are dangerous enough as it is. Thanks for making the world a shittier place for everyone Uber and Lyft - I bet they're rich enough to use licensed, regulated, insured limo services.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589019)

> What was previously missing from the free market was perfect information

Oh, thank you! I have to put that one up as my new "stupidest claim of the week" motto!

My dear boy, welcome to Heisenberg. The energy exerted to collect that "perfect information" would itself involve so much energy, money, effort, and overload of information that it would itself profoundly distort the situation. And let's be frank, people *lie*. They lie about ignoring fares they don't feel like picking up because the passenger is black or hispanic, they lie about insurance and training and what happened to the wallet left in the car, and they lie to the cabbies about how much cash they've got.

Your under-experienced college kid scoring a few bucks for pizza money and using mom's credit card to pay for insurance and gas bills is *not* usually going to be able to handle the cab pick up of the drunk at the party who wants to go to the last open bar, the confused diabetic, or the carsick toddler.

Well, I could, I worked ambulance when I was 20. But I'm weird.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (1)

JeffAtl (1737988) | about 5 months ago | (#47589059)

You're confusing Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle with the "observer effect".

Re: The Free Market has the Technology Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589023)

Unless they use someone else's identity to register as a driver and lie about the car they own.

Or just loan their account to a friend. No cgl insurance also diminishes the value of a suit. "Yay, I forced my driver's family into bankruptcy, that totally compensates me for my life altering permanent injury caused by reckless driving. "

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589073)

"What was previously missing from the free market was perfect information. We live in an age where perfect information can be possible. Over regulation is now a hindrance to society."

Problem is, half the people have an IQ under 100.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (5, Insightful)

nickmalthus (972450) | about 5 months ago | (#47589083)

I would presume perfect information means complete information. If that is the case then why would any business be compelled to release information that could be perceived as critical to their operations without regulation or the threat of regulation? As we have seen with the GM case keeping consumers in the dark about safety issues pads the bottom line and they would have gotten away with if it weren't for those pesky NHTSA regulators. I always find it amusing when the captains of industry get on television and berate government regulation and accountability their first line of defense for impropriety is always the mantra "it may be unethical but it is not illegal".

I do think that the goals regulation should be to enforce transparency, clarity, and legal accountability more than just simply restricting certain types of activities.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (1)

fermion (181285) | about 5 months ago | (#47589109)

Information implies past data and perfect information implies absolute security and verification. This is more possible through the medalian system as carry a large cost and can be removed if people are very unreliable or dangerous. Of course the system is not perfect, but utilizes the time tested method of excessive punishment for certain acts, as well as background checks. Look at it like cleaning staff in a hotel. They have oppotunity to steal, but there is likely no due process if an accusation arises so there is less incentive to steal.

In the current system, information may be collected, and may be reliable, but it is not verified or acted upon. One can imagine where a driver gets a bad review, then creates a new account with a friends credentials. One can imagine a case where cars are not well maintained and cause an accident.

In fact the solution to this is very simple and should not raise the prices much if the profits of the service are moderated. Require each driver to carry commercial insurance and have a commercial drivers license. My father had one, so I know they are not difficult to get. The service could contract with an insurance company to provide a customized package. I think it is important for each driver to contract with an insurance company, not the service, because the insurance company will have additional checks and verifications. The policy can then be linked to the profile to insure that a driver is more likely to be who he or she says it is.

Right now these services are simply trading security for costs. For some this is a good tradeoff. But if the system of regulated cabs is dismantled without something equally secure we will simply see a period where people have no choice but to be insecure and then an expensive process where regulation, probably worse regulations, are implemented.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589219)

Perfect information? Pass the pipe! Do you honestly believe that people who rate a driver poorly are giving you perfect information? Maybe. Maybe they just don't like his race. Maybe they don't like the route. Maybe they are just a damn troll. People rating the driver good - maybe they are his brother. Who knows? The "information" available is garbage.

Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589609)

The whole point is that there *was* a free-market before and guess what? IT DIDNT STOP THE ABUSE AND FRAUD!

Get a freakin' clue people. You are about to repeat the same mistake again. Once again, a bunch of techno-nerds believe in a Star Trek future in which the existence of trivial technology (an app to call for a ride) somehow magically corrects ingrained human nature.

People keep looking at regulation like it serves no purpose. These people have no understanding of history and human nature. Free markets have *never* been able to fix fraud and corruption problems. Never. That is *why* there are regulations and police and courts and all of that "overhead". Because left to their own devices, people will try to rip you off. It really is that simple. And some stupid 'app' isn't going to change that behavior. If anything, it is going to facilitate it.

No solution in the *real* world is perfect. There will always be some problems because nothing is perfect and everything is a trade-off (sorry trekies, that is the real world). This knee jerk reaction to assume that regulation should be thrown out because it isn't a perfect solution (and most notably requires people to life by rules instead of doing anything they want) is simply childish.

Now people are going to start trusting joe blow random people that are nearly anonymous and unregulated to drive them places fairly? You people deserve what you are about to start getting...

Nirvana fallacy of neoclassical economics (1)

dumky2 (2610695) | about 5 months ago | (#47590025)

Fortunately for us, competition is pretty effective even without perfect information (or perfect substitutes or large number of competitors for that matter). The neoclassical model of perfect competition does little to understand the world, because of its unrealistic assumptions (including that government can fix those supposed problems without being subject to similar ones).
It is true that information is easier to exchange than before, but such aggregation was always possible. That's the whole purpose of brands, reputation, certification and insurance. Licensing (restricting entry) is never necessary to protect consumers.

I don't know much about the history of this specific industry, but the same claims have been made in many industries (lawyers, doctors, plumbers, architects), if not most. The various historical analyses that I read on those cases show that cartelization interests were a stronger factor than consumer protection.

Not this again.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47588947)

The loosey-goosey libertarian alternative, conceived in the clean Northern California air, calls upon the market to provide checks and balances. A poorly served passenger can, instead of turning to a city agency for recourse, switch allegiances or sue."

".. and if enough passengers are mugged, killed and thrown in a ditch by a certain company, sooner or later the amazing checks and balances provided by the holy market will surely make sure that customers will not pick such shady business in the future."

Re:Not this again.. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47588967)

Fear, uncertainty, doubt.

You're going to end up in a ditch! Only the government can save you! The government never lets anyone die or have bad things happen to them. Because democracy!

Re:Not this again.. (2)

TWX (665546) | about 5 months ago | (#47589005)

Yeah, because once I'm mugged and all my personal electronics are stolen, I can give quite the negative review to that driver through the website...

Or when I get home from being dead in the ditch, I can really lay into them!

Re:Not this again.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589085)

You're going to put an eye out with that Uber!

Re:Not this again.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589105)

Fear, uncertainty, doubt.

You're going to be regulated to death by the government! Bad things happen to you because of the government! Government can't save you! Because freedom!

Double-sided tape?

Re:Not this again.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589211)

Yeah, because if there's one thing we can be sure of, it's that excessive government regulation has completely eliminated the chance of a knife-wielding taxi driver raping a passenger!

Oh wait... [nydailynews.com]

No, but... [telegraph.co.uk]

That's unpossible! [khon2.com]

Re:Not this again.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589575)

Oh no, imperfect solutions! Just like the people who have been shot by their own self-defense weapons, they completely invalidate the premise!

Nihilism ahoy!

Cash Cab (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47588969)

In the future, taxis will be combined with ATMs and dispense money.

I thought I was on Cash Cab when I went to New York, but it turned out the driver was just a nosy asshole who liked to ask stupid questions.

Don't worry, Uber et all will end up regulated.. (2)

west (39918) | about 5 months ago | (#47588997)

When enough consumers have a "bad experience" with anything vaguely taxi-like, there will be demand that anything that looks of feels like a taxi be regulated to ensure minimal levels of safety and service.

Sure, perfect information is out there, but that takes effort. Measure the cost of regulation vs. the cost of determining reputation and you'll find that the populace goes for regulation every time. They want to be able to call anything cab-like and be safe. They want to eat in anything restaurant-like and be safe.

Even if it doesn't significantly increase safety, it doesn't really matter. The feeling of being protected by government regulation increases happiness significantly enough that regulation is pretty much whole-heartedly endorsed by most of the population.

Re:Don't worry, Uber et all will end up regulated. (4, Insightful)

tnk1 (899206) | about 5 months ago | (#47589143)

I don't think there is anything wrong with the idea of regulation.

However, regulation can be turned into a false barrier to entry when the regulatory system becomes a system with its own constituency, such as the labor unions, medallion holders, and bureaucrats. In those cases, where regulation might simply be updated to take into account new technology or ideas, the regulation blocks consideration of new things, and the constituencies have no interest in making any changes because they like their safe and familiar modes of operation.

Not to mention scenarios where members end up investing in regulatory artifacts like medallions, which have value due only to artificial scarcity and then something comes along and makes those less valuable. They're going to want to protect those investments, even if the underlying system they represent is outdated and less efficient.

The real problem isn't regulation, it is the effect that regulation can have, if allowed to harden into a particular structure that does not respond to outside forces adequately.

From a non-driver perspective (4, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | about 5 months ago | (#47589001)

I stopped driving 2 years ago, voluntarily. My SUV cost me around $800 a month in replacement costs. Another $200 in maintenance. I was burning through $12,000 a year in gas. I spent an average of 1000 hours a year in the car, for work, for groceries, for fun. 999 of those hours were spent focused on the road. I hate talking on the phone while driving.

Consider my annual total: about $25,000 + 1000 hours of my time. For the "privilege" to sit in Chicago traffic.

I'm a consultant. I now use UberX every day. I also use public transportation when I'm not in a rush or when someone isn't paying me to swing by.

I spent about $5000 a year on UberX. $100 a week. While I am being driven around, I can respond to emails, make phone calls. I bill for that time. When a customer wants me to visit them, I pass the UberX fee on to them plus 50%. No one scoffs at it. Some customers will realize the cost of me visiting them is more expensive than just consulting over the phone.

I figure I'm $20,000 ahead in vehicle costs, plus I've literally gained another 600-700 hours of phone and email consulting time a year. Call it $40,000 ahead.

I don't take cabs, because they don't like to come to where my HQ is (ghetto neighborhood). UberX comes 24/7, within minutes.

My little sister had an emergency surgery a few months ago. I immediately hired an UberX driver, who took me from the office, to the hospital. He waited. We then took my sister to her apartment to get her cats and clothes, then he took us to the pharmacy. After, he drove us to our dad's house to drop her off, in the suburbs of Chicago. Then he drove me back to work. 3 hours, $90. I can't get a cab to wait even 10 minutes while I drop off a package at UPS. Forget about them taking credit cards.

UberX charges my Paypal account and they're off. If they're busy, they charge a surcharge. I can pick it or take public transportation.

I know why the Chicago Taxi authorities want Uber gone. But a guy like me is their best customer. Next year I'll budget $10,000 a year for UberX, and it will make my life so much more enjoyable and profitable.

Driving yourself around is dead. It's inefficient. Ridesharing is "libertarian" because it is truly freeing.

Re:From a non-driver perspective (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 5 months ago | (#47589359)

You make a great case for more regulation, we can't have people improving their lives like this! Next thing you know people will be hiring their paperboy to do brain surgery.

Re:From a non-driver perspective (5, Insightful)

Solandri (704621) | about 5 months ago | (#47589391)

My SUV cost me around $800 a month in replacement costs. Another $200 in maintenance. I was burning through $12,000 a year in gas.

Are you sure you calculated your gas costs right? That's a helluva lot of money to be spending on gas, even for an SUV. At $4/gal, that's 3000 gallons/yr. At 14 MPG, that's 42,000 miles/yr.

The average vehicle is only driven 12,000 miles/yr, the average commute vehicle about 15,000 miles/yr. If your gas cost is accurate, your use case is just so far outside the norm that your anecdote is probably only applicable to about 0.01% of the population. (Your other vehicle costs seem absurdly high too, even if insurance is included in "replacement costs".)

I spent an average of 1000 hours a year in the car, for work, for groceries, for fun.

Consider my annual total: about $25,000 + 1000 hours of my time. For the "privilege" to sit in Chicago traffic.

Which translates into an average speed of 42 MPH, which is unusually high. You must've lived ~70 miles away from your workplace and spent most of your driving on the freeway to (1) rack up that many miles, and (2) have such a high average MPH.

I spent about $5000 a year on UberX. $100 a week
[...]
I figure I'm $20,000 ahead in vehicle costs

UberX lists their Chicago rates [uber.com] as $2.40 + $0.24/min + $1/mile. There is absolutely no way you're replacing your 42,000 miles/yr commute with fewer than 5000 UberX miles. At 42,000 miles/yr @ 42 MPH and 500 commutes/yr (250 workdays, 2 commutes per day), completely replacing your SUV with UberX would cost you:

($2.40)*(500) + [ (1 mile / 42 MPH)*(60 min/hour)*($0.24/min) + $1/mile ] * (42000 miles) =
$1200 + [ ($0.343/mile) + ($1/mile) ] * (42000 miles) =
$1200 + $56,406 = $68,406/yr

I mean think about it. It's effectively a taxi service. There's no way it can be cheaper than driving your own car (unless it's an UberX carpool) because that would mean the UberX driver would be losing money. Any reduction in your commute costs now that you got rid of the SUV is because you're taking public transportation. Any solo rides you're taking on UberX are costing you more than it took you to drive your SUV.

The IRS places the standard deductible cost for mileage [irs.gov] at $0.56/mile. That's probably a good average to use for a commute vehicle's cost per mile nationwide. UberX costs nearly 3x that.

Re:From a non-driver perspective (2)

godrik (1287354) | about 5 months ago | (#47589679)

I looked at these numbers as well, and they look like BS to me as well. But anyway comparing the cost of Uber to the cost of an SUV seems unreasonnable to begin with. If you are driving so much over the course of years AND your can deal with not having a car at all. Then why the hell are you driving an SUV to begin with?
Switching to a compact would probably cut gas expenses by 2 and the car is likely to be much cheaper as well, which means less investment and replacement and lower insurance.

The story from GP reads like "I used to buy $200 of grocery per day. But now I save a lot of money by eating at the restaurant for only $60 per day. On top of that, I do not prepare the food, so I can read the NYT in the mean time."

Re:From a non-driver perspective (2)

evilviper (135110) | about 5 months ago | (#47589721)

At 14 MPG, that's 42,000 miles/yr.

The average vehicle is only driven 12,000 miles/yr, the average commute vehicle about 15,000 miles/yr. If your gas cost is accurate, your use case is just so far outside the norm that your anecdote is probably only applicable to about 0.01% of the population.

Nobody drives an "average" vehicle. Either you pay a ton of money (often over 1mil) for housing in high-demand areas and barely need to drive, or you drive yourself a hell of a long way from your nice cheap home with a big yard, to work and back again, every day.

42,000 miles/year is just a medium commute here in California, and complaining about it will bring ridicule down on you, from those who do (or have) commute much further.

There's no way it can be cheaper than driving your own car

Sure it could... All those car payments, maintenance, license, insurance, parking, etc., can be effectively pooled by one driver, spreading the maintenance costs across dozens of people. In addition, the Uber driver could have a 50MPG Prius, instead of a 14MPG SUV, dropping the fuel costs by a factor of 3.5X, and pocketing some of the cash.

GP is probably playing very fast and loose with the numbers, but there's definitely a savings to be had by pooling/sharing resources such as vehicles.

Re:From a non-driver perspective (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589811)

So living 90 miles away from work is the norm in California? Please. Anything more than 20 miles from city center is considered hillbilly territory. People won't even drive through it, they take a plane.

Maybe the public school system could use some work too.

Re:From a non-driver perspective (3, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | about 5 months ago | (#47589989)

So living 90 miles away from work is the norm in California?

It is quite common, yes.

Anything more than 20 miles from city center is considered hillbilly territory

Nonsense. The most desirable areas shift every decade or so. And you clearly have no idea just how sprawling California cities are.

Anywhere along the coast is high-rent. In SoCal, you could live in nice and expensive parts of San Diego, and commute to Burbank, without ever even driving through an area where condos cost less than half a mil.

In NorCal, going between the coast and Sacramento is common. 'cisco to San Jose is about 60 miles of high-rent areas, and you can't get a cheap house anywhere along the route.

Re:From a non-driver perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589957)

42,000 miles/year is just a medium commute here in California, and complaining about it will bring ridicule down on you, from those who do (or have) commute much further.

Living in this vicinity I'll have to state you're being excessive on the average CA commute. The average CA commute is distinctly longer than the average US commute, but the average is below 20,000 miles per year. Meanwhile, the original poster is being really stupid to drive a highly expensive SUV with that kind of commute. Get a newer and smaller vehicle, then maintenance will be a fraction of the cost of the SUV. You don't get to complain about the cost of gasoline if you chose to purchase a gas-guzzler.

Mod Parent Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589729)

Mod Parent Up

Re:From a non-driver perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589907)

You've apparently never noticed that the OP pointed out they're a contractor, meaning they drive from HQ to/from locations constantly.

Think TeleCommunications Installer, or other hands-on item like a service contract w/ spot-service for upgrades or the like. We will blow through 12k miles in a single MONTH depending on the work site location.

And even if we have to pay ~$1.50/mile, it's effectively paying that for chauffeured service, meaning we're *NOT* driving, we can answer calls without having to futz with dying bluetooth headsets, taking our eyes off the road, massive vehicle insurance costs, etc. That's why it's worth us effectively paying $1/mile (AKA double the mileage rate) for the convenience and freedom. :)

It's more akin to telecommuting for those of us who's job requires us to lay hands on equipment, it's shifting costs to different components to free up our own physical time to be able to spend more actually doing our job and less managing getting to/from our job. =^.^=

WolfWings - Too lazy to sign into SlashDot in bloody freakin' for-effin-ever. XD

Re:From a non-driver perspective (2)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 5 months ago | (#47589571)

I stopped driving 2 years ago, voluntarily. My SUV cost me around $800 a month in replacement costs. Another $200 in maintenance. I was burning through $12,000 a year in gas.

Can you clarify those numbers a little? What parts have to be replaced or maintained so often? And why have an gas guzzler of an SUV if it's going to cost $1000 a month for fuel?

Re:From a non-driver perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589749)

He's obviously a drug dealer.....

Re:From a non-driver perspective (1)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | about 5 months ago | (#47589739)

Driving yourself around is dead. It's inefficient. Ridesharing is "libertarian" because it is truly freeing.

That's great, for your situation.

Getting my four kids where they need to go, day in and day out, bringing home huge loads of groceries (and smaller ones in between), etc., however, just isn't served well by anything other than having and using my own vehicle.

Predictability?...Well... (2)

bogaboga (793279) | about 5 months ago | (#47589041)

That system may be a pain to deal with, but in its defense, it provided predictability and security.

Well, I agree about that predictability in the fact that in New York, black patrons would hardly be able to [successfully] hail a taxi after 8 PM. I am sure our black friends are happy about the change in the taxi business that's well underway.

Re:Predictability?...Well... (3, Interesting)

kervin (64171) | about 5 months ago | (#47589277)

Well, I agree about that predictability in the fact that in New York, black patrons would hardly be able to [successfully] hail a taxi after 8 PM.

That's definitely not true. It's more likely black patrons will not be able to hail a cab in any rush hour period. E.g. 5pm, 2am ( many clubs and bars close ). It's not that the drivers are afraid, it's greed more than anything else.

The cab drivers know that statistically black patrons are more likely to take them to the outer reaches of the boroughs. The fair to these areas is ok, but coming back there is no fair. So it's worse than someone who stays in Manhattan and then the cab driver gets fairs every direction every time.

But it has nothing to do with the time of day, it's really about how busy they would be. At 4AM in the morning, when everything is quiet cab drivers will tell you they are happy to pick up anybody.

It's just not necessary (0)

Kohath (38547) | about 5 months ago | (#47589103)

We don't need the government to protect us from getting bad customer service during a car ride. We don't need the government to make sure drivers are "qualified" to give people car rides. It's just a car ride.

Re:It's just not necessary (2)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about 5 months ago | (#47589221)

We don't need the government to protect us from getting bad customer service during a car ride. We don't need the government to make sure drivers are "qualified" to give people car rides. It's just a car ride.

1. How often do you pick up hitchhikers?
2. Car-jacking took off last century only after anti-theft devices made it too hard to steal unattended vehicles. I'm thinking now it's pretty goddamn easy to steal a smartphone, then use that to rent a Hummer or Mercedes off Uber and now you have a nice car to drive around in all by yourself (along with the driver's smartphone and whatever cash s/he was carrying). New ways of business always provide new ways of crime. Human nature.

Before you decide government is a complete waste of resources, perhaps you should live someplace without government such as Yemen or Somalia. It's probably as hard for us to put a value on the government and society we grew up in as it is for fish to understand the value of the water they cannot see.

Re:It's just not necessary (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 5 months ago | (#47589601)

Oh shut up with the ridiculous Somalia comparison. The GP didn't say he wants no government at all. He just doesn't want one the decides who gets to ride in cars with people. Comparing that to Somalia makes you guys (who make that comparison) look like complete idiots.

we're missing the METERS (4, Insightful)

jfruh (300774) | about 5 months ago | (#47589111)

The meters on traditional cabs may sometimes be tinkered with, but that's illegal, and in the vast majority of cases they're accurate and legally binding. Whereas with the new wave of rideshare apps there's no indication of what charges you're reacking up until you arrive. You can get an estimate to start with on at least some of the apps but it's not binding, and especially when surge pricing is in effect you can end up with large and unexpected charges that are difficult to predict.

I use Uber and Lyft a lot, and I'm the first to admit that traditional taxis brought this on themselves, by often refusing to take credit cards and by never adopting a convenient method of hailing a cab for the increasing pool of people who use smartphones. But traditional rules around taxis were put in place for a reason, and meters in particular were created and regulated to protect consumers against arbitrary price-gouging.

Re:we're missing the METERS (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 5 months ago | (#47589207)

I thought the big thing is that they have some great app on some smartphone display or something in their cars.

Re:we're missing the METERS (2)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about 5 months ago | (#47589319)

How does a meter provide an expected charge? I guess you can get out if it is getting too high, but an accurate estimate for the whole trip is what is missing. The "legally binding" meter binds you just as much, while I imagine with these services with flexible pricing you could dispute the charges to get your money back, though they'd ban you.

Re:we're missing the METERS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589393)

NYC the cab will have the rates posted per 1/5 mile or whatever they are up to now including the surcharges. the wild card is the charge for sitting in traffic.
for airports there is a flat charge with no meter

Re:we're missing the METERS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589467)

Taxi drivers can still scam you by taking the long route, or taking a congested route.

Re:we're missing the METERS (1)

bmo (77928) | about 5 months ago | (#47589511)

The meters on traditional cabs may sometimes be tinkered with, but that's illegal

Like that stops anyone.

I knew it took 11 bux to get me home after a night of being out, no matter what cab I took from Downtown Providence.

Enter the guy with license plate #1 on his taxi. Someone who I had ridden with for years and thought was straight. Suddenly instead of 11 dollars, it was 15. "I'm paying you today, but don't expect to ever see me in your cab again."

He drove around for a few years after that still jacking his meter until the city finally had enough of his antics. Lawd knows how many people he screwed over.

--
BMO

Re:we're missing the METERS (2)

Solandri (704621) | about 5 months ago | (#47589519)

The meters on traditional cabs may sometimes be tinkered with, but that's illegal, and in the vast majority of cases they're accurate and legally binding. Whereas with the new wave of rideshare apps there's no indication of what charges you're reacking up until you arrive.

There's another way to tinker with meters besides hacking them - drive a different route. My first taxi ride from Boston Logan to MIT took what seemed like an unusually winding route through downtown Boston. A year later when I got a car and began driving around the city myself, I realized I'd been taken for a ride, literally. I mentioned this to a fellow student at my lab, and he remarked that it had taken him 3 years to figure out what the actual cost of a cab from his apartment to the airport was, because every time he'd be taken on a different, circuitous route to rack up extra miles. It was 3 years until he actually got an honest driver who took him straight home.

Modern navigation software means you can get an exact distance from start point to destination before you even step into the taxi. There's no need for a meter (other than to time the ride). A lot of airport taxis already do this for longer rides - they charge based on zones, with further zones costing more. No meter needed. The only case this doesn't handle is rerouting to avoid traffic. An alternative might be a meter which prints out your GPS route so you can see that you were taken almost straight to your destination, and not in circles.

Re:we're missing the METERS (1)

bmo (77928) | about 5 months ago | (#47589585)

>My first taxi ride from Boston Logan to MIT

>taxi

Wut.

Logan -> Blue line -> Orange or Green Line -> Red line -> Kendall/MIT

How hard is that?

>3 years

Oh man...

--
BMO

Re:we're missing the METERS (1)

Solandri (704621) | about 5 months ago | (#47589691)

Logan -> Blue line -> Orange or Green Line -> Red line -> Kendall/MIT

How hard is that?

Three transfers on the T (there's also a bus you have to take from the Logan T station to your airline terminal) is hardly ideal when you're hauling around luggage with kids in tow and on a schedule. When I was traveling by myself with a single suitcase I'd do the three transfers. But outside that case, a taxi is just easier and quicker.

Re:we're missing the METERS (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 5 months ago | (#47589641)

The meters on traditional cabs may sometimes be tinkered with, but that's illegal, and in the vast majority of cases they're accurate and legally binding. Whereas with the new wave of rideshare apps there's no indication of what charges you're racking up until you arrive. You can get an estimate to start with on at least some of the apps but it's not binding, and especially when surge pricing is in effect you can end up with large and unexpected charges that are difficult to predict.

And if people don't like that, they can hail a cab instead. I've never had a problem when I call for a cab ride. "Hey, I need to go to the airport tomorrow afternoon.... What's the general price? (So I will be sure to have the correct amount of cash onhand.).... Great, I'll be ready at 2pm." Getting out at the airport, I paid the $20 charge, and gave another $10 because he was friendly and helpful with the luggage.

If these new guys are cheaper and easier than that, they will have customers. If not, the taxi companies will stay in business. If "surge pricing" is that bad, people will learn when to call a cab instead.

For posterity - (2)

Burz (138833) | about 5 months ago | (#47589133)

Here is a 2006 article [worldchanging.com] about the IGT Taxibus concept. It definitely wasn't conceived in Northern California air, but in the UK (circa 2001 IIRC).

The problem was they approached municipalities with the idea and no large cities climbed on board. So now the cities have to face the likes of Uber and Lyft who, I predict, will not collectively reach the scale needed to apreciably reduce traffic congestion (one of the aims of IGT). Combine that with no regulation and a consumer protection model that amounts to Yelp.com, and I'll guess that Uber and Lyft will in 7 years be less of a joke and more of a way to elict negative reactions from people (assuming you momentarily lack the gas to fart).

The real reason why Uber is going to take over (5, Informative)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 5 months ago | (#47589151)

I was talking with a former cabdriver just the other day, and the major reason he left the field was because of the danger. In his urban taxi career he had eleven "runners", or people who dash without paying, but it was the one robbery that unnerved him to the extent he left the field. Although Phoenix is one of the most gun-friendly cities in the nation, management forbade him to carry, a rule typically enforced by insurance companies who care more about their liability exposure than employee safety.

The great advantage of Uber is that because everyone has to sign up as a member of the system before getting rides, the company knows who the customers are, and who is riding with whom at a given time. The increased driver safety, not any abstract political philosophy, is why services like this will replace traditional cabs.

Re:The real reason why Uber is going to take over (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 5 months ago | (#47589223)

Everyone must be signed up? Isn't it big big business to take people just off planes or long range busses? Isn't the out of towner/tourist like 50% of the reason taxis exist? how is that supposed to work?

Re:The real reason why Uber is going to take over (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589335)

??? Uber is nationwide, so whether you came off a bus or plane you are no less likely to have the app installed.

Re:The real reason why Uber is going to take over (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589689)

According to this site, at LAX roughly 1/4 of all passengers are international:

http://www.laalmanac.com/transport/tr57.htm#Passenger%20Traffic%20Totals

So fuck you with your US-centric view.

Re:The real reason why Uber is going to take over (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 5 months ago | (#47589673)

I guess they sign up before they go on a trip. Once they arrive, they just log in and find someone who is available at the airport. But the driver and rider each knows the other person is verified by the company, and the ride is recorded.

Re:The real reason why Uber is going to take over (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 5 months ago | (#47589693)

I guess the question must be, how much data do they require.
I guess if they only require a working unique email address that would work.

Re:The real reason why Uber is going to take over (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 5 months ago | (#47589841)

I don't use the services myself, but I saw a poster here say it comes out of his Paypal account. I do use Paypal for Ebay, so I know how much info they can get from that. Much more than just email address anyway.

Re:The real reason why Uber is going to take over (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589261)

Interesting point about knowing who the customer is. Not living in an area where there are taxis (or Uber or anything either) I hadn't realized this advantage. I did however just read an article the other day that said that 30% of smart phone users still don't have any sort of lock on their phone. So I guess you normally know who your customer is. But sometimes, that customer is the criminal that just mugged someone for their phone.

Re:The real reason why Uber is going to take over (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589315)

Yes, and it's a reason you see more female drivers. They feel safer knowing who they're picking up. Uber users are encouraged to upload a photo, so the driver can recognize you, too.

What's the point of robbing an Uber driver? You won't get any cash beyond what they are personally carrying, and if you take their Uber phone, that'll make you even easier to track.

Re:The real reason why Uber is going to take over (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589887)

The great advantage of Uber is that because everyone has to sign up as a member of the system before getting rides, the company knows who the customers are, and who is riding with whom at a given time. The increased driver safety, not any abstract political philosophy, is why services like this will replace traditional cabs.

I don't disagree with you but I would also call that a huge disadvantage for use, particularly.for the marginalized or those few of us who remain that care whether or not someone else is able to track everything we do. I can still hop a cab and pay cash for a trip to nowhere with hardly anyone being the wiser.

Re:The real reason why Uber is going to take over (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 5 months ago | (#47589985)

Intellectually we may claim to love anonymity, but when being tracked by the big evil corporation measurably improves our safety in specific situations, our real feelings are very different. I consider having Apple theoretically know where I am at every moment a small price to pay for convenient navigation and being able to track a stolen iPhone.

mua va ban (-1, Offtopic)

ohovn6545456 (3773185) | about 5 months ago | (#47589181)

[url=http://tintuc.oho.vn/news/36089/4-cach-mua-ban-hieu-qua-de-thu-hut-khach-hang.html]mua va ban[/url]

over/under (2)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about 5 months ago | (#47589193)

Over regulation is bad, just as bad as under-regulation.
One problem is that complete anarchy means no protection for anybody which is one reason pure Libertarianism failed (buy insurance from Joe's Pizza Palace) and is why all those classic Western towns you see in John Wayne movies hired sheriffs and were trying to become more civilized.
Over-regulation happens mostly because of regulatory "capture." After the initial public wave of disgust forces a new bureaucracy in place, it becomes beholden to the industry it regulates because no one else really cares to put in the work defining terms and setting up precise rules (precision is another problem in and of itself).

It's a conundrum-type problem, trying to find the sweet spot. You basically need to decide if the over-burden of regulation is going to cost more than what you are preventing. And that's if you're a corporation. If you're a government trying to please the public, you have a mess of moralists who don't care about economics and demand 100% perfection which requires a lot of rules and almost always costs more than accepting 5% graft.

In the taxi market, one trade-off is between having standard prices or having a boatload of vehicles charging different prices all the time. I remember reading about soda pop machines wired to change prices depending on the outside temperature. Seems like slashdotters hated that but I can't see why it's any different from Uber.

If you want a steady price or a steady supply, you need different kinds of regulations than if you want perfect supply for every demand.

tin tuc phat giao (-1, Offtopic)

ohovn6545456 (3773185) | about 5 months ago | (#47589201)

[url=http://tintuc.oho.vn/news/c191/Van-hoa-Viet-Tin-tuc-phat-giao.html]tin tuc phat giao[/url]

This post is naked speculation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589429)

Medallions do not exist to regulate or inspect the cabs. That would be achieved by simply licensing them. They exist to limit the number of cabs on the street to reduce empty-cab traffic and overly-aggressive pick-ups.

This is why they're worrisome: there is a fixed number of them issued long ago, and they're transferable and traded like stock, so if their value goes down, "OMG, value is being destroyed, so stop everything." More specifically it's politically hard for the government to change a policy in a way that reduces medallion value since the government gave the medallions value to begin with.

Reading upwards from the confidently-wrong assertion about medallions, where is the content of this post?

seems like just another "Phones! fap fap fap" post.

damm all that pesky regulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589497)

Its excessive regulation that drove uber to offshore its company to a tax haven right ?, not a single penny will be contributed to your community, and fuck you for thinking that they will

Wouldn't this all fall under hitchiker laws? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 5 months ago | (#47589543)

Without any sort of commercial license to drive other people around, why don't the drivers run afoul of laws that prohibit pickup of hitchhikers?

tradeoffs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47589889)

Presumably there is something between rigid regulations that force higher prices and inefficiencies and no regulations at all that degrade safety and foister conflict between buyers and sellers. Note that car accidents and lawsuits are a cost to society in general not just the parties involved. What is happening is that different jurisdictions will adopt a wide spectrum of regulations and hopefully in the fullness of time the best ones will become apparent. Unfortunately those who hold a priori beliefs in the effectiveness of either free markets or government regulations have a tendency to dismiss evidence contrary to their semi-religious beliefs.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?