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The Fiercest Rivalry In Tech: Uber vs. Lyft

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the follow-that-car-driver dept.

Businesses 125

onehitwonder (1118559) writes WSJ looks at the cantankerous rivalry between two popular ride-sharing companies, Uber and Lyft, and the dirty tactics each employs to weaken its opponent. Lyft, for example, alleges that representatives from Uber frequently order short rides from Lyft just to slow down Lyft's service and to try to poach its drivers. WSJ points out that the rivalry is more than just a made-for-TV competition: "It's a battle for a key role in the future of urban transportation." Lyft certainly isn't Uber's only rival, though, even setting aside conventional taxis and car services, even those two names are big in U.S. cities: its clash with Gett has reportedly involved tricks at least as dirty. Another way to look at the rivalry, too, is that the biggest clash is not between Uber and any other particular company, but rather between the various ride-calling / ride-sharing services taken together against the existing, regulated taxi and car-service companies they threaten.

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Dirty tactics (4, Interesting)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 2 months ago | (#47654297)

To be able to correctly understand this piece of news, I'd need a definition on the criteria to identify a corporation's action as "dirty tactic".

Re:Dirty tactics (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47654377)

Pretty much anything they do these days, seemingly.

Re:Dirty tactics (4, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 2 months ago | (#47654575)

Any action which directly interferes with your competitions business, done with that sole intention. So booking lifts and not taking them up, or booking lots of short trips which put competitors drivers out of position or otherwise unlikely to be able to pick up the more lucrative jobs (ie, have an employee travel to the middle of an industrial estate right when a major train or bus arrives, so your drivers get the more lucrative jobs).

The link is very interesting, and if true it shows a concerted effort to disrupt Ubers competitors through anti-competitive behaviour.

Re:Dirty tactics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654589)

These 'tactics' don't sound very dirty to me... I think "petty" would be a better word. Dirty seems to fit better in a case where a corporation, through some puppets in a government, lies to an entire nation. But that of course never happens. So, let's focus again on Lyft vs. Uber, clash of the ride sharers, battle for dominance. Who will win? Stay tuned.

Re:Dirty tactics (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47657959)

Maybe you're just being too lenient with your descriptors.

"Atrocious" or "apalling" might be better suited for times when a corporation lies to an entire nation with the help of government stooges.

By comparison, "dirty" should remain acceptable in regard to one company screwing over another one with fake clients.

Re:Dirty tactics (2)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about 2 months ago | (#47654781)

To be able to correctly understand this piece of news, I'd need a definition on the criteria to identify a corporation's action as "dirty tactic".

Then maybe you should take 30 seconds and RTFA.

"...over the past few weeks, Uber employees have been posing as pedestrians, creating Gett accounts for the sole purpose of scheduling and then canceling Gett rides. The result is clear: wasted time for Gett drivers, fewer available rides for Gett users, and general disarray for the whole service."

For example.

Re:Dirty tactics (4, Interesting)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 2 months ago | (#47654871)

I even heard Uber was encouraging Lyft drivers to put stupid pink mustaches on their cars, ensuring that the service would be seen as a hopelessly hipster/metrosexual by mainstream riders and would be forever relegated to a small niche market of people not ashamed to be seen in said cars.

Oh no, wait. Lyft did that to THEMSELVES.

Re:Dirty tactics (1)

drew870mitchell (2523490) | about 2 months ago | (#47656193)

>stupid pink mustaches

Who cares? They're very easily identifiable, especially from in front of the car, which is the perspective from which you will first see the car as it pulls in to pick you up, but where you can't generally see stickers or vinyl wraps.

>hopelessly hipster/metrosexual...ashamed to be seen in said cars.

It's 2014 and you are "ashamed" to ride in a car with something pink on it?

Re:Dirty tactics (2)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 2 months ago | (#47656703)

It's 2014 and you are "ashamed" to ride in a car with something pink on it?

No, I'm ashamed to ride in a car with an incredibly gaudy giant pink mustache on it. And I'm even more ashamed for the poor driver who is forced to put that embarrassment on their car by a company that obviously hasn't grown up yet. I (and most other riders, I suspect) would prefer a professional company and a ride in a clean, discreet car that doesn't make me want to hide my face in embarrassment.

Regulations (2)

AlecDalek (3781731) | about 2 months ago | (#47654317)

This is the very reason we have regulations in the first place. Why is the government not stepping in and making them register like any other taxi service?

Re:Regulations (1)

zuckie13 (1334005) | about 2 months ago | (#47654455)

Plenty have put in cease and desist orders, and told them to register. The companies have decided they don't have to, and just keep operating. At this point, it's going to take a court to stop them.

Re:Regulations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654519)

Not really. You just fine the drivers and impound their cars. The problem will eventually take care of itself.

Re:Regulations (1)

Entropius (188861) | about 2 months ago | (#47656381)

What are they doing that hurts their customers that warrants a cease-and-desist?

Re:Regulations (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 months ago | (#47656731)

If they are operating illegally in a particular area, that warrants either criminal prosecution or civil penalties as appropriate to the law in question. You don't get to choose what laws you follow.

Re:Regulations (2)

infinitelink (963279) | about 2 months ago | (#47657293)

Like the authorities who made those "laws" don't have to follow the laws limiting their authority--or the Feds whose actual job is to ensure natural rights don't have to enforce them in the States, only civil ones when they're politically useful?

Bullshit. The actual authors of this union's Constitution stated, repeatedly, frankly, any law that infringes or nullifies a right can, what? Be abrogated by the citizen with impugnity. It's only "radical" because dura lex sine jusiticia reigns once again.

I'm all for "law" that is "prudentia", i.e. for prudence or good; false laws pretending to be for public protection and other nonsense but really serve to erect unlawful monopolies, guilds, business protections, etc., are deprivations of rights under the colors of law--and those who make and enforce them deserve to be federally arrested and thrown down a hole as the Federal Code requires.

I live in Colorado, btw, notorious for this: the excuse here is that the cabs are a public utility. Strange that if I give a neighbor a lift for free it's legal but if he pays for gas it's technically and suddenly not. (Obviously they don't typically prosecute that, but selective enforcement to evade court scrutiny by ensuring the proofs the laws are not laws at all just invalidates the law in the first place.) That what millions do here daily, with insurance--including coverage of other occupants--is suddenly a public utility if any money or value, whatsoever, changes hands.

Go learn to think before citing dura lex without context. Even the Romans didn't put-up (long) with that bullshit. We just happen to be drunk under the stupor of "order" by force rather than...actual order. And it's damn time the boomers start getting off'd by their dementia to start eliminating their pseudo-sophisticate influences in that regard.

Moreover, you do realize the public figures who like to say "the laws the law" OPENLY MOCK THE IDEA THAT THERE IS ANY 'LAW' BESIDES FORCE--that is, in the law schools, don't you?

I DO get to choose the laws that I have to follow: if a "law" says to murder you--not going to do it; help you do it to or aid someone else in that, not going to do it; take your rights? not going to do it; assist any government actor in it? not going to do it.

Grow a pair.

Re:Regulations (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 months ago | (#47657777)

And it's damn time the boomers start getting off'd by their dementia

Hmm... that's quite a chip on your shoulder you have there. How young are you? Mom still telling you what to do?

Go learn to think before

Which invariably means "I hate it that you have different thoughts to me."

I live in Colorado, btw, notorious for this: the excuse here is that the cabs are a public utility. Strange that if I give a neighbor a lift for free it's legal but if he pays for gas it's technically and suddenly not.

I expect you've got that wrong. Fuel sharing is usually perfectly legal. Laws requiring special licenses for commercial driving are generally phrased in terms of "for reward", which a genuine fuel share isn't.

Regulations are even worse (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654469)

Your regulations (especially limited medallions) have caused more waste than these "dirty tactics" do. If your claim is "I don't support medallions, but instead some better regulation than the status quo", then at this point you really need to explain why you think the government is listening to your opinion at all (as opposed to special interests and economic elites). They've had decades to eliminate medallions, and now people are suggesting changes only because Lyft and Uber have forced the issue.

How about you guys fix your taxi regulations first, then I'll consider the wisdom of trusting the same politicians to regulate ride-sharing.

Re:Regulations are even worse (1)

plopez (54068) | about 2 months ago | (#47654509)

"Your regulations (especially limited medallions) have caused more waste than these "dirty tactics" do"

can you back that up with any stats?

Re:Regulations are even worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47655951)

I'm having trouble finding your request for stats in response to AlecDalec's post, where he is the one suggesting regulation. I wonder why that is.

Re:Regulations are even worse (2)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about 2 months ago | (#47654613)

HAHAHAHAHA! That's cute son. But no, let me spell it out for you. This is the way things are going to go:

1) New way of doing something makes a buck.
2) Uber or Lyft or whoever pop up and lambast regulation that keeps them from making a buck. They promote competition.
3) The competition gets ugly,
4) Uber or Lyft will sue one another for blatantly malicious acts meant to destroy the competition. Everyone* agrees things got out of hand. Everyone* agrees that you really shouldn't... say... profile your clients for homicidal tendencies and then call a competitors cab with false information and pass the irrate and dangerous client off to the unsuspecting murder victim. Clearly anti-competitive, and while a criminal verdict is pending, everyone* agrees that NEW regulation will put a stop to that terrible practice.

If everyone* agrees that the old regulation is pretty busted, but everyone* agrees that things need to change, then sadly the typical course of action is to slap on new regulation. Then we'd have official non-taxi ride-sharing regulation. Just in time to get in the door before the automated taxi companies pop up and lambast these stupid regulations.

*Everyone: The CEOs at Uber and Lyft, the politicians, the judges, and enough of the customers. All of whom really don't give a shit about what wisdom you trust.

Re:Regulations are even worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47656217)

Of course, I'm not an economic elite. I'll just route around them if needed, since the application is entirely peer-to-peer and uses trust ratings.

Re:Regulations are even worse (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 months ago | (#47656777)

Who said "medalions" need eliminating. Medalions are a device to enforce proper insurance, roadworthy vehicles, qualified drivers and a maintainable level of taxis. For why a free for all can be a bad idea, see the tragedy of the commons.

Re:Regulations (2)

jratcliffe (208809) | about 2 months ago | (#47655107)

In NYC, they have. Both Uber and Lyft in NYC operate as standard "black car" service companies, using only Taxi & Limo Commission licensed vehicles and drivers. They don't operate the "ride sharing" part of the business here.

Re:Regulations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47656051)

Because that's the opposite of what we all want. Every time you spend too much money (and that's just how taxis are; the prices is many times the cost) it makes to you think about how you got railroaded (invariably because of government "help") into a tiny protected oligopoly instead of being allowed to use the free market. We want to have fewer barriers to getting what we want (efficient low-overhead ride sharing), not more barriers.

The funny thing about Lyft and Uber is that even if they win against the governments and old taxi companies, they're still both doomed long-term. People will eventually wake up and realize they didn't really want a new "master" adding overhead. They want no master. Whenever we get around to a generic marketplace protocol (not an app, not a site -- any app or site for these things (unless they're just competing for being the best at handling the protocol) is a ripoff), then "wanted: ride" and "available: ride" will be mere designations within the thousand other things going on.

Re:Regulations (2)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 months ago | (#47656121)

I am actually a systems manager (Servers, Radios, Mobile Computers and Such) for a cab company.

Regulation had some use long ago. With the internet regulation really only serves the entrenched big companies and the regulators at the expense of innovation and the customers.

I see it all the time. My company does it. The agency that permits taxis in our area checks A/C, parking brake, paint job and window tint. You could tow the fucking thing in with no steering and it would pass.

Re:Regulations (1)

Entropius (188861) | about 2 months ago | (#47656367)

They're doing dirty tricks to each other. The service they provide to customers is still better than the city cabs.

We don't need "regulations" here. If Uber and Lyft are getting trolled by each other then they will need to build anti-troll safeguards into their business model, which they are able to do on their own. There's no problem here that rules from City Hall (other than the standard ones against fraud, like requesting a ride with no intent to actually use it) will fix.

Re:Regulations (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 months ago | (#47656803)

Sorry but most people don't buy your libertarian snake oil.

I don't get it (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 months ago | (#47654327)

So why does nobody think they'll get kidnapped by random strangers who use Uber and Lyft?

I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654391)

For the same reason that no one thinks they will get stabbed by a random stranger when walking around. Sure it could happen, but I am not about to start wearing a stab vest.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654415)

Uber and Lyft verify the identities of their drivers and keep records of all rides, so the incentives are the same as with taxis.

Re:I don't get it (3, Interesting)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 2 months ago | (#47655831)

So why does nobody think they'll get kidnapped by random strangers who
drive cabs ?

ftfy. ive taken a lot of uber and lyft rides, and every ride has been better than the typical sketchy smelly rude cab driver.

In London, Lyft/Uber are intelligence tests. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654335)

Anybody who picks them over a black cab driven by someone who's done the Knowledge and who is subject to regular testing is either a clueless tourist or a helpless dullard.

So many times we've seen previously well state-regulated transportation services undercut by the "free market", which has waited until the older services have been driven out of business before setting up a new monopoly on their terms. The Beeching Axe of the '60s was nothing more than a guy with an ownership a highway-building company on the government payroll unravelling the onion of rail transport. The initial deregulation of bus services across the south coast has led to domination by Stagecoach, which spent years operating a loss, but whose monopoly and subsequent regulatory capture has allowed its over-priced, under-utilised buses across the south.

Looking to the skies, we're seeing exactly the same thing with SpaceX. Boeing was once the nimble, cheap innovator to which NASA contracted out, before it became a greedy behemoth sucking at government teat. History is repeating itself with SpaceX - but with even less management control in the hands of NASA, sadly, so there is less opportunity to choose a selection of specialist companies to cooperate on new projects, as was the case during the space heydays of the '60s.

Re:In London, Lyft/Uber are intelligence tests. (2, Insightful)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 2 months ago | (#47654379)

Do you really think the man who opened all of Tesla's patents to the public has wealth as his highest aspiration?

Re:In London, Lyft/Uber are intelligence tests. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654395)

Well he started PayPal. Arguably won of the sleaziest web companies on earth.

Re:In London, Lyft/Uber are intelligence tests. (1)

dugancent (2616577) | about 2 months ago | (#47656911)

Why troll? This is absolutely correct.

Re:In London, Lyft/Uber are intelligence tests. (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 months ago | (#47654425)

No. How about the man who opened a strategically selected subset of Tesla's patents in order to improve the network of charging points Tesla's cars depend on?

Re:In London, Lyft/Uber are intelligence tests. (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 2 months ago | (#47655581)

Do you really think the man who opened all of Tesla's patents to the public has wealth as his highest aspiration?

Wealthy people don't generally think about things like that - unless they're psycho/sociopaths, like Wall Street bankers, for whom it's just a game where the one with the most "wins".

Re:In London, Lyft/Uber are intelligence tests. (2)

gnupun (752725) | about 2 months ago | (#47655977)

He opened only those patents related to charging. The intent behind this is not charity, rather he wants synergy with other electric car manufacturers.

Without standardization, you'll have a charger T for teslas, charger F for Fords, charger N for Nissans etc. This is not feasible for even a handful of electric car manufacturers.

Re:In London, Lyft/Uber are intelligence tests. (2)

donscarletti (569232) | about 2 months ago | (#47654453)

Really good post.

Until you got to the Beeching Axe and you started sounding like a nostalgic train anorak.

Then you got to Boeing and SpaceX of all topics and it just went worse from there on.

The Beeching Axe almost got British Rail back to profitability. SpaceX is just a competitor for Boeing Defense, Space & Security, which Boeing damn well needs, after acquiring all of its previous competitors like Rocketdyne, McDonnell Douglas and Hughes.

Re:In London, Lyft/Uber are intelligence tests. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654573)

The Beeching Axe almost got British Rail back to profitability.

BR was unprofitable because:
1) It was regarded as a public service, not as a revenue generator;
2) The government had been massively subsidising road-building, so it was temporarily and quite suddenly much cheaper to move people and goods over roads.

As every single critical analysis of Beeching has explained, you can't make a universal logistics service profitable by cutting what appear to be unprofitable routes, because that will further reduce service usage, meaning you have to remove another layer of the "onion" to creep back to profitability... and so on. This is why, as you say, it appeared to make BR almost profitable: on paper, the apparently unprofitable routes could simply be struck from the account books, while other routes temporarily operated as before. The real result of Beeching was to make people like Beeching very rich.

And I'm fairly sure I'm not a train anorak - the nearest I've got to that was a model railway set my parents bought me when I was 8. But I am an accountant, who works for one of the oldest accountancy IT firms (not /that/ one, though) producing software for the Big Four. I have seen enough false economy in the approach of right wing governments to public services. Beeching made a now sadly too common but objectively wrong economic analysis.

SpaceX is just a competitor for Boeing Defense, Space & Security, which Boeing damn well needs, after acquiring all of its previous competitors like Rocketdyne, McDonnell Douglas and Hughes.

Yes and no. NASA's approach used to involve in-house project management and outsourcing of individual sub-projects, allowing it to carefully select the best provider in each case. Now it's outsourcing whole project lifecycles. NASA has lost oversight. As rot sets in at SpaceX, it will be much harder to pick and choose.

Re:In London, Lyft/Uber are intelligence tests. (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 months ago | (#47656893)

The Beeching Axe was a horrendous mistake. We now need again many of those railway lines that were scrapped, as the road system isn't scalable enough, and population keeps on growing.

Rail transport is a public service, it's not meant to be profitable. Countries with decent rail transport all subsidise them.

It's also a big mistake to privatise them.

Re:In London, Lyft/Uber are intelligence tests. (1)

umghhh (965931) | about 2 months ago | (#47654587)

I think British public services are a perfect example of privatization that went wrong. I wonder if some good examples also could be provided for services like public transport, health care, water etc. It works well in Gemany where communities own water companies, gas and energy companies and even housing estates. The later was a hot thing to sell few years back and some communities want to buy them back because private ownership proved inefficient. As per a documentary I saw on telly some time ago this seems also to be the reason why lobbyists want so much to outlaw such buybacks by public in free trade agreement between US and EU entities - which is another story of course.

Re:In London, Lyft/Uber are intelligence tests. (3, Informative)

u38cg (607297) | about 2 months ago | (#47654893)

Speaking as a Londoner, I can live without a detailed knowledge of what's running in the West End and just make do with being taken to my destination for half the cost.

Re:In London, Lyft/Uber are intelligence tests. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47655113)

Speaking as a Sussex resident (and ex London commuter), a number of locals using popular routes decades ago could "live with" the predatory bus services taking them to their destination for half the cost too. A lot of people could "live with" the promises of the newly privatised rail service in the late '90s, with Railtrack promising unprecedented levels of economic efficiency in maintaining the network. A lot of people could "live with" the hire bikes launched through London, priced affordably for all - how much does it cost per day now?

There's another industry where "people using their own cars to drive short distances" is taking over use of driving professionals: package delivery. Ever used Yodel recently? A few pence profit per journey offers real incentive, yeah? Good luck with that.

Re:In London, Lyft/Uber are intelligence tests. (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about 2 months ago | (#47655119)

Looks like it's Ttuesday.

Re:In London, Lyft/Uber are intelligence tests. (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 2 months ago | (#47655611)

Looks like it's Tuesday.

Worse than that; it's actually Patch Tuesday - a day when people get especially twitchy.

Re:In London, Lyft/Uber are intelligence tests. (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 2 months ago | (#47655863)

Anybody who picks them over a black cab driven by someone who's done the Knowledge and who is subject to regular testing is either a clueless tourist or a helpless dullard.

bahaha knowledge and testing. what you mean cab drivers? that's insane. who tests them? for what? lulzzzzzz

Re:In London, Lyft/Uber are intelligence tests. (2)

AndrewBuck (1120597) | about 2 months ago | (#47656259)

Seems like he might have been referring to this, moron.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T... [wikipedia.org]

Here are the relevant bits...

The taxicab driver is required to be able to decide routes immediately in response to a passenger's request or traffic conditions, rather than stopping to look at a map, relying on satellite navigation or asking a controller by radio. ...

It is the world's most demanding training course for taxicab drivers, and applicants will usually need at least twelve 'appearances' (attempts at the final test), after preparation averaging 34 months, to pass the examination.

Next time you feel like being a pretentious twat, why don't you just keep it to yourself.

-AndrewBuck

Re:In London, Lyft/Uber are intelligence tests. (2)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 2 months ago | (#47656495)

loooool in US there are no requirements other than being a dickass.

btw, I know london is a socialist state, but have you ever heard of the free market? If uber drivers are shit and get lost, then nobody will use them duh. why would you need to know everywhere by heart when you could just use GPS?

Makes both look bad (3, Insightful)

GlennC (96879) | about 2 months ago | (#47654343)

Between this nonsense and the fact that the ride sharing services don't have the proper licensing and proof of insurance, I wouldn't feel comfortable using any of them.

Re:Makes both look bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654477)

Try to get a taxi in the greater Washington DC area on a Friday afternoon without having reserved a ride the previous day. You can't. Most services just stop answering the phone. The ones that do answer require a travel distance longer than most people need.

Re:Makes both look bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654511)

Try to do something at the last minute in a densely populated area without a plan. You can't. Most folks will say, "Sucks to be you." Those that do offer to help will want it to be worth their while.

Re:Makes both look bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654543)

Why would you need a Taxi in Washington DC [washingtonpost.com] ?

Re:Makes both look bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654603)

Word.

There's even Capital Bikeshare [capitalbikeshare.com] and, for the old school, Feet [walkscore.com] in case you don't like Metro [twitter.com] .

Re:Makes both look bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47655071)

How late do those subways run? In most cities I've been in, the subways close before the bars close. So they aren't very useful at night. Plus there is the issue of speed and weather. Do you want to waste half an hour of precious bar time walking and taking the subway to the bar, in which you will partially sober up, or take a 10 minute lift? Plus the cost of 4 subway tickets for you and your friends is going to be comparable to the cost of the Lyft. And when it's raining and stuff, do you want to take the subway, which is mostly walking? Do you want to do all that walking while wearing high heels? I'm a dude so I don't have that problem, but my female friends going to the bar with me do. That's just getting to the bar. Then you have to get home. The subway is closed. Even if they stayed open all night, it's 3AM, you are drunk, your lady friend, or girlfriend, or girl you are taking home to hook up with is drunk, and her feet hurt from dancing in heels for 2 to 3 hours. Do you really want to take the subway, or a nice easy Lyft?

Re:Makes both look bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47655101)

How late do those subways run? In most cities I've been in, the subways close before the bars close. So they aren't very useful at night.

But at night a Taxi is easier to find.

Re:Makes both look bad (1)

Entropius (188861) | about 2 months ago | (#47656627)

There are huge swaths of the city not served by public transit in any reasonable way.

Re:Makes both look bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47657299)

There is no place in DC that isn't served by public transportation.

Re:Makes both look bad (2)

drew870mitchell (2523490) | about 2 months ago | (#47656255)

Agree, and expand the scope to try to get a taxi anywhere in the US outside of NYC/Chicago/LA. There is a reason these companies have been able to spring up nationally almost overnight when their business model is "convince people to get into the passenger seat of a stranger with inadequate licensing and insurance."

Re:Makes both look bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654531)

http://blog.uber.com/ridesharinginsurance UberX does have insurance now. However, it's written in a shady way that says something like if the parent company llc is found liable then the policy pays out. Some state the policy is written in a way that will limit it's effectiveness if something were to happen.

re: uncomfortable using either one? (3, Interesting)

King_TJ (85913) | about 2 months ago | (#47654553)

I agree that underhanded tactics make them both look bad, but personal experience using Uber, at least, tells me the service is typically quite good.

In Virginia, both Lyft and Uber were allowed to start legally operating again, under a specific set of rules:

- They must meet a set of regulations to promote passenger safety, have appropriate insurance and comply with Virginia laws.
- The companies agreed to run background checks of drivers, including criminal and driving histories
- Drivers must have a valid driver’s license and must be 21 or older. Their vehicles must be four-door, carry no more than seven passengers at time and must have a valid registration and inspection.
- The companies and the state also agreed on checks on rate transparency and documentation. And drivers are not allowed to accept street hails.

I think all of this sounds pretty reasonable, and IMO, it's fair to consider them a new way of doing business, vs. the traditional taxi cab services.

Re:Makes both look bad (2)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about 2 months ago | (#47654763)

Between this nonsense and the fact that the ride sharing services don't have the proper licensing and proof of insurance, I wouldn't feel comfortable using any of them.

You'd feel more comfortable in a (licensed, etc) taxi with a driver that has obviously just fallen off the boat, doesn't speak the language doesn't know the roads (relying on GPS) and may or may not actually have earned their driver's license (easy to buy such in some countries, then exchanging them legally for a local license depeing on the agreements in place between states/countries)?

I've used Uber a few times and so far the experience has been just fine.

Re:Makes both look bad (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 2 months ago | (#47655637)

Between this nonsense and the fact that the ride sharing services don't have the proper licensing and proof of insurance, I wouldn't feel comfortable using any of them.

You'd feel more comfortable in a (licensed, etc) taxi with a driver that has obviously just fallen off the boat, doesn't speak the language doesn't know the roads (relying on GPS) and may or may not actually have earned their driver's license (easy to buy such in some countries, then exchanging them legally for a local license depending on the agreements in place between states/countries)?

All of which, of course, could apply to Uber/Lyft drivers...

Re:Makes both look bad (4, Interesting)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 months ago | (#47654869)

Between this nonsense and the fact that the ride sharing services don't have the proper licensing and proof of insurance, I wouldn't feel comfortable using any of them.

Hold up. You're generalizing, as well as mixing inaccuraries with implications that are downright false, in a rather blatant attempt to create a strawman... but unfortunately there are people here who have paid careful-enough attention to this debate that it's become rather easy to sniff out the taxi industry's bullshit:

It's true that Uber's "economy class" service (UberX) relies upon everyday folks* who possess their own [presumably non-commercial] insurance... but you've conveniently neglected to mention that Uber takes out a million dollars' worth of commercial auto liabilility for each of these drivers.

Uber's "premium services" (UberBlack and UberSUV) rely upon existing limo-service providers who possess all the requisite permits, licenses and commercial insurance coverage required by their respective municipal authorities.

*I've seen the way taxi drivers in New York, LA, Chicago, Dallas and elsewhere tend to drive... so you can shut the fuck up with your suggestion that these so-called "professionals" are somehow any safer than the Average Joe would be behind the wheel.

Re:Makes both look bad (2)

GlennC (96879) | about 2 months ago | (#47655199)

I'm just giving my opinion, and I've been in plenty of taxis in Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta and elsewhere.

If you don't agree with my opinion, I have no problem with that.

Since the Uber premium services rely on existing limo services, why wouldn't I just go directly to those service providers? Although if I were in a position where I couldn't find one, Uber could potentially be useful in that situation.

Also, it's nice that Uber provides additional insurance, but the point is that in most locations, Uber, Lyft and the rest are still in a legal grey area in which I'd personally rather not find myself.

Again, if you want to avail yourself of the service, feel free.

We may not agree, but I see no reason for the angry invective.

Robin Williams - REDDIT IAMA from 10 months ago (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654347)

http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/c... [reddit.com]

Robin Williams. It's time for a convoluted stream of consciousness. Ask Me Anything! (self.IAmA)

submitted 10 months ago * by RobinWilliamsHere

Hello reddit. Welcome! Nice to be here.

I am ready now for your questions. First time caller? Yes or no.

What are you wearing?

No, but seriously, I am excited to be here and exploring this medium (Victoria from reddit is helping me too). I feel like somewhat like an Amish tech rep. You guys know me and grew up with me... from Mork & Mindy to Dead Poets Society to World's Greatest Dad to Aladdin, Happy Feet, Mrs. Doubtfire, Goodwill Hunting, One Hour Photo (for those that want to be creeped out), The Fisher King...My latest project is called The Crazy Ones (http://www.cbs.com/shows/the-crazy-ones) and it airs tomorrow at 9 PM eastern on CBS.

Ask me anything. Our lines are open.

proof part one

proof part dos

Edit: Thank you for an INCREDIBLE session. This was really a lot of fun. And saved me a lot of therapy time. I hope to come back.

Why not Lift? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654397)

Serious question. Why can't we move past the ridiculous Spelling 2.0.

Re:Why not Lift? (1)

sribe (304414) | about 2 months ago | (#47654433)

Because the name "Lift" is likely too literally descriptive of the service to be eligible for trademark protection.

Re:Why not Lift? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 months ago | (#47654497)

Why? "Windows" got trademarked. True, the trademark is only applicable with regards to naming of software, but it's still arguably extremely descriptive of its functionality. How would "Lift" be any different?

Re:Why not Lift? (2)

sribe (304414) | about 2 months ago | (#47654657)

Why? "Windows" got trademarked. True, the trademark is only applicable with regards to naming of software, but it's still arguably extremely descriptive of its functionality.

That trademark application was initially rejected--in fact, I think it was rejected more than once. Microsoft threw lawyers and appeals at the USPTO until they wore down the system. IIRC they used the argument that through use the term "Windows" had come to be accepted as identifying specific software (which, really, was true by then).

How would "Lift" be any different?

My personal opinion is that it is extremely similar. So it would get rejected, and to get beyond that, the brand would both have to become ubiquitous and the company would have to spend years and millions on appeals.

Re:Why not Lift? (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 2 months ago | (#47655659)

Because the name "Lift" is likely too literally descriptive of the service to be eligible for trademark protection.

Because in Europe and the UK, people would think it's an elevator service :-)

Re:Why not Lift? (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 months ago | (#47655791)

Because the name "Lift" is likely too literally descriptive of the service to be eligible for trademark protection.

It would also generate too many false hits in search engines.

Re:Why not Lift? (1)

sribe (304414) | about 2 months ago | (#47655963)

It would also generate too many false hits in search engines.

Excellent point.

Re:Why not Lift? (1)

bdcrazy (817679) | about 2 months ago | (#47654541)

You can't trademark/copyright/patent a normal word. Anybody who doesn't anything with lyft HAS to be making money that is rightfully yours.

Re:Why not Lift? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47654611)

You can't trademark/copyright/patent a normal word

Only trademark applies here ... copyright and patent are for entirely different things, and trademark only applies in the specific area of business.

And, to counter your point, I offer you Windows and Word. It's not like it's never happened.

Re:Why not Lift? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47655459)

Windows and Word were both rejected when first applied for trademark. They shouldn't have been given at all. And copyright and patent can be used due to the cost in time and money of even fighting even bogus charges.

Re:Why not Lift? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47655883)

And copyright and patent can be used due to the cost in time and money of even fighting even bogus charges.

No, not even a little.

Do you think you can copyright a single word in the English language you didn't make up? Do you think you can patent a word??

If you brought court challenges saying you'd copyrighted use of "the" or patented using an article in a sentence, and judge who didn't immediately dismiss your case, with prejudice and legal fees, should immediately be disbarred for being incompetent.

There are meanings to copyright and patent, and a single word, even when used as a product name, will NEVER meet those.

If they ever did, the legal system is broken beyond repair.

good (1, Troll)

udachny (2454394) | about 2 months ago | (#47654429)

In a normal free market environment I would simply say let the market sort them out, this is war, there can be no rules as long as the government does not participate in any of it. The ones with the deepest pockets will win, which is correct from the perspective of the market rewarding some of them more than others.

Of-course the participation of government completely skews the picture, the Federal reserve is creating so much inflation that all this newly created cash has to go somewhere, so it goes into the stock market and the financing and IPOs for companies that would not get financing in a normal market environment but they are getting it now, because there is no yield anywhere due to government depressed interest rates. My point is that there are all these asset, bond, dollar bubbles that are going to implode in a terrible way, you don't know what will happen to any of these companies at that time except that it won't be pretty for the entire economy.

---
(as a side note, just observed some /. bug, where it reported 12 comments on this story and then in half a minute 11 comments, hmm).

Re:good (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47654459)

In a normal free market environment I would simply say let the market sort them out

There are not 'normal free markets', they simply don't exist.

Sooner or later they devolve into this, or people selling outright fradulent/dangerous products, or they form cartels to screw over the consumer.

Left to its own devices, a free market becomes anything but. It's a complete myth that it will arrive at perfect outcomes, and it always has been.

Adam Smith knew this when he wrote Wealth of Nations.

Re:good (2)

organgtool (966989) | about 2 months ago | (#47654637)

Many people do not understand the nature of a "free market". To help them put it into perspective, a "free market" means that the players in the market are free to screw over each other and their customers as much as they want. If you don't like it, your only option is to start your own company assuming that the established players haven't already cornered the market or the infrastructure required to bring the product or service to market. However, healthy and fair competition is rarely ever the result of a free market - that only exists with a moderate amount of regulation to prevent the established players from stomping or buying out the competition.

Re:good (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47654709)

To help them put it into perspective, a "free market" means that the players in the market are free to screw over each other and their customers as much as they want.

And while many politicians apparently seem to think that's an ideal outcome, it's a terrible situation for everybody else.

Case in point: poisoned baby formula from China with melamine in it.

The free market people say "you are free to not buy toxic products for your children". The rest of the world says "no, you're an idiot, it needs to be illegal to do this".

The assumptions about people making rational choices based on perfect information are complete garbage, because people provably are not rational, and someone will always decide his profits are worth killing a few people for.

that only exists with a moderate amount of regulation to prevent the established players from stomping or buying out the competition

No, over time, the terrible behavior of the actors involved demonstrates more and more places in which you need regulation.

The notion you can come up with a skeleton set of regulations only designed to ensure competition, and have that in the long term come up with good outcomes -- well, that's the lie perpetuated by people who say the free market solves problems.

The free market solves one problem: maximizing selfish behavior of some players to the severe detriment of others.

Re:good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47657981)

"...The free market people say "you are free to not buy toxic products for your children"."

No..they do not. Can you find some idiots who might say that? Sure. But that is not what advocates of free market argue for.

Strawman much?

Re:good (2)

rockmuelle (575982) | about 2 months ago | (#47655481)

Markets are defined by their rules, plain and simple.

The rules for an ideal free market are pretty straight forward: everyone is free to do whatever they want. There's also another term for this approach in the political sphere: anarchy.

What most people really mean when they say free market (in America, at least) is a market defined by the rules of property law (the foundation of most western legal systems). As soon as you have some basic rules, you no longer have a free market.

A real free market is a theoretical extreme, like an ideal gas. It's useful for reasoning about things, but doesn't actually exist in any practical form in real life.

-Chris

Re:good (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47655823)

A real free market is a theoretical extreme, like an ideal gas. It's useful for reasoning about things, but doesn't actually exist in any practical form in real life.

And yet, a large amount of politicians continue to act like this is what we should be striving for.

Which leads me to conclude the people who unabashedly are proponents of a pure laissez faire market are either lying to us, have no actual understanding of this, or somehow think all of these terrible outcomes are actually a good thing.

It makes a good sound bite for the electorate, but it's a shitty basis on which to make policy.

Re:good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47656279)

True - its 'competitive' markets that are good for consumers and produce 'pareto-optimal' outcomes. If there are characteristics of markets that make them less than perefectly competitive, then the end user will get screwed.

And perfectly competitive markets don't exist.

Re:good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47656607)

The point of a successful business is to eliminate any real "free market". Businesses find ways to lock in customers, exclude or cripple competitors, control and manipulate information required to make informed choice, psychologically manipulate customers and in general leverage all sorts of externalities to keep prices and profits above what a free market would set.

The most successful businesses are those who violate the presumptions of a free market most effectively.

Re:good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47657977)

eh...no. Don't try to use this as "proof" of your half baked ideology and try to push it on us.

Try again, jackass.

HYPOCRITE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47655981)

You claimed before that this (obvious) sock puppet account of yours was something that you [slashdot.org] use only when you can't write more comments through your usual account. Except you haven't written enough comments in the past 24 hours [slashdot.org] to have run into a limit yet.

Add to that the fact that you didn't admit this time that this is a sock puppet account and it is rather clear that you are just trying to make people think you are more than one person.

All of this is, of course, blatant hypocrisy in light of the cult mantras that you so often utter here. You are trying to circumvent the rules of discussion that are established for an open forum.

Tech Rivalry? (3, Insightful)

Khyber (864651) | about 2 months ago | (#47654475)

This is just low-down mafia-level diversion bullshit. This isn't rivalry, and Uber/Lyft aren't fucking tech, they're taxi services that HAPPEN to be tied to using a smartphone - guess what Taxi drivers are tied to all day? A smartphone AND a CB radio AND a bunch of other shit that makes them actually worthy of the tech title.

Submitter should be stopped from posting any more stories until he figures out exactly what is tech worthy. Of course, given the 7 digit UID, not likely.

Re:Tech Rivalry? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 months ago | (#47654557)

Submitter should be stopped from posting any more stories until he figures out exactly what is tech worthy.

If it was possible to stop timothy, it would have already happened. Ergo, he is apparently unstoppable.

Re:Tech Rivalry? (2)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 months ago | (#47655067)

Yes, thinking of Uber and Lyft as taxi businesses rather than tech businesses makes it a lot clearer what's going on. The taxi business has long been shady, and it still is even when the taxi company has an app.

How do we keep a monopoly from developing? (1)

plopez (54068) | about 2 months ago | (#47654537)

That is the risk of an unregulated market. Unregulated markets can be very dysfunctional. See Microsoft as an example of a monopoly developing when there are no regulation of software licensing to hardware manufacturers.

This just in!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654677)

Competitors try to gain an edge, use harmless dirty tactics. Nothing to see here people.

Re:This just in!!! (1)

gnupun (752725) | about 2 months ago | (#47656091)

Umm, harmless?? Not only does uber frustrate the gett drivers by scheduling a taxi and then cancelling, they also try to recruit the drivers away from their competitors. This is practically like vandalizing a competitor's service causing financial loss.

YOU FAIL IT! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654755)

And sold in the The wind appeared conglomerate in the so that you don't Though, I have to want them there. and coders others what to - Netcraft has = 1400 NetBSD 4, which by all What they think is Parts. The current gig in front of a full-time GNAA trouble. It has brought upon All major surveys IN POSTING A GNAA the top. Or were, bloodfarts. FreeBSD and has instead To yet another to make sure the tt3th into when bombshell hit but many find it host what the house Don't be a sling people already; I'm [nero-online.org] so on, FreeBSD went you should bring of business and was BUWLA, or BSD to look into house... pathetic. posts. Therefore the fruitless channel, you might

In the future there will be no buses or trains? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47656309)

"It's a battle for a key role in the future of urban transportation."

Bikes work too.

an easy choice (2)

supernova87a (532540) | about 2 months ago | (#47656355)

One very simple reason I never use Lyft over UberX: Lyft refuses to put in a fare estimation tool.

So even if they could be possibly cheaper than Uber or a taxi, I'm not going to get in a Lyft not knowing even roughly how much it's going to cost.

I have no idea why they choose not to be transparent about even a rough estimate of my ride cost. Saying that the per-city rate table on their website satisfies that function is a joke.

It's the reason why taxi licenses happened (3, Interesting)

MisterBlue (98835) | about 2 months ago | (#47656657)

This is why taxi licenses were created originally: there were taxi wars. People were getting shot for picking someone up in someone else's 'turf'. Taxi companies fought over turf and drivers and with guns and billy clubs. Add to that a few passengers getting cheated and robbed and eventually a city would step in and bring it under control with licensing and regulations. That the licenses eventually became a valuable item and an industry in themselves is a different story.

Uber and Lyft are re-doing what the original drive-for-hire people did that got them regulated in the first place.

Never give either of these company's money (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47656665)

lyft? uber? fuck these jewish cocksuckers

Second Fiercest perhaps... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47657087)

Apple vs Samsung is by far the fiercest "Tech" fight as they are both actual tech companies.

The 2 pissant operations noted in this article are tech users certainly, but not actual tech companies.

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