Oh, You Wanted a Cab? lulz. Bow Down to the Corporatacracy

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Oh, You Wanted a Cab? lulz. Bow Down to the Corporatacracy

Postby Fife » Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:55 pm

From the Dept. of Government Doing What It Does Best:

Regulators wreck Uber innovation

Ride-share services benefit consumers, but the taxi commission doesn't want to give us a good deal.

The regulatory knives are out for Uber and Lyft, two ride-sharing services that make life easier for consumers and provide employment opportunities in a stagnant economy. Why are regulators unhappy? Basically, because these new services offer insufficient opportunity for graft.

Services like Uber and Lyft disrupt the current regulatory environment. I have the Uber app on my phone. If I need a car in areas where Uber operates, it looks up where I am using GPS, matches me with participating drivers nearby, and in my experience gets me a Town Car in just a few minutes. It's the comfort of a limo service, with the convenience of a taxicab. I get a better service, the driver gets a job, but now there's competition for those entrenched companies.

In most cities, traditional taxi services are regulated by some sort of taxi commission. Similarly, limo services — the ones that provide the black Town Cars favored by big shots (and used by many Uber drivers) — are regulated by some sort of livery office. The rules strictly forbid the two sectors of the market from competing with one another. And, generally, entry is limited so that neither faces too much competition in general. In holding down competition, these regulators act on behalf of the entities they supposedly regulate for the benefit of consumers.

They do this because consumers typically pay very little attention to taxi and limo regulations while the regulated industries, unsurprisingly, pay very close attention. They express their gratitude in a variety of ways, some legal, and the regulators in turn look after the interests of the regulated. Consumer well-being is a far less significant concern.

In the world of Administrative Law, this phenomenon is known as "regulatory capture." Set up a government agency to regulate an industry, and in short order it will wind up regulating on behalf of that industry. (One example is the District of Columbia Taxicab Commission, which has been doing its best to block ride-sharing services.) Look at almost any established regulatory regime, and the regulatory environment will tend to favor entrenched cab companies over new entrants. This is no accident.

And when new competition shows up? That's when the regulators ride to the rescue. Austin, Texas, is impounding cars of drivers for ride-sharing services. The DMV of Gov. Terry McAuliffe's Virginia is also trying to ban Uber and Lyft.

Regulators — and the industries they protect — will try to tell you that all this regulation is in service of consumer protection. Why, if you use an unlicensed, unregulated car service, you might be robbed, raped or overcharged! As if those kinds of things never happen in ordinary cabs or limos. (Actually, I think services like Uber and Lyft are actually safer, since they keep a clear record of when, where, and by whom riders are picked up, and track the cars involved.)

The truth is that although occupational regulation is usually presented as a protection for consumers, it's usually demanded by the regulated industries themselves, and not by consumers at all. That's not surprising, because it's usually the regulated industries and the well-off people controlling them who benefit. In Chicago, a taxi medallion (license) costs $360,000 while the actual drivers — employed by the medallion owner — can earn less than minimum wage. And consumers pay higher taxi rates because of reduced competition.

It's not just car-sharing services that suffer regulatory attack, of course. A public-interest law firm called the Institute for Justice has made a career out of attacking dumb occupational regulations. In my hometown of Knoxville, Tenn., the Institute sued to strike down a state law requiring that caskets be sold only by licensed funeral directors, who were charging about double what their competitors asked. And, despite the Institute's best efforts, this sort of restriction is growing: According to University of Minnesota Professor Morris Kleiner writing in The New York Times, "In the 1970s, about 10% of individuals who worked had to have licenses, but by 2008, almost 30% of the work force needed them."

Why should florists, or interior decorators, be licensed? At a time when the economy is stagnant and jobs are scarce, it's hard to justify regulatory schemes that protect fat cats with political connections while making it harder for individuals to find work.

There may be hope for change. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has called for federal legislation to limit state protectionism, open up these formerly unlicensed occupations, and make it easier for people to enter them. In a tough job market, taking away protections from established interests and offering workers new opportunities to get ahead seems like a good idea to me.
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Re: Oh, You Wanted a Cab? lulz. Bow Down to the Corporatac

Postby doc_loliday » Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:59 pm

Lazy millennials, they should have fixed the government first, before they tried to innovate and create jobs.
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Re: Oh, You Wanted a Cab? lulz. Bow Down to the Corporatac

Postby Harry K » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:10 pm

doc_loliday wrote:Lazy millennials, they should have fixed the government first, before they tried to innovate and create jobs.



Word.

Looks like Fifey telling scary stories from the old campfire. :drunk:
Merlin: Looking at the cake is like looking at the future, until you've tasted it what do you really know? And then, of course, it's too late.

[Arthur takes a bite]

Merlin: Too late.
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Re: Oh, You Wanted a Cab? lulz. Bow Down to the Corporatac

Postby nmoore63 » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:16 pm

Image
Nick Moore - The Ponderous Right Winger

... And furthermore, the NSA must be destroyed.
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Re: Oh, You Wanted a Cab? lulz. Bow Down to the Corporatac

Postby Fife » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:42 pm

Harry K wrote:
doc_loliday wrote:Lazy millennials, they should have fixed the government first, before they tried to innovate and create jobs.



Word.

Looks like Fifey telling scary stories from the old campfire. :drunk:


It won't be long before you boy scouts will be ready for the really scary stuff. :innocent: :twisted:

:drunk:
Say it 3 times fast: "Whale Oil Beef Hooked." Now you're ready for the yuppy Irish pub in your suburb.
"As an aside, this is what I keep hearing in my head when reading Fife's posts. (X)" --Dr. Strangelove
“I mean there can't be only one person like Fife on the planet, its statistically unlikely.” --Cid
"I asked the internet, it said Fife's full of shit" “In other news, Fife admits his posts are gay.” “You've herped your last derp, Fife.” --DBTrek
“Fife, if you keep typing stuff like this we'll lose our designated driver!” “Never, ever kick a drinking buddy like Fife down... just pour him more shots!” --Harry K
“Fife might just get his present stuffed up his chimney.” --drtrech
“Geez, Fife. A new low.” --vive42
“Meh, you read one Fife post, you've pretty much read them all.” --Smitty-48
“That smells like a Fife quote.” “Fife is on my list, but I thought I'd give him a chance this one time in about 4 months. That was a waste.” --RAnthony
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Re: Oh, You Wanted a Cab? lulz. Bow Down to the Corporatac

Postby Harry K » Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:12 pm

Fife wrote:
It won't be long before you boy scouts will be ready for the really scary stuff. :innocent: :twisted:

:drunk:


Don't tell me. Oh oh! Is the story about that one time the Titans made it to the Super Bowl, followed by a Lane Kiffen story?

:inlove:
Merlin: Looking at the cake is like looking at the future, until you've tasted it what do you really know? And then, of course, it's too late.

[Arthur takes a bite]

Merlin: Too late.
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Re: Oh, You Wanted a Cab? lulz. Bow Down to the Corporatac

Postby doc_loliday » Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:13 pm

Fife, the dirty old scout master.
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Re: Oh, You Wanted a Cab? lulz. Bow Down to the Corporatac

Postby Fife » Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:14 pm

Harry K wrote:
Fife wrote:
It won't be long before you boy scouts will be ready for the really scary stuff. :innocent: :twisted:

:drunk:


Don't tell me. Oh oh! Is the story about that one time the Titans made it to the Super Bowl, followed by a Lane Kiffen story?

:inlove:


Now you're just being mean. :cry:
Say it 3 times fast: "Whale Oil Beef Hooked." Now you're ready for the yuppy Irish pub in your suburb.
"As an aside, this is what I keep hearing in my head when reading Fife's posts. (X)" --Dr. Strangelove
“I mean there can't be only one person like Fife on the planet, its statistically unlikely.” --Cid
"I asked the internet, it said Fife's full of shit" “In other news, Fife admits his posts are gay.” “You've herped your last derp, Fife.” --DBTrek
“Fife, if you keep typing stuff like this we'll lose our designated driver!” “Never, ever kick a drinking buddy like Fife down... just pour him more shots!” --Harry K
“Fife might just get his present stuffed up his chimney.” --drtrech
“Geez, Fife. A new low.” --vive42
“Meh, you read one Fife post, you've pretty much read them all.” --Smitty-48
“That smells like a Fife quote.” “Fife is on my list, but I thought I'd give him a chance this one time in about 4 months. That was a waste.” --RAnthony
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Re: Oh, You Wanted a Cab? lulz. Bow Down to the Corporatac

Postby Harry K » Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:15 pm

doc_loliday wrote:Fife, the dirty old scout master.


And a proper drinker in my book. :drunk:

I buy you one at the UT game. :goteam:L


To cheer you up, I'm on the long death march that is Oakland. :uhhh:
Last edited by Harry K on Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Merlin: Looking at the cake is like looking at the future, until you've tasted it what do you really know? And then, of course, it's too late.

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Merlin: Too late.
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Re: Oh, You Wanted a Cab? lulz. Bow Down to the Corporatac

Postby Archilocus » Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:16 pm

Fife wrote:
Harry K wrote:
Fife wrote:
It won't be long before you boy scouts will be ready for the really scary stuff. :innocent: :twisted:

:drunk:


Don't tell me. Oh oh! Is the story about that one time the Titans made it to the Super Bowl, followed by a Lane Kiffen story?

:inlove:


Now you're just being mean. :cry:


Image

:welcome:
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Re: Oh, You Wanted a Cab? lulz. Bow Down to the Corporatac

Postby de officiis » Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:31 pm

I guess the people who use or are involved in Uber and Lyft need to stop whining, get together and start lobbying for regulatory reform. That's the essence of the political process, right?
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Re: Oh, You Wanted a Cab? lulz. Bow Down to the Corporatac

Postby Fife » Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:40 pm

Here's an interesting piece in Wired today about Uber's survival strategy:

Uber’s Brilliant Strategy to Make Itself Too Big to Ban

The question of how Uber would spend its billion-dollar investment was never really much of a riddle. More rides in more places has always been the plan.

But with its ten-figure cushion, the San Francisco-based ride-hailing startup can be more cunning about how it tries to get huge. Uber wants to grow as quickly it can, and right now, it’s chasing that goal by undercutting the competition on price—even if it loses money in the process. This isn’t a novel approach among tech startups, for which profits aren’t valued nearly as much as popularity. But for Uber, playing in the new realm of the so-called sharing economy, the stakes are higher, since so many entrenched interests are trying to regulate it out of existence. With not just success but survival on the line, Uber has even more incentive to expand as rapidly as possible. If it gets big enough quickly enough, the political price could become too high for any elected official who tries to pull Uber to the curb.
Say it 3 times fast: "Whale Oil Beef Hooked." Now you're ready for the yuppy Irish pub in your suburb.
"As an aside, this is what I keep hearing in my head when reading Fife's posts. (X)" --Dr. Strangelove
“I mean there can't be only one person like Fife on the planet, its statistically unlikely.” --Cid
"I asked the internet, it said Fife's full of shit" “In other news, Fife admits his posts are gay.” “You've herped your last derp, Fife.” --DBTrek
“Fife, if you keep typing stuff like this we'll lose our designated driver!” “Never, ever kick a drinking buddy like Fife down... just pour him more shots!” --Harry K
“Fife might just get his present stuffed up his chimney.” --drtrech
“Geez, Fife. A new low.” --vive42
“Meh, you read one Fife post, you've pretty much read them all.” --Smitty-48
“That smells like a Fife quote.” “Fife is on my list, but I thought I'd give him a chance this one time in about 4 months. That was a waste.” --RAnthony
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Re: Oh, You Wanted a Cab? lulz. Bow Down to the Corporatac

Postby doc_loliday » Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:41 pm

Using the google youtube strategy I see.
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Re: Oh, You Wanted a Cab? lulz. Bow Down to the Corporatac

Postby DPM17 » Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:43 pm

de officiis wrote:I guess the people who use or are involved in Uber and Lyft need to stop whining, get together and start lobbying for regulatory reform. That's the essence of the political process, right?


How will they get to capital hill? The cab fare is nightmarish. If only...
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Re: Oh, You Wanted a Cab? lulz. Bow Down to the Corporatac

Postby Fife » Mon Jul 14, 2014 5:57 am

Uber: Great for consumers; great for cab drivers. What could be bad about that? Oh, yeah, the government doesn't work for those guys, it works for the suits.

The story is interesting in places like Orlando, where one would presume that the ownership of City Hall is not quite as clear and entrenched as in other places.

Uber brings hope to Orlando taxi drivers, fear to their bosses

Bulldozers and backhoes working on Mears Transportation's new $20 million headquarters are grinding to a halt as nervous executives put the project on indefinite hold. The reason: Uber, a smartphone app that threatens to cut deep into taxi-industry profits.

Taxi drivers, meanwhile, are wondering whether it could mean a better life for them.

It's been only five weeks since Uber brought its UberX service to Orlando, offering app users the option to summon a driver in a personal vehicle to give them a ride for a fee often lower than what Mears and other taxi companies charge.

But those few weeks have been long enough to shake things up. Taxicab-company owners wonder how they'll stay in business — and if they do, how much business will be left.

"Uber is an existential threat to the legacy taxi industry," said Paul Mears Jr., chairman of the 75-year-old company. "Whatever hit we take will be a pretty substantial hit to us. We're going to lose 30 to 40 percent of our business."

But taxi drivers, who ferry around some of the nearly 60 million people a year who visit Orlando, aren't nearly as concerned. In fact, they think the Uber revolution could improve their lives.

Several cabdrivers who lease their cars from Mears or other taxi companies told the Orlando Sentinel they want to switch to Uber because they think they can make more money.

"If Uber opened up right now, then all the companies are going to be without drivers. If you talk to 1,000 drivers, 950 will tell you they are going to go to Uber," said a Quick Cab driver who has driven in Orlando for the past six years. He and other drivers spoke on the condition of anonymity, fearing recriminations from taxi companies.

Both the drivers and the taxi companies are waiting to see how City Hall handles Uber's entry into the market.

Orlando heavily regulates its taxi industry, requiring permits for both drivers and vehicles; police background checks; commercial insurance; and fare meters, among other things. But Uber ignored the city's regulations when it came to town, arguing that the city's rules didn't apply to a business model it describes as "ridesharing."

Mayor Buddy Dyer and Uber executives have since met and pledged to work together on new regulations that would allow the company to operate legally. A competitor, Lyft, has also met with city officials about its plans to serve Orlando.

In the meantime, the city has cracked down, ticketing 14 Uber drivers in the past two weeks and towing their cars.

Uber has promised to reimburse the drivers. Still, fear of tickets and towing has so far kept most taxi drivers from signing up with Uber.

"Let Uber come here. It's going to be good for the customer and the driver," said a driver for City Cab, a Mears company.

Drivers complain that it's hard to make a living behind the wheel of a cab in Orlando. There are six companies permitted in Orlando; Mears has about half the permits. Drivers aren't employees. They are independent contractors who lease a vehicle from one of the companies.

Leasing a car ranges as high as $129 a day, depending on the company, the type of car and what permit it carries. It costs more to lease a car with a permit allowing airport pickups, for instance.

Drivers keep the fare — rates are set by the city — but must pay for gas and credit-card fees.

"We can't make any money," said a Quick Cab driver waiting for passengers outside the Amtrak station. "Sometimes you don't have anything left after you pay for the car."

An Uber executive, not speaking specifically of Orlando, recently said the traditional taxi companies' way of doing business keeps drivers "trapped in a cycle of poverty." Uber takes 20 percent of what its drivers collect.

Both taxi companies and Uber hold out the promise of good wages. On its website, Mears advertises that drivers could make $700 to $1,200 a week, which translates on the high end to as much as $62,400 annually. Uber's ads say drivers in Orlando could make $60,000 a year.

The reality could be much different, with lower pay for those who don't spend far more than 40 hours a week behind the wheel. Salary.com reports the median salary of an Orlando taxi driver is about $31,000.

Mears said losing drivers to Uber would hurt the company "badly," at least initially. But UberX drivers are using their personal cars, he said, and they aren't factoring in wear and tear on vehicles driven so much they'll need frequent oil changes, new tires and costly repairs.

"Under Uber's model, they're theoretically putting tens of thousands of miles on their vehicle, so at some point their transmission is going to go out, and they're going to have that cost," Mears Vice President Roger Chapin said.

Vehicle upkeep is such a big part of the taxi business that Mears' plans for its new headquarters included a 53,500-square-foot maintenance garage, in addition to a two-story, 56,600-square-foot administration building; a fuel station; vacuum bays; a carwash; and parking for its fleet of vehicles.

Construction is stopping because company officials don't know how much business they'll lose to Uber. With fewer taxis, the company may need a smaller garage, less office space, less parking.

Mears is also fighting back, recently updating its own smartphone app to better compete with Uber. And the company commissioned a survey that concluded that Uber would not serve as many as half of the people in the Florida cities where it operates — Orlando, Tampa, Miami and Jacksonville — because they don't have both a smartphone and a credit card.

Even so, an Uber driver predicted so-called ridesharing companies are here to stay. Passengers prefer the clean, late-model cars that arrive when they open their Uber app, he said.

"Every person who gets in my Prius complains about the taxis: They wait forever to get picked up; they're unsanitary; the credit-card machines mysteriously don't work," said a driver who asked to remain anonymous because he signed a confidentiality agreement with Uber.

How it shakes out hinges on whether City Hall changes its regulations — and whether companies such as Uber and Lyft follow them.

For taxi and limousine companies, it comes down to the cost of doing business. Mears and the rest don't want to pay the cost of the city's regulations — permitting costs, commercial insurance, airport fees — if Uber doesn't have to pay, too.

"What we advocate is not that Uber go away, but that all of us play on the same field," Mears said. "Our industry pays the airport $10 million a year in commercial-lane fees. Uber pays nothing. You have to ask yourself: Where is that money going to come from? But I'll tell you one thing: If Uber isn't going to pay it, we're not going to pay it."
Say it 3 times fast: "Whale Oil Beef Hooked." Now you're ready for the yuppy Irish pub in your suburb.
"As an aside, this is what I keep hearing in my head when reading Fife's posts. (X)" --Dr. Strangelove
“I mean there can't be only one person like Fife on the planet, its statistically unlikely.” --Cid
"I asked the internet, it said Fife's full of shit" “In other news, Fife admits his posts are gay.” “You've herped your last derp, Fife.” --DBTrek
“Fife, if you keep typing stuff like this we'll lose our designated driver!” “Never, ever kick a drinking buddy like Fife down... just pour him more shots!” --Harry K
“Fife might just get his present stuffed up his chimney.” --drtrech
“Geez, Fife. A new low.” --vive42
“Meh, you read one Fife post, you've pretty much read them all.” --Smitty-48
“That smells like a Fife quote.” “Fife is on my list, but I thought I'd give him a chance this one time in about 4 months. That was a waste.” --RAnthony
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