Uber Good

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Uber Good

 Last Friday I was hanging with a friend in Cincy. As often happens when I am in Cincy I got more than a little drunk. I decided to try out Uber, a p2p taxi. They've been getting a few headlines in the finance papers having raised over a billion with a $17 billion valuation. The basic premise is that the company lets pretty much anyone drive for them, they simply connect drivers to people needing a ride, handle the money transfer and take 20% off the top. No employees, no liability, it is easy to see the attraction from a business standpoint. I was curious to see what it waslike from a customer standpoint.

The way it works is you load their app which tracks where you are and tell it where you want to go it locates the closest driver and sends them your info. As soon as the driver accepts your fair, you get a text with the driver's name, car model and a map of their current location. You get another text when they are close. I was very impressed with how it works, unlike a regular taxi, I wasn't sitting there wondering when it would be there, I could track it the whole way on my phone if I was so inclined. The driver himself was very nice. I talked to him a bit on the ride, he is a college student and works for Uber part time. Drivers use their own vehicles, (there is an option for luxury vehicles which is more expensive) and start work by simply starting their Uber app, giving the job a lot of flexibilty. The company itself has very little interaction with the drivers and they are paid by 1099. 

The fair was cheap, it cost us $28 and change to travel across cincy, (about 20 miles) a trip that easily costs $60 with most cab companies. The one thing I didn't like is there wasn't an option to tip on the app, so I had to pull out cash. I was only carrying $5 so that is what the driver got, which isn't a terrible tip, but I'd have probably rounded up to $35 if I had the option. The driver would have been screwed if I had no cash, which I often don't when drinking.

Today I did a little research on the company reading reviews from employees. They were pretty mixed, some saying they loved the job and made good money, others not so much. The main complaints were that there weren't enough fairs/too many drivers/Uber takes too much. I imagine these issues will resolve themselves as too many people sign up to drive, more will quit because they aren't making enough providing more fairs for the remaining drivers. 20% is a pretty stiff cut, but probably one that will be reduced if the model is successful and other companies mimic it. Right now, it is probably best for people who look at it as extra cash and just turn it on while driving around anyway and if they get a fare great. 

The biggest challenge the company faces is traditional cab companies which have been trying to get laws and ordinances to shut them down. After all, what better way to protect yourself from competition of a company that provides better service at better prices than using government to shut them down. The company is already illegal in NYC and a few other governments are considering laws against it. The future of the company will rely a lot on if governments decide to regulate it like a taxi company. It will be interesting to watch.

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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$$$$$$$

City governments make a lot of money out of issuing hack licenses. That alone makes it a safe bet that regulations or outright bans will happen soon.

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 It has nothing to do with

 It has nothing to do with making a better product. This is just another scam to make labor cheaper. The technology part makes sense, the avoiding paying standard wages and fairs cheats humans out of livable wages. On top of the assinine bullshit of having someone use their own car.

Seriously you think this is going to make society better? You really have no clue do you?

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 While I think there needs

 While I think there needs to be some sort of regulation there shouldn't be any hindrance 

A company should be allowed to compete in the open market. If they are more successful then they have a better service or product. Trying to stop them would be like a large supermarket selling cupcakes shipped in to the store which were already a week old. Next to them is a small mom and pop store who bakes the cupcakes they sale each day. The large store has connections with local politicians and they force the small store to pay expensive taxes and fees to stay in business thus causing them to close down because they can't make a profit.


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oh fuck you, brian. from

oh fuck you, brian. from what i've read it seems most people take this as a moonlighting gig (they can set their own hours, after all) and they're not locked into any employment contract. they can come and go and work as they please. maybe if cabbies and their cabs weren't utter pieces of shit, people would ignore apps like this. but you're so against initiative and entrepreneurship of any kind (probably because EVOLUTION has made you incapable of either) you'll attack anything the unions tell you to attack. and i say that as the son of a teamster and a member of the slovak teachers union. you know what uber is for the transportation marketplace? EVOLUTION.

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
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Brian37 wrote:  It has

Brian37 wrote:

 It has nothing to do with making a better product.

It certainly does, offering a better product is what attracts customers. Until recently, Uber didn't exist in cincinnati, so they are competing against cab companies that have been there for 50+ years and have their phone numbers plastered everywhere. People don't change brands unless they get a replacement that is better and/or cheaper. 

 

Brian37 wrote:

This is just another scam to make labor cheaper. The technology part makes sense, the avoiding paying standard wages and fairs cheats humans out of livable wages. On top of the assinine bullshit of having someone use their own car.

How much does an Uber driver get paid? It turns out that the average wage for a taxi driver is around $12/hour nationwide. I suspect it is a bit lower in Cincinnati since it isn't really that large of a city and it has pretty low rates to begin with. The cabbie that drove me made $22.40 in fare ($28*80%) plus the $5 tip. The trip took about 1/2 hour, so assuming that he drove straight back to where he was without a fare, that is $22.40 in an hour. So more money than a regular cabbie, about twice as much actually. News reports from San Francisco suggest that cabbies there make about twice as much too. Why? You are eliminating a lot of staff involved with maintaining the vehicles, dispatching, advertising etc. oh, and Union fees. Those unions like to get a bunch of money for doing nothing. More of the money is going to the driver instead of someone else.

In cities like NYC, cabbies pay $200+ to RENT a cab for ONE night from someone who had a million to buy the medallion and doesn't drive a cab at all. If they don't make $200, they actually lose money for the night. Hence why cab fares are ridiculously high in NYC. It works out to be about 50% of what a cab driver can expect to average. 

Using your own car is a drawback, whether it would be financially beneficial probably depends on how much time you are idling without a fare and whether you do your own autowork. Which, if you were to attempt to do this full time, I would think that doing your own maintenance would be a must unless you were crazy busy, as well as the ability to do basic common repairs. Like I said, in the Cincinnati area, there probably aren't enough people using it to really justify driving around 40 hours+ a week. Probably the only time you can be reliably busy is weekend nights in downtown or if you are hanging around the airport doing airport runs.

Of course, that varies by area and demand. According to the San Franciso Cab Drivers Association, about 1/3rd of drivers have quit their regular cab jobs to work for Uber in 12 months. I would assume that those drivers believed that Uber was the better financial choice for them and I am going to go out on a limb and suggest they know a hell of a lot more about their personal finances and job than Brian37. 

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/01/16/san-francisco-cab-drivers-migrate-to-uber-other-car-services/

 

The way the driver I had works is he just turns it on when he is between classes or sitting in the library studying. If a fare comes in, he makes a few bucks and goes back to class or just finds a place to study nearby until it rings again. That seems like a really sensible way to look at it to me in that market. Certainly a great job for someone with a decent car and random hours of availability- especially at a college campus where you have a younger demographic more likely to embrace using a smartphone app. 

 

Brian37 wrote:
  

Seriously you think this is going to make society better? You really have no clue do you?

I don't know. I think it is an interesting idea so I posted about it here. We will see if the model attracts both customers and drivers. People with a lot more money than me apparently believe that it will since they've invested enough into it to make it the most valuable private company in the world. My experience with it was good, I can say the one driver I've had personal experience talking to liked it and so I thought I would post it here. There is certainly a mix of views to be found online, which I noted in my OP. I think the competition is a good thing and whichever system provides the best balance of quality and price for both the customer and the drivers will come out ahead in the long run if the government doesn't get involved and make the decision for everyone. 

 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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digitalbeachbum wrote: The

digitalbeachbum wrote:

 The large store has connections with local politicians and they force the small store to pay expensive taxes and fees to stay in business thus causing them to close down because they can't make a profit.

An all too common reality with regulations, especially local ones. That is what perplexes me about my views always being framed as "in the pocket" of big business. 99% of regulations are written by, funded by and pushed by big business. The only real exception is those pushed by unions, but I would argue that unions are as much a big business as any and their regulations are often designed to prevent any non-union labor, which means small mom and pop shops. Big business isn't anti-regulation in the least, they are as much pro regulation as Brian.

The taxi medallion system is the epitome of a system where those with big money have shut out any potential of competition and established a ogliopoly for themselves in the name of safety and regulation. The unions, who are supposed to represent the drivers, support the system which screws the drivers because the system also forces the drivers to give money to the union whether they like it or not. The evidence seems to be that given a choice, both customers and workers are happy to go elsewhere and not give money to the union or to the fat fuck who bought a medallion because he donated $10,000 to a local politician. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Ooh, if there's a good

Ooh, if there's a good amount of drivers in my area, I might try this next time I need to get to the airport or go bar hopping.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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 Uber is being BUSTED!

 Uber is being BUSTED! Worldwide too. Because they want to cheat, they want to act like a taxi company but don't want the safety regulations required to do it safely. 

Now here is where Beyond crys like a baby because sane people do not think business should have a blank check to do whatever the fuck it wants.

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Brian37 wrote: Uber is

Brian37 wrote:

 Uber is being BUSTED! Worldwide too. Because they want to cheat, they want to act like a taxi company but don't want the safety regulations required to do it safely. 

Yes, because someone paying a million dollars for a taxi medallion magically makes them perfectly safe. Rich people are safer than poor people. No doubt, India's tens of thousands (possibly hundreds of thousands- most rapes in India aren't reported) of rapes a year are going to disappear now that they have protected women by banning Uber. Obviously, no rapes ever happened before Uber existed. Good thing that New York City has all sorts of regulations to "protect" people (and pad the pockets of political appointees). Why, no one has ever even heard of a certified NYC taxi driver raping anyone... www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/taxi-driver-20-years-raping-passenger-article-1.1789225

I'm sure if we banned the NFL no wives, girlfriends or children would ever be beaten in the US again.  

 

Brian37 wrote:

Now here is where Beyond crys like a baby because sane people do not think business should have a blank check to do whatever the fuck it wants.

Like a spoiled brat, if people don't do things the way you like you turn to daddy government to beat them and make them stop. And somehow, you find it sensible to holler at me about scripts.  

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Ironic that Brian has fallen

Ironic that Brian has fallen hook line & sinker for the whining from big business, and supports corporate monopolies; while accusing Beyond of doing so. The cognitive dissonence is off the charts.

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So basically, they want to

So basically, they want to maximize profit margins and minimize paperwork, support staff, etc. while still, technically, following the law. If that's 'cheating,' then capitalism is cheating. 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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forget it. he's got it

forget it. he's got it stuck in his pea-sized brain, so he will argue it to the death, in spite of all evidence, logic, and plain common sense. he feeds on opposition, too, so the more he's ganged up on, the more stubborn he will get. it's the martyr complex.

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson


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butterbattle wrote:So

butterbattle wrote:

So basically, they want to maximize profit margins and minimize paperwork, support staff, etc. while still, technically, following the law. If that's 'cheating,' then capitalism is cheating. 

Well Uber has been flagrantly breaking local laws that grant monopolies to taxi companies by continuing operations even after cease and desist orders. To their credit, the company has paid the tickets, legal costs and in some cases even purchased new cars for employees who had their cars seized. So I guess technically they are'cheating', but I don't consider it immoral to break an immoral law and there is little question that taxi laws in many localities are examples of the most monopolistic, corrupt and cronyist laws around. They are written by taxi companies for the express purpose of protecting them from competition. It is also obvious that most consumers feel they overpay and get crappy service, while most taxi drivers don't have a hope in hell of ever even trying to have their own company because of the outrageous costs of permits. There are many examples that the purpose of these laws have nothing to do with safety, people who have tried to set up charities to drive drunk people home have faced lawsuits. 

The way Uber has taken on these laws head on is unusual in our time. It reminds me of Cornelius Vanderbilt took on a similar monopoly of a ferry company that overcharged and provided terrible service. His success against that monopoly and eventually legal success in court opened the flood gates for private ferries and cut prices for transatlantic shipping exponentially. Which played a major role in allowing the US become the manufacturing giant we were. Uber probably won't have that large of an effect, but their stated goal is to ultimately have driverless cars available for very minimal costs. If that dream is achieved, it would drastically change a lot of people's lives for the better. Probably one of the largest difficulties facing the poor in the US is affordable transportation that can get you where you need to be in a timely manner. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Copyright Slogans

 Anyone hear about the small timer in Vermont who won against Chik-fil-A? They have the slogan "Eat mor Chikn" and he had "Eat More Kale".

They sued him because they claimed people would get confused. Fucking assholes.

They lost and I'm glad. Put one in the win column for the small guy.


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New story concerning Uber's

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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 Yeah, I think the surge

 Yeah, I think the surge pricing is an untenable idea. The public just isn't willing to accept it. Although, cases like this are exactly why surge pricing is a good idea- surge pricing ensures that the most people get to use the service as quickly as possible. In an emergency, isn't getting the most people out as fast as possible better? Not only does the surge price attract more drivers (since the drivers receive the most benefit being the ones getting 80% of the fare) which means more people can be transported, but it also encourages people to be transported a smaller distance, thus allowing the driver to go back sooner and get another person.

Think about it, suppose you are there with a friend and you call an Uber ride, when you see the high price you might decide to go over to your friends house that is closer and either make other arrangements or wait out the emergency for lower rates. Whereas if the fares are standard you figure "what the heck, take me all the way home". During an emergency when transportation for a large number of people is needed quickly is precisely when you want people to have a strong financial incentive not to use the transportation any distance further than neccesary. It is also precisely the time you want a driver on the far side of town to have the incentive to head over to the area of emergency in lieu of deciding it is too far and picking up a closer fare in an area that isn't involved. From a utilitarian standpoint of what is best for the most people, surge pricing is much better. And personally, if I was in that area, I would have no problem paying the driver extra. After all, they came into an area that is POTENTIALLY DEADLY (terrorist has a bomb or some bio weapon) to pick my ass up, I think they deserve well more than when they come pick me up at an average location. If you aren't willing to give that driver more than average, you are just an asshole and the worst kind of asshole- a cheap one. 

Unfortunately, modern consumers are pretty selfish and they don't give a shit if they are using a scarce resource. They get used to low prices, they want them all the time. The problem becomes then, how do you incentivize drivers to go pick someone up in an emergency area? A traditional cab company would simply order their drivers, but since Uber drivers are given absolute freedom of where and when to work, you rely on each driver to do something they wouldn't normally do. Asking nicely might attract a few generous types, but asking nicely with the promise of extra money produces better results. Is it so hard to imagine that the college student Uber driver who looks at their phone while studying and sees a fare 1/2 hour away might decide to stay studying or making out with the girlfriend/boyfriend whatever, but if offered 4 times the usual rate say "sorry babe, gotta run this fare, see you in a couple hours". 

And I would bet dollars to donuts that the assholes who complain the loudest about the higher prices are exactly the same assholes who wouldn't inconvenience themselves without extra pay if they were the Uber drivers. Just like those who complain about restaraunts not paying their staff enough are the first ones to leave a 72 cent tip. Self absorbed, selfish greedy fucks who think their whining about everyone else's greed makes them generous and virtuous. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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 It should also be noted,

 It should also be noted, since it wasn't in this article, that within an hour the decision was made not to charge passengers anything for the ride at all (even the base price) and the company paid all the drivers surge pricing. Meaning they took a loss and still paid the drivers. A charitable move which hasn't gotten any positive attention and a decision being made within an hour by an international company is ridiculously fast. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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 Uber was offering free

 Uber was offering free rides in Sydney for all people trying to get away from that hostage situation.


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Brilliant PR move. Or it

Brilliant PR move. Or it would be, if they capitalised on it. Seeing how this is the first I've heard of it, I don't think they are capitalising on it effectively.

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