Yes, I know that isn't really Ryan Gosling.
Taxi companies and Uber are both awful, so it's fun to watch them fight each other. On Tuesday, El Paso's City Council voted to reduce regulations imposed on taxi companies, instead of increasing regulations imposed on Uber, as the taxi companies had hoped for.
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Joe Olivar, the owner of a local cab company Border Taxi, was disappointed with Tuesday's developments. He was pushing for stricter regulation of Uber drivers, including fingerprinting-based background checks.
"You guys are making a big mistake, no one operates with the same integrity. I hope the city council is accountable when something horrible happens," Olivar said, as he repeatedly brought up the issue of public safety.
"You wanted a level playing field, that's what we're doing," El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser replied. Most of the council agreed that adding regulations was not the answer. "How many blockbuster stores do we have left" asked City Rep. Peter Svarzbein. "Could you imagine regulating Netflix? How you do you regulate a technology," he said.
Olivar said the council's approach was "fullhardy."
Uber and Lyft are only economically viable because they offload their cost of capital -- the investment and depreciation on cars and the cost of keeping a driver fed and healthy -- onto the drivers, who are only willing to accept such a bad deal because the labor market sucks. Read the rest
Once Seattle became the first city where Uber drivers were allowed to unionize, the drivers started getting "customer service" calls that polled them on their satisfaction with the company, while ham-handedly pushing anti-union messages. Read the rest
This person has three problems with the new Uber logo. The first problem ("It can be recreated in under one minute using three of the standard shape tools) does not bother me. I actually think that's cool. But the uncentered square and the overhanging line really do suck! Read the rest
After Matt Lindsay celebrated New Year's Eve in Southwood Community Centre near Edmonton, he hailed an Uber to take him and his friends home. The driver who picked up Matt warned him that the "surge rate" was 8.9 times the regular fare. Lindsay accepted the surge and took the ride, which lasted 20 minutes. From CBC:
Lindsay said he was using his previous trips with Uber as a base understanding of what the trip would cost.
"Generally Uber is very affordable. I can get from northside to downtown for under $20."
He has taken a couple of rides at a surge rate of two times the regular amount, which he said tallied $77.
"With the amount of people in the vehicle and a similar distance, I figured it would be a similar fare."
Lindsay said people are vulnerable after they've been drinking and surge rates can be confusing.
Lindsay said Uber had offered to reduce his fare by half.
As Mark Andreessen noted, software is eating the world because once it's developed, it scales to infinity. That means that once a worker's co-op of drivers clones Uber's platform in free/open code, drivers in every city in the world can disrupt the company, throw off its rent-seeking, and fill their pockets with the money the company siphons off for providing very little at the margins. Read the rest
Warren Ellis: "We saw the best minds of our generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves after an Uber that isn’t actually there because Uber fake most of those little cars you see on the Uber app map." Read the rest
A California administrative judge ruled that Uber's license to operate in California will be suspended in 30 days if it doesn't appeal or start complying with state laws. At issue: Uber has not provided "operational data that is required under the 2013 law that legalized ride-hailing firms."
An Uber spokeswoman called the decision "deeply disappointing... We will appeal the decision as Uber has already provided substantial amounts of data to the California Public Utilities Commission, information we have provided elsewhere with no complaints. Going further risks compromising the privacy of individual riders as well as driver-partners." Read the rest
Courtney Love was in the wrong place at the wrong time earlier today. Leaving Charles De Gaulle airport via Uber, thousands of taxi drivers protesting Uber held her car hostage for over an hour, breaking the car's windows and slashing its tires. The rioters even tried to open the car doors. In the middle of the chaos, the 50-year-old singer tweeted: "They've ambushed our car and are holding our driver hostage. They're beating the cars with metal bats. This is France?? I'm safer in Baghdad." Finally a couple of guys on motorcycles came to the rescue, but the angry mob made sure to hurl rocks at Love until the motorcycles were able to get her to safety. Love says police saw what was happening but did nothing. For now travelers coming out of both Charles de Gaulle and Orly are advised to take a train to avoid the violence and blocked roads. For more details click here. Read the rest
The taxi-ish service has forbidden drivers and customers from carrying firearms. Read the rest