Uber needs to be run out of town

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Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Always nice to see you back, RR, and please give a high-five to your spouse for us.

But if Uber were an open-source initiative ("free as in free speech, not as in free beer") would you side with that Uber, or with a small group of taxi brokers (Beck, Crown, Co-op, etc.) whose biggest difference with Uber is that they use telephones, not the intertubes?

Maysie Maysie's picture

Beck, Crown, Co-op, Royal, Diamond and other taxi brokers in Toronto exploit their drivers, sometimes worse than Uber does, and for a far longer time. They are only against Uber because Uber cuts into their profits. They are no friend to the actual drivers that do the extremely hard work of driving cabs 10-12 hours per day.

NorthReport

I agree but Uber has screwed around passengers fares with no recourse
Obviously a union is needed but Uber still needs to be run out of town

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I agree but Uber has screwed around passengers fares with no recourse

Or at any rate, no recourse other than passengers saying "No, thanks".

Quote:
Obviously a union is needed but Uber still needs to be run out of town

Could be easier -- and have better optics -- before they get that union.

voice of the damned

A propos of not much besides general irony, but one thing I find slightly amusing about the whole Taxis Vs. Uber thing is that the same arguments that the cabbies use against Uber could be used against the cabbies themselves, on behalf of public transit.

I mean, sure, Uber is poaching customers away from the morally superior taxi industry. But isn't the taxi industry itself poaching customers away from the even more upright public-transit system? iAfter all, that system offers its workers unionized jobs, and generally a greater degree of environemntal friendliness than you get from taxis. And it's far more affordable for the consumers, to boot. And yet the cabbies draw their line in the sand at taxis, not buses.  

 

 

 

lagatta

Well yes, of course. In Amsterdam, I noticed far fewer taxis - they exist, for example for people getting to the airport, but there are also specific buses for that like our 747 bus here in Montréal, and starting out from more places than here (the airport area also has a business complex nearby). But they have a dense network of trams as well as buslines, and ferries. Not to mention commuter trains, and a bicycle-rental system connected to the railway.

Taxis indicate shortcomings and gaps in public transport. Note that there are also taxis (at least here) dedicated to transporting disabled people who can't use normal public transport.

We also lag in installing lifts in métro stations. There is one at Jean-Talon, but no exit from there between Henri-Bourassa (north end) and Berri-UQAM (Quartier Latin). The only lifts are on the orange line; none on the green, blue or yellow lines.

But yes, taxi drivers also need a union. It is a bit complicated for owner-operators, but the taxi companies exploit the drivers terribly. UBER seems even worse, but I'm no expert on the issue.

abnormal

Meanwhile, as people protest against Uber it turns out that the fastest growing ride-sharing company is Lyft, not Uber.  Whether the taxi companies (and drivers) like it or not they're going to have to adapt.

 

Quote:
General Motors Co. invests $500 million in Lyft Inc, signalling new era of partnership between auto makers, Silicon Valley

General Motors Co. is investing US$500 million in ride-sharing company Lyft Inc. to create a network of on-demand, self-driving cars — another signal that traditional auto makers aren’t prepared to sit idly by while Silicon Valley eats their lunch.

The move comes at a time of major flux in the auto industry, with ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft threatening personal vehicle sales while auto makers and tech companies scramble to be the first to bring a viable self-driving car to market.

GM’s top rival, Ford Motor Co., is reportedly in talks to build a fleet of self-driving cars for Google and could announce a deal as early as this week.

snip ...

It may seem counter-intuitive for auto makers to invest in ride sharing, an innovation that could dent individual vehicle ownership as it becomes more widespread.

But companies like GM are simply reading the writing on the wall, said Ed Kim, vice-president of industry analysis at research firm AutoPacific. “They are being proactive and making sure that they are players in this, rather than trying to fight the future,” Kim said in an interview.

“By getting involved early, that gives General Motors a leg up over their competitors.”

">http://business.financialpost.com/news/transportation/general-motors-co-...

 

 

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Quote:
But if Uber were an open-source initiative ("free as in free speech, not as in free beer") would you side with that Uber, or with a small group of taxi brokers (Beck, Crown, Co-op, etc.) whose biggest difference with Uber is that they use telephones, not the intertubes?

If Uber was a unionized worker cooperative using a free as in freedom software application to book fares I don't think I'd have that much of a problem with it.   But Goldman Sachs, Microsoft and Google probably would.   Apple probably wouldn't be happy either because they have banned all GPL licensed software from their app store.

BTW "free as in free speech, not as in free beer" is a phrase that comes from the free software movement and not from the "open sourcers".   Just thought I'd clear that up for you. Wink

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Quote:
GM’s top rival, Ford Motor Co., is reportedly in talks to build a fleet of self-driving cars for Google and could announce a deal as early as this week.

Not surprised at this at all.   Google's long term goal is self-driving taxis and then every driver will be out of work.  Better hope those Google maps are accurate.   You might think you're getting a ride home from a night of boozing and general debauchery and end up at the bottom of a river.

voice of the damned

Edmonton votes to legalize, and regulate, Uber...

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/uber-to-be-legal-in-edmonton-afte...

abnormal

Unionist wrote:
I haven't seen a convincing argument either on the public safety aspect.

The only public safety issue I can see is the question of insurance.  Does that Uber driver's insuranc let him act as a livery service?

Celt

For me the issue isn't about Uber or Lyft - it's more about the current regulation of the Taxi industry.   Taxi licensing should be completely overhauled.  A license shouldn't be considered a capital asset that in some juridictions can be traded and sub-contracted out to drivers that don't have a license of their own.  Some rules about the state of your vehicle for public use,  an insurance minimum covereage that is fair and reasonable, and away you go.  License fees shouldn't cost more than $50-$100. Open up the process so that any one who wants to,  can participate.  Innovation is a very good thing - if you have ever tried Uber - you'll know right away that brings some major improvements to the transportation industry.  The biggest risk here is encouraging monopolies - either in the traditional Taxi industry or by having too many barriers to entry so that only Uber gets in the game.   How about an all electric service...etc.. other niches.

josh

Uber drivers upset over recent fare cuts are planning to go on strike Monday.Organizers are calling on drivers to picket outside Uber's headquarters in Long Island City, Queens at noon.

Uber cut its prices by 15 percent last week, saying the fare reduction would mean more work for drivers. The base fare on UberX dropped from $3 to $2.55, with the per mile rate going from $2.15 to $1.75. UberXL saw drops of similar levels. 

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2016/02/01/uber-strike-fare-cuts/ 

 

josh

Uber should be regulated like taxis most Canadians say.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/grenier-uber-taxis-polls-1.3444345

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

The whole taxi industry is based on corruption and slavery and they complain when others get a better deal. 

Rev Pesky

abnormal wrote:

Unionist wrote:
I haven't seen a convincing argument either on the public safety aspect.

The only public safety issue I can see is the question of insurance.  Does that Uber driver's insuranc let him act as a livery service?

The issue of insurance is very important. Uber apparently insures the car and driver when they are transporting a passenger. Who insures the car and driver when there's no passenger? So far as I know, regular insurance companies will not provide 'part-time' insurance, so when there is no passenger in the car, there is no insurance. If a Uber car is involved in a at fault accident while it is moving from one location to another, they would have no liability insurance. Too bad for you if you're the victim.

Another thiing is wheelchair accessible cabs. I don't know about other jurisdictions, but Vancouver demands a certain percentage of the cab fleet be wheelchair accessible. This is not a simple matter of bigger doors or higher ceiling. Each cab must have a mechanical (not electrical) device for raising the wheelchair from the ground level to the vehicle level. Once inside the vehicle, the wheelchair has to be anchored in such a way as to protect the occupant. Of course that requires a considerable expenditure by the cab owner.

Does Uber make any provision for wheelchair accessibility?

The last thing I'd like to address is the business model. In order to remain in the cab business, the cab owner has to earn enough to replace the car. Right now, Uber cabs are lucky because they are competing against cabs which have to be replaced when they die. In fact, the pressure to keep a cab on the road is such that there is such a thing as a 'rental' cab that can be used by a licence holder while their car is worked on, or while they wait for a replacement.

Uber is a different animal. They don't own cabs, and they don't care if you don't make enough money to replace your car. They will always be able to find another out of luck car owner who needs some income, and already has a car. Presumably, when the 'regulated' cab industry is gone, prices will drop, and the cab industry will go the way of the de-regulated trucking industry, a hodge-podge of limping down vehicles which the owners can neither afford to replace, nor maintain. Then it is very definitely a public safety issue.

Ah yes, once again then it's the Free Market Uber Alles! 

Celt

Big debate over technological disruption.  It's a transitional issue anyway... we are less than a generation away from driverless cars.  You'll be able to rent out your car while you are not using it to give other people inthe neigbourhood a lift.  

The need for a strong social safety net is greater than ever as technological innovation speeds up and transform how the economy works.  Almost everyone making gasoline engines for car will need to have a new job in the next 10-20 years.

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

Idiotic. Build the insurance charge in the fare, as you get when you rent a car.

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

Anyone who wants to defend the current taxi industry advocates slavery. Taxi drivers are among the most exploited workers in our society and all these rich people can do is debate insurance. Pathetic, as usual.

voice of the damned

Celt wrote:

Big debate over technological disruption.  It's a transitional issue anyway... we are less than a generation away from driverless cars.  You'll be able to rent out your car while you are not using it to give other people inthe neigbourhood a lift.

Well, that's assuming the owner wants to go to the trouble of advertising his private vehicle for rent, and making sure he's around for the pickup and the return. And that the renter is going to be satisfied with being able to have the car only at the owner's convenience.

As opposed to an established rental company, be it a taxi, Uber, or whatever, whom you can call any time you want, and get a car sent to your location within minutes.

Rev Pesky

montrealer58 wrote:

Anyone who wants to defend the current taxi industry advocates slavery. Taxi drivers are among the most exploited workers in our society and all these rich people can do is debate insurance. Pathetic, as usual.

I can't speak to jurisdictions other than Vancouver, but in Vancouver you can make a reasonable living driving cab. I worked for a company that supplied cars to the industry, and I met many cab drivers and owners, and none of them seemed to feel the way you do. I understand that may be different in different jurisdicitons. I speak only of Vancouver (and BC generally).

The issue of insurance is an important one. I thnk we can agree that cabs should be properly insured. Problem is that the normal insurance car owners have does not cover their vehicle being used as a taxi. Uber offers some insurance, but only when there is a fare in the car. When there is no fare in the car, where is the insurance? There isn't any. The issue isn't the cost of the insurance, it's whether there's insurance at all. 

Yes, the insurance cost could be included in the fare, but that is not the point. There is a much higher rate for insurance for a cab. That affects the price charged. 

Rev Pesky

voice of the damned wrote:
Celt wrote:

Big debate over technological disruption.  It's a transitional issue anyway... we are less than a generation away from driverless cars.  You'll be able to rent out your car while you are not using it to give other people inthe neigbourhood a lift.

 

Well, that's assuming the owner wants to go to the trouble of advertising his private vehicle for rent, and making sure he's around for the pickup and the return. And that the renter is going to be satisfied with being able to have the car only at the owner's convenience.

As opposed to an established rental company, be it a taxi, Uber, or whatever, whom you can call any time you want, and get a car sent to your location within minutes.

I'm with VOTD on this. Having worked in the car rental business I can tell you than no sane person would rent out their car. Not more than once. My first day on the rentals desk the first two calls were from the RCMP. Neither were good news.

As far as driverless cars, I doubt there'll be driverless cars on the road until all the 'drivered' cars are eliminated. Driverless cars are wonderful machines that think and operate like machines. Unfortunately, human car drivers are not. They can (and do) make some funny decisions, often at high speed. Trying to mix those two on the roads is a recipe for disaster.

As far as 'transformative' technology, it's amazing how resilient the economy is. After the last thirty years of the greatest increases in technology since the beginning of humans, the economy still operates more or less the same as it has since the end of the second world war. "Rush Hour' has been a feature of industrial economies for the best part of sixty years now.

There were 1.6 million new motor vehicles sold in this country in 2011, and 1.9 million sold in 2015. To me that doesn't seem much like the end of motor vehicles. 

 

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Uber is "threatening" to hold its breath till it turns purple, or take it's ball and go home, or something. They are apparently running a social media campaign to "pressure" the provincial government to change insurance and licencing policies by March 1 - 12 freaking days from now, or they are going to pull out of the province. The general tenor of the comments at the link stories can be summarized as the ever popular "don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out". It is a little daunting that this off-shore corporation thinks it is in a position to dictate a time table to an elected government -- and likewise that their instant gratification boosters can't realize that there are an almost infinite number of things that require the legislature's attention that are more important than there ability to destabilize and undercut those whose livelihoods depend on the "taxi industry". *raises a toast to the possibility that they will carry through on their "threat" and just pack up and leave*

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

I can set up sensors which detect signals in nanoseconds and route them away in microseconds before they do harm in milliseconds. Compare that to the multi-second reaction time of a human driver. I would quite happily sit in a driverless car going at 400 km/h through the dull masses of human drivers. I would trust it more than any human. 

Devogenes

Uber is an obnoxious corporation manipulating the capacities of networked technology to continue the capitalist model of exploitation which those very technologies by their nature undermine.

Uber is transitional for three reasons:
1) Driverless cars are already being tested on roads. (Uber is actually a leading investor, so more accurately it is only Uber's ride sharing service which is transitional)

2) We're on the verge of an energy crisis. People are going to have to be driving less soon no matter what.

3) The very type of technology which Uber relies upon is available for anyone to use. They, like Facebook, are only so profitable because they are ubiquitous. Car sharing is real and is a logical improvement over the current method. Uber is the expropriation and inversion of the sharing model. Why should we accept the immitation rather than the real thing? Open source is the future. Capitalist hang ups are holding back the transformative potential of digital technology.

Instead of fussing over fees and licensing and protecting taxis, governments should be facilitating truly competitive and open ride sharing. Considering how exploited cabbies are by the taxi companies, they could benefit from this too instead of fighting it. The old model sucks. The Uber model is exploitative. Why settle for either?

voice of the damned

Devogenes wrote:
Car sharing is real and is a logical improvement over the current method. Uber is the expropriation and inversion of the sharing model. Why should we accept the immitation rather than the real thing? Open source is the future. Capitalist hang ups are holding back the transformative potential of digital technology>

Well, like I say, for me, the advanrage of the "capitalist" model of car services is that I can get a taxi within twenty minutes of calling for one. And I'd assume the same thing is truw of Uber.

But my understanding of the "shared rides", as outlined by others on this thread, is that people with cars lend them out when they're not using them. Now, if I'm out at a bar around 1:30 AM, and I realize I missed the last bus, what is the "sharing economy" model for me getting a ride? Which of my friends is going to want to answer his phone at that hour of the night and say "Sure, come on over and I'll progam my driverless car for you!"

Or is there something about "shared rides" that I'm missing here? Because, as it stands, it sounds to me like saying, in the present day, "Hm, I need some cucumbers, think I'll phone around to see which of my gardening friends has some they'd like to trade for a batch of that chocolate I made this morning". Instead of just heading down to the corner grocer and buying some cukes that I know the guy wants to sell.

voice of the damned

bagkitty wrote:

Uber is "threatening" to hold its breath till it turns purple, or take it's ball and go home, or something. They are apparently running a social media campaign to "pressure" the provincial government to change insurance and licencing policies by March 1 - 12 freaking days from now, or they are going to pull out of the province. The general tenor of the comments at the link stories can be summarized as the ever popular "don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out". It is a little daunting that this off-shore corporation thinks it is in a position to dictate a time table to an elected government -- and likewise that their instant gratification boosters can't realize that there are an almost infinite number of things that require the legislature's attention that are more important than there ability to destabilize and undercut those whose livelihoods depend on the "taxi industry". *raises a toast to the possibility that they will carry through on their "threat" and just pack up and leave*

Not an Uber fan myself(no cell phone or credit card, and franklly the whole idea kinda creeps me out), but from what I've seen on other discussion boards(by no means uniformly right-wing), they DO have quite a few satisifed customers in the places where they operate. So I don't know how lackidaisical I'd be about their ability to pressure governments via public opinion.

Rev Pesky

montrealer58 wrote:

I can set up sensors which detect signals in nanoseconds and route them away in microseconds before they do harm in milliseconds. Compare that to the multi-second reaction time of a human driver. I would quite happily sit in a driverless car going at 400 km/h through the dull masses of human drivers. I would trust it more than any human. 

Yes, signals can be very fast, incredibly fast in fact. In the real world it's not just the signals that have to be fast, it is the following action. Unfortunately physics gets in the way of those lightning fast sensors. When a mass of 2000 kgs is travelling in one direction at 100 km/h, it can't just suddenly stop and/or change direction. Those actions, by themselves, could cause an accident, or result in the vehicle leaving the road.

Which leads to another problem. That is, who pays for the liability insurance on a driverless car? The riders have no say in how the vehicle is operated, so they can't be sued. The owner? The manufacturer? Well, there's a question. The vechicle is hardware, but what runs it is software, and unless they're both made by the same company I can see a battle between the two to see who is responsible for an accident. Then there's the hackers that would love nothing more than causing a massive traffic jam. If you're at all familiar with rush hour traffic you would know that a single car being involved in an accident can create havoc (and further accidents) for hours. A very tempting prospect for some ambitious computer nerd.

If you need an example, look to the skies. Commercial aircraft, which follow pre-arranged paths using software flight directors are the norm, but one of the reasons the system works is that most other aircraft are restricted from entering that airspace. Before large scale intergration of driverless cars can happen, they will most likely have to do the same with roads.  

 

Rev Pesky

bagkitty wrote:
...They are apparently running a social media campaign to "pressure" the provincial government to change insurance and licencing policies by March 1... 

Which points out that Uber themselves understand that their insurance is a problem. By the way, what percentage of the Uber fleet will Uber commit to being wheelchair accessible?

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

There needs to be an insurance 'per ride' which would then equalize the industry. A taxi driver or any other hire car would have to add the same insurance charge to the ride, and that would be according to what was required in the city. Taxi insurance is expensive: $150-$200 a week. Someone has to work out what that rate would be per hour ($3.75-$5) and then per ride (some fraction of that). We can buy incremental insurace when we rent cars so the system might work like that. It would be quite informative to get a ticket for a ride which printed out:
Plate Owner's Charge $5.50
Insurance $2.75
Gas $2.00
My Wage $2.00
Total Fare:  $12.25 Thanks!

 

Devogenes

voice of the damned wrote:
Well, like I say, for me, the advanrage of the "capitalist" model of car services is that I can get a taxi within twenty minutes of calling for one. And I'd assume the same thing is truw of Uber.

That advantage has nothing to do with capitalism and everything to do with a service delivery infrastructure. Uber did not invent the networked infrastructuer that their company relies upon, they just built a platform. Anyone can build an equivalent platform (in fact Uber is not the only company to use such a platform). What should be encouraged is neither Uber's monopolistic model nor the dated taxi model, but an open and competitive ride sharing platform. Why should Uber collect these billions in profits? What service are they actually rendering that couldn't be rendered by the community? That's what Open Source is about.

Quote:

But my understanding of the "shared rides", as outlined by others on this thread, is that people with cars lend them out when they're not using them. Now, if I'm out at a bar around 1:30 AM, and I realize I missed the last bus, what is the "sharing economy" model for me getting a ride? Which of my friends is going to want to answer his phone at that hour of the night and say "Sure, come on over and I'll progam my driverless car for you!"


Ride sharing services like Uber are a different thing that sharing access to valuable goods, like a tool library or conventional car sharing or whatever. Both are fine. What I'm saying is that you can have the ride sharing service (which is essentially what taxis are to begin with) without the monopolistic corporate exploitation of drivers. Uber is leveraging network technology. They didn't build the network. We are the network. Uber built a platform which takes advantage of networked technology while maintaining capitalist exploitation. What we need isn't another network or another model, what we need is a platform that takes that same advantage without the capitalist exploitation.

Quote:

If you need an example, look to the skies. Commercial aircraft, which follow pre-arranged paths using software flight directors are the norm, but one of the reasons the system works is that most other aircraft are restricted from entering that airspace. Before large scale intergration of driverless cars can happen, they will most likely have to do the same with roads. 

Uber is "ride sharing". It is essentially de-centralized independent taxi services presumably (though not necessarily) undertaken by those for whom it is not their primary or only source of income. I think you might be conflating the ride sharing model with the notion of simply sharing your car with others.

Uber and airbnb and things like this like to refer to themselves as being part of the "sharing economy", which they patently aren't and which I think creates confusion.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

This is so good, it should be repeated widely and frequently. Thanks bagkitty!

bagkitty wrote:

VOTD: oh I am certain they have satisfied customers - I would, however, question if those satisfied customers have pondered overlong on the consequences of their using the "service". Let me start off by suggesting that the idea of Uber being a "ride sharing" service is ludicrous - car pooling by commuters is ride sharing, driving a neighbour to an appointment is ride sharing, offering to pick someone up from an airport is ride sharing, lending a vehicle to a fried or relative is ride sharing... responding to a request for a driver and charging a fee for doing so is the exact opposite of sharing. While someone may be expected to "chip in for gas" or parking may be expected (explicitly in reference to car pooling, socially in reference to the other examples of sharing) the service Uber and the drivers working with it provide is transactional... it is a paid service, not a shared service. Ride sharing sounds nice, so does calling the bitumen mining area in Northern Alberta Oil Sands rather than Tar Sands. Just because the phrasing is in vogue does not mean it is accurate, it is marketing at best. In my previous post I referred to Uber "boosters" as wanting "instant gratification" - I stand by this and mean it in the unkindest way possible. I too have been frustrated by calling for a cab and being told it will be at least a 45 minute wait, and I live in a city where, apart from cab stands in front of hotels and at the airport, it illegal for a cab to stop for a customer flagging them down on the street when there are any outstanding calls for a dispatched cab to take... so yes, the current model is frustrating -- but this does not mean that any of should be undermining the livelihood of those who have, for years, been following the rules and regulations and carrying the costs of those self-same operations in order to provide an income stream for Uber as a corporation and its precariously placed "sharers" (is that what you call their drivers? probably not employees...). I realize that the taxi industry itself is open to all sorts of totally valid criticism, especially in regard to those who work under it... again, not grounds to undermine it.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

VOTD: oh I am certain they have satisfied customers - I would, however, question if those satisfied customers have pondered overlong on the consequences of their using the "service". Let me start off by suggesting that the idea of Uber being a "ride sharing" service is ludicrous - car pooling by commuters is ride sharing, driving a neighbour to an appointment is ride sharing, offering to pick someone up from an airport is ride sharing, lending a vehicle to a fried or relative is ride sharing... responding to a request for a driver and charging a fee for doing so is the exact opposite of sharing. While someone may be expected to "chip in for gas" or parking may be expected (explicitly in reference to car pooling, socially in reference to the other examples of sharing) the service Uber and the drivers working with it provide is transactional... it is a paid service, not a shared service. Ride sharing sounds nice, so does calling the bitumen mining area in Northern Alberta Oil Sands rather than Tar Sands. Just because the phrasing is in vogue does not mean it is accurate, it is marketing at best. In my previous post I referred to Uber "boosters" as wanting "instant gratification" - I stand by this and mean it in the unkindest way possible. I too have been frustrated by calling for a cab and being told it will be at least a 45 minute wait, and I live in a city where, apart from cab stands in front of hotels and at the airport, it illegal for a cab to stop for a customer flagging them down on the street when there are any outstanding calls for a dispatched cab to take... so yes, the current model is frustrating -- but this does not mean that any of us should be undermining the livelihood of those who have, for years, been following the rules and regulations and carrying the costs of those self-same operations in order to provide an income stream for Uber as a corporation and its precariously placed "sharers" (is that what you call their drivers? probably not employees...). I realize that the taxi industry itself is open to all sorts of totally valid criticism, especially in regard to those who work under it... again, not grounds to undermine it.

[made a couple of minor edits to this post, changing riding to ride and adding the word us.... nothing substantial that changes what I intended to say]

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Uber is not ride sharing (other than in PR speak) the whole system is transactional - service requested and paid for. Once the transaction is complete, there is no longer any relationship between the paying passenger and the driver. This would differ significantly from the conventional concept of sharing as an interaction between individuals without [immediate] profit motive, or from some variant of joint ownership (the temporal division of which would be sharing). The only way it can be described as sharing is that both parties (the paid and the payer) "share" the physical space inside the vehicle for a period of time.

Devogenes

bagkitty wrote:

Uber is not ride sharing (other than in PR speak) the whole system is transactional - service requested and paid for. Once the transaction is complete, there is no longer any relationship between the paying passenger and the driver. This would differ significantly from the conventional concept of sharing as an interaction between individuals without [immediate] profit motive, or from some variant of joint ownership (the temporal division of which would be sharing). The only way it can be described as sharing is that both parties (the paid and the payer) "share" the physical space inside the vehicle for a period of time.

Mmm I dunno. Uber didn't invent ride sharing any more than Facebook invented social media. Ride sharing is called ride sharing not because both parties are equal owners of the vehicle, but because the base concept is that if person A and person B are traveling in the same direction, they may as well share a ride. The fact that a person gets paid doesn't really negate the fact that the ride was shared. People have been hitching rides with strangers and pitching in money in exchange for decades longer than Uber has been around. It's just that now with smart phones etc. the capacity to arrange for impromptu rides is so much greater than it had been previously.

Trying to get the language changed will be an uphill battle for little benefit, it seems to me. I do agree that Uber has nothing to do with a sharing economy.

voice of the damned

Okay. Down to brass tacks here...

I'm sitting in a bar at 2:00 AM, bombed out of my skull, and need a ride home. What is the ride-sharing model that will get me a car, and is NOT doing the same thing that either a taxi or Uber would do?

To be more precise, you can answer these questions. How do I call for a car? Whose car is it? How does it get to me? How does the owner of the car get compensated for the use of his property? Or any other questions you think would be helpful by in providing an explanation.

Devogenes

voice of the damned wrote:

Okay. Down to brass tacks here...

I'm sitting in a bar at 2:00 AM, bombed out of my skull, and need a ride home. What is the ride-sharing model that will get me a car, and is NOT doing the same thing that either a taxi or Uber would do?

To be more precise, you can answer these questions. How do I call for a car? Whose car is it? How does it get to me? How does the owner of the car get compensated for the use of his property? Or any other questions you think would be helpful by in providing an explanation.

It's really simple.

Imagine Uber. Now take out the multi-billion dollar company that rakes in a majority of the profits. There you go.

There's no reason why it should be any different for you, as a user of the service. The only difference for drivers woul be that they wouldn't have to shell out much to the operators of the platform. There is no technological barrier to an open source ride sharing platform (which is all Uber is). Uber is just a platform, like Facebook is a platform. Your question is equivalent to "what would social media look like without Facebook?" The answer is that it would look exactly the same without ads.

Uber is a tool which connects users with  network of available drivers. That's not world-shattering technology, it's an intellgient expression of the capacities of networked technology. It doesn't need to be a monopoly run by multi-billion dollar corporate interests.

If that seems unrealistic to you, consider that I am writing this using an open sourced browser run by an open source operating system that has been around for decades. We don't need to rely upon massive corporations for digital technology — that's one of the beautififul things about software. Society has been slow to adapt.

The limitations to actually pulling it off aren't technological, they are social. They are questions like how do you trust drivers (which is already an issue with Uber, anyways) and how to handle a direct-payment system. These are things that could be handled on a government level, I believe, quite easily. The infrastructure to support the system could easily be publically funded. I'm not a computer person but it can't be much more complicated than maintaining servers and having a payment system in place. Right?

EDIT: I looked it up a little and apparently Uber actually does incorporate some level on open source design into their platform:
https://github.com/uber

Kind of interesting.

DOUBLE EDIT:
Even more interesting, apparently there already is a version of what I'm talking about: http://www.lazooz.net/

voice of the damned

Devogenes wrote:

voice of the damned wrote:

Okay. Down to brass tacks here...

I'm sitting in a bar at 2:00 AM, bombed out of my skull, and need a ride home. What is the ride-sharing model that will get me a car, and is NOT doing the same thing that either a taxi or Uber would do?

To be more precise, you can answer these questions. How do I call for a car? Whose car is it? How does it get to me? How does the owner of the car get compensated for the use of his property? Or any other questions you think would be helpful by in providing an explanation.

It's really simple.

Imagine Uber. Now take out the multi-billion dollar company that rakes in a majority of the profits. There you go.

 

So, basically, I can call with an app, choose any driver I want, see his picture(eg. if I only want a white driver, not that that is openly stated anywhere), see where the car is at any given time, and give my driver a rating for other users to see? And the only difference is that instead of the drivers getting the infrastructure from San Franisco, they're getting it from Ottawa?

 

Rev Pesky

montrealer58 wrote:

There needs to be an insurance 'per ride' which would then equalize the industry. A taxi driver or any other hire car would have to add the same insurance charge to the ride, and that would be according to what was required in the city. Taxi insurance is expensive: $150-$200 a week. Someone has to work out what that rate would be per hour ($3.75-$5) and then per ride (some fraction of that). We can buy incremental insurace when we rent cars so the system might work like that. It would be quite informative to get a ticket for a ride which printed out:
Plate Owner's Charge $5.50
Insurance $2.75
Gas $2.00
My Wage $2.00
Total Fare:  $12.25 Thanks!

Who provides the insurance when there is no fare in the cab? The car is still on the road.

Rev Pesky

Devogenes wrote:
...
Quote:

If you need an example, look to the skies. Commercial aircraft, which follow pre-arranged paths using software flight directors are the norm, but one of the reasons the system works is that most other aircraft are restricted from entering that airspace. Before large scale intergration of driverless cars can happen, they will most likely have to do the same with roads. 

Uber is "ride sharing". It is essentially de-centralized independent taxi services presumably (though not necessarily) undertaken by those for whom it is not their primary or only source of income. I think you might be conflating the ride sharing model with the notion of simply sharing your car with others.

Uber and airbnb and things like this like to refer to themselves as being part of the "sharing economy", which they patently aren't and which I think creates confusion.

This part of Devogenes' post was actually quoting me, not VOTD. To be clear, my comments, therein quoted, were referring to the possibility of 'driverless' cars on the roads, not Uber or ride-sharing.

Speaking of which, if we use 'sharing' to include transactions, that would kind of expand the term. It would, in fact, remove the term capitalist from the equation altogether. After all, every transaction is just a company sharing their good or service with me, while I share my money with them...

 

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

You would pro-rate the entire monthly insurance charge over the passenger receipts. 

Rev Pesky

montrealer58 wrote:

You would pro-rate the entire monthly insurance charge over the passenger receipts. 

Unofrtunately that is not the way insurance works. Rates are set by acturaries who examine the risks of, in this case, vehicles used for specific puposes. Insurance pools the risk, and each entity at risk pays a portion of the total cost of covering that risk.

In any case, because Uber charges according to demand, one driver may have a larger income, but spend less time on the road, than another driver with lower income but more miles. A 'per mile' rate would solve that problem, but again, because the risk is pooled there really is no way to pre-determine who will require coverage. A driver could have a accident on his first day on the job, driving to pick up his first fare.  

NorthReport
Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

This is meaningful the way that "Hitler was vegetarian" was meaningful.

NorthReport
NorthReport

Vegetarian, eh! No wonder Hitler was able to live so long in South America.

 

voice of the damned

So, if a government employee goes off on his lunchbreak and flashes little girls in the park, does that mean we need to privatize his department?

I mean, I know there's a certain eerieness to the guy commiting murders in between pickups, but logically, it doesn't constitute an argument against Uber.

As for background checks, I don't think those would make much difference, unless the guy had a criminal record.

voice of the damned

Um, what happened to the post I was replying to?

NorthReport

Moved it over to a more appropriate location, the gun control thread

voice of the damned

Oh, okay. Well, then I guess you can consider my post rescinded, since it was predicated on the idea that this was being presented as an Uber issue.

And I agree, it's very appropriate for the gun control thread.

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