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  1. #1
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    Uber Aims to Reduce Car Ownership

    There was a fun little blurb in the NYTimes today about car-share programs. One quote stuck out for me:

    “The whole point of price cuts is to get UberX pricing below the cost of owning a car,” Uber’s chief executive, Travis Kalanick, told me. “Let’s say you take three or four trips a day on average. If we can get the price of UberX low enough, we can get to where it’s cheaper to take Uber than to own a car.”
    This has implications for the battle between urban cyclists and the traffic planners who give over huge amounts of street space to parked cars, even if we don't see significant numbers of people go car free in response to these growing services.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/12/up...T.nav=top-news

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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    There was a fun little blurb in the NYTimes today about car-share programs. One quote stuck out for me:



    This has implications for the battle between urban cyclists and the traffic planners who give over huge amounts of street space to parked cars, even if we don't see significant numbers of people go car free in response to these growing services.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/12/up...T.nav=top-news
    I think it's an idea whose time has come. When the trolley first hit the streets in the 1880's, they were private owned and cheap at 5 cents (a little over 2 dollars today) for 5 miles or more! However, we drifted away from this from of transport where we now have to each own our own "trolley" for transportation. It's crushing the middle class as the cost of personal transport skyrocketed over the past 30 years.

    The bus has it's limitation and we don't have to repeat all the issues. Being a bus user, I would love to take a taxi that cost 5 dollars for 5 miles of service. However, that is not the case.

    The taxi model had promise but it's too expensive costing 15 dollars (or more) for the same 5 miles of transport. The system is top heavy with high salaries, franchise fees, taxes and administation making it impossible to have a service that's affordable for the casual user.

    Now we have smart phones that can eliminate the entire "Taxi" eco-system and they are enraged that independants are going to undercut them. I hope Uber succeeds because we need more transport options in this country and not less.

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
    we need more transport options in this country and not less.
    +1

    More transportation options are needed in many countries.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Maybe I'm paranoid, but I'm a little leery about Uber. It involves getting in a private car which may or may not have working brakes, driven by stranger who may or may not have a valid drivers license.

    At least cabbies are licensed, tested, and insured. And the cabs are required to have regular maintenence.

    The lower costs (some of the time) are attractive, of course.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Maybe I'm paranoid, but I'm a little leery about Uber. It involves getting in a private car which may or may not have working brakes, driven by stranger who may or may not have a valid drivers license.

    At least cabbies are licensed, tested, and insured. And the cabs are required to have regular maintenence.
    I guess you'll just have to wait for the next generation of Uber, the one where they use Google cars (maintained as a fleet by some contractor).

  6. #6
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    I guess you'll just have to wait for the next generation of Uber, the one where they use Google cars (maintained as a fleet by some contractor).
    Don't hold your breath waiting.

  7. #7
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Don't hold your breath waiting.
    You dont think autonomous cars will be here soon? How come?


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  8. #8
    Super Moderator tractorlegs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    You dont think autonomous cars will be here soon? How come?
    Because cars are not transportation. They are symbols of power and affluence. They are a weak person's muscles. They are an expression of "freedom" and mobility.
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  9. #9
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Has anybody here actually used Uber? What was your experience?


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  10. #10
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tractorlegs View Post
    They are an expression of "freedom" and mobility.
    That's what we want!

    The only transportation solution that will work is one that will provide freedom and mobility.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator tractorlegs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    That's what we want!

    The only transportation solution that will work is one that will provide freedom and mobility.
    Hi Charlene , that's what I want too. However, the "freedom" and "mobility" (note the quotes) offered by a car are tragic for many people; for you and I, bicycling offers true freedom. Many people are so physically impaired by their poor lifestyle choices, they can find "freedom" and mobility and power only through a car, and that to me seems so sad. They can go 80mph on a freeway but cannot walk up a set of stairs. To me that seems to be an insidious pseudo-freedom.

    Ironically I just spent some quality time at your website a couple of days ago lol. It always makes me want to go for a ride
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Has anybody here actually used Uber? What was your experience?
    I took Uber for the first time last weekend in Philadelphia. Someone else hailed it. He clicked once or twice on his iPhone, and it told him the car would be there in four minutes, specifying what kind of car to look for. He specified a larger car, as we were a group of five. No money chanced hands, no swipe of credit card; the ride, including tip, was billed automatically by the app. We could watch via GPS where the car was as it made it's way to us. It all seemed easy and seemless. I don't know what it cost, apparently a bit more than a regular cab, and there can be multipliers, so you pay more than base fare at busy times.

    The guy who ordered the car chatted with the driver. As I recall, their contract with Uber requires that they be duly licensed, registered and insured. They can be independent, with their own insurance, as this driver was. He had his own car service company, so took Uber passengers as filler. Others can be exclusive to Uber, and under the Uber provided insurance umbrella. Drivers are entirely on their own schedule; they click a button to put themselves online or offline. Fares pop up on their iPhone, which they can accept or decline.

    I hardly ever take cabs, so I won't be getting into Uber, but my brief encounter with it seemed pretty impressive.

  13. #13
    Junior Member Profileclimb's Avatar
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    I don't see how, a trip from Santa Clarita to the valley would cost $80, sorry a car is far cheaper.

  14. #14
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    There was a fun little blurb in the NYTimes today about car-share programs. One quote stuck out for me:
    “The whole point of price cuts is to get UberX pricing below the cost of owning a car,” Uber’s chief executive, Travis Kalanick, told me. “Let’s say you take three or four trips a day on average. If we can get the price of UberX low enough, we can get to where it’s cheaper to take Uber than to own a car.”
    This has implications for the battle between urban cyclists and the traffic planners who give over huge amounts of street space to parked cars, even if we don't see significant numbers of people go car free in response to these growing services.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/12/up...T.nav=top-news
    The Uber’s chief executive's quote about Uber as a practical alternative to car ownership only makes sense for people who live in the city, own a car and never use it for anything but short trips within the same city. For those people, taxis have always been a possible and practical alternative to car ownership. Uber competes almost exclusively with taxi service and the change in Uber pricing only will affect the competition with taxi service. The only parking that Uber and similar services might affect are taxi parking stands.

  15. #15
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    The Uber’s chief executive's quote about Uber as a practical alternative to car ownership only makes sense for people who live in the city, own a car and never use it for anything but short trips within the same city. For those people, taxis have always been a possible and practical alternative to car ownership. Uber competes almost exclusively with taxi service and the change in Uber pricing only will affect the competition with taxi service. The only parking that Uber and similar services might affect are taxi parking stands.
    True, except that there might be people who decide that they can be carfree because they have Uber as an alternative to owning and driving a private car. Taxis work well as an alternative, but they have some serious limitations--such as price, wait time, and availability. These limitations will supposedly be lessened by Uber.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  16. #16
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Profileclimb View Post
    I don't see how, a trip from Santa Clarita to the valley would cost $80, sorry a car is far cheaper.
    I have no idea how far that is. If the distance is great, you might be better served by a bus or train, for a lot less money. I dont think most carfree people rely on taxis or Uber for most of their transportation needs. But they can be a help in special circumstances.

    I once was unable to ride for a couple months due to a knee injury. During the day, I got along fine on buses and walking short distances. But at night the buses didn't run, and I was working until 11:30 PM. So I took cabs home from work for that period. A co-workder said that must be expensive. It was $11 a trip, and I worked about 20 times a month. So the monthly expense was $220. I asked my co-worker how that compared to her car expenses and she admitted that it was a lot less.

    BTW, if you owned a car ONLY for an occasional trip to the valley, a cab might be MUCH cheaper.


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  17. #17
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Some investment bankers recently valued Uber at 17 billion dollars based on its "disruption potential" in the transportation industry.

    http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/...th-17-billion/


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  18. #18
    Junior Member Profileclimb's Avatar
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    I really don't need a car as I run an online business, a car would be a luxury.

  19. #19
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    True, except that there might be people who decide that they can be carfree because they have Uber as an alternative to owning and driving a private car. Taxis work well as an alternative, but they have some serious limitations--such as price, wait time, and availability. These limitations will supposedly be lessened by Uber.
    True there may be some, but the total of people who will now make the switch from car ownership to without because of Uber availability/pricing can probably be counted on the Uber CEO's fingers and toes.

    I'd be curious how well served are the so-called "bad" areas of major metropolitan cities by Uber and other smartphone dependent services. Any better or worse than regulated taxi service?

  20. #20
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    True there may be some, but the total of people who will now make the switch from car ownership to without because of Uber availability/pricing can probably be counted on the Uber CEO's fingers and toes.

    I'd be curious how well served are the so-called "bad" areas of major metropolitan cities by Uber and other smartphone dependent services. Any better or worse than regulated taxi service?
    I never had trouble getting a cab in a bad area. Did you?


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  21. #21
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    Well, the greatest living economist has weighed in on this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Krugman
    Anyway: the big benefit from new IT-mediated car services will come if they make it possible for lots of people — and not just people in Manhattan — to live without owning their own cars. And if you think about it, you can see how that might work.
    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/201...gs&region=Body

    I believe he has a better track record at predicting how things will work out than certain curmudgeons who post hereabouts.

  22. #22
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    Well, the greatest living economist has weighed in on this.


    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/201...gs&region=Body

    I believe he has a better track record at predicting how things will work out than certain curmudgeons who post hereabouts.
    Sure he is free to "think about it" all he wants, as are you and I. Thinking about it is hardly what I would call a prediction of the future. Especially when the "thinking about it" includes an insight like, "could free many people from the need to tie up all those resources in a consumer durable that they only use now and then," as if that describes how the typical privately owned vehicle is used by those who live outside of Manhattan.

  23. #23
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    According to the NHTS, the average American drives 59.83 minutes on weekdays and 46.68 minutes on weekends. this means that their car is idle for more than 23 hours of every day. I think it's accurate to describe that as using the vehicle "only now and then."

    If cars were quickly and economically available on an hourly-rental basis, I predict that a lot of people would forego 24 hour ownwership of an expensive machine that they use for less than an hour a day.

    http://nhts.ornl.gov/2009/pub/stt.pdf (See Table 30)


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    According to the NHTS, the average American drives 59.83 minutes on weekdays and 46.68 minutes on weekends. this means that their car is idle for more than 23 hours of every day. I think it's accurate to describe that as using the vehicle "only now and then."

    If cars were quickly and economically available on an hourly-rental basis, I predict that a lot of people would forego 24 hour ownwership of an expensive machine that they use for less than an hour a day.

    http://nhts.ornl.gov/2009/pub/stt.pdf (See Table 30)
    If insurance companies would give out little electronic gps computers to keep track of where, when, and how far people drive, they could provide insurance coverage on a per-drive basis. That way people could factor the cost of insurance into the choice to drive somewhere and then choose to spend the money on a taxi, bus, their bike, etc. Probably insurance companies would rather avoid this because they make more money if they charge you for the whole month regardless of how much you drive (or not).

  25. #25
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    According to the NHTS, the average American drives 59.83 minutes on weekdays and 46.68 minutes on weekends. this means that their car is idle for more than 23 hours of every day. I think it's accurate to describe that as using the vehicle "only now and then."

    If cars were quickly and economically available on an hourly-rental basis, I predict that a lot of people would forego 24 hour ownwership of an expensive machine that they use for less than an hour a day.

    http://nhts.ornl.gov/2009/pub/stt.pdf (See Table 30)
    "Average American drives" x minutes/day is not the same metric as how much time and how many trips/day are made with a car per household. The "Average American drives" stats above are reduced by including people in households who neither drive or have access to their own motor vehicle.

    More relevant to the subject of "now and then" use of a motor vehicle, 7 days a week all year is found in Table 3.

    It should also be noted that every car trip in the NHTS survey, may require two taxi or Uber fares unless the passenger chooses to leave the meter running while working, shopping, or spending a day in the park. Let's not forget Uber's crafty use of "surge pricing" to add cost uncertainty to every trip.

    Also to be noted is that the survey was designed to collect only "daily" travel and exclude long distance travel in 2009. Therefore no data was captured for vacation use of a vehicle by anybody in the household.
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    Last edited by I-Like-To-Bike; 07-16-14 at 12:47 PM.

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