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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Uber

    There hasn't been much on this carfree forum about Uber, but it has been a major topic on tech websites and on other carfree sites.

    Uber itself, and other commenters, are talking aout Uber replacing taxis in many areas, and even having an impact on private car ownership. Some of Uber's tactics have been harshly criticized, but the company is valuated for more than 40 billion dollars. It operates in 266 cities in 53 countries. It serviced 140 million rides in 2014.

    I'm linking to an article in Slate that has a good recap of the past year in Uber's success--the good and the bad.

    Does anybody have opinions or experiences with Uber?

    Quote Originally Posted by Slate.com
    Uber and its peers—Lyft, Gett, Sidecar, and others—are attempting to fundamentally change transportation by replacing taxis and maybe even car ownership. The vision of Travis Kalanick, Uber’s colorful and often audacious CEO, goes even further. He sees Uber as the forerunner of a comprehensive on-demand economy, one in which the push of a smartphone button triggers the almost instantaneous arrival of any physical thing. “If we can get you a car in five minutes,” he has said, “we can get you anything in five minutes.” In 2014, Uber didn’t inch so much as leap and bound toward that goal.

    Uber spent 2014 expanding aggressively and pissing off just about everyone.


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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    There hasn't been much on this carfree forum about Uber, but it has been a major topic on tech websites and on other carfree sites.

    Uber itself, and other commenters, are talking aout Uber replacing taxis in many areas, and even having an impact on private car ownership. Some of Uber's tactics have been harshly criticized, but the company is valuated for more than 40 billion dollars. It operates in 266 cities in 53 countries. It serviced 140 million rides in 2014.

    I'm linking to an article in Slate that has a good recap of the past year in Uber's success--the good and the bad.

    Does anybody have opinions or experiences with Uber?




    Uber spent 2014 expanding aggressively and pissing off just about everyone.
    I heard on the radio this morning that they've been ordered to cease operations here in Spain. It seems they incurred the wrath of the taxi drivers, who wield a great deal of political clout because they've been known to go on strike, block traffic and cause havoc when they don't get what they want.

    I haven't used Uber, but my son and many of his friends use Blah Blah Car quite often for intercity travel.
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    Senior Member wolfchild's Avatar
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    Taxi industry in Toronto has declared a war on Uber. They seeking a court injunction against Uber...For me personally I would rather take a bus then use Uber.

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    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
    Taxi industry in Toronto has declared a war on Uber. They seeking a court injunction against Uber...For me personally I would rather take a bus then use Uber.
    Here are a few more options:

    5 Uber Alternatives For Your New Year's Eve Transportation Needs Because Uber is a Bunch of Dirtbags

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    We don't have Uber where I live, hell we barely have bus and taxi service.

    Hopefully one outtake from Uber will be improvement of the existing taxi services. Last time I needed a cab I had to call a dispatcher, who had to call me back to let me know if I could get a cab in the time frame I requested. I had allowed extra time for the BS, the cab was still 15 minutes late, had to stop for gas, and was left a lot to be desired. Much room for improvement. Maybe Uber and some of the other ride shares will be the catalyst for change.



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    winter wipeout kitty wipekitty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    We don't have Uber where I live, hell we barely have bus and taxi service.

    Hopefully one outtake from Uber will be improvement of the existing taxi services.
    Yes...this.

    Last time we needed a cab (to go 8 blocks from the hospital, because the hospital insists that you leave in a car after surgery), they called two companies. The one that came first was a hour late.

    Unfortunately, some of the areas served by our cabs (as well as the VA and County volunteer ride services) really don't have cell service, let alone a 2G or higher network needed to use the app. When a lot of the population base is rural, it makes things tough...
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    I'm guessing that resistance to Uber will reach its peak sometime before the end of the current union-friendly administration. Politics goes through cycles of pro-union and pro-market. Uber clearly poses a threat to organized taxi business so it will have to suffer through the various union tactics used against it for now and when the backlash comes in the form of a political shift of climate, the taxi business will end up getting hit back with the same tactics its using now against Uber.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    I'm guessing that resistance to Uber will reach its peak sometime before the end of the current union-friendly administration. Politics goes through cycles of pro-union and pro-market. Uber clearly poses a threat to organized taxi business so it will have to suffer through the various union tactics used against it for now and when the backlash comes in the form of a political shift of climate, the taxi business will end up getting hit back with the same tactics its using now against Uber.
    Unions don't have much to do with it. Sounds like this is a bete noire of yours and totally off topic.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Unions don't have much to do with it. Sounds like this is a bete noire of yours and totally off topic.
    I am talking about unionism as an approach to regulating market participation, whether it occurs through labor unions, trade unions, or just through everyday culture. As far as I know, no taxi 'union' has issued an organized statement of hostility toward Uber, yet somehow there is an organized effort to undermine it in every possible way. The signal that's being sent is, "don't compete with us or we'll retaliate," yet instead of saying so outright, the tactics are to wage war by any authority possible, including government and the media.

    I, personally, don't like ride-sharing in the way Uber is doing it. I think it could reduce traffic in some areas while promoting more traffic in others. I do think it's a natural marriage of social media and ride-sharing, though. I also think that the public, government, and media should be focussed on ironing out the problems with it instead of demonizing it and trying to intimidate people out of using it, either as passengers or as drivers. The idea of existing taxi businesses simply attacking ride-sharing until they kill it is very offensive and it would set a disturbing precedent for anti-progressivism at a time in history when new technologies and other innovations should be coming into fruition in economically viable ways.

    Still, in areas where the availability of ride-sharing stimulates increases in motor-traffic and parking, I would say government is right to limit its growth. Walking, cycling, and transit shouldn't be terrorized by an increase in auto traffic due to ride-sharing. But if ride-sharing can reduce the amount of auto-traffic and parking, however, why should vested taxi interests block that?
    Last edited by tandempower; 01-05-15 at 04:15 AM.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    I am talking about unionism as an approach to regulating market participation, whether it occurs through labor unions, trade unions, or just through everyday culture. As far as I know, no taxi 'union' has issued an organized statement of hostility toward Uber, yet somehow there is an organized effort to undermine it in every possible way. The signal that's being sent is, "don't compete with us or we'll retaliate," yet instead of saying so outright, the tactics are to wage war by any authority possible, including government and the media.

    I, personally, don't like ride-sharing in the way Uber is doing it. I think it could reduce traffic in some areas while promoting more traffic in others. I do think it's a natural marriage of social media and ride-sharing, though. I also think that the public, government, and media should be focussed on ironing out the problems with it instead of demonizing it and trying to intimidate people out of using it, either as passengers or as drivers. The idea of existing taxi businesses simply attacking ride-sharing until they kill it is very offensive and it would set a disturbing precedent for anti-progressivism at a time in history when new technologies and other innovations should be coming into fruition in economically viable ways.

    Still, in areas where the availability of ride-sharing stimulates increases in motor-traffic and parking, I would say government is right to limit its growth. Walking, cycling, and transit shouldn't be terrorized by an increase in auto traffic due to ride-sharing. But if ride-sharing can reduce the amount of auto-traffic and parking, however, why should vested taxi interests block that?
    You might be one of the very few who sees Uber as the good guy. Are you employed by them?


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    Senior Member ro-monster's Avatar
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    I think it's important to keep in mind that ridesharing is not necessarily synonymous with Uber. Ridesharing is an interesting use of technology that has some potential benefit to society as a whole. But the way Uber misuses that technology (not to mention their complete lack of ethics) is utterly appalling. I'm not even sure what they do could still be called ridesharing, since there's no sharing involved.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ro-monster View Post
    I think it's important to keep in mind that ridesharing is not necessarily synonymous with Uber. Ridesharing is an interesting use of technology that has some potential benefit to society as a whole. But the way Uber misuses that technology (not to mention their complete lack of ethics) is utterly appalling. I'm not even sure what they do could still be called ridesharing, since there's no sharing involved.
    I think that Uber's objective is to monopolize so-called ride sharing. They are using dirty tricks not only to put taxis out of business, but also other ride sharing apps like Lyft and others.

    Uber surge pricing: Federal regulation over taxis and car ride services.


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    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    You might be one of the very few who sees Uber as the good guy. Are you employed by them?
    Early investors and venture capitalist firms that have bought in early and hyped up the so-called valuation of Uber to $40B with the expectation of a giant IPO payday also are financial media cheerleaders and publicity flaks for Uber. I seriously doubt if tandempower fits that profile.

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    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ro-monster View Post
    I think it's important to keep in mind that ridesharing is not necessarily synonymous with Uber. Ridesharing is an interesting use of technology that has some potential benefit to society as a whole. But the way Uber misuses that technology (not to mention their complete lack of ethics) is utterly appalling. I'm not even sure what they do could still be called ridesharing, since there's no sharing involved.
    "Ridesharing" is a positive PC buzzword that Uber has misappropriated and falsly applied to its operations. There is nothing ridesharing in their current operation. They might as well describe their operation as "All Natural" too. Looks good in the media buzz.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    You might be one of the very few who sees Uber as the good guy. Are you employed by them?
    Good question, but no. I only know them through media and the ideas about ride sharing, networking technology, and supply/demand-driven pricing. I watch the media attacks on them critically, as I do when any person or institutional entity gets systematically demonized by media.

    I don't understand what alternative there is to surge pricing? If more people want to ride than to drive, how do you decide who gets a ride and who walks besides bidding?

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    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Does anybody have opinions or experiences with Uber?
    My son uses it occasionally. Particularly when cabs are unavailable( as they often are in this city).

    I'm curious how Uber can be more of a "bad guy" in a sector that sees taxi badges as much as $1 million.
    It’s all about supply and demand. The tailwind behind medallion inflation is a cap on taxi cab licenses. Even as the economy of New York City grew at a furious pace across three decades, the number of taxi plates stayed basically constant, despite wage growth and population growth and rising demands for cross-town transportation. As a result, their value rose tremendously.
    source: Why taxi medallions cost $1 million

    Is the taxi business in most cities mainly a monopoly? Shouldn't we root for "disruptive" technology like Uber and Lyft?

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    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    My son uses it occasionally. Particularly when cabs are unavailable( as they often are in this city).

    I'm curious how Uber can be more of a "bad guy" in a sector that sees taxi badges as much as $1 million.
    How much does a "taxi badge" cost in Des Moines or wherever it is that your son can't find a taxi?

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    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    How much does a "taxi badge" cost in Des Moines or wherever it is that your son can't find a taxi?
    I've been looking, but no data. Here's Chicago
    http://chicagodispatcher.com/clients...lionPrices.pdf

    I did find this little explanation of the business, complete with loads of spelling errors: http://www.license123.com/Businesses...dent-Taxi/Iowa

    In Iowa, taxis are among the most highly regulated local businesses. Cities not only license drivers, vehicles and taxi companies, but often control the market by create commoditized medallians or local franchises that restrict the entry of new taxi companies into their cities. Accordingly, anyone involved in the taxi business can expect some serious paperwork, fees and licensing processes.

  20. #20
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    My son uses it occasionally. Particularly when cabs are unavailable( as they often are in this city).

    I'm curious how Uber can be more of a "bad guy" in a sector that sees taxi badges as much as $1 million.

    source: Why taxi medallions cost $1 million

    Is the taxi business in most cities mainly a monopoly? Shouldn't we root for "disruptive" technology like Uber and Lyft?
    Yes, taxis are a near monopoly in many cities. But they are regulated by the government, which caps the amount they can charge and requires that drivers and vehicles both have minimum qualifications for safety, etc. One problem with the current setup is that taxi drivers have no incentives to provide for peak demand, so cabs can be hard to come by on New Years Eve, rainy days, etc. Uber wants to over come that by using surge pricing, so drivers are incentivized to work harder during times of peak demand.

    The big problem that I see with Uber is that it obviously wants to become a monopoly also. But a monopoly without regulation--which is a recipe for disaster.

    Good explanation of why Uber should be regulated: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_a..._services.html
    Last edited by Roody; 01-07-15 at 12:27 AM.


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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    "Ridesharing" is a positive PC buzzword that Uber has misappropriated and falsly applied to its operations. There is nothing ridesharing in their current operation. They might as well describe their operation as "All Natural" too. Looks good in the media buzz.
    I totaqlly agree. Uber started out as an app that matched private drivers with people who wanted rides. But it has become something much different.


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    Senior Member ro-monster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    I'm curious how Uber can be more of a "bad guy" in a sector that sees taxi badges as much as $1 million. Is the taxi business in most cities mainly a monopoly? Shouldn't we root for "disruptive" technology like Uber and Lyft?
    Disruptive technology is fine. I've used Sidecar once and found it very pleasant. My objection to Uber is based on their underhanded tactics and lack of any ethics whatsoever. This is a company whose leaders see nothing wrong with tracking the locations of their customers in real time and using that information to harm individuals. And just the other day our local paper featured this front-page headline: "Uber offers tips to prevent **** by its drivers." There's no excuse for telling customers it's up to them to prevent sexual assault by a hired driver.

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    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Just for shins and grins, I decided to get a fare quote via their website (not installing an app just to demo).

    I set the pick up location as the grocery store that is 3 blocks away in my 'burb and drop off as the TCC West campus. It decided that I really wanted the SE campus, that the best route was along the turnpike, and it would cost me $31-$42 for the Uber X or $55-$73 for the Uber XL service... When I gave it more precise info about the campus, I was informed that either my drop off or pick up location could not be found.

    TCC West is at 7505 W. 41st and ~11.6 miles from my designated pick up point. The SE campus is on the other side of Tulsa County at E. 81st S and HWY 169, is 19.1 miles along toll roads or 20.6 miles using the most direct, non-toll road route (though I could route it a little better with no backtracking....).
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    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    I do have a question for anyone who has (or knows of someone that has) used Uber (or similar): what does the interior smell like? I mean, I'm a non-smoker and though I used to be able tolerate the smell when I was younger, I find myself becoming increasing intolerant of the odor and these cars are essentially personal autos pressed into commercial service. The driver may not smoke while they have a fare in the car, but most smokers that I know of don't really notice how pervasive that odor lingers.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
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    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    I do have a question for anyone who has (or knows of someone that has) used Uber (or similar): what does the interior smell like? I mean, I'm a non-smoker and though I used to be able tolerate the smell when I was younger, I find myself becoming increasing intolerant of the odor and these cars are essentially personal autos pressed into commercial service. The driver may not smoke while they have a fare in the car, but most smokers that I know of don't really notice how pervasive that odor lingers.
    Are there ANY standards for the personal autos (or drivers) in the Uber universe?

    I think the Uber management response to any call for compliance with local safety regulations on Uber services is a resounding Fooey on You!!

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