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[Uber]: Disrupting Livery Service (And Ethics)

1246768

Posts

  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Irond Will wrote: »
    syndalis wrote: »
    Since I know it's coming: Surge Pricing! Evil capitalist ploy? or Revolutionary free market golden child?

    I'm on the side of surge pricing being dangerous and exploitative After about 3x.

    I think Uber has a responsibility to the safety of their passengers and drivers to not try and entice drivers onto the road during a snowstorm with 7x or 8x pricing, and in turn passengers in need of a ride shouldn't be bent over a barrel at rates like that just because uber can.

    I would rather there be no cars on the road then that.

    i hadn't really thought about it that way. i guess i'd be supportive of straight-up blackouts if safety is a concern.

    in general, though, the idea that high multiples would incent more taxis at scarce times/ locations is IMO an elegant solution to the problem.

    I'm not familiar with the internal rules that Uber drivers follow; are they somehow required to be on the road by the company or is it just money/rating incentives?

    Like, if a person wants to make bank by taking a risky job, I don't feel like it's my place to tell him that he can't. Accepting some risk of bodily harm is something that should go into what a person makes.

    If there's a cap on surge pricing related to safety it means that there are fewer options available to people who may legit need transportation (maybe transport is safer than no transport?) AND there are fewer options available to people who need money.

    That assumes that the surge pricing has an effect on the number of drivers on the road past a certain point.

    how do you figure?

    keeping surge pricing available puts an incentive in place and keeps the option available, for the drivers (to offer their services) and to the passengers second (if the drivers are given incentive to make themselves available)

    capping surge pricing takes that incentive away

    If you say surge pricing means fewer available options, you are contending that surge pricing has a monotonically increasing effect on supply.

    I don't find this compelling. At some point, you run of people willing, able and prepared to be drivers. And I would bet that happens at alot lower values of pricing then the highs of surge pricing. You are talking about a business opportunity that comes and goes real damn fast. Essentially, there is a hard or at least very rigid cap on the available supply of drivers. Supply moves too slowly here to respond to surge pricing on a continuous basis. Likely the only effect of surge pricing past a low threshold is to reallocate the supply of drivers towards people willing/able to pay more.

    Hell, surge pricing likely almost exclusively comes into play after that point since it's a result of a limited supply of drivers dealing with a large amount of customers.

    The idea is surge pricing occurs in pockets which attract more drivers due to higher fares. Even if bad weather affects the entire island of manhattan there are likely to be hotspots.

    So basically you are diverting supply from one area to another? That would certainly raise the roof on the effectiveness of surge pricing.

    Though it does nothing for the safety argument.

    I was responding to IrondWill's response to syndalis, who said: "Uber has a responsibility to the safety of their passengers and drivers to not try and entice drivers onto the road during a snowstorm with 7x or 8x pricing, and in turn passengers in need of a ride shouldn't be bent over a barrel at rates like that just because uber can."

    I was suggesting that perhaps drivers and passengers should be able to make that choice for themselves rather than eliminate that enticement and that choice.

    Like, maybe you have a point, but that applies to the point I was addressing.

    Right, but part of your argument was that "If there's a cap on surge pricing related to safety it means that there are fewer options available to people who may legit need transportation". To which I pointed out that this only happens if the cap is low enough that it actually effects the number of vehicles available. And then pointed out reasons why surge price's ability to put more options on the road is rather limited. Which means any negative effects of a cap you mention are equally limited. Because a surge pricing cap set above the level where you max out the supply of drivers will have no effect on the supply of drivers.

    And this all becomes especially relevant with bad weather issues since bad weather tends to cover a rather large area and so moving services from one area to another is just shuffling the options around not adding new ones.

    the premise I was arguing under was explicitly that the cap was low enough to affect the number of vehicles available; maybe the cap wouldn't be that low, in that case the stated purpose of the cap isn't being met

    in regards to "just shuffling the options around", moving scarce resources to areas with high demand is adding new options to areas that previously were underserved; there's also the incentive of surge pricing getting drivers out who would otherwise stay inside

    2ezikn6.jpg
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Irond Will wrote: »
    syndalis wrote: »
    Since I know it's coming: Surge Pricing! Evil capitalist ploy? or Revolutionary free market golden child?

    I'm on the side of surge pricing being dangerous and exploitative After about 3x.

    I think Uber has a responsibility to the safety of their passengers and drivers to not try and entice drivers onto the road during a snowstorm with 7x or 8x pricing, and in turn passengers in need of a ride shouldn't be bent over a barrel at rates like that just because uber can.

    I would rather there be no cars on the road then that.

    i hadn't really thought about it that way. i guess i'd be supportive of straight-up blackouts if safety is a concern.

    in general, though, the idea that high multiples would incent more taxis at scarce times/ locations is IMO an elegant solution to the problem.

    I'm not familiar with the internal rules that Uber drivers follow; are they somehow required to be on the road by the company or is it just money/rating incentives?

    Like, if a person wants to make bank by taking a risky job, I don't feel like it's my place to tell him that he can't. Accepting some risk of bodily harm is something that should go into what a person makes.

    If there's a cap on surge pricing related to safety it means that there are fewer options available to people who may legit need transportation (maybe transport is safer than no transport?) AND there are fewer options available to people who need money.

    That assumes that the surge pricing has an effect on the number of drivers on the road past a certain point.

    how do you figure?

    keeping surge pricing available puts an incentive in place and keeps the option available, for the drivers (to offer their services) and to the passengers second (if the drivers are given incentive to make themselves available)

    capping surge pricing takes that incentive away

    If you say surge pricing means fewer available options, you are contending that surge pricing has a monotonically increasing effect on supply.

    I don't find this compelling. At some point, you run of people willing, able and prepared to be drivers. And I would bet that happens at alot lower values of pricing then the highs of surge pricing. You are talking about a business opportunity that comes and goes real damn fast. Essentially, there is a hard or at least very rigid cap on the available supply of drivers. Supply moves too slowly here to respond to surge pricing on a continuous basis. Likely the only effect of surge pricing past a low threshold is to reallocate the supply of drivers towards people willing/able to pay more.

    Hell, surge pricing likely almost exclusively comes into play after that point since it's a result of a limited supply of drivers dealing with a large amount of customers.

    Well, in the current regulatory framework, there shouldn't be a rigid cap. People should say, "Hey, I mad X dollars due to surge pricing for 10 minutes work!" and their buddy will say, "Damn, I wouldn't mind doing that." and then the magic of supply and demand works.

    Except it doesn't work that simply because that makes alot of assumptions about people's ability to do that work, their desire to do it and their even knowing it's possible. And all within a small time frame.

    These all do a huge job of dampening any effects of "the magic of supply and demand". In the short term, shit don't work like that.

    I think those alot of assumptions are mostly pretty reasonable; is there some kind of prolonged activation time for existing Uber drivers before they start a drive that would make it impractical for them to (a) identify an event that would increase surge pricing and (b) decide to serve at that time when they otherwise wouldn't given said pricing?

    it also gives an incentive to stay on the road longer than otherwise

    2ezikn6.jpg
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Irond Will wrote: »
    syndalis wrote: »
    Since I know it's coming: Surge Pricing! Evil capitalist ploy? or Revolutionary free market golden child?

    I'm on the side of surge pricing being dangerous and exploitative After about 3x.

    I think Uber has a responsibility to the safety of their passengers and drivers to not try and entice drivers onto the road during a snowstorm with 7x or 8x pricing, and in turn passengers in need of a ride shouldn't be bent over a barrel at rates like that just because uber can.

    I would rather there be no cars on the road then that.

    i hadn't really thought about it that way. i guess i'd be supportive of straight-up blackouts if safety is a concern.

    in general, though, the idea that high multiples would incent more taxis at scarce times/ locations is IMO an elegant solution to the problem.

    I'm not familiar with the internal rules that Uber drivers follow; are they somehow required to be on the road by the company or is it just money/rating incentives?

    Like, if a person wants to make bank by taking a risky job, I don't feel like it's my place to tell him that he can't. Accepting some risk of bodily harm is something that should go into what a person makes.

    If there's a cap on surge pricing related to safety it means that there are fewer options available to people who may legit need transportation (maybe transport is safer than no transport?) AND there are fewer options available to people who need money.

    That assumes that the surge pricing has an effect on the number of drivers on the road past a certain point.

    how do you figure?

    keeping surge pricing available puts an incentive in place and keeps the option available, for the drivers (to offer their services) and to the passengers second (if the drivers are given incentive to make themselves available)

    capping surge pricing takes that incentive away

    If you say surge pricing means fewer available options, you are contending that surge pricing has a monotonically increasing effect on supply.

    I don't find this compelling. At some point, you run of people willing, able and prepared to be drivers. And I would bet that happens at alot lower values of pricing then the highs of surge pricing. You are talking about a business opportunity that comes and goes real damn fast. Essentially, there is a hard or at least very rigid cap on the available supply of drivers. Supply moves too slowly here to respond to surge pricing on a continuous basis. Likely the only effect of surge pricing past a low threshold is to reallocate the supply of drivers towards people willing/able to pay more.

    Hell, surge pricing likely almost exclusively comes into play after that point since it's a result of a limited supply of drivers dealing with a large amount of customers.

    The idea is surge pricing occurs in pockets which attract more drivers due to higher fares. Even if bad weather affects the entire island of manhattan there are likely to be hotspots.

    So basically you are diverting supply from one area to another? That would certainly raise the roof on the effectiveness of surge pricing.

    Though it does nothing for the safety argument.

    I was responding to IrondWill's response to syndalis, who said: "Uber has a responsibility to the safety of their passengers and drivers to not try and entice drivers onto the road during a snowstorm with 7x or 8x pricing, and in turn passengers in need of a ride shouldn't be bent over a barrel at rates like that just because uber can."

    I was suggesting that perhaps drivers and passengers should be able to make that choice for themselves rather than eliminate that enticement and that choice.

    Like, maybe you have a point, but that applies to the point I was addressing.

    Right, but part of your argument was that "If there's a cap on surge pricing related to safety it means that there are fewer options available to people who may legit need transportation". To which I pointed out that this only happens if the cap is low enough that it actually effects the number of vehicles available. And then pointed out reasons why surge price's ability to put more options on the road is rather limited. Which means any negative effects of a cap you mention are equally limited. Because a surge pricing cap set above the level where you max out the supply of drivers will have no effect on the supply of drivers.

    And this all becomes especially relevant with bad weather issues since bad weather tends to cover a rather large area and so moving services from one area to another is just shuffling the options around not adding new ones.

    the premise I was arguing under was explicitly that the cap was low enough to affect the number of vehicles available; maybe the cap wouldn't be that low, in that case the stated purpose of the cap isn't being met

    How isn't it? If the supply issue isn't in play, then it's just removing the preference towards people with higher incomes.

    in regards to "just shuffling the options around", moving scarce resources to areas with high demand is adding new options to areas that previously were underserved; there's also the incentive of surge pricing getting drivers out who would otherwise stay inside

    But it's not. It's likely just moving scarce resources from one area with high demand to another. The weather example being used would be, after all, a phenomenon that effects all of New York, not just lower Manhattan.

    I think those alot of assumptions are mostly pretty reasonable; is there some kind of prolonged activation time for existing Uber drivers before they start a drive that would make it impractical for them to (a) identify an event that would increase surge pricing and (b) decide to serve at that time when they otherwise wouldn't given said pricing?

    it also gives an incentive to stay on the road longer than otherwise

    That again assumes those drivers even exist. There simply isn't the ability for the supply to ramp up that quickly in the short term.

    This sort of thing is a part of any standard supply/demand model after all. Things only balance out in the long term. Surge pricing is, by definition, not the long term.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited November 2014
    shryke wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Irond Will wrote: »
    syndalis wrote: »
    Since I know it's coming: Surge Pricing! Evil capitalist ploy? or Revolutionary free market golden child?

    I'm on the side of surge pricing being dangerous and exploitative After about 3x.

    I think Uber has a responsibility to the safety of their passengers and drivers to not try and entice drivers onto the road during a snowstorm with 7x or 8x pricing, and in turn passengers in need of a ride shouldn't be bent over a barrel at rates like that just because uber can.

    I would rather there be no cars on the road then that.

    i hadn't really thought about it that way. i guess i'd be supportive of straight-up blackouts if safety is a concern.

    in general, though, the idea that high multiples would incent more taxis at scarce times/ locations is IMO an elegant solution to the problem.

    I'm not familiar with the internal rules that Uber drivers follow; are they somehow required to be on the road by the company or is it just money/rating incentives?

    Like, if a person wants to make bank by taking a risky job, I don't feel like it's my place to tell him that he can't. Accepting some risk of bodily harm is something that should go into what a person makes.

    If there's a cap on surge pricing related to safety it means that there are fewer options available to people who may legit need transportation (maybe transport is safer than no transport?) AND there are fewer options available to people who need money.

    That assumes that the surge pricing has an effect on the number of drivers on the road past a certain point.

    how do you figure?

    keeping surge pricing available puts an incentive in place and keeps the option available, for the drivers (to offer their services) and to the passengers second (if the drivers are given incentive to make themselves available)

    capping surge pricing takes that incentive away

    If you say surge pricing means fewer available options, you are contending that surge pricing has a monotonically increasing effect on supply.

    I don't find this compelling. At some point, you run of people willing, able and prepared to be drivers. And I would bet that happens at alot lower values of pricing then the highs of surge pricing. You are talking about a business opportunity that comes and goes real damn fast. Essentially, there is a hard or at least very rigid cap on the available supply of drivers. Supply moves too slowly here to respond to surge pricing on a continuous basis. Likely the only effect of surge pricing past a low threshold is to reallocate the supply of drivers towards people willing/able to pay more.

    Hell, surge pricing likely almost exclusively comes into play after that point since it's a result of a limited supply of drivers dealing with a large amount of customers.

    Well, in the current regulatory framework, there shouldn't be a rigid cap. People should say, "Hey, I mad X dollars due to surge pricing for 10 minutes work!" and their buddy will say, "Damn, I wouldn't mind doing that." and then the magic of supply and demand works.

    Except it doesn't work that simply because that makes alot of assumptions about people's ability to do that work, their desire to do it and their even knowing it's possible. And all within a small time frame.

    These all do a huge job of dampening any effects of "the magic of supply and demand". In the short term, shit don't work like that.

    Surge pricing obviously doesn't create drivers from clay, but it does two things:
    a. as the average expected earnings and the marketing friendly, "I made a bajillion dollars in 30 minutes!" goes up, more people will become drivers long term.
    b. in the short term, it will make some drivers decide to do "one more ride."

    They are also uniquely positioned in that their business model assumes people can be "at work" after receiving a text message quite quickly, so it's not like surge pricing for male lead understudies of Romeo and Juliet productions with original Shakespearean pronunciations, which even if you have someone willing and able to do that, they need more than 5 minutes notice.

    The effect of the first are limited by the amount of times that actually happens though. And the second is what I'm talking about. Specially, I'm saying it's a limited effect.

    Like, I'm not saying surge pricing doesn't have any effect. I'm saying the effect is limited and especially really limited in the short term.

    Which means the effects of higher multipliers in surge pricing are mostly to make more money and to dump all the poorer people off the bottom end of the service, with no real effect on supply. As such a cap on surge pricing would have no or negligible ill effects on the supply of drivers.

    Plus, if you have 10 drivers and 100 passengers, well, you need some way to pick which 10 you pickup, and surge pricing is a good method in some respects

    In some respects. And a bad one in other respects.

    I'd argue it's the best, with my general strong caveats about pricing regulating scarcity when income inequality is too high.

    How is it the best? What's wrong with first-come/first-serve?

    shryke on
  • jmcdonaldjmcdonald I voted, did you? DC(ish)Registered User regular
    edited November 2014
    Thorn413 wrote: »
    I don't really have any comment on the bigger picture, but I'd still like to share my experience.

    So I was actually a Lyft driver for a few months a bit ago. The work itself was actually pretty okay, drove around a lot of college kids for the most part, but I stopped doing it because the whole insurance situation turned out to be god damned terrifying.

    During my interview I asked my mentor about the insurance situation and was informed that I did not have to worry or even inform my insurance about what I was doing, whenever I was driving for Lyft I would be protected under their insurance. Eventually I started reading a bit about Lyft's insurance and discovered some interesting things about it: like the fact that there was a $2,000 on it at the time, or that it only applies when you actually have passengers in the car (not when you are waiting for a request or heading to pick them up), or that if almost any car insurance company discovers that you are driving for the service they will drop you in a heartbeat which can leave you with no insurance whatsoever in the aftermath of an incident if you do something like tell the police that you are a Lyft/Uber driver after an accident.

    I e-mailed Lyft about this and, after several attempts over several weeks, received a canned e-mail about how in their view it wasn't their place to get involved with a driver and their personal insurance. I posted the situation and the e-mail on the local Lyft Facebook page and was pretty shocked to discover that basically no one had any idea that they could be dropped from their insurance, and even had 2 replies from people who had incidents where they were dropped from their insurance instantly and Lyft's insurance wouldn't cover whatever the incident was.

    I don't know about other Rideshare companies, but Lyft did an abysmal job of letting their drivers know what they are getting themselves into.

    General rule of thumb - personal auto covers you and your occupants while using your vehicle for personal use.

    Uber, Lyft, etc... by their very nature are not personal use as there is compensation (covert or overt) involved. Even if there is no occupant if the driver is "active" or whatever the terminology is that driver is well and truly fucked if something were to happen.

    TLDR - personal insurance doesn't cover business use

    jmcdonald on
    shryke wrote: »
    ...Barack "charisma isn't a dump stat, nerds" Obama...
    Juliusshryke
  • JuliusJulius Registered User regular
    jmcdonald wrote: »
    Thorn413 wrote: »
    I don't really have any comment on the bigger picture, but I'd still like to share my experience.

    So I was actually a Lyft driver for a few months a bit ago. The work itself was actually pretty okay, drove around a lot of college kids for the most part, but I stopped doing it because the whole insurance situation turned out to be god damned terrifying.

    During my interview I asked my mentor about the insurance situation and was informed that I did not have to worry or even inform my insurance about what I was doing, whenever I was driving for Lyft I would be protected under their insurance. Eventually I started reading a bit about Lyft's insurance and discovered some interesting things about it: like the fact that there was a $2,000 on it at the time, or that it only applies when you actually have passengers in the car (not when you are waiting for a request or heading to pick them up), or that if almost any car insurance company discovers that you are driving for the service they will drop you in a heartbeat which can leave you with no insurance whatsoever in the aftermath of an incident if you do something like tell the police that you are a Lyft/Uber driver after an accident.

    I e-mailed Lyft about this and, after several attempts over several weeks, received a canned e-mail about how in their view it wasn't their place to get involved with a driver and their personal insurance. I posted the situation and the e-mail on the local Lyft Facebook page and was pretty shocked to discover that basically no one had any idea that they could be dropped from their insurance, and even had 2 replies from people who had incidents where they were dropped from their insurance instantly and Lyft's insurance wouldn't cover whatever the incident was.

    I don't know about other Rideshare companies, but Lyft did an abysmal job of letting their drivers know what they are getting themselves into.

    General rule of thumb - personal auto covers you and your occupants while using your vehicle for personal use.

    Uber, Lyft, etc... by their very nature are not personal use as there is compensation (covert or overt) involved. Even if there is no occupant if the driver is "active" or whatever the terminology is that driver is well and truly fucked if something were to happen.

    TLDR - personal insurance doesn't cover business use

    Which is why I don't understand why anyone would use these services. You aren't covered as a passenger either so you are fucked if something happens too.

  • jmcdonaldjmcdonald I voted, did you? DC(ish)Registered User regular
    Julius wrote: »
    jmcdonald wrote: »
    Thorn413 wrote: »
    I don't really have any comment on the bigger picture, but I'd still like to share my experience.

    So I was actually a Lyft driver for a few months a bit ago. The work itself was actually pretty okay, drove around a lot of college kids for the most part, but I stopped doing it because the whole insurance situation turned out to be god damned terrifying.

    During my interview I asked my mentor about the insurance situation and was informed that I did not have to worry or even inform my insurance about what I was doing, whenever I was driving for Lyft I would be protected under their insurance. Eventually I started reading a bit about Lyft's insurance and discovered some interesting things about it: like the fact that there was a $2,000 on it at the time, or that it only applies when you actually have passengers in the car (not when you are waiting for a request or heading to pick them up), or that if almost any car insurance company discovers that you are driving for the service they will drop you in a heartbeat which can leave you with no insurance whatsoever in the aftermath of an incident if you do something like tell the police that you are a Lyft/Uber driver after an accident.

    I e-mailed Lyft about this and, after several attempts over several weeks, received a canned e-mail about how in their view it wasn't their place to get involved with a driver and their personal insurance. I posted the situation and the e-mail on the local Lyft Facebook page and was pretty shocked to discover that basically no one had any idea that they could be dropped from their insurance, and even had 2 replies from people who had incidents where they were dropped from their insurance instantly and Lyft's insurance wouldn't cover whatever the incident was.

    I don't know about other Rideshare companies, but Lyft did an abysmal job of letting their drivers know what they are getting themselves into.

    General rule of thumb - personal auto covers you and your occupants while using your vehicle for personal use.

    Uber, Lyft, etc... by their very nature are not personal use as there is compensation (covert or overt) involved. Even if there is no occupant if the driver is "active" or whatever the terminology is that driver is well and truly fucked if something were to happen.

    TLDR - personal insurance doesn't cover business use

    Which is why I don't understand why anyone would use these services. You aren't covered as a passenger either so you are fucked if something happens too.

    Depending on the state this may or may not be true (assuming the passenger has personal coverage of their own, or potentially household coverage through a relative).

    But yeah - it's not a risk I would take (and I know insurance, and I'm insured to the gills).

    shryke wrote: »
    ...Barack "charisma isn't a dump stat, nerds" Obama...
  • DeebaserDeebaser on my way to work in a suit and a tie Ahhhh...come on fucking guyRegistered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    Plus, if you have 10 drivers and 100 passengers, well, you need some way to pick which 10 you pickup, and surge pricing is a good method in some respects

    In some respects. And a bad one in other respects.

    I'd argue it's the best, with my general strong caveats about pricing regulating scarcity when income inequality is too high.

    How is it the best? What's wrong with first-come/first-serve?

    Because that puts fewer cars on the road and leads to more people competing for regular taxis.
    If people are willing to pay 5x for convenience, let them get their rides and the driver's collect phat stacks from the fare.

    YOLO. Swag. Whatever. Fuck it. Lets do this.
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Irond Will wrote: »
    syndalis wrote: »
    Since I know it's coming: Surge Pricing! Evil capitalist ploy? or Revolutionary free market golden child?

    I'm on the side of surge pricing being dangerous and exploitative After about 3x.

    I think Uber has a responsibility to the safety of their passengers and drivers to not try and entice drivers onto the road during a snowstorm with 7x or 8x pricing, and in turn passengers in need of a ride shouldn't be bent over a barrel at rates like that just because uber can.

    I would rather there be no cars on the road then that.

    i hadn't really thought about it that way. i guess i'd be supportive of straight-up blackouts if safety is a concern.

    in general, though, the idea that high multiples would incent more taxis at scarce times/ locations is IMO an elegant solution to the problem.

    I'm not familiar with the internal rules that Uber drivers follow; are they somehow required to be on the road by the company or is it just money/rating incentives?

    Like, if a person wants to make bank by taking a risky job, I don't feel like it's my place to tell him that he can't. Accepting some risk of bodily harm is something that should go into what a person makes.

    If there's a cap on surge pricing related to safety it means that there are fewer options available to people who may legit need transportation (maybe transport is safer than no transport?) AND there are fewer options available to people who need money.

    That assumes that the surge pricing has an effect on the number of drivers on the road past a certain point.

    how do you figure?

    keeping surge pricing available puts an incentive in place and keeps the option available, for the drivers (to offer their services) and to the passengers second (if the drivers are given incentive to make themselves available)

    capping surge pricing takes that incentive away

    If you say surge pricing means fewer available options, you are contending that surge pricing has a monotonically increasing effect on supply.

    I don't find this compelling. At some point, you run of people willing, able and prepared to be drivers. And I would bet that happens at alot lower values of pricing then the highs of surge pricing. You are talking about a business opportunity that comes and goes real damn fast. Essentially, there is a hard or at least very rigid cap on the available supply of drivers. Supply moves too slowly here to respond to surge pricing on a continuous basis. Likely the only effect of surge pricing past a low threshold is to reallocate the supply of drivers towards people willing/able to pay more.

    Hell, surge pricing likely almost exclusively comes into play after that point since it's a result of a limited supply of drivers dealing with a large amount of customers.

    The idea is surge pricing occurs in pockets which attract more drivers due to higher fares. Even if bad weather affects the entire island of manhattan there are likely to be hotspots.

    So basically you are diverting supply from one area to another? That would certainly raise the roof on the effectiveness of surge pricing.

    Though it does nothing for the safety argument.

    I was responding to IrondWill's response to syndalis, who said: "Uber has a responsibility to the safety of their passengers and drivers to not try and entice drivers onto the road during a snowstorm with 7x or 8x pricing, and in turn passengers in need of a ride shouldn't be bent over a barrel at rates like that just because uber can."

    I was suggesting that perhaps drivers and passengers should be able to make that choice for themselves rather than eliminate that enticement and that choice.

    Like, maybe you have a point, but that applies to the point I was addressing.

    Right, but part of your argument was that "If there's a cap on surge pricing related to safety it means that there are fewer options available to people who may legit need transportation". To which I pointed out that this only happens if the cap is low enough that it actually effects the number of vehicles available. And then pointed out reasons why surge price's ability to put more options on the road is rather limited. Which means any negative effects of a cap you mention are equally limited. Because a surge pricing cap set above the level where you max out the supply of drivers will have no effect on the supply of drivers.

    And this all becomes especially relevant with bad weather issues since bad weather tends to cover a rather large area and so moving services from one area to another is just shuffling the options around not adding new ones.

    the premise I was arguing under was explicitly that the cap was low enough to affect the number of vehicles available; maybe the cap wouldn't be that low, in that case the stated purpose of the cap isn't being met

    How isn't it? If the supply issue isn't in play, then it's just removing the preference towards people with higher incomes.
    in regards to "just shuffling the options around", moving scarce resources to areas with high demand is adding new options to areas that previously were underserved; there's also the incentive of surge pricing getting drivers out who would otherwise stay inside

    But it's not. It's likely just moving scarce resources from one area with high demand to another. The weather example being used would be, after all, a phenomenon that effects all of New York, not just lower Manhattan.
    I think those alot of assumptions are mostly pretty reasonable; is there some kind of prolonged activation time for existing Uber drivers before they start a drive that would make it impractical for them to (a) identify an event that would increase surge pricing and (b) decide to serve at that time when they otherwise wouldn't given said pricing?

    it also gives an incentive to stay on the road longer than otherwise

    That again assumes those drivers even exist. There simply isn't the ability for the supply to ramp up that quickly in the short term.

    This sort of thing is a part of any standard supply/demand model after all. Things only balance out in the long term. Surge pricing is, by definition, not the long term.

    1) the purpose of the cap in question was explicitly to affect the number of vehicles available; you're proposing that the cap not be so low, explicitly going against the proposed purpose of the cap

    2) are you presuming that all areas are equally underserved? It may be that people clump together, or that city services are particularly inadequate in one particular area, that flooding happens in one area and not others, etc

    3) the prospecting of collecting on surge pricing is one thing that would give incentive for those drivers to even sign up at all; it's definitely long term

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    Geth
  • VorpalVorpal Registered User regular
    The argument that implementing price caps has no negative impact on supply has a long and rich history of being spectacularly wrong.

    I think uber and lyft model represent exactly the kind of technologically savvy, environmentally friendly innovations we ought to support. Surge pricing is an important part of how their flexible model works. However, having to pay more for something scarce relative to demand always rubs people the wrong way. In practice, there is not much difference between this and movie theatre matinee pricing. They were dumb to cast it as a price increase during peak hours rather than a decrease during non peak hours. People react violently to the former but are totally accepting of the latter.

    Now Uber specifically seems to be full of unethical jerks with every week providing a new shocking revelation. Attempting to destroy the private life of a reporter because she or he is critical of your outfit is despicable. These companies are not very heavily regulated we really need reporters carefully scrutinizing these guys. I don't recommend people use Uber, though I think the model has promised. The Taxi companies want to destroy them of course, as they represent an existential threat to the taxi industry and people tend to dislike innovation that directly threatens their livelihood. Hard to blame them.

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  • Knight_Knight_ Dead Dead Dead Registered User regular
    The real reason people continue to use Uber even though it's clearly a libertarian hellscape of a company that gives no shits about law or ethics is because it's easy and cheap and damn the consequences.

    We live in a country where Walmart has probably a million people working there below the poverty line, and Amazon has their vast shipping infrastructure run by "contractors" that pay hilarious wages in almost illegal conditions. And I can't even imagine how many things are purchased at both of those places every day.

    People do not care.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Knight_ wrote: »
    The real reason people continue to use Uber even though it's clearly a libertarian hellscape of a company that gives no shits about law or ethics is because it's easy and cheap and damn the consequences.

    We live in a country where Walmart has probably a million people working there below the poverty line, and Amazon has their vast shipping infrastructure run by "contractors" that pay hilarious wages in almost illegal conditions. And I can't even imagine how many things are purchased at both of those places every day.

    People do not care.

    Bull fucking shit.

    People use Uber because as a service it is fucking amazing. AND it happens to be cheap.

    I'd happily pay more if it would address some of the issues. But the worst uber experience I've had in terms of car or driver still beats the shit out of the BEST taxi ride I've ever experienced. And I've done a fair amount of both.

    Walmart built a business selling shitty products for cheap. Uber, as of now, sells a spectacular product cheap. I'm curious which will win out when regulation and price pressure force them to decide which is the priority (price or quality).

  • LadyGreeperLadyGreeper Registered User regular
    Not debating any substantive point, but:

    Hey Uber thread, I finished my beastly Uber law review article tonight. Thank you all for your awesome debate on the topic, you guys shook me out of the rut I was in and gave me the gusto to crank out the last few of the 38 pages it's at currently. Now excuse me while I NEVER THINK ABOUT UBER EVER AGAIN.

    Just kidding, I think I just need a glass of wine. You can expect me to geek out again in about 24 hours. And if I get published it might be the first time in history a Penny Arcade forum appears on a law journal's acknowledgement page. ;)

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  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    jmcdonald wrote: »
    Thorn413 wrote: »
    I don't really have any comment on the bigger picture, but I'd still like to share my experience.

    So I was actually a Lyft driver for a few months a bit ago. The work itself was actually pretty okay, drove around a lot of college kids for the most part, but I stopped doing it because the whole insurance situation turned out to be god damned terrifying.

    During my interview I asked my mentor about the insurance situation and was informed that I did not have to worry or even inform my insurance about what I was doing, whenever I was driving for Lyft I would be protected under their insurance. Eventually I started reading a bit about Lyft's insurance and discovered some interesting things about it: like the fact that there was a $2,000 on it at the time, or that it only applies when you actually have passengers in the car (not when you are waiting for a request or heading to pick them up), or that if almost any car insurance company discovers that you are driving for the service they will drop you in a heartbeat which can leave you with no insurance whatsoever in the aftermath of an incident if you do something like tell the police that you are a Lyft/Uber driver after an accident.

    I e-mailed Lyft about this and, after several attempts over several weeks, received a canned e-mail about how in their view it wasn't their place to get involved with a driver and their personal insurance. I posted the situation and the e-mail on the local Lyft Facebook page and was pretty shocked to discover that basically no one had any idea that they could be dropped from their insurance, and even had 2 replies from people who had incidents where they were dropped from their insurance instantly and Lyft's insurance wouldn't cover whatever the incident was.

    I don't know about other Rideshare companies, but Lyft did an abysmal job of letting their drivers know what they are getting themselves into.

    General rule of thumb - personal auto covers you and your occupants while using your vehicle for personal use.

    Uber, Lyft, etc... by their very nature are not personal use as there is compensation (covert or overt) involved. Even if there is no occupant if the driver is "active" or whatever the terminology is that driver is well and truly fucked if something were to happen.

    TLDR - personal insurance doesn't cover business use

    Fwiw (I work for a commercial insurer) there is a general climate of wariness in the insurance world about ride share services. Certainly the company I work for won't touch them, and won't offer insurance to drivers working outside the usual private hire arangements.

    This actually has little to do with the services per se, and more to do with the fact that dealing with private hire drivers generally is a colossal pain in the arse. Actual taxis are generally better, but private hire as an industry is rife with low level fraud and is a common set up for money laundering, because it's a relatively cheap and efficient way to plausibly explain how you came to be in possession of this large quantity of mixed denomination currency.

    Uber drivers, in the period we wrote policies for them, are ten times worse. Conventional private hire firms at least have a controller that will, generally, keep on top of whether or not their drivers are operating legally and pull their radio access (denying them jobs) if not. This isn't universal, but tends to be the case for most established private hire firms.

    Uber seems to have no desire to take any such role, and the experience we had of a few months of a relatively small number of drivers was enough for my employer to refuse to underwrite any further cover. Admittedly, this was at the beginning of the period when uber started operating in the UK, so they by definition got a flood of new drivers who couldn't find a private hire firm that would allow them on their network. I'm not sure if that's likely to have changed.

  • TraceTrace GNU Terry Pratchett; GNU Gus; GNU Carrie Fisher; GNU Adam We Registered User regular
    http://money.cnn.com/2014/11/19/news/companies/uber-al-franken/index.html?iid=HP_LN&hpt=hp_t2
    Uber's apology over an executive's comments theorizing about launching a smear campaign against journalists wasn't enough for Sen. Al Franken.

    The Democrat from Minnesota went after the company Wednesday in a letter pressing the CEO to explain its privacy policies.

    Sen. Franken said the recent comments suggested a "troubling disregard for customers' privacy, including the need to protect their sensitive geolocation data."

    He's also concerned about reports of a tool known as "God view," which allegedly allows Uber's corporate employees to track the location of riders who have requested a car service, according to the letter.

    shrykeRchanen
  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular

    Now Uber specifically seems to be full of unethical jerks with every week providing a new shocking revelation. Attempting to destroy the private life of a reporter because she or he is critical of your outfit is despicable. These companies are not very heavily regulated we really need reporters carefully scrutinizing these guys.

    I particularly like how Uber's Chief Drunken Marketing Asshole not only blurted out this plan in a room full of reporters, but threw in the bit where "nobody would know it was us!"

    I mean, they might suspect you, if you announce it ahead of time.

    The whole event makes me support a three drink minimum for all C-level corporate officers when in public.

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  • durandal4532durandal4532 Registered User regular
    The combination of my one Uber experience involving nearly dying on a goddamn 5 minute trip because the driver was staring directly at his cell GPS and the fact that Uber clearly wants "god view" to just be a perk of being cool enough to be an Uber employee makes me think I can handle the service being swiftly replaced.

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  • MarauderMarauder Registered User regular
    Just my Anecdotal two cents:

    I work for a Travel Agency. Most of our people work from home, however we do have a physical call center in metro Orlando. One of my newly hire agents also works for Uber at night, after his shift with us. So he works a 3 to midnight with us, then goes downtown to start picking up fares as the drunks head home or to hookups.

    I had genuine interest in driving for them, because I like driving and I have a sporty small car that would be good for in city fares. (Mini Cooper S) so I got his honest feedback and picked his brain on the service. Here's the pros and cons from an actual driver:

    Pros:
    1. Better income than working for Mears, the local Cab monopoly.
    2. Work whenever you want, no required shift times.
    3. Usually he is out and about anyway, so it isnt really that much additional cost of operation for him, he just picks up fares to and from work.
    4. Very nice app, great backend support for drivers if there is a ticket or conflict with local law enforcement (See Cons)
    5. He can usually bring in 75 to 100 on slow nights, 200 to 300 on busy nights. Nice extra income.

    Cons:
    1. The main one: Orlando is a cab monopoly town. We have one main company, Mears, that has a complete stranglehold on the market. I have lived here for 32 years...I have NEVER, ever, even remotely considered using them, because of the horror stories and general shadiness of the people that drive for them. And even though Orlando has a good bar scene, very few people use them Downtown either, because of the same reasons. They were skeevy, and were notorious for posted rate shenanigans. This also is a reason we have a high DUI rate in the area. There are also stringent laws against "Gypsy Cabs", which is basically what Uber and Lyft fall under without having City permits. They will tow and impound your car. And since Mears has made substantial contributions to both R's and D's at all levels of local government, they use their clout with OPD and the City Council to keep their Monopoly. This results in 500$ tickets being handed out to Uber and Lyft drivers like candy, and actual Hooker/John type bait operations to setup stings to nab drivers cars. Furthermore, there is a whole other agreement with the Orlando International Airport, which has its own jurisdiction and restrictions on for hire drivers. If you try to pick up at the Airport you WILL get your car seized. And Orlando being a big tourism town, the Airport is a common destination for rides.
    2. They have recently hired a lot of new drivers as they try to flood the market here( to combat the Mears attacks...cant impound them all). This depresses fares for the existing drivers purely by nature of supply and demand.
    3. The company is just....shady. Like, they support their drivers, but they also do a lot to undermine them and make them be the targets of their fights with local municipalities. Many times without telling the newer drivers the risks of operating in a hostile city,
    4. They make you use their phone as a driver, which they charge you for.
    5. This is not a full time job. The money is just not there, plus your putting miles and depreciation on your own vehicle. Once you factor in gas, insurance, and wear on your vehicle (which means you need to expect more maintenance and repairs) you aren't going to be making a "full time" income. But if youre just doing it on the side, at the times its needed, you can pocket a nice net.

    I ultimately couldn't drive for them because I have a two door car, and they require a four door that seats 4 passengers (plus driver). My opinion on them is mixed.

    I would definitely fire up Uber and get a ride home from Downtown versus calling or hailing a cab. I have also, for the first time in my adult life, heard Mears advertising, heavily, on radio and now even TV locally. This has never happened before. Which means they see a threat, which means Uber is working here....and it would only work if there is a need.

    I would definitely like to see them operate more within the law, pay permitting fees and better screen drivers. They could still fill a need with their model of drivers using their own cars rather than maintaining an expensive taxi fleet and dispatchers routing drivers where they're needed. Their system IS better....but it is far from perfect. Once the regulations for cabs catch up to the 21st century, many of the current issues people have with Uber will go away, they will play ball with the cities and local cab companies, their will be fewer drivers, and rates will settle down and be comparable. It is however a much needed balance to the cab companies, who I think we can all agree, suck balls.

    If it comes up, talk about your goals and how you plan to achieve them. It's better to hear that someone has a goal and is actively working towards them than that they are sitting at home jerking off and watching the Price Is Right.

    Hopefully not at the same time.
  • programjunkieprogramjunkie Registered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Irond Will wrote: »
    syndalis wrote: »
    Since I know it's coming: Surge Pricing! Evil capitalist ploy? or Revolutionary free market golden child?

    I'm on the side of surge pricing being dangerous and exploitative After about 3x.

    I think Uber has a responsibility to the safety of their passengers and drivers to not try and entice drivers onto the road during a snowstorm with 7x or 8x pricing, and in turn passengers in need of a ride shouldn't be bent over a barrel at rates like that just because uber can.

    I would rather there be no cars on the road then that.

    i hadn't really thought about it that way. i guess i'd be supportive of straight-up blackouts if safety is a concern.

    in general, though, the idea that high multiples would incent more taxis at scarce times/ locations is IMO an elegant solution to the problem.

    I'm not familiar with the internal rules that Uber drivers follow; are they somehow required to be on the road by the company or is it just money/rating incentives?

    Like, if a person wants to make bank by taking a risky job, I don't feel like it's my place to tell him that he can't. Accepting some risk of bodily harm is something that should go into what a person makes.

    If there's a cap on surge pricing related to safety it means that there are fewer options available to people who may legit need transportation (maybe transport is safer than no transport?) AND there are fewer options available to people who need money.

    That assumes that the surge pricing has an effect on the number of drivers on the road past a certain point.

    how do you figure?

    keeping surge pricing available puts an incentive in place and keeps the option available, for the drivers (to offer their services) and to the passengers second (if the drivers are given incentive to make themselves available)

    capping surge pricing takes that incentive away

    If you say surge pricing means fewer available options, you are contending that surge pricing has a monotonically increasing effect on supply.

    I don't find this compelling. At some point, you run of people willing, able and prepared to be drivers. And I would bet that happens at alot lower values of pricing then the highs of surge pricing. You are talking about a business opportunity that comes and goes real damn fast. Essentially, there is a hard or at least very rigid cap on the available supply of drivers. Supply moves too slowly here to respond to surge pricing on a continuous basis. Likely the only effect of surge pricing past a low threshold is to reallocate the supply of drivers towards people willing/able to pay more.

    Hell, surge pricing likely almost exclusively comes into play after that point since it's a result of a limited supply of drivers dealing with a large amount of customers.

    Well, in the current regulatory framework, there shouldn't be a rigid cap. People should say, "Hey, I mad X dollars due to surge pricing for 10 minutes work!" and their buddy will say, "Damn, I wouldn't mind doing that." and then the magic of supply and demand works.

    Except it doesn't work that simply because that makes alot of assumptions about people's ability to do that work, their desire to do it and their even knowing it's possible. And all within a small time frame.

    These all do a huge job of dampening any effects of "the magic of supply and demand". In the short term, shit don't work like that.

    Surge pricing obviously doesn't create drivers from clay, but it does two things:
    a. as the average expected earnings and the marketing friendly, "I made a bajillion dollars in 30 minutes!" goes up, more people will become drivers long term.
    b. in the short term, it will make some drivers decide to do "one more ride."

    They are also uniquely positioned in that their business model assumes people can be "at work" after receiving a text message quite quickly, so it's not like surge pricing for male lead understudies of Romeo and Juliet productions with original Shakespearean pronunciations, which even if you have someone willing and able to do that, they need more than 5 minutes notice.

    The effect of the first are limited by the amount of times that actually happens though. And the second is what I'm talking about. Specially, I'm saying it's a limited effect.

    Like, I'm not saying surge pricing doesn't have any effect. I'm saying the effect is limited and especially really limited in the short term.

    Which means the effects of higher multipliers in surge pricing are mostly to make more money and to dump all the poorer people off the bottom end of the service, with no real effect on supply. As such a cap on surge pricing would have no or negligible ill effects on the supply of drivers.

    Honestly, hard numbers would be best here, but I guarantee if it is properly done, the effect is strong. Paying people extra to work makes more people work. It's a thing.
    Plus, if you have 10 drivers and 100 passengers, well, you need some way to pick which 10 you pickup, and surge pricing is a good method in some respects

    In some respects. And a bad one in other respects.

    I'd argue it's the best, with my general strong caveats about pricing regulating scarcity when income inequality is too high.

    How is it the best? What's wrong with first-come/first-serve?[/quote]

    First come, first serve doesn't adequately account for strong need cases. I'll pay 5x the normal price to get to the airport on time so I don't miss my flight, but not to get to a party, which I can be fashionably late to.

    Even in cases where the use case is flat, I recommend a hybrid model. If I was in charge with selling PAX tickets, I'd sell, say, 80% first come, first serve, 10% lotto, and 10% auction, and I'd make the 80% by name tickets so they cannot be scalped.

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  • tyrannustyrannus Registered User regular
    Whenever I see surge pricing is in effect

    I just call a cab

  • KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    I'm on the boat that a lot of you are, where I recognize what an amazing service Uber is, but all the crap they do generally keeps me from using it (I also don't generally mind being the driver when out with friends..keeps me from spending too much on drinks).

    I have friends who LOVE the service and have not had one bad experience. I mentioned how they're supporting a shitty company, but really the service they provide outweights that for them.

  • AstaerethAstaereth In the belly of the beastRegistered User regular
    Daedalus wrote: »

    Now Uber specifically seems to be full of unethical jerks with every week providing a new shocking revelation. Attempting to destroy the private life of a reporter because she or he is critical of your outfit is despicable. These companies are not very heavily regulated we really need reporters carefully scrutinizing these guys.

    I particularly like how Uber's Chief Drunken Marketing Asshole not only blurted out this plan in a room full of reporters, but threw in the bit where "nobody would know it was us!"

    I mean, they might suspect you, if you announce it ahead of time.

    The whole event makes me support a three drink minimum for all C-level corporate officers when in public.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but nobody "attempted" to do anything to a reporter, and nobody planned to attempt to do anything. The Uber executive blew off some steam at a dinner, the equivalent of, "Hah, wouldn't it be great if we gave this person a taste of their own medicine?" Later they realized this sounded pretty awful and apologized for it.

    Like, there may be plenty wrong with these Uber people, but I think y'all are taking this particular statement a bit too far.

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    Irond WillYoshua
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    Marauder wrote: »
    Just my Anecdotal two cents:

    I work for a Travel Agency. Most of our people work from home, however we do have a physical call center in metro Orlando. One of my newly hire agents also works for Uber at night, after his shift with us. So he works a 3 to midnight with us, then goes downtown to start picking up fares as the drunks head home or to hookups.

    I had genuine interest in driving for them, because I like driving and I have a sporty small car that would be good for in city fares. (Mini Cooper S) so I got his honest feedback and picked his brain on the service. Here's the pros and cons from an actual driver:

    Pros:
    1. Better income than working for Mears, the local Cab monopoly.
    2. Work whenever you want, no required shift times.
    3. Usually he is out and about anyway, so it isnt really that much additional cost of operation for him, he just picks up fares to and from work.
    4. Very nice app, great backend support for drivers if there is a ticket or conflict with local law enforcement (See Cons)
    5. He can usually bring in 75 to 100 on slow nights, 200 to 300 on busy nights. Nice extra income.

    Cons:
    1. The main one: Orlando is a cab monopoly town. We have one main company, Mears, that has a complete stranglehold on the market. I have lived here for 32 years...I have NEVER, ever, even remotely considered using them, because of the horror stories and general shadiness of the people that drive for them. And even though Orlando has a good bar scene, very few people use them Downtown either, because of the same reasons. They were skeevy, and were notorious for posted rate shenanigans. This also is a reason we have a high DUI rate in the area. There are also stringent laws against "Gypsy Cabs", which is basically what Uber and Lyft fall under without having City permits. They will tow and impound your car. And since Mears has made substantial contributions to both R's and D's at all levels of local government, they use their clout with OPD and the City Council to keep their Monopoly. This results in 500$ tickets being handed out to Uber and Lyft drivers like candy, and actual Hooker/John type bait operations to setup stings to nab drivers cars. Furthermore, there is a whole other agreement with the Orlando International Airport, which has its own jurisdiction and restrictions on for hire drivers. If you try to pick up at the Airport you WILL get your car seized. And Orlando being a big tourism town, the Airport is a common destination for rides.
    2. They have recently hired a lot of new drivers as they try to flood the market here( to combat the Mears attacks...cant impound them all). This depresses fares for the existing drivers purely by nature of supply and demand.
    3. The company is just....shady. Like, they support their drivers, but they also do a lot to undermine them and make them be the targets of their fights with local municipalities. Many times without telling the newer drivers the risks of operating in a hostile city,
    4. They make you use their phone as a driver, which they charge you for.
    5. This is not a full time job. The money is just not there, plus your putting miles and depreciation on your own vehicle. Once you factor in gas, insurance, and wear on your vehicle (which means you need to expect more maintenance and repairs) you aren't going to be making a "full time" income. But if youre just doing it on the side, at the times its needed, you can pocket a nice net.

    I ultimately couldn't drive for them because I have a two door car, and they require a four door that seats 4 passengers (plus driver). My opinion on them is mixed.

    I would definitely fire up Uber and get a ride home from Downtown versus calling or hailing a cab. I have also, for the first time in my adult life, heard Mears advertising, heavily, on radio and now even TV locally. This has never happened before. Which means they see a threat, which means Uber is working here....and it would only work if there is a need.

    I would definitely like to see them operate more within the law, pay permitting fees and better screen drivers. They could still fill a need with their model of drivers using their own cars rather than maintaining an expensive taxi fleet and dispatchers routing drivers where they're needed. Their system IS better....but it is far from perfect. Once the regulations for cabs catch up to the 21st century, many of the current issues people have with Uber will go away, they will play ball with the cities and local cab companies, their will be fewer drivers, and rates will settle down and be comparable. It is however a much needed balance to the cab companies, who I think we can all agree, suck balls.

    my takeaway from that is that the biggest problem with Uber is the regs and enforcement against Uber (1,2,3 cons)

    I don't so much mind 4,5; if I was living in the states it seems like a decent way to spend time I'd otherwise be cocktailing or gaming or binge watching Hannibal or whatever and I could be paying off chunks of whatever my future American car would be (it would be a Tesla).

    2ezikn6.jpg
  • DeebaserDeebaser on my way to work in a suit and a tie Ahhhh...come on fucking guyRegistered User regular
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/wolff/2014/11/19/behind-the-scenes-uber-buzzfeed-fracas/19269737/

    Wow. The buzzfeed guy was just a +1. I hope he got enough clicks to offset burning his friendship with an actual journalist. What a parasite.

    YOLO. Swag. Whatever. Fuck it. Lets do this.
  • syndalissyndalis Getting Classy On the WallRegistered User, Loves Apple Products regular
    Deebaser wrote: »
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/wolff/2014/11/19/behind-the-scenes-uber-buzzfeed-fracas/19269737/

    Wow. The buzzfeed guy was just a +1. I hope he got enough clicks to offset burning his friendship with an actual journalist. What a parasite.

    And, at least from the nature of this article, it seems he hyper-inflated the situation and context for maximum clickbait.

    Consider me shocked that Buzzfeed decided to side with sensationalism over fact checking and context.

    SW-4158-3990-6116
    Let's play Mario Kart or something...
    Squidget0
  • Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    Marauder wrote: »
    I would definitely like to see them operate more within the law, pay permitting fees and better screen drivers. They could still fill a need with their model of drivers using their own cars rather than maintaining an expensive taxi fleet and dispatchers routing drivers where they're needed. Their system IS better....but it is far from perfect. Once the regulations for cabs catch up to the 21st century, many of the current issues people have with Uber will go away, they will play ball with the cities and local cab companies, their will be fewer drivers, and rates will settle down and be comparable. It is however a much needed balance to the cab companies, who I think we can all agree, suck balls.

    absent some sort of pressure, those regs have been extremely resistant to change and the regulating agencies have been mostly captured by the cab industries. it's worth noting that the overwhelming kneejerk municipal response to uber/ lift/ etc has been to erect new regulations to protect the livelihood of the extant cab fleet.

    i'm not sure if boston has the worst cab fleet in the nation - it might! - but the difference between taking an uber and calling a cab is enormous.

    Wqdwp8l.png
    mcdermott
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    Deebaser wrote: »
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/wolff/2014/11/19/behind-the-scenes-uber-buzzfeed-fracas/19269737/

    Wow. The buzzfeed guy was just a +1. I hope he got enough clicks to offset burning his friendship with an actual journalist. What a parasite.

    For actually doing his job instead of being a good little stenographer? Because as far as I can tell, Wolff doesn't once dispute the veracity of what was said. What he says is:

    * He routinely attends private events hosted by corporations at tony facilities, which are clearly intended to try to shape opinion. (If you don't see why this is A Problem, re-read the description.)

    * It is expected that these events are "off the record". (Okay, you have a closed doors event at a top tier facility, that's clearly meant to shape opinion? And this doesn't strike you as being indicative of what's wrong with journalism?)

    * Because of this, the executives may not be as guarded. (No shit.)

    * They may feel like they can vent their frustrations safely without worry of their words being taken out of context. (Yeah, sorry. Venting about the negative coverage you are getting does not entail saying "hey, why don't we dox these journalists to teach them a lesson?" And when the discussion proceeds from there to a detailed discussion of how you would proceed to do that, complete with insinuation that you may have already begun to do so with a specific individual, the line has definitely been crossed.)

    * Smith's actions are a breach of trust. (No. When a senior executive of a company states that his company should look into outing the personal details of journalists solely for being critical of his firm, and then proceeds into detail about how he would go about it, this is something the public needs to know.)

    * Besides, it's not like he meant what he said, anyways. (Seriously?)

    * And after all, wasn't he right about Lacy? (I'll be the first person to point out that Pando is more incestuous than a backwater Appalachian community. That doesn't mean her life is up for grabs.)

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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
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  • DeebaserDeebaser on my way to work in a suit and a tie Ahhhh...come on fucking guyRegistered User regular
    Deebaser wrote: »
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/wolff/2014/11/19/behind-the-scenes-uber-buzzfeed-fracas/19269737/

    Wow. The buzzfeed guy was just a +1. I hope he got enough clicks to offset burning his friendship with an actual journalist. What a parasite.

    For actually doing his job instead of being a good little stenographer? Because as far as I can tell, Wolff doesn't once dispute the veracity of what was said. What he says is:

    I know that "ethics in journalism" is the internet's punchline du jour, but treating casual dinner party chat as an announcement of company doctrine is unethical as fuck. The event was off the record. All the actual journalists that were actually invited understood it as a social thing, not a quest to get a scoop. If you can't abide by the ground rules, don't show up.

    YOLO. Swag. Whatever. Fuck it. Lets do this.
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    Deebaser wrote: »
    Deebaser wrote: »
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/wolff/2014/11/19/behind-the-scenes-uber-buzzfeed-fracas/19269737/

    Wow. The buzzfeed guy was just a +1. I hope he got enough clicks to offset burning his friendship with an actual journalist. What a parasite.

    For actually doing his job instead of being a good little stenographer? Because as far as I can tell, Wolff doesn't once dispute the veracity of what was said. What he says is:

    I know that "ethics in journalism" is the internet's punchline du jour, but treating casual dinner party chat as an announcement of company doctrine is unethical as fuck.

    Considering that he went into detail about how he would go about doing it, and insinuated that he already had info on Lacy, not to mention that Uber has a track record of abusing sensitive user data to impress party guests, why shouldn't Smith consider that this was more than idle bluster?
    The event was off the record. All the actual journalists that were actually invited understood it as a social thing, not a quest to get a scoop.

    Which is why Modern Journalism Has A Problem. And that problem is that access is easy, journalism is hard, and that there's an ethical issue with going to a dinner party with the people who you are covering, especially on their dime. There is no difference between these Uber parties and things like Rockstar flying game reviewers to a ritzy hotel to preview their title under controlled conditions.
    If you can't abide by the ground rules, don't show up.

    When the ground rules are gooseshit meant to protect the powerful, they need to be broken. Despite what you think, Smith did nothing unethical, and this "story" shows that Wolff should resign, because he's forgotten what his job is.

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  • Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    is this the same ben smith who used to write for politico?

    hate uber as much as you want, this was terrible reporting and doesn't merit any real consideration. it's not something that uber is doing, not something they will do, just a drunken uber exec shooting his mouth off to the dude next to him at a dinner party.

    by the sounds of it this was along the lines of "so this fucking tech journalist wants to dig into our private lives and embarrass us; how would she like it if we hired PIs to sift through her business?"

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  • durandal4532durandal4532 Registered User regular
    I mean... you can argue "oh shit that guy made a mistake for his career" but like

    The fuck do I care that a journalist burnt a bridge to tell me some dirt about someone saying horrible things at a totally-not-a-press-event-wink?

    Take a moment to donate what you can to the International Rescue Committee, the National Immigration Law Center, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the American Civil Liberties Union. There has never been a more urgent moment to do so.
  • Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    I mean... you can argue "oh shit that guy made a mistake for his career" but like

    The fuck do I care that a journalist burnt a bridge to tell me some dirt about someone saying horrible things at a totally-not-a-press-event-wink?

    you don't, probably. i don't.

    but the question is really whether this "news" is meaningful or important. like, if the thesis is "uber execs are kind of jerks" then yeah i guess checkmate. if the thesis is "uber is threatening journalists" then there really isn't anything there.

    it's shitty "overheard at a dinner party" journalism, basically on the level of celeb tabloid rags.

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    Apothe0sis
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    Irond Will wrote: »
    is this the same ben smith who used to write for politico?

    hate uber as much as you want, this was terrible reporting and doesn't merit any real consideration. it's not something that uber is doing, not something they will do, just a drunken uber exec shooting his mouth off to the dude next to him at a dinner party.

    by the sounds of it this was along the lines of "so this fucking tech journalist wants to dig into our private lives and embarrass us; how would she like it if we hired PIs to sift through her business?"

    Here's the piece that got Lacy onto Michael's shit list. Note that she doesn't dig into any of the personal lives of the Uber executives - the closest would be the "Boober" comment, which was said publicly. All she's pointing out is that she no longer feels comfortable supporting a company that has a clear issue with entrenched misogyny, for a number of reasons.

    And again, you can't look at this in isolation. Uber has already been caught out using their tracking data cavalierly, including tracking a journalist who did a piece on Uber. (One of the bits of fallout from this has been that the company is finally reviewing who should have access to their tracking views, as well as the actions of the NY chief who tracked the journalist in question.) They've also been caught in engaging in astroturf counters to critical press.

    And finally, I don't buy the "he was just venting" argument. Michael's comments (which, I will point out, nobody is arguing were not said) were not just about going after journalists critical of Uber, but detailed how he would structure such a campaign, and insinuated that he had already performed some degree of opposition research on Lacy. That crosses a line for me.

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  • PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    And his comments were supported by at least one Uber investor in Ashton Kutcher, who is an idiot, but again he's an investor in their company and would support attacking journalists.

    Besides "off the record" is bullshit. Mitt Romney's 47% comment was off the record but it damn sure shaped his policy vision for america, had it not come out we might be dealing with the Romney presidency right now.

    I would like some money because these are artisanal nuggets of wisdom philistine.

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  • MarauderMarauder Registered User regular
    edited November 2014
    Irond Will wrote: »
    Marauder wrote: »
    I would definitely like to see them operate more within the law, pay permitting fees and better screen drivers. They could still fill a need with their model of drivers using their own cars rather than maintaining an expensive taxi fleet and dispatchers routing drivers where they're needed. Their system IS better....but it is far from perfect. Once the regulations for cabs catch up to the 21st century, many of the current issues people have with Uber will go away, they will play ball with the cities and local cab companies, their will be fewer drivers, and rates will settle down and be comparable. It is however a much needed balance to the cab companies, who I think we can all agree, suck balls.

    absent some sort of pressure, those regs have been extremely resistant to change and the regulating agencies have been mostly captured by the cab industries. it's worth noting that the overwhelming kneejerk municipal response to uber/ lift/ etc has been to erect new regulations to protect the livelihood of the extant cab fleet.

    i'm not sure if boston has the worst cab fleet in the nation - it might! - but the difference between taking an uber and calling a cab is enormous.
    I meant catch up as in "Change to allow competition in a livery business that has stagnated for the last 100 years with little to no innovation or competition". But yes, most of the regulatory changes so far have been to not allow uber/lyft period rather than get them to fit in a legal framework. Which is government protecting entrenched monopoly, in most cases. I am not one of these wild eyed libertarian types that think cab systems need to be done away with entirely....but the example of multiple metro cab companies having terribad service and rates combined with no legitimate competition is evidence that something needs to change.

    Orlando is terrible just because it is not a mass transit or pedestrian friendly area outside of downtown...so if you are here with out a car you are well and truly fucked. So Mears knows it has most people without cars (read, tourists and the poor) by the balls. What are you going to do, walk? Yeah right. The only reason they get away with this fuckmuppetry is that we dont have a strong journalistic presence to expose it, they have greased all the right city council wheels, and most of the populace owns cars so they could care less.

    Marauder on
    If it comes up, talk about your goals and how you plan to achieve them. It's better to hear that someone has a goal and is actively working towards them than that they are sitting at home jerking off and watching the Price Is Right.

    Hopefully not at the same time.
    mcdermott
  • Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    Preacher wrote: »
    And his comments were supported by at least one Uber investor in Ashton Kutcher, who is an idiot, but again he's an investor in their company and would support attacking journalists.

    Besides "off the record" is bullshit. Mitt Romney's 47% comment was off the record but it damn sure shaped his policy vision for america, had it not come out we might be dealing with the Romney presidency right now.

    there's an enormous difference between laying out your plans to campaign contributors and between drunkenly venting to a dinner companion

    the article was literally centered around personally singling out particular tech execs as "assholes". the article had very little, if anything, to do with the actual operations or machinations of the companies. of course people are going to respond personally to that.

    and you know i'm not even arguing that this dude is not an asshole. i'm sure he is! but maybe assessing what uber actually does is more important than pretending that anything buzzfeed or gawker has to say amounts to "journalism"

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  • PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    I see shoot the messenger "its buzzfeed/gawker" so hard in your comment. And Uber's business practice of "lets do something against the law and then try and change the law while risking the lower wage 'contractors'" cements my opinion the execs are dog shit.

    And I don't buy this "he was drunk he didn't mean it" defense. Because maybe its different for you upper class peeps, but for us lower class ones, even at social events, if you drunkenly tell someone in your office something that is "blowing off steam" that shit can still doom your career just as hard as anything else.

    I see this as so much upper class money privilege, attacking the messengers, complaining the event was off the record, and then the fall back of all kinds of assholes "I didn't mean it."

    I would like some money because these are artisanal nuggets of wisdom philistine.

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  • DeebaserDeebaser on my way to work in a suit and a tie Ahhhh...come on fucking guyRegistered User regular
    Preacher wrote: »
    And his comments were supported by at least one Uber investor in Ashton Kutcher, who is an idiot, but again he's an investor in their company and would support attacking journalists.

    Besides "off the record" is bullshit. Mitt Romney's 47% comment was off the record but it damn sure shaped his policy vision for america, had it not come out we might be dealing with the Romney presidency right now.

    Mitt Romney is a public figure who was campaigning for the presidency. Their is a definite public interest in reporting 'private' talks he is giving to donors with the aid of a microphone.

    Emil Michael is a private citizen, who is neither a C level employee, nor a spokesman of the company. He was chatting at a dinner party.

    YOLO. Swag. Whatever. Fuck it. Lets do this.
    Apothe0sis
  • Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    also so much overwrought pearl-clutching over the "boober" comment jesus culminating with

    "So, I’m turning that advice on myself: I’ve finally deleted Uber from my phone. For one thing, I increasingly don’t feel safe as a woman taking it, frequently late at night and alone. I’ve got a good solid alternative in Lyft, and life is too precious for me to put mine at risk."

    lol.

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    GethApothe0sis
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