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[Uber]: Disrupting Livery Service (And Ethics)

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  • Phoenix-DPhoenix-D Registered User regular
    That premise presumes a *fully* autonomous vehicle such that it doesn't matter how distracted the passenger is.

    Most automous vehicle advocates say semi automous vehicles are a bad idea for exactly the reason this crash showed. You can't expect a human to react in time if they aren't actively driving.

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  • hippofanthippofant ティンク Registered User regular
    edited June 2018
    Whoops. I thought this was the AV thread not the Uber thread. Phoenix-D isn't insane. I just deleted my post to move it here.

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  • SixSix Fat Apollo Registered User regular
    The UK overturned the Uber ban in London: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/business-44612837
    Transport for London (TfL) refused to renew the licence when it expired last September, saying the US taxi app was not a "fit and proper" operator.

    Uber has now been awarded a licence but it has been put on probation for 15 months.

    The company had been seeking a five-year licence when it was refused last year.

    Following a two-day hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court, Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said Uber was now considered "fit and proper".

    She ordered the company to pay TfL's legal costs of £425,000.

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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    And Uber's chief of HR has resigned, following an investigation into her mishandling of discrimination claims:
    Uber Technologies Inc’s Chief People Officer Liane Hornsey resigned in an email to staff on Tuesday, following an investigation into how she handled allegations of racial discrimination at the ride-hailing firm.

    The resignation comes after Reuters contacted Uber on Monday about the previously unreported investigation into accusations from anonymous whistleblowers that Hornsey had systematically dismissed internal complaints of racial discrimination.

    Hornsey is head of Uber’s human resources department and one of the firm’s top spokespeople on diversity and discrimination issues. She had been in the role for about 18 months, as the company was rocked by claims of widespread issues of gender discrimination and sexual harassment.

    The allegations raise questions about Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi’s efforts to change the toxic culture of the firm after he took over in August last year from former CEO Travis Kalanick following a series of scandals.

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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    The NY labor board has ruled that for unemployment purposes, Uber drivers are employees:
    New York City’s largest taxi driver advocacy group is hailing a legal decision by the New York State Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board, which ruled last Friday that three out-of-work Uber drivers can be considered employees for the purpose of unemployment benefits. The decision was first reported Thursday by Politico.

    In other words, three men—and possibly other "similarly situated" Uber drivers who had quit over low pay or who were deactivated from the Uber platform—can get paid.

    "The decision means that New York Uber drivers can file for unemployment insurance and likely receive it," Veena Dubal, a labor law professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, emailed Ars.

    "Uber may appeal the decision to state court, but for now, it’s good law."

    The New York Taxi Workers Alliance, in a statement, called the ruling a "landmark decision," arguing that it "could also be persuasive in other contexts where the employment status of Uber drivers is in question."

    More and more, Uber's argument that their drivers are just contractors is being rejected.

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  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    The NY labor board has ruled that for unemployment purposes, Uber drivers are employees:
    New York City’s largest taxi driver advocacy group is hailing a legal decision by the New York State Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board, which ruled last Friday that three out-of-work Uber drivers can be considered employees for the purpose of unemployment benefits. The decision was first reported Thursday by Politico.

    In other words, three men—and possibly other "similarly situated" Uber drivers who had quit over low pay or who were deactivated from the Uber platform—can get paid.

    "The decision means that New York Uber drivers can file for unemployment insurance and likely receive it," Veena Dubal, a labor law professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, emailed Ars.

    "Uber may appeal the decision to state court, but for now, it’s good law."

    The New York Taxi Workers Alliance, in a statement, called the ruling a "landmark decision," arguing that it "could also be persuasive in other contexts where the employment status of Uber drivers is in question."

    More and more, Uber's argument that their drivers are just contractors is being rejected.

    I think there should be a level of driving where an uber driver is a contractor, but many of the drivers clearly exceed it.

    We probably just need a whole new category of worker to make sure that uber drivers and the like are paid properly and treated well. The whole contractor/employee thing just doesn't make sense for the modern workplace.

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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    tbloxham wrote: »
    The NY labor board has ruled that for unemployment purposes, Uber drivers are employees:
    New York City’s largest taxi driver advocacy group is hailing a legal decision by the New York State Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board, which ruled last Friday that three out-of-work Uber drivers can be considered employees for the purpose of unemployment benefits. The decision was first reported Thursday by Politico.

    In other words, three men—and possibly other "similarly situated" Uber drivers who had quit over low pay or who were deactivated from the Uber platform—can get paid.

    "The decision means that New York Uber drivers can file for unemployment insurance and likely receive it," Veena Dubal, a labor law professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, emailed Ars.

    "Uber may appeal the decision to state court, but for now, it’s good law."

    The New York Taxi Workers Alliance, in a statement, called the ruling a "landmark decision," arguing that it "could also be persuasive in other contexts where the employment status of Uber drivers is in question."

    More and more, Uber's argument that their drivers are just contractors is being rejected.

    I think there should be a level of driving where an uber driver is a contractor, but many of the drivers clearly exceed it.

    We probably just need a whole new category of worker to make sure that uber drivers and the like are paid properly and treated well. The whole contractor/employee thing just doesn't make sense for the modern workplace.

    No, we don't. What we need is to hold employers accountable to their decisions. Want to have fine grained control over someone's day while working? Congratulations - they're an employee, and you have obligations to them because of that. Want to keep someone at arms length as a contractor? Then you don't get to have full control.

    The problem is that companies like Uber want to have their cake and eat it too. The answer is to force them to make the choice they want to avoid.

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  • evilmrhenryevilmrhenry Registered User regular
    tbloxham wrote: »
    The NY labor board has ruled that for unemployment purposes, Uber drivers are employees:
    New York City’s largest taxi driver advocacy group is hailing a legal decision by the New York State Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board, which ruled last Friday that three out-of-work Uber drivers can be considered employees for the purpose of unemployment benefits. The decision was first reported Thursday by Politico.

    In other words, three men—and possibly other "similarly situated" Uber drivers who had quit over low pay or who were deactivated from the Uber platform—can get paid.

    "The decision means that New York Uber drivers can file for unemployment insurance and likely receive it," Veena Dubal, a labor law professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, emailed Ars.

    "Uber may appeal the decision to state court, but for now, it’s good law."

    The New York Taxi Workers Alliance, in a statement, called the ruling a "landmark decision," arguing that it "could also be persuasive in other contexts where the employment status of Uber drivers is in question."

    More and more, Uber's argument that their drivers are just contractors is being rejected.

    I think there should be a level of driving where an uber driver is a contractor, but many of the drivers clearly exceed it.

    We probably just need a whole new category of worker to make sure that uber drivers and the like are paid properly and treated well. The whole contractor/employee thing just doesn't make sense for the modern workplace.

    The decision:
    https://www.manatt.com/Manatt/media/Media/PDF/Newsletters/Employment/Uber-decision.pdf
    What I'm getting is that Uber says they just generate leads for the actual drivers, but they really control all aspects of the experience. This level of control is not appropriate for independent contractors.

    I'm not sure we need a new category of employee, as much as we need to stop companies paying below minimum wage through piecework shenanigans, and moving expenses to workers.

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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    New York has an article discussing exactly how fucked Uber is.
    By steamrolling local taxi operations in cities all over the world and cultivating cheerleaders in the business press and among Silicon Valley libertarians, Uber has managed to create an image of inevitability and invincibility. But the company just posted another quarter of jaw-dropping losses — this time over $1 billion, after $4.5 billion of losses in 2017. How much is hype and how much is real?

    The notion that Uber, the most highly valued private company in the world, is a textbook “bezzle” — John Kenneth Galbraith’s coinage for an investment swindle where the losses have yet to be recognized — is likely to come as a surprise to its many satisfied customers. But as we’ll explain, relying on the extensive work of transportation expert Hubert Horan, Uber’s investors have been buying your satisfaction in the form of massive subsidies of services. What has made Uber a good deal for users makes it a lousy investment proposition. Uber has kept that recognition at bay via minimal and inconsistent financial disclosures combined with a relentless and so far effective public-relations campaign depicting Uber as following the pattern of digitally based start-ups whose large initial losses transformed into strong profits in a few years.

    The short version: Uber has spent almost a decade in the hole, has no real model for getting in the black, their core business is just app-based livery, they run their business in a very inefficient manner, their numbers are supplemented by subsidization of costs which has put them in the hole, cutting back on that subsidization has made churn and service worse, and they're more or less relying on projecting a certain image to their drivers that isn't holding up anymore.

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  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    New York has an article discussing exactly how fucked Uber is.
    By steamrolling local taxi operations in cities all over the world and cultivating cheerleaders in the business press and among Silicon Valley libertarians, Uber has managed to create an image of inevitability and invincibility. But the company just posted another quarter of jaw-dropping losses — this time over $1 billion, after $4.5 billion of losses in 2017. How much is hype and how much is real?

    The notion that Uber, the most highly valued private company in the world, is a textbook “bezzle” — John Kenneth Galbraith’s coinage for an investment swindle where the losses have yet to be recognized — is likely to come as a surprise to its many satisfied customers. But as we’ll explain, relying on the extensive work of transportation expert Hubert Horan, Uber’s investors have been buying your satisfaction in the form of massive subsidies of services. What has made Uber a good deal for users makes it a lousy investment proposition. Uber has kept that recognition at bay via minimal and inconsistent financial disclosures combined with a relentless and so far effective public-relations campaign depicting Uber as following the pattern of digitally based start-ups whose large initial losses transformed into strong profits in a few years.

    The short version: Uber has spent almost a decade in the hole, has no real model for getting in the black, their core business is just app-based livery, they run their business in a very inefficient manner, their numbers are supplemented by subsidization of costs which has put them in the hole, cutting back on that subsidization has made churn and service worse, and they're more or less relying on projecting a certain image to their drivers that isn't holding up anymore.

    Are other similar companies (Lyft, Grab, etc) in the same position, or is it really the mismanagement and decisions of Uber that are doing it?

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  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    kime wrote: »
    New York has an article discussing exactly how fucked Uber is.
    By steamrolling local taxi operations in cities all over the world and cultivating cheerleaders in the business press and among Silicon Valley libertarians, Uber has managed to create an image of inevitability and invincibility. But the company just posted another quarter of jaw-dropping losses — this time over $1 billion, after $4.5 billion of losses in 2017. How much is hype and how much is real?

    The notion that Uber, the most highly valued private company in the world, is a textbook “bezzle” — John Kenneth Galbraith’s coinage for an investment swindle where the losses have yet to be recognized — is likely to come as a surprise to its many satisfied customers. But as we’ll explain, relying on the extensive work of transportation expert Hubert Horan, Uber’s investors have been buying your satisfaction in the form of massive subsidies of services. What has made Uber a good deal for users makes it a lousy investment proposition. Uber has kept that recognition at bay via minimal and inconsistent financial disclosures combined with a relentless and so far effective public-relations campaign depicting Uber as following the pattern of digitally based start-ups whose large initial losses transformed into strong profits in a few years.

    The short version: Uber has spent almost a decade in the hole, has no real model for getting in the black, their core business is just app-based livery, they run their business in a very inefficient manner, their numbers are supplemented by subsidization of costs which has put them in the hole, cutting back on that subsidization has made churn and service worse, and they're more or less relying on projecting a certain image to their drivers that isn't holding up anymore.

    Are other similar companies (Lyft, Grab, etc) in the same position, or is it really the mismanagement and decisions of Uber that are doing it?

    They are all in the same position eventually. There is little money in running taxi service, which is partially why no national taxi services existed previously, and why taxi drivers made crappy money even with higher traditional taxi fares.

    Uber is probably worse off because they have been the most aggressive with trying to expand and corner the market by offering big subsidies to drivers and riders. Investors thought that perhaps they could float along until autonomous vehicles meant they could get rid of drivers, but now everyone is coming to the realization that completely autonomous vehicles are still a decade away at best.

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  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    tsmvengy wrote: »
    kime wrote: »
    New York has an article discussing exactly how fucked Uber is.
    By steamrolling local taxi operations in cities all over the world and cultivating cheerleaders in the business press and among Silicon Valley libertarians, Uber has managed to create an image of inevitability and invincibility. But the company just posted another quarter of jaw-dropping losses — this time over $1 billion, after $4.5 billion of losses in 2017. How much is hype and how much is real?

    The notion that Uber, the most highly valued private company in the world, is a textbook “bezzle” — John Kenneth Galbraith’s coinage for an investment swindle where the losses have yet to be recognized — is likely to come as a surprise to its many satisfied customers. But as we’ll explain, relying on the extensive work of transportation expert Hubert Horan, Uber’s investors have been buying your satisfaction in the form of massive subsidies of services. What has made Uber a good deal for users makes it a lousy investment proposition. Uber has kept that recognition at bay via minimal and inconsistent financial disclosures combined with a relentless and so far effective public-relations campaign depicting Uber as following the pattern of digitally based start-ups whose large initial losses transformed into strong profits in a few years.

    The short version: Uber has spent almost a decade in the hole, has no real model for getting in the black, their core business is just app-based livery, they run their business in a very inefficient manner, their numbers are supplemented by subsidization of costs which has put them in the hole, cutting back on that subsidization has made churn and service worse, and they're more or less relying on projecting a certain image to their drivers that isn't holding up anymore.

    Are other similar companies (Lyft, Grab, etc) in the same position, or is it really the mismanagement and decisions of Uber that are doing it?

    They are all in the same position eventually. There is little money in running taxi service, which is partially why no national taxi services existed previously, and why taxi drivers made crappy money even with higher traditional taxi fares.

    And one reason why livery regulation like medallions existed in the first place (not just to make roads but because without supply limitations there would not likely be sufficient income to sustain drivers)

    Note that national taxi services kind of do exist. Yellow Cab et all. But they exist by being ruthlessly efficient not by having good branding. They buy fleets of the same vehicle and have on staff maintenance to keep them all running for upwards of a million miles per vehicle (Taxi's in NYC have to be retired, and that typically happens around the 400 to 500k mark. But those that are still working will be sold to other cities with less stringent retirement requirements)

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  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    I'm fairly certain all those Yellow Cab companies are separate businesses.

    You're right, I didn't mention medallions, which were first introduced to try to control the supply of cabs for a number of reasons. During the great depression New York was swamped with cabs as people tried to look for work, creating a lot of concerns over safety, maintenance, and driver income.

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  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    Which is why they’re sort of a national business. Like you wouldn’t say that McDonalds isn’t national business but has similar franchising structure.

    The various regulations make top level management of taxis kinda pointless.

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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    And in more Uber is fucked news, their slow rolling arbitration looks to bite them in the ass:
    One of the more onerous aspects of the gig economy is its propensity to include arbitration agreements in the terms of service—you know, the very long document no one really reads—governing the rights of its workers. These agreements prohibit workers from suing gig platforms in open court, generally giving the company greater leverage and saving it from public embarrassment. Sometimes arbitration is binding; in Uber’s case, driver’s can opt out—but only within 30 days of signing, and very few seem to realize they have the option.

    ...A group of 12,501 drivers opted to take Uber at its word, individually bringing their cases up for arbitration, overwhelming the infrastructure that’s meant to divide and conquer. “As of November 13, 2018, 12,501 demands have been filed with JAMS,” the notice states. (JAMS refers to the arbitration service Uber uses for this purpose.) Continuing on, emphasis ours: “Of those 12,501 demands, in only 296 has Uber paid the initiating filing fees necessary for an arbitration to commence [...] only 47 have appointed arbitrators, and [...] in only six instances has Uber paid the retainer fee of the arbitrator to allow the arbitration to move forward.”

    While a JAMS representative was not immediately available for comment, the cause of the holdup is Uber itself, according to the notice:
    Uber knows that its failure to pay the filing fees has prevented the arbitrations from commencing. Throughout this process, JAMS has repeatedly advised Uber that JAMS is “missing the NON-REFUNDABLE filing fee of $1,500 for each demand, made payable to JAMS.” JAMS has also informed Uber that “ntil the Filing Fee is received we will be unable to proceed with the administration of these matters.

    Short version: Uber's between a rock and a hard place - either they pony up eight figures when they're bleeding red ink with the potential to be further on the hook, or they get tagged for bad faith in their contract and have the court remove their arbitration clause.

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  • PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    Good. Fuck arbitration clauses.

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  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    Disrupting binding arbitration by never paying your arbitration company so none of the proceedings start!

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  • OrcaOrca Registered User regular
    edited December 2018
    And Uber's in the news again! The UK Court of Appeals has ruled that they need to treat their drivers as gasp workers, which means sick pay, minimum wage, and all that good stuff. Of course it's probably going to go to the Supreme Court because this attacks Uber's business model of "everyone is totes an independent contractor."

    https://www.bbc.com/news/business-46617584?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.com/news/topics/crr7mlg0g7qt/uber&link_location=live-reporting-story
    Uber has lost an appeal against a ruling that its drivers should be treated as workers rather than self-employed.

    In 2016 a tribunal ruled drivers James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam were Uber staff and entitled to holiday pay, paid rest breaks and the minimum wage.

    That ruling has now been upheld by the Court of Appeal.

    But Uber pointed out that one of the three judges backed its case and said it would appeal to the Supreme Court.

    But hey, at least one law firm thinks the Supreme Court will uphold the ruling, so there's hope sanity will prevail in at least one country:
    However, law firm Gowling WLG expects the Supreme Court to uphold the decision.

    "Yet another court confirms that the more a brand seeks to control the activities of the people that deliver that brand's services to the public, the less likely those people are to be self-employed," said Jonathan Chamberlain, partner at Gowling.

    "The law will probably always remain uncertain in this area, despite the governments promise of reform, but the direction of travel is clear. I expect the Supreme Court to uphold this judgement, but we shall see."

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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    Lyft is suing NYC over forcing them to pay their drivers minimum wage:
    Lyft will file a lawsuit against the city of New York on Wednesday to block the implementation of a new law requiring a minimum pay for drivers, according to a source. The law, which passed last December and would go into effect February 1st, would mandate the wage floor of $17.22 per hour after expenses for drivers, or $26.51 per hour before expenses.

    In a statement, Lyft argued that the new rule would make it more difficult for the company to compete with Uber. Ride-hailing app Juno is joining Lyft on the lawsuit, but Uber and Via are sitting it out for now. Lyft is expected to file its suit in court later this afternoon.

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  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    In a statement, Lyft argued that the new rule would make it more difficult for the company to compete with Uber.

    Does Uber not have to pay minimum wage?

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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited January 30
    kime wrote: »
    In a statement, Lyft argued that the new rule would make it more difficult for the company to compete with Uber.

    Does Uber not have to pay minimum wage?

    It's more that they're bigger, so the utilization calculation isn't as bad for them, and that they probably see the optics of this fight as not being good for them.

    Edit: This article explains the utilization fee. It's clever - instead of a hard cap, it forces companies to keep drivers utilized, or otherwise they have to pay.

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  • VeeveeVeevee WisconsinRegistered User regular
    edited January 30
    kime wrote: »
    In a statement, Lyft argued that the new rule would make it more difficult for the company to compete with Uber.

    Does Uber not have to pay minimum wage?

    It's more that they're bigger, so the utilization calculation isn't as bad for them, and that they probably see the optics of this fight as not being good for them.

    Edit: This article explains the utilization fee. It's clever - instead of a hard cap, it forces companies to keep drivers utilized, or otherwise they have to pay.

    I think Uber thinks their "But they're contractors" schtick will keep them from having to pay the minimum wage

    Or maybe they think they are doing some "Don't stop my enemies from fighting" Sun Tzu bullshit.

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  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    edited January 30
    I have to assume that if Uber loses, they'll change their model to meet reqs for contract workers vs employees.

    Meanwhile, of course, people will have fewer opportunities to earn side cash, and both quality and mobility will regress for many cities.

    It's a tough situation because if the anti-uber folks win, people suffer in all sorts of ways, and if they lose, drivers are guaranteed to make less money.

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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    I have to assume that if Uber loses, they'll change their model to meet reqs for contract workers vs employees.

    Meanwhile, of course, people will have fewer opportunities to earn side cash, and both quality and mobility will regress for many cities.

    It's a tough situation because if the anti-uber folks win, people suffer in all sorts of ways, and if they lose, drivers are guaranteed to make less money.

    The majority of online livery drivers are doing it as a primary job, not a side gig. (Not to mention that the growth of the gig economy for supplemental income illustrates some deep flaws in our economy.) And given that the NYC TLC calculated utilization rates for both Uber and Lyft at 58%,and that online livery has been an environmental and logistical problem for cities because of the greater number of vehicles on the road, pushing for higher utilization is a good thing.

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  • mrondeaumrondeau Montréal, CanadaRegistered User regular
    Given the opposition of those companies to minimum wage, the vast level of tax evasion in the industry, and, locally, the failure of teotaxi, I think it's time to accept that for-profit livery driving is not sustainable, and just fold the whole thing into regular public transportation. The STM doesn't need to turn a profit, so they can deal with the edges cases where individual transportation is required and still pay a living wage.

  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    mrondeau wrote: »
    Given the opposition of those companies to minimum wage, the vast level of tax evasion in the industry, and, locally, the failure of teotaxi, I think it's time to accept that for-profit livery driving is not sustainable, and just fold the whole thing into regular public transportation. The STM doesn't need to turn a profit, so they can deal with the edges cases where individual transportation is required and still pay a living wage.

    You can't get people to pay for usable public transport now. What makes you think we could get people to pay for more of it?

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  • mrondeaumrondeau Montréal, CanadaRegistered User regular
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    mrondeau wrote: »
    Given the opposition of those companies to minimum wage, the vast level of tax evasion in the industry, and, locally, the failure of teotaxi, I think it's time to accept that for-profit livery driving is not sustainable, and just fold the whole thing into regular public transportation. The STM doesn't need to turn a profit, so they can deal with the edges cases where individual transportation is required and still pay a living wage.

    You can't get people to pay for usable public transport now. What makes you think we could get people to pay for more of it?
    Well then there's nothing to do but embrace dystopia.

    Or move to a civilized area.

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  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    Given that the same government that created medallion rackets (and guaranteed awful service for the city in trade for election money) would be the ones destroying the ride hailing industry in the name of better service, you really can't blame me for being intensely skeptical of that idea.

    They intentionally made it bad to line their own pockets once. Now we're advocating they do it again but worse?
    No thanks.

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  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    edited January 31
    spool32 wrote: »
    I have to assume that if Uber loses, they'll change their model to meet reqs for contract workers vs employees.

    Meanwhile, of course, people will have fewer opportunities to earn side cash, and both quality and mobility will regress for many cities.

    It's a tough situation because if the anti-uber folks win, people suffer in all sorts of ways, and if they lose, drivers are guaranteed to make less money.

    The majority of online livery drivers are doing it as a primary job, not a side gig. (Not to mention that the growth of the gig economy for supplemental income illustrates some deep flaws in our economy.) And given that the NYC TLC calculated utilization rates for both Uber and Lyft at 58%,and that online livery has been an environmental and logistical problem for cities because of the greater number of vehicles on the road, pushing for higher utilization is a good thing.

    "Pushing for higher utilization" = firing people you just claimed were driving as their primary income.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    Given that the same government that created medallion rackets (and guaranteed awful service for the city in trade for election money) would be the ones destroying the ride hailing industry in the name of better service, you really can't blame me for being intensely skeptical of that idea.

    They intentionally made it bad to line their own pockets once. Now we're advocating they do it again but worse?
    No thanks.

    I share your skepticism. That said, by incorporating actual utilization metrics (which ride hailing apps can easily calculate) they avoid falling into the medallion trap. Because utilization rates create data based, dynamic caps on available cars rather than arbitrary ones.

    spool32
  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    There is nothing wrong with a medalion system. A modular system which is better able to respond to demand is better sure. But that has its own downsides for drivers (specifically income variance due to oversupply during down times. Even if theyre not driving this does not imply they can perfectly substitute between driving and other jobs)

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  • Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
    Goumindong wrote: »
    There is nothing wrong with a medalion system. A modular system which is better able to respond to demand is better sure. But that has its own downsides for drivers (specifically income variance due to oversupply during down times. Even if theyre not driving this does not imply they can perfectly substitute between driving and other jobs)

    While I don't disagree, isn't this type of problem something that should, theoretically, even out over time thanks to good 'ol standard market forces? Drivers who don't want to or can't afford the risk the variable marketplace offers will eventually move on to other things, while those that remain will benefit from the more stable market the resulting higher demand provides. Yes it sucks for those who can't afford to stick it out, but I can't help but feel that, given enough time, things would eventually stabilize.

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  • SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    Veevee wrote: »
    kime wrote: »
    In a statement, Lyft argued that the new rule would make it more difficult for the company to compete with Uber.

    Does Uber not have to pay minimum wage?

    It's more that they're bigger, so the utilization calculation isn't as bad for them, and that they probably see the optics of this fight as not being good for them.

    Edit: This article explains the utilization fee. It's clever - instead of a hard cap, it forces companies to keep drivers utilized, or otherwise they have to pay.

    I think Uber thinks their "But they're contractors" schtick will keep them from having to pay the minimum wage

    Or maybe they think they are doing some "Don't stop my enemies from fighting" Sun Tzu bullshit.

    Uber's long term goal is self-driving cars.

    You don't need to pay minimum wage if you don't have drivers in the first place.

  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    Short answer: no. This is why medalions were introduced. The market wage ends up being below the living wage. Free entry produces an ecosystem like a scam employment shop(just pay us for training!) When wages are high people with free capital can join and end up pushing those without (who have been doing it a while) out of the market because wages drop too low. Eventually those people eat up their reserves and the cycle begins anew.

    The other things medallions do is make it possible to regulate drivers and car maintenance for the safety of the general public. Public car inspections are not designed around high usage vehicles like cabs. NYC yellow cabs for instance are on average about 3.5 years old and puts up 70,000 miles per year. They need to be inspected and repaired much more often than regular cars due to this increased use.

    Medallions are an old system because they were designed before the Internet. But theyre still functional. And there is corruption* because everything is corrupt. If you wanted to have a demand based system you would still need to regulate which cars can be taxis and then only drive those. And idle cars require capital to be able to absorb that and higher returns in order to maintain.

    *maybe. Medallion auctions are efficient and perfectly transfer the monopoly profits of a medalion system to the state. They arent inherently corrupt in any way that uber would not be were it state sanctioned.

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  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    Goumindong wrote: »
    There is nothing wrong with a medalion system. A modular system which is better able to respond to demand is better sure. But that has its own downsides for drivers (specifically income variance due to oversupply during down times. Even if theyre not driving this does not imply they can perfectly substitute between driving and other jobs)

    It's inherently vulnerable to rent seeking. Avoiding it basically requieres constant vigilance, something that historically has proven to be unlikely.

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  • KetarKetar My autocomplete is a tad agressive today.Registered User regular
    Veevee wrote: »
    kime wrote: »
    In a statement, Lyft argued that the new rule would make it more difficult for the company to compete with Uber.

    Does Uber not have to pay minimum wage?

    It's more that they're bigger, so the utilization calculation isn't as bad for them, and that they probably see the optics of this fight as not being good for them.

    Edit: This article explains the utilization fee. It's clever - instead of a hard cap, it forces companies to keep drivers utilized, or otherwise they have to pay.

    I think Uber thinks their "But they're contractors" schtick will keep them from having to pay the minimum wage

    Or maybe they think they are doing some "Don't stop my enemies from fighting" Sun Tzu bullshit.

    Uber's long term goal is self-driving cars.

    You don't need to pay minimum wage if you don't have drivers in the first place.

    That is a very long term goal. Long enough that they would need to deal with the results of this case for years first.

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  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Goumindong wrote: »
    There is nothing wrong with a medalion system. A modular system which is better able to respond to demand is better sure. But that has its own downsides for drivers (specifically income variance due to oversupply during down times. Even if theyre not driving this does not imply they can perfectly substitute between driving and other jobs)

    It's inherently vulnerable to rent seeking. Avoiding it basically requieres constant vigilance, something that historically has proven to be unlikely.

    Incorrect. The auction prefrectly transfers the rents to the state. Its not anymore rent seeming than any regulated system.

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  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    edited January 31
    spool32 wrote: »
    I have to assume that if Uber loses, they'll change their model to meet reqs for contract workers vs employees.

    Meanwhile, of course, people will have fewer opportunities to earn side cash, and both quality and mobility will regress for many cities.

    It's a tough situation because if the anti-uber folks win, people suffer in all sorts of ways, and if they lose, drivers are guaranteed to make less money.

    The majority of online livery drivers are doing it as a primary job, not a side gig. (Not to mention that the growth of the gig economy for supplemental income illustrates some deep flaws in our economy.) And given that the NYC TLC calculated utilization rates for both Uber and Lyft at 58%,and that online livery has been an environmental and logistical problem for cities because of the greater number of vehicles on the road, pushing for higher utilization is a good thing.

    I'm not surprised by this. It is exactly the kind of bullshit, these sorts of politicians do to get their pockets lined. Because it is reasonable, but only addresses any of those concerns on the back of one side not the other.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/10/upshot/uber-lyft-taxi-ideal-number-per-city.html

    Links to a nature article that isn't available atm, that using an uber/lift dispatch system NYC taxis could complete the same amount of rides with 30% fewer vehicles on the road.

    Yet despite that, the per-ride congestion charge for taxis is 2.50 and for ride share is 2.75. So a ride share, that is more heavily utilized, pays more per-ride and per-shift, than a cab that is less utilized.

    The ideal utilization rate isn't 100%. Its probably not much higher than the 58% that Uber/Lyft have now(they calculate it as 68%), given the desire to keep wait times down, and the practicality of there not likely being someone exactly where the previous rider is being dropped off. But there is no comparable failure to hit 100% utilization penalty to the yellow cab companies, which have worse utilization than rideshare apps, despite providing 90%+ of their rides in Manhattan.

    If you are considered about the environment and congestion Uber>Taxis.

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  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    High utilization, lots of primary job drivers, driver supply responds to demand. Pick two

    You can have high utilization and people doing just driving, if you constrain the supply below demand and people wait arbitrarily long for rides, or you increase price to the point where demand = supply
    You can have high utilization and supply flexibility, if you accept that companies can dictate the subset of their drivers that can be allowed to work at any given time which means that some days the regulars can't work at all

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  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    edited January 31
    if you are considered about the environment and congestion Uber>Taxis.

    That isnt really what is happening here. Rather what is happening is that Uber is subsidizing rides and people are choosing it over the otherwise more efficient service as a result. There is an oversupply of livery causing low utilization for everyone and taxis are suffering most of all. Supply increased 4 fold in the past few years. Furthermore Uber is the marginal supplier here and as such should have a larger share of congestion tax.

    Ubers model isn’t necessarily better than taxis because they all are on the same trichotomy that Phyphor points out above this post. There are no ways around the fundamental economics of the business, which demand fleets of identical cars centrally maintained.

    Also note that high utilization isnt that much better for the environment. Taxis can turn off when not in use and idling is relatively low cost anyway

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