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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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