[Fuck The Gig Economy]: AB5 Is Here

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  • AbsalonAbsalon Registered User regular
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  • DoodmannDoodmann Registered User regular
    Absalon wrote: »

    Let me think of the dumbest way this can go:

    Uber will lock your account after 4 hours of use and people will run 2-3 dummy accounts illegally.

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  • Jebus314Jebus314 Registered User regular
    I mean the thing I don't understand is that it really doesn't seem like it would be that hard for Uber/Lyft/whoever to get out of this situation. Every ruling that I've seen, which makes drivers employees, has relied heavily on the fact that Uber controls prices. But it would be so fucking easy for them to just make the normal price a "suggested price" and allow drivers/riders to adjust what they are willing to accept/pay.

    It does not seem like it would really affect usability since like 99% of people will just hit accept to the suggested price. And it doesn't seem like it would be that hard to implement. And Uber can still play lord of the market, since as mentioned previously, most people won't care enough to change their suggestion. I just don't understand why they refuse to do it.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Jebus314 wrote: »
    I mean the thing I don't understand is that it really doesn't seem like it would be that hard for Uber/Lyft/whoever to get out of this situation. Every ruling that I've seen, which makes drivers employees, has relied heavily on the fact that Uber controls prices. But it would be so fucking easy for them to just make the normal price a "suggested price" and allow drivers/riders to adjust what they are willing to accept/pay.

    It does not seem like it would really affect usability since like 99% of people will just hit accept to the suggested price. And it doesn't seem like it would be that hard to implement. And Uber can still play lord of the market, since as mentioned previously, most people won't care enough to change their suggestion. I just don't understand why they refuse to do it.

    Seems like this would destroy Uber's brand, though. One issue people wanted to get away from with taxis was pricing shenanigans. I don't want to have to double-check every time I'm calling a ride that I'm not being charged $texas/furlong. I don't want to have to choose from a list of drivers, from a list of prices, and hope that driver accepts my ride. Or deal with selecting another driver when they don't. The whole app kinda breaks down once haggling is involved between driver and rider.

    That said, there's another solution in many markets that works just as well; allow fixed fares to be set by regulation. If it's the local transit commission or whoever setting the fares, and not Uber/Lyft, then they're not on the hook.

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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Jebus314 wrote: »
    I mean the thing I don't understand is that it really doesn't seem like it would be that hard for Uber/Lyft/whoever to get out of this situation. Every ruling that I've seen, which makes drivers employees, has relied heavily on the fact that Uber controls prices. But it would be so fucking easy for them to just make the normal price a "suggested price" and allow drivers/riders to adjust what they are willing to accept/pay.

    It does not seem like it would really affect usability since like 99% of people will just hit accept to the suggested price. And it doesn't seem like it would be that hard to implement. And Uber can still play lord of the market, since as mentioned previously, most people won't care enough to change their suggestion. I just don't understand why they refuse to do it.

    Seems like this would destroy Uber's brand, though. One issue people wanted to get away from with taxis was pricing shenanigans. I don't want to have to double-check every time I'm calling a ride that I'm not being charged $texas/furlong. I don't want to have to choose from a list of drivers, from a list of prices, and hope that driver accepts my ride. Or deal with selecting another driver when they don't. The whole app kinda breaks down once haggling is involved between driver and rider.

    That said, there's another solution in many markets that works just as well; allow fixed fares to be set by regulation. If it's the local transit commission or whoever setting the fares, and not Uber/Lyft, then they're not on the hook.

    The simple reality is that Uber and most online livery services won their market share via low prices subsidized by VC funding, which allowed them to hit the middle class market that usually doesn't use livery. Controlling rates is essential to their business model.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Jebus314 wrote: »
    I mean the thing I don't understand is that it really doesn't seem like it would be that hard for Uber/Lyft/whoever to get out of this situation. Every ruling that I've seen, which makes drivers employees, has relied heavily on the fact that Uber controls prices. But it would be so fucking easy for them to just make the normal price a "suggested price" and allow drivers/riders to adjust what they are willing to accept/pay.

    It does not seem like it would really affect usability since like 99% of people will just hit accept to the suggested price. And it doesn't seem like it would be that hard to implement. And Uber can still play lord of the market, since as mentioned previously, most people won't care enough to change their suggestion. I just don't understand why they refuse to do it.

    Seems like this would destroy Uber's brand, though. One issue people wanted to get away from with taxis was pricing shenanigans. I don't want to have to double-check every time I'm calling a ride that I'm not being charged $texas/furlong. I don't want to have to choose from a list of drivers, from a list of prices, and hope that driver accepts my ride. Or deal with selecting another driver when they don't. The whole app kinda breaks down once haggling is involved between driver and rider.

    That said, there's another solution in many markets that works just as well; allow fixed fares to be set by regulation. If it's the local transit commission or whoever setting the fares, and not Uber/Lyft, then they're not on the hook.

    The simple reality is that Uber and most online livery services won their market share via low prices subsidized by VC funding, which allowed them to hit the middle class market that usually doesn't use livery. Controlling rates is essential to their business model.

    Absolutely.

    But I think their model/brand could more easily survive “higher prices set by local authorities” than “the rider has to haggle over price with every single driver.”

    Obviously there’s a limit to that. But point is that I’m talking about what’s feasible going forward. I’m well aware of how we got here.

  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    mcdermott wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Jebus314 wrote: »
    I mean the thing I don't understand is that it really doesn't seem like it would be that hard for Uber/Lyft/whoever to get out of this situation. Every ruling that I've seen, which makes drivers employees, has relied heavily on the fact that Uber controls prices. But it would be so fucking easy for them to just make the normal price a "suggested price" and allow drivers/riders to adjust what they are willing to accept/pay.

    It does not seem like it would really affect usability since like 99% of people will just hit accept to the suggested price. And it doesn't seem like it would be that hard to implement. And Uber can still play lord of the market, since as mentioned previously, most people won't care enough to change their suggestion. I just don't understand why they refuse to do it.

    Seems like this would destroy Uber's brand, though. One issue people wanted to get away from with taxis was pricing shenanigans. I don't want to have to double-check every time I'm calling a ride that I'm not being charged $texas/furlong. I don't want to have to choose from a list of drivers, from a list of prices, and hope that driver accepts my ride. Or deal with selecting another driver when they don't. The whole app kinda breaks down once haggling is involved between driver and rider.

    That said, there's another solution in many markets that works just as well; allow fixed fares to be set by regulation. If it's the local transit commission or whoever setting the fares, and not Uber/Lyft, then they're not on the hook.

    The simple reality is that Uber and most online livery services won their market share via low prices subsidized by VC funding, which allowed them to hit the middle class market that usually doesn't use livery. Controlling rates is essential to their business model.

    Absolutely.

    But I think their model/brand could more easily survive “higher prices set by local authorities” than “the rider has to haggle over price with every single driver.”

    Obviously there’s a limit to that. But point is that I’m talking about what’s feasible going forward. I’m well aware of how we got here.

    Except that it won't. For all the talk of all the other reasons that people use online livery, the reality is that the traditional bifurcated user base of livery services says it all - you have on one side the rich (who are price-insensitive and value their time in a way that devalues driving for them), and on the other side the urban poor (who can replace car ownership with judicious use of livery services.) The middle class that has been Uber's bread and butter are incredibly price sensitive, which is why they don't regularly use livery.

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  • Jebus314Jebus314 Registered User regular
    I don’t see how any of the pricing factors plays into Uber setting the price though.

    Whatever sensitivity riders have to pricing is there regardless of who sets the price. If Uber is setting it, then when I ask for a ride and see that it’s more than I want to pay, I don’t book it. Alternatively Uber could just let me say specifically, I am only willing to pay X dollars for this ride. Either way I will not pay more than X. Whether or not Uber is setting the price doesn’t change that. In fact if they let me pick, they could probably get more, since they wouldn’t be guessing at what I am willing to pay, they would know exactly.

    On the driver side Uber could just take their algorithm that spits out a price now, and cut it down to just the Uber portion, and let the rest be up to the driver/rider. So if Uber previously would have charged $50 for the ride, of which Uber got $25, they could instead just show the driver that their net is whatever the rider offered minus $25.

    And that’s just if they want everything as similar as possible to what happens now. There are so many ways they could take a fee without having to set prices. They could even continue to subsidize rides if they wanted (driver pay out is bigger than what the rider is offering).

    The only downside I can see is most people prefer to be told what something costs rather than bidding on it. Bidding always leaves you feeling like you overpaid. But I really think that just having Uber give a suggested price would alleviate most of that.

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  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    If prices are flexible, then would that result in drivers bidding for passengers or passengers bidding for drivers? I'd expect both of those cases to end up really shittily for one side.

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  • Gnome-InterruptusGnome-Interruptus Registered User regular
    Jebus314 wrote: »
    I don’t see how any of the pricing factors plays into Uber setting the price though.

    Whatever sensitivity riders have to pricing is there regardless of who sets the price. If Uber is setting it, then when I ask for a ride and see that it’s more than I want to pay, I don’t book it. Alternatively Uber could just let me say specifically, I am only willing to pay X dollars for this ride. Either way I will not pay more than X. Whether or not Uber is setting the price doesn’t change that. In fact if they let me pick, they could probably get more, since they wouldn’t be guessing at what I am willing to pay, they would know exactly.

    On the driver side Uber could just take their algorithm that spits out a price now, and cut it down to just the Uber portion, and let the rest be up to the driver/rider. So if Uber previously would have charged $50 for the ride, of which Uber got $25, they could instead just show the driver that their net is whatever the rider offered minus $25.

    And that’s just if they want everything as similar as possible to what happens now. There are so many ways they could take a fee without having to set prices. They could even continue to subsidize rides if they wanted (driver pay out is bigger than what the rider is offering).

    The only downside I can see is most people prefer to be told what something costs rather than bidding on it. Bidding always leaves you feeling like you overpaid. But I really think that just having Uber give a suggested price would alleviate most of that.

    Wut? What did Uber do to earn $25 of a $50 fare?

    Realistically they should be taking in $0.10 - $1 per fare for arranging it through their app.

    They provide none of the capital investment of owning the vehicle or maintenance or cleaning, and they aren’t providing insurance or benefits or a guaranteed wage.

    Even once those are factored in, I dont see how independent drivers will be able to compete on the cost savings of fleet maintenance for the legitimate livery companies.

    The only real benefit Uber had was letting you downvote the bad drivers they didnt interview or background check.

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  • notyanotya Registered User regular
    Yeah, companies like uber have always confused me. How do they have such gigantic overheads that they aren't even profitable? Running (really just maintaining at this point) the app should take a reasonable sized team of developers, various office and paperwork jobs, and that's it.

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  • Stabbity StyleStabbity Style Warning: Mothership Reporting Kennewick, WARegistered User regular
    notya wrote: »
    Yeah, companies like uber have always confused me. How do they have such gigantic overheads that they aren't even profitable? Running (really just maintaining at this point) the app should take a reasonable sized team of developers, various office and paperwork jobs, and that's it.

    Part of it is Uber isn't just doing that. They've made significant investments into autonomous driving.

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  • ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    The only real benefit Uber had was letting you downvote the bad drivers they didnt interview or background check.

    ... and that the price was known before you started driving, and they'd actually pick up black people, and that the credit card reader actually worked, and that you could order up an Uber and have it appear within an hour, and ...

    Uber may suck as a company, but they were not providing nothing.

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  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    The pricing wars going on between Uber and Lyft and the like suggests price is the biggest factor though.

  • BlarghyBlarghy Registered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    The pricing wars going on between Uber and Lyft and the like suggests price is the biggest factor though.

    For choosing between Uber and Lyft, yes. However, if I'm choosing between a taxi and rideshare, the biggest benefit to me is not being stolen from someone who shows up late with a smelly car.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    The pricing wars going on between Uber and Lyft and the like suggests price is the biggest factor though.

    For choosing between Uber and Lyft, yes. However, if I'm choosing between a taxi and rideshare, the biggest benefit to me is not being stolen from someone who shows up late with a smelly car.

    And yet none of them have ever priced themselves that way. Even though they are losing money.

  • MvrckMvrck Registered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    The pricing wars going on between Uber and Lyft and the like suggests price is the biggest factor though.

    For choosing between Uber and Lyft, yes. However, if I'm choosing between a taxi and rideshare, the biggest benefit to me is not being stolen from someone who shows up late with a smelly car.

    And yet none of them have ever priced themselves that way. Even though they are losing money.

    Because they are awful at basic business. But we knew that already about tech firms.

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  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Mvrck wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    The pricing wars going on between Uber and Lyft and the like suggests price is the biggest factor though.

    For choosing between Uber and Lyft, yes. However, if I'm choosing between a taxi and rideshare, the biggest benefit to me is not being stolen from someone who shows up late with a smelly car.

    And yet none of them have ever priced themselves that way. Even though they are losing money.

    Because they are awful at basic business. But we knew that already about tech firms.

    Or because riders are extremely price sensitive.

  • BlarghyBlarghy Registered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    The pricing wars going on between Uber and Lyft and the like suggests price is the biggest factor though.

    For choosing between Uber and Lyft, yes. However, if I'm choosing between a taxi and rideshare, the biggest benefit to me is not being stolen from someone who shows up late with a smelly car.

    And yet none of them have ever priced themselves that way. Even though they are losing money.

    Initially, they priced themselves low in order to entice customers to download and use their app. Remember that 10 years or so ago, getting into a random stranger's car summoned by an app you've never heard of was a gamble in of itself.

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  • caligynefobcaligynefob DKRegistered User regular
    Elvenshae wrote: »
    The only real benefit Uber had was letting you downvote the bad drivers they didnt interview or background check.

    ... and that the price was known before you started driving, and they'd actually pick up black people, and that the credit card reader actually worked, and that you could order up an Uber and have it appear within an hour, and ...

    Uber may suck as a company, but they were not providing nothing.

    Yeah for all the faults of Uber they have forced a rigid industry to modernize

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  • LilnoobsLilnoobs Alpha Queue Registered User regular
    edited August 1
    Elvenshae wrote: »
    The only real benefit Uber had was letting you downvote the bad drivers they didnt interview or background check.

    ... and that the price was known before you started driving, and they'd actually pick up black people, and that the credit card reader actually worked, and that you could order up an Uber and have it appear within an hour, and ...

    Uber may suck as a company, but they were not providing nothing.

    Yeah for all the faults of Uber they have forced a rigid industry to modernize

    Being modern doesn't mean being better. Yay, Uber dragged taxi services into the gig economy, that's been wonderful hasn't it? Such a great modern economy with all the great modern luxuries, like what exactly for the employees? Picking up all the expenses with no employee protection? benefits?

    So how is modernizing also not counted as a fault? Ridiculous.

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  • GvzbgulGvzbgul Ask me about my scrotalist agenda Registered User regular
    Caligynefob means that actual taxi companies have to modernise with apps and the like. Not that taxi companies have switched to a gig economy model.

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  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    The pricing wars going on between Uber and Lyft and the like suggests price is the biggest factor though.

    For choosing between Uber and Lyft, yes. However, if I'm choosing between a taxi and rideshare, the biggest benefit to me is not being stolen from someone who shows up late with a smelly car.

    And yet none of them have ever priced themselves that way. Even though they are losing money.

    Initially, they priced themselves low in order to entice customers to download and use their app. Remember that 10 years or so ago, getting into a random stranger's car summoned by an app you've never heard of was a gamble in of itself.

    Taxis existed.

  • Man in the MistsMan in the Mists Registered User regular
    And they were bad. One time I was waiting at a bus stop for a cab that I had called to pick me up, in the dead of winter. Driver claimed that they went by and saw nobody. I was watching for the cab and saw none come close to where I was waiting.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited August 2
    Lilnoobs wrote: »
    Elvenshae wrote: »
    The only real benefit Uber had was letting you downvote the bad drivers they didnt interview or background check.

    ... and that the price was known before you started driving, and they'd actually pick up black people, and that the credit card reader actually worked, and that you could order up an Uber and have it appear within an hour, and ...

    Uber may suck as a company, but they were not providing nothing.

    Yeah for all the faults of Uber they have forced a rigid industry to modernize

    Being modern doesn't mean being better. Yay, Uber dragged taxi services into the gig economy, that's been wonderful hasn't it? Such a great modern economy with all the great modern luxuries, like what exactly for the employees? Picking up all the expenses with no employee protection? benefits?

    So how is modernizing also not counted as a fault? Ridiculous.

    Taxi drivers as independent contractors has already been a thing for decades. Taxi drivers paying the owner of a medallion’d car daily for the privilege of hopefully not losing money with no employee protections was already a thing.

    Uber just created a service where the rider could actually summon a car driven by somebody who wouldn’t actively try to rip them off.

    I get it, some people are definitely price sensitive. But I’ll tell you flat the fuck out that I have no idea what a cab costs in Seattle. I could never have told you. Because the one time I ever tried to hire one, I called and they said it would be there in two hours and then it didn’t come. I would sooner *walk* from Wallingford to the ferry than try to take a cab. I’d definitely rather take the bus than a cab. Not even a question.

    So yeah, I never chose Uber over cabs on price. Because I don’t even know what cabs cost, and don’t want to. For all I know Uber costs more. I don’t care.

    As for modernization, I did find that in cities without Uber or Lyft often their local cab organizations developed relatively decent app platform. In both Vancouver and Madrid I used taxi apps that offered most of what Uber did...various combinations of map-based dispatch, some indication of where your driver was, payment through the platform rather than face to face, a record of route taken, etc. Vancouver’s, when I tried it, kinda sucked. But still better than most other cities I tried in the Bad Old Days. Madrid’s app-based taxis worked pretty well in my limited experience.

    So yeah, I think there’s room to keep the whole “cabs that don’t suck” part and possibly still pay a living wage. As with so many labor-based issues, the increase in price realized by the customer would likely be marginal anyway.

    Edit: Also, I don’t think I’m remotely alone on the “people are price sensitive between app based ride services, but don’t even look at what cabs cost anymore because they suck in every other way outside of like NYC and SF.”

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  • Gnome-InterruptusGnome-Interruptus Registered User regular
    Uber did help solve some problems, but created new ones, and other problems it just shifted to whole new areas.

    It also kinda feels like common sense that if you call dispatch and they say it’s going to be more than two hours, then there won’t be anyone coming unless you continue to check in regularly. Otherwise the driver is just as likely to dead head all the way to where you are and find you got alternative transport and then has to dead head all the way back, losing money the entire way.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Uber did help solve some problems, but created new ones, and other problems it just shifted to whole new areas.

    It also kinda feels like common sense that if you call dispatch and they say it’s going to be more than two hours, then there won’t be anyone coming unless you continue to check in regularly. Otherwise the driver is just as likely to dead head all the way to where you are and find you got alternative transport and then has to dead head all the way back, losing money the entire way.

    Sure. But the point then is that even being told that it’ll be two hours is, effectively, being told that there is no cab so try again later. That a cab simply isn’t an option right now. For where and when you are.

    Which, given that it was a Saturday night and we were in Green Lake, not like Enumclaw or some shit, is nonsense. But par for the course in a pre-Uber world.

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  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    The pricing wars going on between Uber and Lyft and the like suggests price is the biggest factor though.

    For choosing between Uber and Lyft, yes. However, if I'm choosing between a taxi and rideshare, the biggest benefit to me is not being stolen from someone who shows up late with a smelly car.

    And yet none of them have ever priced themselves that way. Even though they are losing money.

    Initially, they priced themselves low in order to entice customers to download and use their app. Remember that 10 years or so ago, getting into a random stranger's car summoned by an app you've never heard of was a gamble in of itself.

    Except they still price themselves that way. And any data I've seen on the issue continues to show that riders are extremely price sensitive.

    Like, we can talk about this or that other thing they do but as far as I'm aware the data we have shows that none of that shit matters as much as the simple question of how much it costs.

  • BlarghyBlarghy Registered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    The pricing wars going on between Uber and Lyft and the like suggests price is the biggest factor though.

    For choosing between Uber and Lyft, yes. However, if I'm choosing between a taxi and rideshare, the biggest benefit to me is not being stolen from someone who shows up late with a smelly car.

    And yet none of them have ever priced themselves that way. Even though they are losing money.

    Initially, they priced themselves low in order to entice customers to download and use their app. Remember that 10 years or so ago, getting into a random stranger's car summoned by an app you've never heard of was a gamble in of itself.

    Except they still price themselves that way. And any data I've seen on the issue continues to show that riders are extremely price sensitive.

    Like, we can talk about this or that other thing they do but as far as I'm aware the data we have shows that none of that shit matters as much as the simple question of how much it costs.

    Because the market has changed, explicitly because of Uber's entry. Before, local taxi markets almost universally had competition limiting systems like limited medallions, licenses, etc that significantly limited how many taxis could be on the roads. The exchange for that was that priced were also fixed. The problem was that if your prices are fixed and there isn't a major threat of new entrants coming in, then taxis were not particularly pressured to provide good service (or even able to provide it, in the case of peak demand times). In fact, taxis were often incentivized to rip you off by the system. What were you going to do about it? Go to a competitor? Pshaw. That was the major downfall of pre-Uber taxis that we're bringing up here. Taxi service sucked.

    Yes, prices are important, but there's a giant reason why Uber was able to crack the taxi market as hard as it was able to. And it was because taxi services sucked. Hardcore. Uber got in and provided competition on service quality that was sorely lacking. Now that the taxi market is actually competitive, prices are now the way for rideshare services to compete. But the very fact that they're even -able- to compete on price is due to Uber. Yes, they may be a shit company run by gremlins but the foot they put up the ass of the taxi system was absolutely needed.

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  • manwiththemachinegunmanwiththemachinegun METAL GEAR?! Registered User regular
    edited August 2
    As several people have pointed out, once autonomous cars become fully realized, anyone can turn their car into a Taxi to loan, which will further eliminate the need for human drivers.

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  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    There are a lot more female taxi drivers now the apps broke the system. I guess previously there must have been some sort of glass wall where female drivers couldn’t get hired by taxi companies.

  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    As several people have pointed out, once autonomous cars become fully realized, anyone can turn their car into a Taxi to loan, which will further eliminate the need for human drivers.

    Capital is flowing out of autonomous vehicle research, as companies realize they need to create a full AI to make it work.

  • GnizmoGnizmo Registered User regular
    There are a lot more female taxi drivers now the apps broke the system. I guess previously there must have been some sort of glass wall where female drivers couldn’t get hired by taxi companies.

    I wonder if part of that was the real danger of a taxi cab driver and the sexist assumptions around handling that danger. The cashless system has definitely helped reduce the target on the back of the driver which is a great improvement if nothing else. I think that's the real garbage that has surrounded a lot of the gig stuff. There is a demand for some of what they are doing, but the race for a monopoly to exploit has fucked over everything in the process.

    Gnome-Interruptus
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    The pricing wars going on between Uber and Lyft and the like suggests price is the biggest factor though.

    For choosing between Uber and Lyft, yes. However, if I'm choosing between a taxi and rideshare, the biggest benefit to me is not being stolen from someone who shows up late with a smelly car.

    And yet none of them have ever priced themselves that way. Even though they are losing money.

    Initially, they priced themselves low in order to entice customers to download and use their app. Remember that 10 years or so ago, getting into a random stranger's car summoned by an app you've never heard of was a gamble in of itself.

    Except they still price themselves that way. And any data I've seen on the issue continues to show that riders are extremely price sensitive.

    Like, we can talk about this or that other thing they do but as far as I'm aware the data we have shows that none of that shit matters as much as the simple question of how much it costs.

    Because the market has changed, explicitly because of Uber's entry. Before, local taxi markets almost universally had competition limiting systems like limited medallions, licenses, etc that significantly limited how many taxis could be on the roads. The exchange for that was that priced were also fixed. The problem was that if your prices are fixed and there isn't a major threat of new entrants coming in, then taxis were not particularly pressured to provide good service (or even able to provide it, in the case of peak demand times). In fact, taxis were often incentivized to rip you off by the system. What were you going to do about it? Go to a competitor? Pshaw. That was the major downfall of pre-Uber taxis that we're bringing up here. Taxi service sucked.

    Yes, prices are important, but there's a giant reason why Uber was able to crack the taxi market as hard as it was able to. And it was because taxi services sucked. Hardcore. Uber got in and provided competition on service quality that was sorely lacking. Now that the taxi market is actually competitive, prices are now the way for rideshare services to compete. But the very fact that they're even -able- to compete on price is due to Uber. Yes, they may be a shit company run by gremlins but the foot they put up the ass of the taxi system was absolutely needed.

    If prices are fixed then service is basically all you can compete on. Conversely, if services are basically interchangeable then price is the only way you can differentiate yourself. Livery isn't quite either extreme but the typical taxi regime is a combination of the government limiting supply (for various reasons we've discussed before) and setting prices (for more obvious reasons).

    Uber and the like come into the market and what do they do? Lower prices. And they lost a shit ton of money while doing it. And it's not like they can't raise them. Surge pricing has been around since like day 1. But those prices go right back down after the surge is over. These are not the actions of a company competing on service.

    Whether they are competing with traditional cab companies or with other competitors in the same space, they are burning piles and piles of VC money and fucking over drivers and all sorts of other shit to keep their prices from going up. This seems like very strong evidence they believe they cannot afford to raise prices and compete on service unless supply becomes constrained.

    Gnome-Interruptus
  • BlarghyBlarghy Registered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    The pricing wars going on between Uber and Lyft and the like suggests price is the biggest factor though.

    For choosing between Uber and Lyft, yes. However, if I'm choosing between a taxi and rideshare, the biggest benefit to me is not being stolen from someone who shows up late with a smelly car.

    And yet none of them have ever priced themselves that way. Even though they are losing money.

    Initially, they priced themselves low in order to entice customers to download and use their app. Remember that 10 years or so ago, getting into a random stranger's car summoned by an app you've never heard of was a gamble in of itself.

    Except they still price themselves that way. And any data I've seen on the issue continues to show that riders are extremely price sensitive.

    Like, we can talk about this or that other thing they do but as far as I'm aware the data we have shows that none of that shit matters as much as the simple question of how much it costs.

    Because the market has changed, explicitly because of Uber's entry. Before, local taxi markets almost universally had competition limiting systems like limited medallions, licenses, etc that significantly limited how many taxis could be on the roads. The exchange for that was that priced were also fixed. The problem was that if your prices are fixed and there isn't a major threat of new entrants coming in, then taxis were not particularly pressured to provide good service (or even able to provide it, in the case of peak demand times). In fact, taxis were often incentivized to rip you off by the system. What were you going to do about it? Go to a competitor? Pshaw. That was the major downfall of pre-Uber taxis that we're bringing up here. Taxi service sucked.

    Yes, prices are important, but there's a giant reason why Uber was able to crack the taxi market as hard as it was able to. And it was because taxi services sucked. Hardcore. Uber got in and provided competition on service quality that was sorely lacking. Now that the taxi market is actually competitive, prices are now the way for rideshare services to compete. But the very fact that they're even -able- to compete on price is due to Uber. Yes, they may be a shit company run by gremlins but the foot they put up the ass of the taxi system was absolutely needed.

    If prices are fixed then service is basically all you can compete on. Conversely, if services are basically interchangeable then price is the only way you can differentiate yourself. Livery isn't quite either extreme but the typical taxi regime is a combination of the government limiting supply (for various reasons we've discussed before) and setting prices (for more obvious reasons).

    Uber and the like come into the market and what do they do? Lower prices. And they lost a shit ton of money while doing it. And it's not like they can't raise them. Surge pricing has been around since like day 1. But those prices go right back down after the surge is over. These are not the actions of a company competing on service.

    Whether they are competing with traditional cab companies or with other competitors in the same space, they are burning piles and piles of VC money and fucking over drivers and all sorts of other shit to keep their prices from going up. This seems like very strong evidence they believe they cannot afford to raise prices and compete on service unless supply becomes constrained.

    Yes, but the combination of prices being fixed -AND- new entrants being restricted means you don't have to compete at all. One of the reasons taxis take hours to show is not because they're all snoozing in a backroom instead of working but because there was a fixed supply of taxis that was insufficient to meet peak demand. So, no, they didn't really compete on service. They didn't have to and, even if they wanted to do so by putting more cabs on the road, they couldn't by law.

    And, yes, Uber is also attempting to compete on market share too and other gremlin like business activities. That's not in doubt. There's more going on than just service. But, service was what exploded Uber onto the scene. What they were offering was just night-and-day better than taxis. Like, you couldn't even reliably get a taxi, at any price, for hours on a typical Friday night when the bars closed around here in the winter. That's why Uber, despite using surge pricing, could still fucking compete. It isn't just about the price (which, frankly, isn't all that discounted either).

    ElvenshaeMan in the Mists
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    The pricing wars going on between Uber and Lyft and the like suggests price is the biggest factor though.

    For choosing between Uber and Lyft, yes. However, if I'm choosing between a taxi and rideshare, the biggest benefit to me is not being stolen from someone who shows up late with a smelly car.

    And yet none of them have ever priced themselves that way. Even though they are losing money.

    Initially, they priced themselves low in order to entice customers to download and use their app. Remember that 10 years or so ago, getting into a random stranger's car summoned by an app you've never heard of was a gamble in of itself.

    Except they still price themselves that way. And any data I've seen on the issue continues to show that riders are extremely price sensitive.

    Like, we can talk about this or that other thing they do but as far as I'm aware the data we have shows that none of that shit matters as much as the simple question of how much it costs.

    Because the market has changed, explicitly because of Uber's entry. Before, local taxi markets almost universally had competition limiting systems like limited medallions, licenses, etc that significantly limited how many taxis could be on the roads. The exchange for that was that priced were also fixed. The problem was that if your prices are fixed and there isn't a major threat of new entrants coming in, then taxis were not particularly pressured to provide good service (or even able to provide it, in the case of peak demand times). In fact, taxis were often incentivized to rip you off by the system. What were you going to do about it? Go to a competitor? Pshaw. That was the major downfall of pre-Uber taxis that we're bringing up here. Taxi service sucked.

    Yes, prices are important, but there's a giant reason why Uber was able to crack the taxi market as hard as it was able to. And it was because taxi services sucked. Hardcore. Uber got in and provided competition on service quality that was sorely lacking. Now that the taxi market is actually competitive, prices are now the way for rideshare services to compete. But the very fact that they're even -able- to compete on price is due to Uber. Yes, they may be a shit company run by gremlins but the foot they put up the ass of the taxi system was absolutely needed.

    If prices are fixed then service is basically all you can compete on. Conversely, if services are basically interchangeable then price is the only way you can differentiate yourself. Livery isn't quite either extreme but the typical taxi regime is a combination of the government limiting supply (for various reasons we've discussed before) and setting prices (for more obvious reasons).

    Uber and the like come into the market and what do they do? Lower prices. And they lost a shit ton of money while doing it. And it's not like they can't raise them. Surge pricing has been around since like day 1. But those prices go right back down after the surge is over. These are not the actions of a company competing on service.

    Whether they are competing with traditional cab companies or with other competitors in the same space, they are burning piles and piles of VC money and fucking over drivers and all sorts of other shit to keep their prices from going up. This seems like very strong evidence they believe they cannot afford to raise prices and compete on service unless supply becomes constrained.

    Yes, but the combination of prices being fixed -AND- new entrants being restricted means you don't have to compete at all. One of the reasons taxis take hours to show is not because they're all snoozing in a backroom instead of working but because there was a fixed supply of taxis that was insufficient to meet peak demand. So, no, they didn't really compete on service. They didn't have to and, even if they wanted to do so by putting more cabs on the road, they couldn't by law.

    And, yes, Uber is also attempting to compete on market share too and other gremlin like business activities. That's not in doubt. There's more going on than just service. But, service was what exploded Uber onto the scene. What they were offering was just night-and-day better than taxis. Like, you couldn't even reliably get a taxi, at any price, for hours on a typical Friday night when the bars closed around here in the winter. That's why Uber, despite using surge pricing, could still fucking compete. It isn't just about the price (which, frankly, isn't all that discounted either).

    You keep saying this and yet have not provided anything to demonstrate it. Meanwhile we can look at pricing and it seems like, no actually, price is their main selling point and they are losing a shit ton of money all the time keeping their prices down. Uber and the like have continually demonstrated via their actions that the most important thing they have is a low price point.

    If the story you want to tell in the first paragraph about insufficient supply was the big deal, then you wouldn't need to lower prices to get marketshare. The unserved customers would have been out there to grab. Shit, you wouldn't even really need to provide better service technically.

  • BlarghyBlarghy Registered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    The pricing wars going on between Uber and Lyft and the like suggests price is the biggest factor though.

    For choosing between Uber and Lyft, yes. However, if I'm choosing between a taxi and rideshare, the biggest benefit to me is not being stolen from someone who shows up late with a smelly car.

    And yet none of them have ever priced themselves that way. Even though they are losing money.

    Initially, they priced themselves low in order to entice customers to download and use their app. Remember that 10 years or so ago, getting into a random stranger's car summoned by an app you've never heard of was a gamble in of itself.

    Except they still price themselves that way. And any data I've seen on the issue continues to show that riders are extremely price sensitive.

    Like, we can talk about this or that other thing they do but as far as I'm aware the data we have shows that none of that shit matters as much as the simple question of how much it costs.

    Because the market has changed, explicitly because of Uber's entry. Before, local taxi markets almost universally had competition limiting systems like limited medallions, licenses, etc that significantly limited how many taxis could be on the roads. The exchange for that was that priced were also fixed. The problem was that if your prices are fixed and there isn't a major threat of new entrants coming in, then taxis were not particularly pressured to provide good service (or even able to provide it, in the case of peak demand times). In fact, taxis were often incentivized to rip you off by the system. What were you going to do about it? Go to a competitor? Pshaw. That was the major downfall of pre-Uber taxis that we're bringing up here. Taxi service sucked.

    Yes, prices are important, but there's a giant reason why Uber was able to crack the taxi market as hard as it was able to. And it was because taxi services sucked. Hardcore. Uber got in and provided competition on service quality that was sorely lacking. Now that the taxi market is actually competitive, prices are now the way for rideshare services to compete. But the very fact that they're even -able- to compete on price is due to Uber. Yes, they may be a shit company run by gremlins but the foot they put up the ass of the taxi system was absolutely needed.

    If prices are fixed then service is basically all you can compete on. Conversely, if services are basically interchangeable then price is the only way you can differentiate yourself. Livery isn't quite either extreme but the typical taxi regime is a combination of the government limiting supply (for various reasons we've discussed before) and setting prices (for more obvious reasons).

    Uber and the like come into the market and what do they do? Lower prices. And they lost a shit ton of money while doing it. And it's not like they can't raise them. Surge pricing has been around since like day 1. But those prices go right back down after the surge is over. These are not the actions of a company competing on service.

    Whether they are competing with traditional cab companies or with other competitors in the same space, they are burning piles and piles of VC money and fucking over drivers and all sorts of other shit to keep their prices from going up. This seems like very strong evidence they believe they cannot afford to raise prices and compete on service unless supply becomes constrained.

    Yes, but the combination of prices being fixed -AND- new entrants being restricted means you don't have to compete at all. One of the reasons taxis take hours to show is not because they're all snoozing in a backroom instead of working but because there was a fixed supply of taxis that was insufficient to meet peak demand. So, no, they didn't really compete on service. They didn't have to and, even if they wanted to do so by putting more cabs on the road, they couldn't by law.

    And, yes, Uber is also attempting to compete on market share too and other gremlin like business activities. That's not in doubt. There's more going on than just service. But, service was what exploded Uber onto the scene. What they were offering was just night-and-day better than taxis. Like, you couldn't even reliably get a taxi, at any price, for hours on a typical Friday night when the bars closed around here in the winter. That's why Uber, despite using surge pricing, could still fucking compete. It isn't just about the price (which, frankly, isn't all that discounted either).

    You keep saying this and yet have not provided anything to demonstrate it. Meanwhile we can look at pricing and it seems like, no actually, price is their main selling point and they are losing a shit ton of money all the time keeping their prices down. Uber and the like have continually demonstrated via their actions that the most important thing they have is a low price point.

    If the story you want to tell in the first paragraph about insufficient supply was the big deal, then you wouldn't need to lower prices to get marketshare. The unserved customers would have been out there to grab. Shit, you wouldn't even really need to provide better service technically.

    They're losing a shit ton of money because they want market share more than profits. What the company is doing strategically through its business operations (attempting a monopoly, etc) is not 1:1 to why customers come to them. Sure, price can be a factor, but its not how Uber cracked the market. Discount gypsy cabs have always been a thing. Uber offered much more than that: No hold times on the phone. GPS tracking. Upfront costs. No physical cash required. A ratings system that actually matters. A way to actually handle peak demand periods. And more. It was night and day on service. Literally.

    I'm not sure if you've ever used a taxi before they had competition, because asking me to prove that taxis provided bad service and that's a big reason why people were willing to give Uber a chance is pretty basic cultural zeitgeist.

    ElvenshaeMan in the MistsMoridin889Quid
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    I used taxis before Uber. They were fine, except that without the app technology, sometimes they couldn’t find you at all. This was annoying but probably rarely the fault of the driver.

    KetarIncenjucarGnome-Interruptus
  • MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    The pricing wars going on between Uber and Lyft and the like suggests price is the biggest factor though.

    For choosing between Uber and Lyft, yes. However, if I'm choosing between a taxi and rideshare, the biggest benefit to me is not being stolen from someone who shows up late with a smelly car.

    And yet none of them have ever priced themselves that way. Even though they are losing money.

    Initially, they priced themselves low in order to entice customers to download and use their app. Remember that 10 years or so ago, getting into a random stranger's car summoned by an app you've never heard of was a gamble in of itself.

    Except they still price themselves that way. And any data I've seen on the issue continues to show that riders are extremely price sensitive.

    Like, we can talk about this or that other thing they do but as far as I'm aware the data we have shows that none of that shit matters as much as the simple question of how much it costs.

    Because the market has changed, explicitly because of Uber's entry. Before, local taxi markets almost universally had competition limiting systems like limited medallions, licenses, etc that significantly limited how many taxis could be on the roads. The exchange for that was that priced were also fixed. The problem was that if your prices are fixed and there isn't a major threat of new entrants coming in, then taxis were not particularly pressured to provide good service (or even able to provide it, in the case of peak demand times). In fact, taxis were often incentivized to rip you off by the system. What were you going to do about it? Go to a competitor? Pshaw. That was the major downfall of pre-Uber taxis that we're bringing up here. Taxi service sucked.

    Yes, prices are important, but there's a giant reason why Uber was able to crack the taxi market as hard as it was able to. And it was because taxi services sucked. Hardcore. Uber got in and provided competition on service quality that was sorely lacking. Now that the taxi market is actually competitive, prices are now the way for rideshare services to compete. But the very fact that they're even -able- to compete on price is due to Uber. Yes, they may be a shit company run by gremlins but the foot they put up the ass of the taxi system was absolutely needed.

    If prices are fixed then service is basically all you can compete on. Conversely, if services are basically interchangeable then price is the only way you can differentiate yourself. Livery isn't quite either extreme but the typical taxi regime is a combination of the government limiting supply (for various reasons we've discussed before) and setting prices (for more obvious reasons).

    Uber and the like come into the market and what do they do? Lower prices. And they lost a shit ton of money while doing it. And it's not like they can't raise them. Surge pricing has been around since like day 1. But those prices go right back down after the surge is over. These are not the actions of a company competing on service.

    Whether they are competing with traditional cab companies or with other competitors in the same space, they are burning piles and piles of VC money and fucking over drivers and all sorts of other shit to keep their prices from going up. This seems like very strong evidence they believe they cannot afford to raise prices and compete on service unless supply becomes constrained.

    Yes, but the combination of prices being fixed -AND- new entrants being restricted means you don't have to compete at all. One of the reasons taxis take hours to show is not because they're all snoozing in a backroom instead of working but because there was a fixed supply of taxis that was insufficient to meet peak demand. So, no, they didn't really compete on service. They didn't have to and, even if they wanted to do so by putting more cabs on the road, they couldn't by law.

    And, yes, Uber is also attempting to compete on market share too and other gremlin like business activities. That's not in doubt. There's more going on than just service. But, service was what exploded Uber onto the scene. What they were offering was just night-and-day better than taxis. Like, you couldn't even reliably get a taxi, at any price, for hours on a typical Friday night when the bars closed around here in the winter. That's why Uber, despite using surge pricing, could still fucking compete. It isn't just about the price (which, frankly, isn't all that discounted either).

    You keep saying this and yet have not provided anything to demonstrate it. Meanwhile we can look at pricing and it seems like, no actually, price is their main selling point and they are losing a shit ton of money all the time keeping their prices down. Uber and the like have continually demonstrated via their actions that the most important thing they have is a low price point.

    If the story you want to tell in the first paragraph about insufficient supply was the big deal, then you wouldn't need to lower prices to get marketshare. The unserved customers would have been out there to grab. Shit, you wouldn't even really need to provide better service technically.

    They're losing a shit ton of money because they want market share more than profits. What the company is doing strategically through its business operations (attempting a monopoly, etc) is not 1:1 to why customers come to them. Sure, price can be a factor, but its not how Uber cracked the market. Discount gypsy cabs have always been a thing. Uber offered much more than that: No hold times on the phone. GPS tracking. Upfront costs. No physical cash required. A ratings system that actually matters. A way to actually handle peak demand periods. And more. It was night and day on service. Literally.

    I'm not sure if you've ever used a taxi before they had competition, because asking me to prove that taxis provided bad service and that's a big reason why people were willing to give Uber a chance is pretty basic cultural zeitgeist.

    Just a reminder that people from all over the world post here, and your taxi experience might not be universal. Taxis in a lot of places actually work quite well.

    I wonder if critisim/praise of Uber can be mapped around that?

    Move to New Zealand
    It’s not a very important country most of the time
    http://steamcommunity.com/id/mortious
    FencingsaxkimeGnome-Interruptus
  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Blarghy wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    The pricing wars going on between Uber and Lyft and the like suggests price is the biggest factor though.

    For choosing between Uber and Lyft, yes. However, if I'm choosing between a taxi and rideshare, the biggest benefit to me is not being stolen from someone who shows up late with a smelly car.

    And yet none of them have ever priced themselves that way. Even though they are losing money.

    Initially, they priced themselves low in order to entice customers to download and use their app. Remember that 10 years or so ago, getting into a random stranger's car summoned by an app you've never heard of was a gamble in of itself.

    Except they still price themselves that way. And any data I've seen on the issue continues to show that riders are extremely price sensitive.

    Like, we can talk about this or that other thing they do but as far as I'm aware the data we have shows that none of that shit matters as much as the simple question of how much it costs.

    Because the market has changed, explicitly because of Uber's entry. Before, local taxi markets almost universally had competition limiting systems like limited medallions, licenses, etc that significantly limited how many taxis could be on the roads. The exchange for that was that priced were also fixed. The problem was that if your prices are fixed and there isn't a major threat of new entrants coming in, then taxis were not particularly pressured to provide good service (or even able to provide it, in the case of peak demand times). In fact, taxis were often incentivized to rip you off by the system. What were you going to do about it? Go to a competitor? Pshaw. That was the major downfall of pre-Uber taxis that we're bringing up here. Taxi service sucked.

    Yes, prices are important, but there's a giant reason why Uber was able to crack the taxi market as hard as it was able to. And it was because taxi services sucked. Hardcore. Uber got in and provided competition on service quality that was sorely lacking. Now that the taxi market is actually competitive, prices are now the way for rideshare services to compete. But the very fact that they're even -able- to compete on price is due to Uber. Yes, they may be a shit company run by gremlins but the foot they put up the ass of the taxi system was absolutely needed.

    If prices are fixed then service is basically all you can compete on. Conversely, if services are basically interchangeable then price is the only way you can differentiate yourself. Livery isn't quite either extreme but the typical taxi regime is a combination of the government limiting supply (for various reasons we've discussed before) and setting prices (for more obvious reasons).

    Uber and the like come into the market and what do they do? Lower prices. And they lost a shit ton of money while doing it. And it's not like they can't raise them. Surge pricing has been around since like day 1. But those prices go right back down after the surge is over. These are not the actions of a company competing on service.

    Whether they are competing with traditional cab companies or with other competitors in the same space, they are burning piles and piles of VC money and fucking over drivers and all sorts of other shit to keep their prices from going up. This seems like very strong evidence they believe they cannot afford to raise prices and compete on service unless supply becomes constrained.

    Yes, but the combination of prices being fixed -AND- new entrants being restricted means you don't have to compete at all. One of the reasons taxis take hours to show is not because they're all snoozing in a backroom instead of working but because there was a fixed supply of taxis that was insufficient to meet peak demand. So, no, they didn't really compete on service. They didn't have to and, even if they wanted to do so by putting more cabs on the road, they couldn't by law.

    And, yes, Uber is also attempting to compete on market share too and other gremlin like business activities. That's not in doubt. There's more going on than just service. But, service was what exploded Uber onto the scene. What they were offering was just night-and-day better than taxis. Like, you couldn't even reliably get a taxi, at any price, for hours on a typical Friday night when the bars closed around here in the winter. That's why Uber, despite using surge pricing, could still fucking compete. It isn't just about the price (which, frankly, isn't all that discounted either).

    You keep saying this and yet have not provided anything to demonstrate it. Meanwhile we can look at pricing and it seems like, no actually, price is their main selling point and they are losing a shit ton of money all the time keeping their prices down. Uber and the like have continually demonstrated via their actions that the most important thing they have is a low price point.

    If the story you want to tell in the first paragraph about insufficient supply was the big deal, then you wouldn't need to lower prices to get marketshare. The unserved customers would have been out there to grab. Shit, you wouldn't even really need to provide better service technically.

    From a random article I found with Google in under a minute:
    Uber officially got its start in March, 2009 in San Francisco California. Uber wasn’t always called Uber, though. The beta was launched as UberCab in 2011. The price was higher than a cab ride, but the cars were originally black luxury cars. The company shortened its name to just Uber shortly after launching in 2011 because cab drivers kept complaining about the confusion. In 2012, Uber expanded to Chicago and allowed people to hail regular cars instead of the black luxury cars of San Francisco.

    I have no idea if anyone has actually done any peer reviewed studies on why people chose to use ride sharing up but there are definitely a lot of anecdotes from people about how the fundamental difference in service was key, myself included.

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
    ElvenshaeMan in the MistsMoridin889
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