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[Uber]: Disrupting Livery Service (And Ethics)

So, everyone has probably heard of the current golden child of the tech industry, Uber. Though as of late, it's been less for their service, and for the various ethical missteps they've been making.

Like a senior executive stating that a reasonable response to critical press was to dox the journalists involved.

...there's no way that they would be that stupid.

You would be surprised.

This is actually a bit frightening, when you think about it - you have a top executive publicly stating that the acceptable response to critical press is to drag the journalists (and their families) through the mud. Of course, this is only the latest piece of Uber's cavalier attitude towards privacy - prior to this, there was the rider who found that he was having his location monitored in real time as a party favor.

That's...creepy. But those people were pretty high profile - this sort of thing wouldn't affect me.

Oh, they have policies that will. The CEO has been dismissive of claims that Uber drivers have attacked and mistreated customers. There's also the fact that the service's background check process is questionable (not like that stops them from charging an additional fee for it). Oh, and if a driver does misbehave, well...Uber is more than happy to note that they only contract with the driver, so they have no liability, such as the case where an Uber driver ran over a 6 year old girl.

Not that things are better on the other side of the wheel.

What do you mean?

They don't treat their drivers all that great, either. For example, they are now their high end Black drivers to take lower tier runs. And when drivers talk up about their poor treatment, Uber is happy to impersonate drivers to perform damage control. Not to mention things like the "hot chick" campaign in Lyon.They're also engaged in some really sleazy campaigns to kneecap the competition.

They sound out of control.

They are, most likely due to being the golden child of Silicon Valley at the moment. But as this Slate piece points out, these actions could drive away both the drivers and riders the company needs.

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  • Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    edited November 2014
    while some of these claims, if true, would be negatives they have not even come close to being a meaningful counterweight to my decision to use uber when weighed against the pervasive shittiness and corruption of the boston metro taxi system.

    small samples/ anecdotes i know, but every uber driver i've talked to about what it's like driving for uber has been real enthusiastic in their praise. most were livery drivers or regular cab drivers in addition or previously. the rest were part-timers - generally immigrants - picking up a little extra cash.

    Irond Will on
    Wqdwp8l.png
    FeralMrMisterEvigilant
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    Irond Will wrote: »
    while some of these claims, if true, would be negatives they have not even come close to being a meaningful counterweight to my decision to use uber when weighed against the pervasive shittiness and corruption of the boston metro taxi system.

    small samples/ anecdotes i know, but every uber driver i've talked to about what it's like driving for uber has been real enthusiastic in their praise. most were livery drivers or regular cab drivers in addition or previously. the rest were part-timers - generally immigrants - picking up a little extra cash.

    Here's the thing though - are they genuinely enthusiastic? Or are they just pretending to be to protect their contract?

    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum / Steam: noxaeternum
    Magic Pink
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Here's the thing: from the pov of the rider, uber is a fucking godsend. Full stop. In most cities in which it operates taxi service wasn't in the same ballpark, league, or sport. It should be telling that in general I'd just plain walk (even multiple miles) before bothering to call a cab, but since uber came along I use it regularly.

    I'm not saying that in this case the crazy libertarians were "right" per se. But that the status quo of taxi regulation did seem to be bad, and provide a legitimately shitty product.

    The key now is how to roll some of the improvements uber leverages back into regulated taxis. If possible. Because I'm not an idiot, I know damn well that as it stands the standard taxi option is still setting a floor, and that absent that floor uber and such will absolutely engage in a race to the bottom. But right now? Uber is pretty damn good.

    JuliusLanlaornBullheadCambiatazepherin
  • LadyGreeperLadyGreeper Registered User regular
    So I'm a law student writing about Uber and Lyft (Transportation Network Companies, or TNCs as they're called legally) for the law review, and about 200 hours of research later, here's my preliminary two cents:

    Most of what's asserted in that first post is accurate, including the cavalier attitude the execs have about laws in the regions where they operate and the downright snotty attitude towards complaints and critical press. Usually Uber is a 'enter market first, ignore any cease and desists, dox and petition until you get the laws you like' kind of guy. Which could be a good thing or bad thing in the long run, but not the classiest behavior.

    A little misleading about the liability thing - the crash he mentioned with the 6 yr old happened when the driver was logged into the app but did not have an active ride, and after that accident they changed their policy to cover that “insurance gap” period (all UberBLACK drivers are commercially insured by the driver, so Uber isn’t on the hook for them). A few states, like my native Colorado, mandate even more insurance for TNCs than they ask taxicabs to carry, but those are just where legislatures have bothered to regulate them at all.

    There are plenty of arguments that TNCs are definitely a good thing, and the taxicab industry needs a serious shakeup - Uber and Lyft have a lot more incentive to treat customers right and listen to demands:
    - http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/wp/2014/03/24/ubers-battle-in-seattle-highlights-the-irony-of-regulation-hurting-the-consumers-it-was-designed-to-help/
    - http://www.denverpost.com/carroll/ci_24864612/carroll-lyft-and-uberx-are-latest-threat-taxi

    (Also, I made my account to comment on this thread, so this is my very first post. Hi everyone!)
    (And if anyone's interested I have a 30 page working paper beastie on this topic... oh wait only I am that lame. lol)

    Irond WillRegina FongAngelHedgieDeebaserDaedalussyndalisElvenshaeRMS OceanicLoserForHireXjmcdonaldElement BrianElkispool32Gnome-InterruptusRichyIncenjucarKalkinoNocrenFeralLostNinjaTaranisMillshrykeStollsGONG-00PLAAstaerethZeroCowKyouguMrVyngaardPolaritieArithon32CorehealerYoshisummonsMadpoetDoctorArchPantsBfightinfilipinoMrMisterRchanendavidsdurionsDevoutlyApatheticTofystedethfugacityMvrckMazzyxL Ron HowardLord_AsmodeusRozHacksawFencingsaxHakkekageForarLanlaornjoshofalltradesBullheadTurkeyCaptainNemoHeirSCREECH OF THE FARGSkeithenc0reCambiatathatassemblyguyMagic PinkTL DRSpaffyJoolanderRobonunSynthesisKonphujunUnlucky38thDoe
  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    Writing a research paper on a legally complex emerging tech application is in no way lame. Welcome!

    DeebaserGreepermcdermottAiouaLadyGreeperElvenshaeRMS OceanicLoserForHireXspool32Gnome-InterruptusRichyIncenjucarQuidEtiowsaNocrenFeralLostNinjaTaranisshrykeStollsFlying CouchAstaerethZeroCowMrVyngaardPolaritieCorehealerYoshisummonsDoctorArchAntoshkaPantsBMrMisterRchanendavidsdurionsTofystedethfugacityCalicaMvrckBloodySlothL Ron HowardCommunistCowV1mLord_AsmodeusHacksawFencingsaxHakkekageLanlaornjoshofalltradeskimeTurkeyCaptainNemoHeirSCREECH OF THE FARGSkeithenc0rekaortiMagic PinkTL DRJoolanderMan in the MistsRobonunKonphujun
  • Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    Irond Will wrote: »
    while some of these claims, if true, would be negatives they have not even come close to being a meaningful counterweight to my decision to use uber when weighed against the pervasive shittiness and corruption of the boston metro taxi system.

    small samples/ anecdotes i know, but every uber driver i've talked to about what it's like driving for uber has been real enthusiastic in their praise. most were livery drivers or regular cab drivers in addition or previously. the rest were part-timers - generally immigrants - picking up a little extra cash.

    Here's the thing though - are they genuinely enthusiastic? Or are they just pretending to be to protect their contract?

    i mean i can't speak to another man's heart of course, but they seemed earnest and in any case didn't have any obvious reason to lie to me - it's not like i'm an uber exec.

    contrast boston taxi drivers who will nearly universally, at the drop of a hat unload a litany of complaints about their shitty job, shitty working conditions, pittance they're paid, the indignities of renting a medallion from a mobster, etc.

    i can't speak to other locales, but the boston taxi situation is a textbook example of logrolling, regulatory capture and oligopoly. it is fucking terrible.

    Wqdwp8l.png
  • syndalissyndalis Getting Classy On the WallRegistered User, Loves Apple Products regular
    edited November 2014
    Irond Will wrote: »
    Irond Will wrote: »
    while some of these claims, if true, would be negatives they have not even come close to being a meaningful counterweight to my decision to use uber when weighed against the pervasive shittiness and corruption of the boston metro taxi system.

    small samples/ anecdotes i know, but every uber driver i've talked to about what it's like driving for uber has been real enthusiastic in their praise. most were livery drivers or regular cab drivers in addition or previously. the rest were part-timers - generally immigrants - picking up a little extra cash.

    Here's the thing though - are they genuinely enthusiastic? Or are they just pretending to be to protect their contract?

    i mean i can't speak to another man's heart of course, but they seemed earnest and in any case didn't have any obvious reason to lie to me - it's not like i'm an uber exec.

    contrast boston taxi drivers who will nearly universally, at the drop of a hat unload a litany of complaints about their shitty job, shitty working conditions, pittance they're paid, the indignities of renting a medallion from a mobster, etc.

    i can't speak to other locales, but the boston taxi situation is a textbook example of logrolling, regulatory capture and oligopoly. it is fucking terrible.

    Same is true in NYC - uber drivers are near-universally happier than black car / taxi drivers. I refuse to believe that this is a charade the 100+ rides I have taken with uber with just as may drivers have put on.

    I have used the service enough to have unlocked their VIP service, and I have had exactly 3 bad uber rides. In all three cases, I have been refunded money and apologized to by the service.

    I have had DOZENS of shit yellow cab rides, and unless I want to go through mountains of bureaucracy and hour-long phone calls with 311 explaining my issues... yeah, I just eat the cost.


    edit: I am not approving of all their tactics, mind you. Just pointing out that there is a reason the service is popular, and there is a reason the drivers for the most part seem happy to be a part of it. If any of those factors change I am sure my experience will change to, as will my general happiness with the product.

    syndalis on
    SW-4158-3990-6116
    Let's play Mario Kart or something...
    mcdermottIrond WillLanlaornCambiata
  • LadyGreeperLadyGreeper Registered User regular
    It costs one million dollars to get an NYC taxi medallion. Not hyperbole. In a lot of big cities, cab drivers are essentially indentured servants.

    syndalisIrond Willspool32CindersLanlaorn
  • syndalissyndalis Getting Classy On the WallRegistered User, Loves Apple Products regular
    It costs one million dollars to get an NYC taxi medallion. Not hyperbole. In a lot of big cities, cab drivers are essentially indentured servants.

    And because of this lots of yellow cabs stuck to only the places with high churn (read: Manhattan south of 72nd-96th street and a few places in Brooklyn) so they could justify the crippling cost.

    The Green Cab medallion initiative (cannot pick up in manhattan south of 96th but can drop off there - operate and pick up out of the remainder of the boroughs) was a good move to reduce the cost of operating as an official vehicle for the city... I think those medallions go for 10-15k right now and people driving them are supposedly making 2x more money than they were busting their ass in manhattan under the weight of a 1mil medallion.

    SW-4158-3990-6116
    Let's play Mario Kart or something...
    GethLadyGreeper
  • cloudeaglecloudeagle Registered User regular
    Count me in as another person who has had great experience with Uber as a customer. It's so much better than the usual taxi experience it's not even funny... which makes it that much more baffling Uber's corporate strategy appears to be built on brazen douchery.

    Switch: 3947-4890-9293
    HeirCount ZeroUncle PK
  • LadyGreeperLadyGreeper Registered User regular
    Since I know it's coming: Surge Pricing! Evil capitalist ploy? or Revolutionary free market golden child?

  • syndalissyndalis Getting Classy On the WallRegistered User, Loves Apple Products regular
    Since I know it's coming: Surge Pricing! Evil capitalist ploy? or Revolutionary free market golden child?

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

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

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

    SW-4158-3990-6116
    Let's play Mario Kart or something...
    FeralshrykeMrVyngaardCorehealerLord_AsmodeusMan in the Mists
  • y2jake215y2jake215 certified Flat Birther theorist the Last Good Boy onlineRegistered User regular
    uber will have to get a LOT more ethically dubious before it overrides the incredible benefit it is currently bestowing on me

    C8Ft8GE.jpg
    maybe i'm streaming terrible dj right now if i am its here
    syndalisFeralTaranisMrMisterLanlaornCambiata
  • Captain MarcusCaptain Marcus now arrives the hour of actionRegistered User regular
    It's price gouging, plain and simple.

    ISIS delenda est
    AngelHedgieIncenjucarshrykeMillMrVyngaardCorehealerLord_AsmodeusMan in the Mists
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    Since I know it's coming: Surge Pricing! Evil capitalist ploy? or Revolutionary free market golden child?

    It's absolutely gooseshit, and illustrates why regulations are needed. The argument is that it "makes sure" that cars are available, but what it does is ration supply by cost (for a wonderful example of how well that works, see our health care system.)

    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum / Steam: noxaeternum
    MrVyngaard
  • Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    syndalis wrote: »
    Since I know it's coming: Surge Pricing! Evil capitalist ploy? or Revolutionary free market golden child?

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

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

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

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

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

    Wqdwp8l.png
    Lanlaorn
  • Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    i mean the alternatives seem to be "no cabs" or "call the taxi company and wait on the line and hope that your number comes up" and the cab actually comes

    Wqdwp8l.png
    mcdermottFeralLadyGreeperMrMisterLanlaornCambiata
  • syndalissyndalis Getting Classy On the WallRegistered User, Loves Apple Products regular
    Irond Will wrote: »
    syndalis wrote: »
    Since I know it's coming: Surge Pricing! Evil capitalist ploy? or Revolutionary free market golden child?

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

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

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

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

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

    The only times I have ever seen multipliers over 4 or 5 is during shitty weather events. And I have a hard time seeing it in any way other than Uber enticing drivers against their own good judgement to get on the road with the promise of a great payday.

    SW-4158-3990-6116
    Let's play Mario Kart or something...
    PLA
  • LadyGreeperLadyGreeper Registered User regular
    syndalis wrote: »
    Since I know it's coming: Surge Pricing! Evil capitalist ploy? or Revolutionary free market golden child?

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

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

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

    Here's my harebrained "what if:" TNCs multiply and soon you want to check Lyft, Uber, SideCar, LadyGreeperDrivesU, etc, all for which fare is cheapest during an obvious surge time, i.e., Halloween.

    A new app emerges which is like Priceline for TNCs - shows you all the rates on the different sites and you hail a ride through the Pricelineish app. You get an Uber. Uber crashes.

    WHO DO YOU SUE?

    these are the questions that keep me up at night

    Daedalusskyknyt
  • Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    syndalis wrote: »
    Since I know it's coming: Surge Pricing! Evil capitalist ploy? or Revolutionary free market golden child?

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

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

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

    Here's my harebrained "what if:" TNCs multiply and soon you want to check Lyft, Uber, SideCar, LadyGreeperDrivesU, etc, all for which fare is cheapest during an obvious surge time, i.e., Halloween.

    A new app emerges which is like Priceline for TNCs - shows you all the rates on the different sites and you hail a ride through the Pricelineish app. You get an Uber. Uber crashes.

    WHO DO YOU SUE?

    these are the questions that keep me up at night

    it doesn't matter, really. you sue everyone and whoever the jury sides against is forthwith on the hook to get insurance.

    or, i guess, a far-sighted legislature or regulatory agency could set such standards upfront (hahahahaha)

    Wqdwp8l.png
  • Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    syndalis wrote: »
    Irond Will wrote: »
    syndalis wrote: »
    Since I know it's coming: Surge Pricing! Evil capitalist ploy? or Revolutionary free market golden child?

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

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

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

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

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

    The only times I have ever seen multipliers over 4 or 5 is during shitty weather events. And I have a hard time seeing it in any way other than Uber enticing drivers against their own good judgement to get on the road with the promise of a great payday.

    it gets around there on friday and saturday nights in boston. usually, then, i wait it out or switch services or take the t or hail a cab or just walk.

    Wqdwp8l.png
    Mom2Kat
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    Oh, and on the topic of surge pricing, there have been reports that Uber has intentionally induced surge pricing.

    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum / Steam: noxaeternum
  • Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    Oh, and on the topic of surge pricing, there have been reports that Uber has intentionally induced surge pricing.

    who cares? all the non-uber modes of transportation are still available. if uber is a poor deal to a consumer then can't they use one of those?

    Wqdwp8l.png
    AiouamcdermottLanlaornTurkeySkeleVader
  • AiouaAioua Ora Occidens Ora OptimaRegistered User regular
    edited November 2014
    Since I know it's coming: Surge Pricing! Evil capitalist ploy? or Revolutionary free market golden child?

    It's absolutely gooseshit, and illustrates why regulations are needed. The argument is that it "makes sure" that cars are available, but what it does is ration supply by cost (for a wonderful example of how well that works, see our health care system.)

    This is a stupid analogy, most things are rationed by price without issue. Healthcare is a special case because it breaks all of the supply/demand curves.

    Uber's argument is that they'd rather rather have people unhappy about not being able to afford the service, rather then having people unhappy because the service was poor.

    Aioua on
    life's a game that you're bound to lose / like using a hammer to pound in screws
    fuck up once and you break your thumb / if you're happy at all then you're god damn dumb
    that's right we're on a fucked up cruise / God is dead but at least we have booze
    bad things happen, no one knows why / the sun burns out and everyone dies
    mcdermottFeralMrMisterDevoutlyApatheticLanlaorn
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Outside of emergencies/disasters, I see no issues with surge pricing. If you decide to depend on uber, you accept that you may need to, at some point, pay more, walk, or wait. And some surges (like Halloween, new years, etc) are quite predictable.

    But in general you have to account for the occasional surge trip if you budget for uber. If you are always in a surge, uber is not your best transit option. Otherwise? Much like auto maintenance it is just an unpredictable and occasionally large expense that must be budgeted for.

    I mean, uber users realise that car owners sometimes take their car in thinking it might be $100, and instead it's like $1000, right? Sucks, but that's life.

    Emergencies and disasters are another issue, though of course that comes with the realization that if you cap surge pricing (as NY rightly did) you are accepting that more people just don't get rides.

  • syndalissyndalis Getting Classy On the WallRegistered User, Loves Apple Products regular
    Irond Will wrote: »
    Oh, and on the topic of surge pricing, there have been reports that Uber has intentionally induced surge pricing.

    who cares? all the non-uber modes of transportation are still available. if uber is a poor deal to a consumer then can't they use one of those?

    This is my biggest break point with AH on this topic.

    The way he discusses uber it leads me to think he sees it as a public/municipal service and not a private/publicly traded business.

    I can disagree with a lot of their pricing tactics but still know that what they are doing is well within their rights as a business establishing competitive price points.

    SW-4158-3990-6116
    Let's play Mario Kart or something...
    LadyGreeperHeir
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    Irond Will wrote: »
    Oh, and on the topic of surge pricing, there have been reports that Uber has intentionally induced surge pricing.

    who cares? all the non-uber modes of transportation are still available. if uber is a poor deal to a consumer then can't they use one of those?

    So, you're arguing that it's okay that Uber gauges their customers because there are other options?

    That is a spectacularly bad argument.

    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum / Steam: noxaeternum
  • y2jake215y2jake215 certified Flat Birther theorist the Last Good Boy onlineRegistered User regular
    Irond Will wrote: »
    syndalis wrote: »
    Irond Will wrote: »
    syndalis wrote: »
    Since I know it's coming: Surge Pricing! Evil capitalist ploy? or Revolutionary free market golden child?

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

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

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

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

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

    The only times I have ever seen multipliers over 4 or 5 is during shitty weather events. And I have a hard time seeing it in any way other than Uber enticing drivers against their own good judgement to get on the road with the promise of a great payday.

    it gets around there on friday and saturday nights in boston. usually, then, i wait it out or switch services or take the t or hail a cab or just walk.

    does it really? i don't think I've ever seen over 1.5x-2x even at bar closing

    C8Ft8GE.jpg
    maybe i'm streaming terrible dj right now if i am its here
    Heir
  • AiouaAioua Ora Occidens Ora OptimaRegistered User regular
    edited November 2014
    Irond Will wrote: »
    Oh, and on the topic of surge pricing, there have been reports that Uber has intentionally induced surge pricing.

    who cares? all the non-uber modes of transportation are still available. if uber is a poor deal to a consumer then can't they use one of those?

    So, you're arguing that it's okay that Uber gauges their customers because there are other options?

    That is a spectacularly bad argument.

    How is it a bad argument?

    EDIT: Let's define 'price gouging', too. What's the difference between something being expensive and something being gouging?

    Aioua on
    life's a game that you're bound to lose / like using a hammer to pound in screws
    fuck up once and you break your thumb / if you're happy at all then you're god damn dumb
    that's right we're on a fucked up cruise / God is dead but at least we have booze
    bad things happen, no one knows why / the sun burns out and everyone dies
    LanlaornTurkey
  • PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    This whole Uber thing is fascinating from an ethics stand point, but as someone who has lived my entire life in the suburbs I've never used any of the services these companies provide. Like the only time I ever used a taxi was when I was in vegas and even that was a huge mistake.

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

    Http:// pleasepaypreacher.net
    KalkinoMortiousa5ehrenCommunistCowLord_Asmodeus
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    Aioua wrote: »
    Irond Will wrote: »
    Oh, and on the topic of surge pricing, there have been reports that Uber has intentionally induced surge pricing.

    who cares? all the non-uber modes of transportation are still available. if uber is a poor deal to a consumer then can't they use one of those?

    So, you're arguing that it's okay that Uber gauges their customers because there are other options?

    That is a spectacularly bad argument.

    How is it a bad argument?

    EDIT: Let's define 'price gouging', too. What's the difference between something being expensive and something being gouging?

    Because it's saying that unethical behavior is alright if there are other alternatives. It also ignores that they are currently in a scorched earth campaign to eliminate the alternatives.

    As for a definition, I like the Wikipedia one:
    Price gouging is a pejorative term referring to a situation in which a seller prices goods or commodities at a level much higher than is considered reasonable or fair.

    And in this case it is even worse, because the supply shock is artificially induced.

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  • Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    Irond Will wrote: »
    Oh, and on the topic of surge pricing, there have been reports that Uber has intentionally induced surge pricing.

    who cares? all the non-uber modes of transportation are still available. if uber is a poor deal to a consumer then can't they use one of those?

    So, you're arguing that it's okay that Uber gauges their customers because there are other options?

    That is a spectacularly bad argument.

    how is this "gouging" in this context?

    what does "price gouging" even mean in a market with hundreds of substitution goods?

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  • jmcdonaldjmcdonald I voted, did you? DC(ish)Registered User regular
    syndalis wrote: »
    Since I know it's coming: Surge Pricing! Evil capitalist ploy? or Revolutionary free market golden child?

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

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

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

    Here's my harebrained "what if:" TNCs multiply and soon you want to check Lyft, Uber, SideCar, LadyGreeperDrivesU, etc, all for which fare is cheapest during an obvious surge time, i.e., Halloween.

    A new app emerges which is like Priceline for TNCs - shows you all the rates on the different sites and you hail a ride through the Pricelineish app. You get an Uber. Uber crashes.

    WHO DO YOU SUE?

    these are the questions that keep me up at night

    Easy. You sue them all.

    shryke wrote: »
    ...Barack "charisma isn't a dump stat, nerds" Obama...
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  • Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    Irond Will wrote: »
    syndalis wrote: »
    Irond Will wrote: »
    syndalis wrote: »
    Since I know it's coming: Surge Pricing! Evil capitalist ploy? or Revolutionary free market golden child?

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

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

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

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

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

    The only times I have ever seen multipliers over 4 or 5 is during shitty weather events. And I have a hard time seeing it in any way other than Uber enticing drivers against their own good judgement to get on the road with the promise of a great payday.

    it gets around there on friday and saturday nights in boston. usually, then, i wait it out or switch services or take the t or hail a cab or just walk.

    does it really? i don't think I've ever seen over 1.5x-2x even at bar closing

    wait you waited at my place for an hour at 3 am just to save a 0.5x multiple!? you cheap bastage!
    jk you are welcome to stay whenever

    i used to see the larger multiples before the service was quite as large as it is now, and generally when it was raining. not necessarily **unsafe** weather conditions but **no one in the whole city wants to walk** weather conditions.

    Wqdwp8l.png
  • y2jake215y2jake215 certified Flat Birther theorist the Last Good Boy onlineRegistered User regular
    Irond Will wrote: »
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    Irond Will wrote: »
    syndalis wrote: »
    Irond Will wrote: »
    syndalis wrote: »
    Since I know it's coming: Surge Pricing! Evil capitalist ploy? or Revolutionary free market golden child?

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

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

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

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

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

    The only times I have ever seen multipliers over 4 or 5 is during shitty weather events. And I have a hard time seeing it in any way other than Uber enticing drivers against their own good judgement to get on the road with the promise of a great payday.

    it gets around there on friday and saturday nights in boston. usually, then, i wait it out or switch services or take the t or hail a cab or just walk.

    does it really? i don't think I've ever seen over 1.5x-2x even at bar closing

    wait you waited at my place for an hour at 3 am just to save a 0.5x multiple!? you cheap bastage!
    jk you are welcome to stay whenever

    i used to see the larger multiples before the service was quite as large as it is now, and generally when it was raining. not necessarily **unsafe** weather conditions but **no one in the whole city wants to walk** weather conditions.

    that extra 1x was like $20!

    C8Ft8GE.jpg
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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    I see surging as similar to ticket scalping, honestly. I've definitely written enough on that point in regards to something most of us are familiar with (which is PAX).

    As with any good that has a limited supply and greater demand, there will be winners and losers. That's how it goes. So, with PAX badges, I can either put in the work to be one of the F5 warriors, I can get lucky, or I can pay. With Uber, I can walk, I can wait, or I can pay.

    All eliminating scalpers, or Uber, does is eliminate the option to pay more. Also, it potentially in the case of Uber actually reduces overall supply...honestly, I don't party on Halloween, so I would totally consider driving for the night if I could predictably land surge rates. Why not? But for regular rates? I'll probably sit at home and watch Freddy vs. Jason instead.


    Of course, this does assume two things: that surges aren't artificially induced (and AH has a point there), and that other options remain available. If Uber actually puts price-regulated taxis under? Now other, cheaper options are reduced. And I'm not at all saying that further scrutiny and potentially regulation of Uber's practices aren't necessary to prevent things like the alleged induced surges.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited November 2014
    i used to see the larger multiples before the service was quite as large as it is now, and generally when it was raining. not necessarily **unsafe** weather conditions but **no one in the whole city wants to walk** weather conditions.

    Saw like a 5x or 7x multiplier (forget which) in Seattle over PAX weekend, but that was right after the Sounders game let out as well (and it had started raining). And only lasted like half an hour. They do go pretty high.

    I'd say it might be reasonable to require some kind of significant, prominent, and acknowledged disclaimer on signing up for the account that prices may vary up to whatever the current max multiplier is (and re-notify and acknowledge any time that changes). I'm fine with the current "acknowledge and type in the multiplier" interface to ensure the user knows what they're about to pay, but this might be good to inform people before they find themselves depending on Uber for a ride home that the price can vary significantly.

    mcdermott on
  • AiouaAioua Ora Occidens Ora OptimaRegistered User regular
    edited November 2014
    Aioua wrote: »
    Irond Will wrote: »
    Oh, and on the topic of surge pricing, there have been reports that Uber has intentionally induced surge pricing.

    who cares? all the non-uber modes of transportation are still available. if uber is a poor deal to a consumer then can't they use one of those?

    So, you're arguing that it's okay that Uber gauges their customers because there are other options?

    That is a spectacularly bad argument.

    How is it a bad argument?

    EDIT: Let's define 'price gouging', too. What's the difference between something being expensive and something being gouging?

    Because it's saying that unethical behavior is alright if there are other alternatives.

    No, Will was saying that because there were alternatives that the behavior is ethical.
    It also ignores that they are currently in a scorched earth campaign to eliminate the alternatives.

    This is a separate issue, Just looking at the article you linked, they aren't doing anything wrong there. I know in some areas they were getting legislation crafted that benefited them and not other TNCs, but that usually hung on that fact that--at least nominally-uber goes through a more comprehensive selection and insurance process than, say, lyft.

    As for a definition, I like the Wikipedia one:
    Price gouging is a pejorative term referring to a situation in which a seller prices goods or commodities at a level much higher than is considered reasonable or fair.

    And in this case it is even worse, because the supply shock is artificially induced.

    Okay, so then it's just a pejorative for prices you subjectively don't like? Well that doesn't really help the level of discourse.

    And, generally, Uber's surges aren't artificial. It's when they either have not enough drivers, or too many riders.

    EDIT: And even if they are artifical, who cares? I'm still failing to see how Uber has an ethical responsibility to price anything a specific way.

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  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    Since I know it's coming: Surge Pricing! Evil capitalist ploy? or Revolutionary free market golden child?

    It's absolutely gooseshit, and illustrates why regulations are needed. The argument is that it "makes sure" that cars are available, but what it does is ration supply by cost (for a wonderful example of how well that works, see our health care system.)

    If demand outstrips supply for a good, some way of rationing that good will be necessary, yes? What would you propose?

  • Phoenix-DPhoenix-D Registered User regular
    The straw that pushed me over into never using them was the multiple cases of "We don't use the data on where you go. Here, let's bring up someone's uber account and show you where they went!"

    jmcdonaldCaptain MarcusLadyGreeper
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