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Government

Milwaukee City Council Proposal Would Pave Way For Uber, Lyft 76

Posted by timothy
from the anti-coordinative-forces dept.
New submitter rjune (123157) writes with some rare positive news from the online ride-sharing world, specifically from Milwaukee. "Ald. Robert Bauman is drafting a proposed ordinance that, if approved by the Common Council, would change the way public passenger vehicles are regulated and licensed. The proposal, expected to be outlined on Friday before the Common Council's Public Transportation Review Board, not only lifts the cap on taxicab vehicle perimits but accommodates new smartphone app services such as Uber and Lyft. Both Uber and Lyft are already in the marketplace." I wish that the cities I spend the most time in would do the same, but they've been busily protecting the local cartels, instead.
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Milwaukee City Council Proposal Would Pave Way For Uber, Lyft

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  • by rahvin112 (446269) on Friday May 09, 2014 @07:31PM (#46963827)

    Busy protecting the cartels

    I see this argument all the time but for the most part there is little substance behind it. Most cities are only trying to ensure that some basic rules are being followed. Like background checks on the drivers, that the cars are maintained and insured with commercial drivers insurance and that the drivers aren't driving 18 hours a day.

    I'd be willing to bet that most of the drivers for Lyft and Uber are doing so with their regular non-commercial insurance (which won't cover a damn thing once they find out they were) and are driving significantly more hours than allowed and that at least some of those drivers are able to drive so long because they are taking amphetamines (just like truckers do that drive those kind of hours).

    Outside placed like New York these taxi commissions are charged with protecting the public from taxi drivers that have a dozen rape convictions, taxi's that haven't seen a mechanic in 20 years and drivers running around hopped up on speed driving 36 hours straight. The vast majority of these commissions are only interested in these public safety objectives and Uber and Lyft don't give a damn about. The few places they've been threatened with the same rules and expenses they drop the market because they can't make money, which is frankly understandable because in competitive taxi markets (ie almost anywhere outside NY and DC) the margins are razor thin and Uber/Lyft can only make money because they don't do the checks everyone else has to.

  • Re:Dear Timothy (Score:3, Informative)

    by ArmoredDragon (3450605) on Friday May 09, 2014 @09:18PM (#46964275)

    Those services are no better than hitchhiking since there is no vetting of the driver. Insurance won't stop you from being taken to the woods, beaten, raped, robbed and murdered (not necessarily in that order)

    Sorry but that's a load of crap. Regulated cab drivers have done all of these things.

    These services offer the advantage of making that less likely to happen than with a regulated driver for a few reasons:

    1) There's a pretty clear cut record of the fact that your last known activity was getting in a taxi via Lyft or Uber, regardless of payment method.
    2) There's a well established identity of the person who is driving you (if they are a veteran to the service, they will have numerous ratings.)
    3) Both you AND the driver are carrying smartphones that are metering how far you've gone, which means a third party is also tracking your movement and has a very good way for the authorities to trace your last steps.
    4) You made your destination clear to a third party before going for a ride, and if your driver significantly strays from that destination at the time that something happened to you, then he's got some splainin' to do.

    These safety features don't exist with a traditional taxi. The few that do (e.g. calling the cab company and telling them to pick you up) don't carry any kind of audit mechanism (with Lyft and Uber, there are six audit sources that should match up 100% of the time, so there's no possibility of any two parties conspiring against a third.)

    Sorry but your concerns are not legitimate. It's just a tired old argument to keep an already protectionist racket in place. The city governments won't listen to any of the four points I made though because they WANT to have an oligopoly that they can suck more money from. If its tax revenue they need, then just make it a fucking tax instead of making it hell to be able to get a ride without owning your own car. It's not as if they couldn't tax these services (they already plan on regulating them out of the market, whereas simply taxing them would be a lot easier to do.)

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