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Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry 273

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-ride-share-to-rule-them-all dept.
McGruber writes Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu agree: there will a 15 round fight between Uber and the taxicab industry that currently enjoys regulatory capture, but after a long fight, Uber will win. Landrieu says: "It actually is going to be a 15 round fight. And it's going to take time to work out, hopefully sooner rather than later. But that debate will be held.....But it is a forceful fight, and our city council is full of people on Uber's side, people on the cabs' side, and it's a battle." Mayor Reed of Atlanta also expressed how politically powerful the taxi cartels can be: "I tell you, Uber's worth more than Sony, but cab drivers can take you out. So you've got to [weigh that]. Get in a cab and they say, 'Well that mayor, he is sorry.' You come to visit Atlanta, they say, 'Well that Mayor Reed is as sorry as the day is long. Let me tell you how sorry he is while I drive you to your hotel. And I want you to know that crime is up.' This guy might knock you out. I want you to know it can get really real. It's not as easy as it looks."
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Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

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  • Good? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kenja (541830) on Monday June 30, 2014 @12:51PM (#47351261)
    Not really seeing a downside if the industry is this fragile. It's like claiming that lemonade stands will "knock out" the snapple industry.
    • Re:Good? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Archangel Michael (180766) on Monday June 30, 2014 @01:02PM (#47351383) Journal

      Any industry that can be replaced by technology, should be.

      Hopefully we start evaluating laws that exist solely to prevent competition (Taxi cab franchise badges).

      • Re:Good? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Archangel Michael (180766) on Monday June 30, 2014 @01:05PM (#47351415) Journal

        Further, UBER is just a first shot across the bow. The next one will be automated "city cars" built by Google, that will pickup and drop off people at work and take them shopping and whatnot. The end of the taxi is coming.

        • Re:Good? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TechyImmigrant (175943) on Monday June 30, 2014 @01:16PM (#47351531) Journal

          Further, UBER is just a first shot across the bow. The next one will be automated "city cars" built by Google, that will pickup and drop off people at work and take them shopping and whatnot. The end of the taxi is coming.

          It will be a subscription based 'private club' service to get around taxi regulations.
          Wealthier and frequent flyers will all sign up and get whisked efficiently to where they are going, Taxi operators will go bust. Hapless families on their once-a-decade flight get left waiting for a bus.

          This is the normal filtering effect of the travel service industry. It serves to physically separate the savvy and/or wealthier travelers from the great unwashed.

          • "Hapless Families" will adjust. They will figure it out. And those that don't will be few, and far between. However, I'm sure that people like you will no doubt take up the cause, in an effort to assuage your guilt over using these services.

            Besides, I don't understand why a full size Tesla doesn't pick them up, and drive them to the airport, with all their luggage. Or the occasional "huge" family getting picked up in a Van or Limo that seats 10-14 people.

            Unless, of course, you're speaking for yourself being

            • Re:Good? (Score:5, Informative)

              by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday June 30, 2014 @01:54PM (#47351853)

              While I tend to be pro-link and pro-uber, it's clear to me that taxi's are required to serve bad areas and less profitable areas while link and uber are not.

              Part of the process of transitioning to link and uber may eventually require percentage of service of these types.

              Otherwise, we'll end up with great competative service in the profitable areas and poor to no service elsewhere. Which will be a failure of the public transportation system.

              • by nbauman (624611)

                While I tend to be pro-link and pro-uber, it's clear to me that taxi's are required to serve bad areas and less profitable areas while link and uber are not.

                Part of the process of transitioning to link and uber may eventually require percentage of service of these types.

                Otherwise, we'll end up with great competative service in the profitable areas and poor to no service elsewhere. Which will be a failure of the public transportation system.

                One of the problems that we had with the taxi industry in New York City is that they had a difficult time carrying wheelchairs. New yellow cabs being phased in have to carry wheelchairs.

                If Uber drivers are private cars, then only a small proportion of them will be able to carry wheelchairs. If they follow the free market, they will charge more. So instead of getting a $20 cab ride to the doctor or a theater, a wheelchair rider may have to pay $50 or $100.

                I don't know if that will happen. I'd like to see wha

            • by nbauman (624611)

              Unless, of course, you're speaking for yourself being "hapless", since it is clear you can't figure out even the simple solutions to the imaginary problems you see with technology.

              Those who are truly hapless are the ones who don't understand that you don't know whether new, hyped solutions will actually work or whether they will have unforeseen problems until you actually try them out for a while and see what happens in reality.

              • Unless, of course, you're speaking for yourself being "hapless", since it is clear you can't figure out even the simple solutions to the imaginary problems you see with technology.

                Those who are truly hapless are the ones who don't understand that you don't know whether new, hyped solutions will actually work or whether they will have unforeseen problems until you actually try them out for a while and see what happens in reality.

                Amongst travelers, the hapless are those that didn't know they should plan ahead. They get stuck in middle seats, separated from the people they are travelling with. They don't have access to the lounges. They get on the plane last and then have to check their bags because their's no space left. They end up in a long taxi line, rather than having a pre-arranged pickup or other transport option. They wear shoes with laces.

          • Re:Good? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by geekoid (135745) <dadinportlandNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Monday June 30, 2014 @01:46PM (#47351781) Homepage Journal

            No they won't. There will be services for one off; which is a lot of people.
            IF not, well then create a service. You could take thousands of 'hapless families' to a major airport everyday. The last time I went to the airport I used a service that ONLY picked up seldom fliers. That had many cars and according to the owner, were doing very well. He then offered me a job.
            SO, I suspect those people will be ale to get to the airport.
            Seriously you're just making up problems.

          • Hapless families on their once-a-decade flight get left waiting for a bus.

            ...or they'll just call up a private airport shuttle service, like anyone with a brain in SanFran does now (because the airport shuttle services only cost you $30 from Mission to OAK, whereas a taxi will cost you around $60-$80 for the same distance.)

            Oh, and most decent hotels have complimentary shuttles on top of that, throughout the country.

            You don't get out much, do you?

          • Wealthier and frequent flyers will all sign up and get whisked efficiently to where they are going,

            Of course, if Google also builds their own roads. Otherwise, we're sitting in the same traffic.

            It's not about the service, nor the cars. It's about the infrastructure they are both running on.... the roads and whos going to really pay for them. Who uses the road more maybe a compromise (in fees). Otherwise, someone could be getting a free lunch in taxes that is...

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          UBER is a dispatch & logistics company. They will be first in line to run fleets of automated vehicles...and not just for transporting people. Freight is a much bigger market. What UBER is doing now is not what they have in mind for the future. All they care about now is getting brand recognition. Picking fights with taxi companies and getting news articles is just cheap advertising.

          • I'm sure they will. But so will anyone with capital to buy fleets of automated cars. This is going to change the transportation industry (not just cabs)

        • Re:Good? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by iluvcapra (782887) on Monday June 30, 2014 @01:47PM (#47351795)

          The next one will be automated "city cars" built by Google, that will pickup and drop off people at work and take them shopping and whatnot.

          Let's not get ahead of ourselves, such a car has yet to be demonstrated. Google's demo vehicles are incapable of taking riders anywhere apart from a set track of stops, like a Disneyworld people-mover ride.

          There's still probably a need in some cities for street-hail livery, which is what classic yellow cabs are -- in NY you can wait 5-10 minutes for the Uber or hail a cab in 30 seconds, and frankly the cabbie will be less of a pain -- my experience with Uber drivers in Manhattan has been a pretty mixed bag. As long as humans are doing the driving it might still be advisable for the drivers to get background checks and have commercial licensing and insurance, such things are prudent and won't kill the magic free market pixies that flutter about e-hailed car services.

          As I understand it, city governments have a few simple problems with Uber-

          1) Ubers can avoid poor neighborhoods at will, and there's really nothing the city can do about it. I live in LA, and if you live in, say, Watts, you must call a cab if you want a car, no Uber will find you there, because it's "the ghetto" and there's never an Uber within 20 minutes. Taxis can be and are required to pick up from all parts of the city, and their statistics are closely monitored by regulators to make sure they do.

          2) Uber's trip pricing structure is very free-markety but it conflicts with most city's basic taxi regs, wherein a trip's price is a fixed formula of distance and time, no special charge for time of day or pickup/destination location. Uber can't provide this, because they use rate premiums to recruit drivers. Again the system is completely open to various kinds of discrimination, and the pricing process is completely private and not open to any sort of public accountability or scrutiny -- even they drivers, who are nominally the service providers ("Uber is not a transportation company"), can't control it.

          3) These of course lead to the more philosophical dispute, namely, Uber handles the hailing, transaction processing, driver and rider ratings, and branding of the interaction, but whenever there's any sort of trouble, Uber can vehemently claim they have nothing to do with the driver or the ride, that it's none of their business, and governments and harmed parties must direct all their laws and lawsuits at little sole proprietors. This is a little too clever by half for some people and while following the letter of the law tends to skirt the equities a little too close.

          All of this is totally fine as long as e-hail livery is a "premium" service, but some cities rely on taxis as a critical part of the transport infrastructure, and that's when price disparities and availability blackouts start to be problematic, politically.

          • Re:Good? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by taustin (171655) on Monday June 30, 2014 @02:29PM (#47352167) Homepage Journal

            And it's only a matter of time before organized crime smells the opportunity to take over the entire taxi industry, without regulation.

          • I live in LA, and if you live in, say, Watts, you must call a cab if you want a car, no Uber will find you there, because it's "the ghetto" and there's never an Uber within 20 minutes. Taxis can be and are required to pick up from all parts of the city, and their statistics are closely monitored by regulators to make sure they do.

            I live in San Francisco and you won't be getting a ride from the cabbies who are hypothetically required to take you. Dispatch will accept the call, but no one will ever show up. Maybe you hail a cab, but when they find out you're going to a sketch part of town they'll suddenly remember that their meter is broken.

            Taxis are required to pick you up and take you wherever, now. A fat lot of good that actually does you when the driver would rather be somewhere else.

            • Re:Good? (Score:4, Informative)

              by PapayaSF (721268) on Monday June 30, 2014 @11:43PM (#47356873) Journal

              I live in San Francisco and you won't be getting a ride from the cabbies who are hypothetically required to take you. Dispatch will accept the call, but no one will ever show up.

              Very true. I once tried to get a cab from one part of downtown to another, in the middle of a workday. No cab ever showed up. I've heard they don't want to miss out on a more lucrative run to the airport.

          • It's worth remembering Uber started in a city with one of the worst Taxi systems in the country - San Francisco. Regulatory capture from the taxi cartel meant the city had far fewer medallions than it needed. Even in the densest commercial districts it was difficult to get a cab. In residential areas it was impossible. It was in the medallion owners' best interest to keep it this way, because the medallions can be sold and will keep their value better if the supply is over-restricted.

            I hear they're auctioni
      • Re:Good? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Vellmont (569020) on Monday June 30, 2014 @01:16PM (#47351515)

        This isn't replacing the taxi industry with a technology, it's pitting a highly regulated industry (taxi cabs) with an unregulated variant. Taxicabs pay huge amounts of money to run a taxicab. If you want to loosen regulations on taxis, fine. But Ueber is an attempt to create an unlicensed, unregulated market where a licensed regulated one exists. It has about zero to do with technology.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          That only shows how bad and harmful such regulations are, and the best way to get done with them is to put it in competition the regulated service with something non regulated and let people vote with their wallets about what they prefer.

          • As Lawrence Lessig mused "code is law". We don't need governments to try in substitute their feckless ancient law for our code. Imagine-- millions liberated by the promise of technology to start building their societies on Python, Perl, Malbolge and other industry standard codebases instead of leaving those sorts of decisions to outmoded, inefficient, and frankly just embarrassing artifacts of the so called democratic revolution. We live in the 21st century, people, and it's time we stopped paying homage to

          • by Jawnn (445279)

            That only shows how bad and harmful such regulations are, and the best way to get done with them is to put it in competition the regulated service with something non regulated and let people vote with their wallets about what they prefer.

            A more ignorant reply I can not remember seeing here on /. Unless, oh, I see. You don't give a shit about "the little people" for whose protection the regulations were enacted in the first place.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Indeed. But the Ayn Rand capitalists cannot see beyond the dollar signs. I'm in favour of taxis and for-profit travel services being heavily regulated, not for the sake of preveting competition, but for safety, vetting, someone to sue should something go wrong, tradition, and a whole host of additional reasons. I would not get into a car driven by someone who just throws a mustache on their ride and says they know the city. I agree with the stringent requirements London has for taxi drivers. I think this sh

          • I agree with the stringent requirements London has for taxi drivers. I think this should be a requirement. You should be able to tell me at least three ways to get to any one place -- without a map, without GPS, without tech aids. Can't? Then you have no experience as a driver and I should, by default, not trust you. Uber drivers don't know the cities like taxi drivers do. Some shortcuts will get you killed.

            Would you favor a more general raising-of-the-bar for drivers licenses for all drivers? The stuff yo

          • Re:Good? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by ganjadude (952775) on Monday June 30, 2014 @02:47PM (#47352347) Homepage
            ok. heres a simple solution then.

            Lets taxis keep running, and people like you who want the "security" of using the tried and true method can. but allow uber to exist, so other people can make a decision on their own, do i want to save money but potentially get in the car with a maniac? or go tried a true and still get in a car with a potential maniac, although the chances are slimmer with that option

            win win solution for the people, only ones bitching are those who run taxis who now get slightly less profit.
          • So you'd rather pass laws requiring all of that cultural information to be individually memorized and kept in short supply, rather than those allowing it to be distributed to anyone who wants it. That's interesting. Bizarrely Luddite and a touch racist (because you prefer discriminating against places "everyone knows are bad" rather than ones that can be objectively demonstrated as such), but interesting.

            I'll take newer, faster, and scientific, thank you. Fetishizing tradition often equals heresy, and this

        • by tipo159 (1151047)

          Where are mod points when I need them?

        • Welcome to the internet my friend, disrupting oligopolies and weaving communities from strangers for over 20 years now ;)
        • Re:Good? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by whoever57 (658626) on Monday June 30, 2014 @02:10PM (#47351999) Journal

          it's pitting a highly regulated industry (taxi cabs) with an unregulated variant.

          Unregulated versions have existed in many cities for a long time -- for example, private hire cars in the UK. In the US, the equivalent is not unregulated (limo services) but it is much less regulated than taxi services. People were prepared to pay more for the convenience of a taxi.

          What Uber brings is the convenience of a taxi combined with the advantages of existing unregulated services. That's where technology comes in -- it provides the convenience.

          Taxi services are now suffering because of a combination of historic greed and anti-competitive actions. By that, I mean the sale of medallions, which brought in revenue to cities (greed) and made it difficult or impossible for people to start a taxi business (anti-competitive). However, those medallions are a huge cost of running a taxi which is not incurred by services such as Uber.

        • Re:Good? (Score:4, Informative)

          by Dr. Evil (3501) on Monday June 30, 2014 @02:24PM (#47352123)

          Taxis need regulation so that you don't have flocks of angry seagulls fighting over fares, or criminals picking up marks.

          Given that the fighting still happens, and the conning still happens, I'd rather trust a website with a reputation based system, than a taxi driver.

        • I shake my head at the ingress text: "the taxicab industry that currently enjoys regulatory capture"

          Some things people should know about Uber: It's backed by Silicon Valley venture capital and Goldman Sachs, to the tune of 1.2 billion dollars.

          Yet, it's the self-employed, unskilled labor in the cottage industry of driving taxis that "enjoys regulatory capture". Yeeeeah, right.

          The taxi industry is regulated to protect consumers, not drivers. All Uber is, is some rich people who decided that they'd become powe

      • by westlake (615356)

        Any industry that can be replaced by technology, should be.

        Every industry has a technological base and a social reason for its existence.

        Taxi services have a long history of abuses which the geek conveniently chooses to forget. Perhaps because for him the taxi is a convenience and not a necessity.

        In a neighboring city, black and poor, the only accessible, affordable, suburban sized supermarket is a cab ride midtown.

        In the hospital district.

      • by slew (2918)

        Hopefully we start evaluating laws that exist solely to prevent competition (Taxi cab franchise badges).

        Are you willing to go so far as minimum wage and immigration laws? Most folks have a line to draw somewhere. Depending on your politics...

        Usually when the paycheck of one's friends/neighbors line gets crossed, opinions start to shift. When it finally gets to your paycheck, that's often a bright red line for most folks... The mentality is like this: first they came... [wikipedia.org]

      • by nbauman (624611)

        Any industry that can be replaced by technology, should be.

        You can replace butter with saturated corn oil.

        You can replace your doctor with a touch-tone phone where you answer questions on a key pad, and a computer tells you what to do.

        That doesn't mean the replacement will be as good as the technology it's replacing.

    • by tmosley (996283)
      They're just blaming Uber for what they themselves have done to the taxi industry. It should cost NOTHING to start a cab company, aside from the price of your cab and fuel. But government intervened on the side of big cab companies to force them to pay huge amounts for permits to decrease the competition.

      If Snapple had lobbied to force other drink companies to pay a million dollars for each distribution truck, you can bet that whatever drink companies were left would be charging outrageous amounts, and
  • Is Mitch Landrieu threatening to have Taxi cab drivers assault customers if Uber prevail?

    • Re:Threats? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by pspahn (1175617) on Monday June 30, 2014 @12:57PM (#47351323)

      I am utterly confused about that whole statement. Uber is worth more than Sony? People getting knocked out? I'm not sure what we're talking about right now.

      I sort of get what the article is about based on the summary, but it is not appealing enough to warrant clicking on something (I have no idea where that link has been) that would explain the confusing summary.

      • by alta (1263)

        I know how you feel. I was ok through the first half but by the time I was at the quote near the end I was lost.

        Author Fail
        Editor Fail

      • I believe it is a disingenuous statement to mislead. It is technically true. However, there is an important but subtle distention between the value of a company and market capitalization.

        Sony is a much larger company. However, from accounting 101, Assets – Liabilities = Equity. If we use assets as a proxy for company size (which is not quite true but good enough for this post), as one increases liabilities, equity gets smaller. Sony has lots of liabilities, so its market capitalization is much smaller

        • by pspahn (1175617)
          That's fine and dandy and all, but what does Sony have to do with anything? Why is he comparing Uber to Sony as if they are analogs?
  • I am sure drivers are perfectly law abiding and safe without any background checks and drug testing. It is completely impossible to have part time and internet enabled taxi drivers who are still checked out and issued a license.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mi (197448)

      I am sure drivers are perfectly law abiding and safe without any background checks and drug testing.

      The ratings-and-feedback systems maintained by Uber and others is more efficient at flagging bad drivers, than any government-run certification authority can be.

      It is completely impossible to have part time and internet enabled taxi drivers who are still checked out and issued a license.

      What's with this obsession with licensing? Why must engaging in more and more activities be turned from a right (which only

      • by tipo159 (1151047) on Monday June 30, 2014 @01:44PM (#47351769)

        What's with this obsession with licensing?

        The skills that one has to demonstrate to get a commercial drivers license is higher than to get a regular car drivers license. Same goes for a motorcycle license. Why shouldn't one need to demonstrate a higher level of skills in order to be allowed to get paid to drive other people around.

        I don't trust Uber to verify that their drivers have the skills needs to drive me around safely. Uber's background check that somehow missed one of their drivers was a sex offender.

        • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Monday June 30, 2014 @01:58PM (#47351887) Homepage

          Why shouldn't one need to demonstrate a higher level of skills in order to be allowed to get paid to drive other people around.

          Why must one be allowed to get paid in the first place? And why must "higher level of skills" be a requirement — even for the customers, who are perfectly satisfied with average level of skills?

          Uber's background check that somehow missed one of their drivers was a sex offender.

          So what? Plenty of locales allow (ex-)felons — including sex-offenders [wkow.com] — to drive taxis today.

          If you want to be driven by above-average drivers only, you can request a higher-rated driver from Uber (and pay more per mile) or — if Uber's vetting process seems insufficiently rigorous to you — go for a different company altogether. But don't try to impose it on the rest of us.

        • Uber's background check that somehow missed one of their drivers was a sex offender.

          So what? States define "sex offenders" too broadly anyway, including (literal) piddly things like public urination.

        • by ganjadude (952775)
          who does the ensuring though? I trust people who have drivin with the driver over a document that says he spent an extra 5 hours in a classroom, therefore he DESERVES it
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by geekoid (135745)

        A) Reviews have some inherent issues, and should rarely be trusted.
        B) Reviews depend on after the fact; which is pointless if you are dead.
        C) Licensing came about AFTER abuses. Every. Single. One.

        "..you, Illiberals, get off?"
        This isn't an liberal / conservative issue. How does it feel to turn every issue into a liberal/conservative issue? TO rephrase: "How does it feel to be Fox's cum stained bitch?"

        • by mi (197448)

          Reviews depend on after the fact; which is pointless if you are dead.

          One of the dangers, that the GP is afraid of, is being driven by a sex-offender. I — an ugly middle-aged man with portbelly — have no fear of being raped and no prejudice against known sex-offenders trying to work for a living. Why would I be any more "dead" driven by such a person, then by somebody else? And why shouldn't I be allowed to be driven by such a person, if that's 1 cent cheaper per mile or if he can get to me 3 mi

      • by taustin (171655)

        The ratings-and-feedback systems maintained by Uber and others is more efficient at flagging bad drivers, than any government-run certification authority can be.

        I'm sure that will be a great comfort to those who are the reason for those bad ratings. You know, the people who get ripped off, kidnapped and held for ransom (I need another $500 or I'll just dump you here), or worse.

        And the cops will be less than enthusiastic about chasing those bad drivers down, when there isn't a multi-million dollar a year company to fine the hell out of.

        • by itzly (3699663)
          There are plenty of big cities where taxis aren't driven by multi-million dollar companies, but by single owners.
        • by mi (197448)

          I'm sure that will be a great comfort to those who are the reason for those bad ratings. You know, the people who get ripped off, kidnapped and held for ransom (I need another $500 or I'll just dump you here), or worse.

          Well, those felons, whom taxi-licensing (unlike Uber's lax policies) would've prevented from ever becoming a taxi-driver in the first place, have killed/kidnapped/or held for ransom somebody else before — while doing something, that did not require a license, such as walking on a sidewa

  • Taxi Medallions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by adisakp (705706) on Monday June 30, 2014 @01:00PM (#47351359) Journal
    Uber, Lyft, Sidecar etc. all avoid the enormous cost of Taxi Medallions (which are hundreds of thousands of dollars and in some places pushing 7 figures) -- PER CAB !!!!

    However, circumventing medallions is not necessarily a bad thing considering the downsides of medallions [priceonomics.com].
    • by adisakp (705706)
      Also, a bit of the "customer roulette" is removed in the ride sharing apps since Drivers can rate their Passengers. With Lyft, if a driver gives you a poor rating, they will never get you as a customer again.
      • by adisakp (705706)
        And with Sidecar, you actually have to enter where you are going before you request a ride so drivers don't have to take customers that would make them drive somewhere they didn't want to go.
        • And this is why Sidecar, Uber, etc. will not put cabs out of business. Riders want to go where they want to go, not just where someone else is going. You will always need a cab to get to a bad part of town from a nice part of town because yuppies won't drive you there, but taxi drivers (usually) will.
          • You will always need a cab to get to a bad part of town from a nice part of town because yuppies won't drive you there, but taxi drivers (usually) will.

            So what you're saying is... people will use Uber for 90% of their needs and only call a taxi when they want to go somewhere that is almost by definition unprofitable for said taxi. And you don't think they're going to destroy the taxi industry?

      • by taustin (171655)

        Unless you just sign up for a different account every time.

    • by mveloso (325617)

      Taxi medallions are so expensive because medallion owners want them that way. By restricting the medallions, they restrict the competition.

      Has this resulted in better service? In NY, ask the people in the outer boroughs if they can get cabs.

    • by taustin (171655)

      After the customer leaves the car, there is no record of their behavior in the taxi.

      Given that most cities require video and audio recording devices in all taxis, I find your source less than convincing.

  • And good riddance! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Monday June 30, 2014 @01:04PM (#47351405) Homepage

    Taxis exist not to provide income to drivers or tax-revenue to medallion-issuing locales. We want them to get around. If a better way to do that arises, great. Have them disappear the way horse-drawn wagons got "knocked-out" by the automobiles.

    • by meta-monkey (321000) on Monday June 30, 2014 @01:37PM (#47351717) Journal

      Sure, but I think things like Uber and AirBnB are sad. Middle class people didn't used to have to drive strangers around or rent out rooms in their homes to make ends meet. I see these as sad signs of the times, not as innovation.

      • by wcrowe (94389)

        That's along the lines of just what I was thinking. I feel like Hari Seldon in Asimov's Foundation series. You can see little signs that things are falling apart all over the place. For instance, I was in Lowes yesterday and I noticed they now sell booklets on how to raise chickens and goats. Apparently there are so many suburbanites doing this that they rate their own book sections. Last month I set a recliner and couch out at the curb for the monthly bulk-trash pickup. I left home for a few hours, an

        • I get what you mean about Hari Seldon.

          There is a cycle to history. It's Polybius' anacyclosis. Within that fits Strauss–Howe generational theory.

          It happens every 80 years. 1776. 1861. 1941. 2021? This is the end of oligarchy. There is no faith left in institutions. Congress with its approval rating at 8%, lower than North Korea and cockroaches. Every regulatory agency is captured, the SEC, the FCC, the patent office. Colleges are ripping students off and the government is profiting from their debts. R

          • by wcrowe (94389)

            I agree we're at a turning. I'm not sure I'm convinced that democracy necessarily has to follow oligarchy, but that would be the best possibility. The bad thing is that there will be a period of instability in between, and that is worrisome.

  • London cabbies have a history of spouting right wing horseshit continuously as they drive you along, it doesn't seem to have the lasting effect on the passengers that the mayor fears.
  • The quote at the end of the summary sounded like it was from an illiterate nutjob; was that from Mayor Reed? I feel sorry for Atlanta...
  • Trust (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ADRA (37398) on Monday June 30, 2014 @01:06PM (#47351427)

    I'm not really following what the guy's saying, but it all comes down to trust.

    In the US, I assume you need to have a certain level of certification to both open a cab company as well as be a driver in said cabs (insert rude jokes about cab drivers here..) and Uber is the laizez faire of cabs. Anyone can become a cab at any time, sort of like a car share, but on demand, and most likely participants who don't know one another (like cabs).

    The problem comes from trust. When you step into a cab in the US, you have the assumption of not being ripped off, driven around the block, driven dangerously fast, robbed blind, etc.. If lets say I pull up into the Airport and see "NY Taxi Service" or "NY Economy Taxi Service", "Or NYC Taxi's" all posted on their cars, I have no idea if this is a legit signage from a company that has long ties to the area, or a fly by night that is going to take me for a ride.

    Try going to countries that have any less enforcement and you get all people trying to look out for you to AVOID xyz because they'll take you for a ride, and maybe they won't and the helpers are just paid by a competing taxi service. Losing an industry that may be fat, but is forced to follow stricter rules for the public good seems like a justifiable trade-off, but I'm open to hearing other opinions on the matter.

    • Re:Trust (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tibit (1762298) on Monday June 30, 2014 @01:25PM (#47351605)

      When you step into a cab in the US, you have the assumption of not being ripped off, driven around the block, driven dangerously fast, robbed blind, etc.

      This is the funniest shit I've read in a while. I hope you're not serious. So, how many cab rides a day do you take, and where exactly?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2014 @01:08PM (#47351445)

    If uber and lyft and the likes carried the same insurances and had the same background checks our drivers had then I welcome the competition but they don't. My company has multiple smartphone apps, GPS tracking, text to ride, and a fully staffed call center to handle bookings and complaints. We do have a logistical advantage that has made us the leader in our metro area. Lyft is here and not making a dent in our sales at all. The only complaint we have made is follow the laws that are in the books. Run meters and carry commercial passenger insurance.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      But if you don't have hipsters driving other hipsters, then it's still old-economy stuff.

  • by wytcld (179112) on Monday June 30, 2014 @01:08PM (#47351463) Homepage

    Uber is abusing its drivers. It advertises "1 million dollars!" of insurance. But that insurance only covers your passengers and victims, and only if you're at fault. It doesn't cover you, or our vehicle, or anyone at all if you got struck by another vehicle, perhaps one without insurance. And your private insurance on your car will not cover a thing if you're driving the car for hire.

    There are perfectly good reasons for regulating taxis. As well, there are good reasons for building solid mass transit options so taxis won't be so needed. Allowing Uber to operate puts the public, and its drivers, at risk for no reason beyond the desire to drive down pay below the already barely-subsistence rates that taxi drivers earn. If you don't have a commercial drivers license, and you're not driving a licensed commercial vehicle, and you don't have full commercial insurance, you shouldn't be taking fares. If you are, that's criminal in many places, as it should be. Uber's executives should be arrested for criminal conspiracy.

    • If you're driving a car for a living and don't understand the difference between liability insurance and collision/comprehensive insurance, you probably need to pick a different career path. Incidentally, in March or so Uber did in fact add $50k of collision and comprehensive insurance so... yeah...

  • Protected garden industries occasionally need to get overturned.

    Now, I disagree with them. The first time someone books with Uber and gets murdered/raped/whatever, the formal, licensed taxi services will enjoy a renaissance.

    Right now, however, they simply don't appear to justify their premium - particularly when so many cabs are disgusting, greedy*, etc.

    *note: I personally believe that taxis THEMSELVES are rarely as greedy as they appear, and this leads me to my main point: the cities are more concerned ab

  • by nimbius (983462) on Monday June 30, 2014 @01:15PM (#47351507) Homepage
    This summary reads like a stroke victim. im willing to assume the mayor of new orleans is probably drunk, but are we sure the mayor quoted from Atlanta isnt from, say, Atlanta Nicaragua?
    • I think this is how you spot people who don't read.

    • by T.E.D. (34228)

      They read to me like they were live one-on-one verbal interviews. Nobody speaks the same way they write, you know. (For instance, you can tell I'm writing here because no profanities were used).

  • Anybody understand what he said?
  • Self driving cabs will eventually displace both traditional taxi drivers and Uber. The drivers can make as much fuss as they want, but they've only got another 20 years tops before they all become irrelevant.
  • For those who are knowledgeable about this subject. What sort of legal protections does a rider have in the case of an accident in an Uber/Lyft vs. a registered taxi service?
  • I don't know why anyone would want to hop in a car with someone of dubious character, who may or may not have proper insurance, who may or may not have a proper driver's licence, who might be driving a jalopy in any sort of condition, but hey, people hitchhike all the time so to each his own.

    Meanwhile, Uber will do fine until the first woman gets raped by an Uber driver, or until the first few Uber drivers get robbed or killed.

  • The only thing the Mayors are worried about is the fact that it is a tax revenue stream for them. Regulatory capture allows taxi companies to charge extortionary fees, which are payed in taxes and "campaign gifts" to local politicians.

    While I am not against Uber and Uber drivers paying their fair share of local taxes, all these local chieftons are worried about is their paycheck.

  • by jsepeta (412566)

    I can see from the statements above (which are difficult to decipher) that the powers in charge are pretty much brain dead. Taxis provide a ton of licensing money to cities, but my experiences with Uber were much better than taxi experiences. The drivers always showed up, the ride was cleaner than a taxi, and although it was expensive it still costs less than owning a car and paying for maintenance and insurance. Even if they ban "uber" there's no way to prevent private citizens from trying to earn a little

  • by King_TJ (85913) on Monday June 30, 2014 @05:13PM (#47353893) Journal

    Each and every time I watch a city get into this "cabs vs. Uber" war, it plays out pretty much the same way. Every single potential user/customer of the services I hear voice an opinion is happy to see the competition and often has something positive to say about Uber, specifically.

    Everyone who speaks out against it is some kind of government official or union member of the protected cab cartel.

    Oh, you *might* get some talking head on the TV news who claims to take an interest in "public safety", telling you how unsafe it is to get in some stranger's vehicle when he/she isn't a licensed cab driver ... but at the end of the day, I think we all know they're just shills for the establishment.

    I've tried Uber myself and frankly, I was amazed at how much more organized the experience was than hailing a cab. Among other benefits, I immediately received an email receipt documenting the trip's total mileage with start and end points, and even how much fuel was used. Regarding safety? Uber's app even showed me a photo of the person who would be picking us up as soon as the ride was ordered, making sure I wasn't getting in the wrong person's vehicle. No cab service I've seen can do that.

    A better mousetrap has been built!

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