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

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: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.

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

    by mi ( 197448 ) <> on Monday June 30, 2014 @01:04PM (#47351405) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • 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 the Judiciary can suspend after a trial) into a privilege (which the Executive may or may not grant on a whim)?

    Serving alcohol? Must have license (100 years after the "Dry Law" was abolished). Serving "hard liquor"? Need another license. Performing in costume? Need a license for that []... Wish to keep and bear a weapon — something explicitly enumerated in the Constitution as a right — need a license... Where do you, Illiberals, get off?

  • Re:Good? (Score:5, Insightful)

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

    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:Good? (Score:5, Insightful)

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

  • 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?

  • Re:Good? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2014 @01:27PM (#47351633)

    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.

  • Re:Good? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2014 @01:29PM (#47351647)

    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 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. Experienced taxi drivers know where to not take their charges. Uber doesn't. I'll take experience and tradition over newer and faster, thank you. Novelties often equal heresy. This is one of those times.

  • 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 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.

  • Re:Good? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland@yah[ ]com ['oo.' in gap]> 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.

  • 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.

    ", 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?"

  • 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 [] — 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.

  • 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: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.
  • by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Monday June 30, 2014 @02:53PM (#47352427) Homepage Journal

    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.

    - so you are not a potential Uber customer, where is the problem? Don't like the service, don't participate in it, but instead you want to steal this choice from people who do like the service and are willing to exchange their own money for the services provided.

Take your work seriously but never take yourself seriously; and do not take what happens either to yourself or your work seriously. -- Booth Tarkington