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Transportation Government Technology

Sex, Drugs, and Transportation: How Politicians Tried To Keep Uber Out of Vegas 136

HughPickens.com writes: Johana Bhuiyan has written an interesting article about how the Las Vegas taxi industry used every political maneuver in its arsenal to keep Uber and Lyft off the strip. Vegas is one of the most lucrative transportation markets in the country, with some 41.1 million visitors passing through it annually. The city's taxi industry has raked in a whopping $290 million this year to date (PDF). What made Vegas unique — what made it Uber's biggest challenge yet — was the extent to which local governments were willing to protect the incumbents. According to Bhuiyan, in Las Vegas, Uber and its pugnacious CEO Travis Kalanick really did run into the corrupt taxi cartel bogeymen they'd long claimed to be saving us from, and this cartel would prove to be their most formidable opponent. But when push came to shove and the fight turned ugly, the world's fastest-growing company ran right over its entrenched opposition.
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Sex, Drugs, and Transportation: How Politicians Tried To Keep Uber Out of Vegas

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sigh.

    I'm so uber Uber "news".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05, 2015 @09:24AM (#50660791)

    What I don't get is why taxi services don't just provide good service. If they really want to crush Uber, that's all they need to do. It shouldn't be hard or costly to do, either.

    They could start with these changes, which would make a world of difference:

    1. Ditch the third-world drivers. It's frustrating dealing with taxi drivers who don't know where they're going or what they're doing, since they only arrived in the country a month before. It's also frustrating when they can't speak or understand English, which is the international language of the travel industry worldwide, especially in countries that are natively English-speaking. And it's utterly disrespectful when they spend the whole trip chattering loudly on their phones or headsets in Arabic or some other obscure language the entire trip. Instead, they should hire locals who know the area, who know the local language (plus English, if they differ), and who won't treat the customers like utter shit.

    2. Charge reasonable fares. A $6 starting fare, plus $8/mile after that, plus $1 for every 5 seconds idling at a light makes short taxi trips unbearably expensive, and it makes medium and long voyages pretty much impossible. The rates are excessive even if they were providing excellent service. But as we saw in the first point, the taxi customers are paying top dollar for third-world service. Short trips should be competitive with public transit fares. Longer trips should still be within reason. If an airline charges $800 to fly thousands of miles, it should not cost $100 to take a taxi just a few miles to get to the airport to catch that flight!

    3. Never refuse rides. Despite even short rides costing the customer a lot of money, it's still not uncommon for taxi drivers to outright refuse to drive customers because their trip is too short, or may take the driver to say a residential area where there won't likely be other fares to pick up afterward. Pick up the customer promptly, drive the customer to where the customer wants to go, and don't bitch about it.

    4. Stop resorting to third-world harassment tactics. This is also tied in with the first point, but we've seen many taxi drivers in Western cities around the world continually resort to really pathetic third-world harassment tactics in their fight against Uber. That's not how business should work in Western nations! If you can't keep up with your competitors, then you go out of business. You don't resort to criminal or quasi-criminal behavior. It just makes you look sleazier and shittier than you already look when you do stuff like that! So don't go blocking major roads. Don't go attacking Uber vehicles with passengers in them. Don't go attacking normal, non-Uber vehicles where the one passenger just happens to be sitting in the back instead of the front.

    They should start with those four basic things. Even then, they all boil down to: don't treat your customers like shit, and don't subject them to a shitty experience.

    Uber is only a threat to taxi services that provide shitty service. Uber really offers no advantages beyond taxi services that provide good service. It's not like the customers really give a fuck how they get from here to there. They just don't want to be subjected to the shitshow that taxi drivers have typically subjected them to. If taxi drivers just did a good fucking job for once, then Uber couldn't do a thing to them.

    Fuck, these taxi services might even see an increase in business, and profit, if taxi rides started to become known as something convenient and enjoyable, rather than the third-world screw job they tend to be these days.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      From my experience Taxis in Las Vegas are already pretty good, I've heard bad stories in the past but haven't run into any such examples in the past few years. The fare to the airport wasn't that expensive either so I'm not sure what Uber can undercut them on really in that town. Also they'll need to follow the same rules as the taxis on The Strip, like they can only pick-up/drop-off at the hotel taxi stands in order to cut down on disrupting traffic on Las Vegas Blvd. Also with how prompt and frequent the

      • The airport is within a mile of the casinos how much can you reasonably charge for what amounts to a few minutes ride. Vegas was purpose built for travelers the airport and main attractions are all grouped together.

        • by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Monday October 05, 2015 @10:01AM (#50660993)

          The airport is within a mile of the casinos how much can you reasonably charge for what amounts to a few minutes ride. Vegas was purpose built for travelers the airport and main attractions are all grouped together.

          Um...I don't think Uber charges less. Just sayin'.

          The issue here is demand and supply. There are X number of taxis, the streets can carry Y number of cars (anyone who's been to Vegas in the last decade or two knows what I'm talking about here) and there are Z number of people...many of whom are drunk, out of control, depressed because they just lost their next three mortgage payments at the roulette table, or in other states of unruly/headache/disaster.

          I would wager (no pun intended) that being a cab driver in Vegas carries challenges and problems that aren't found in other cities. Sure, you get a degree of batshit crazy in New Orleans around Bourbon Street, but Vegas is like dozens of square miles of Bourbon Street, filled with millions of people acting accordingly who range from sane and sober to...well, there's a reason the "Hangover" movies take place in Vegas.

          I've cabbed in Vegas a lot over the years, and I've always found the cabs to be clean and in good shape, the drivers (with one exception out of a long list) to be polite and capable, and the fares consistent. I've never been taken on a long ride, and I've actually gotten a lot of good information from the drivers about going-ons in the city. I'm a huge fan of Uber, but Vegas is one place that, to me, isn't screaming for a replacement option as much as other cities.

          • As the GP said the fee was not that expensive. Vegas is a very easy city to get around as a tourist, your average casino has a line of taxi's waiting for fairs. Compare this to NYC it's a nightmare and post 9/11 most of the covered taxi areas are closed, they ignore street hails etc etc.

            Price wise I've found uber around me to be more expensive than a town car for airport runs etc.

          • Um...I don't think Uber charges less. Just sayin'.

            They don't. I took two Uber rides on Friday afternoon and they charge just as much as taxis. The pickup time is much faster in the suburbs, so that's a nice advantage. But I suspect that at peak times on weekend nights, Uber will be much more expensive.

          • by t0rkm3 ( 666910 )

            In Vegas (been there 3 times since the Uber ban lifted) the Uber fare was half of the taxi fare.

            I could not take Uber to the airport as they were still restricted as of Sept 24th from going to the airport. (Some will still go there, but will remove their decal before doing so.)

            However, from the Embassy Suites on Swenson to Mandalay Bay, MGM, Paris, and Cosmo... the fare was almost exactly half of the taxi fare.

          • by mjwx ( 966435 )

            I've cabbed in Vegas a lot over the years, and I've always found the cabs to be clean and in good shape, the drivers (with one exception out of a long list) to be polite and capable, and the fares consistent. I've never been taken on a long ride, and I've actually gotten a lot of good information from the drivers about going-ons in the city.

            This.

            The only places I've been to that regularly have dirty taxis with poor drivers are places that don't regulate their taxi industries.

            This is why I cant buy

      • Yea, no kidding. The 2 times I've been to Vegas, I had no trouble getting a taxi and they were all pretty smooth experiences. This poster makes it seem like Vegas cabs are some kind of hellish menace that needs to be eradicated.
        • That's because everything about Uber on this site reads like a promotional puff piece. The notion of taxis that operate efficiently is impossible to all the Uber shills.

          I've had two problems with Vegas taxis: those damned iPads blaring ads at you until you find the mute button. People need to complain about that more because even the drivers hate it.

          The second is the huge amount of traffic and Byzantine paths in and out of a lot of casinos there. A really good cab driver can help with this, but that's n

          • Oh, and when I get in a cab at a hotel and pay cash, there's no effective record of where I go and when. No stupid phone apps tracking me and modeling my behavior for future marketing purposes. The less data that exists about anyone the better.

            Actually, the cabs in Vegas keep a log of every trip they make including time, starting and ending location. No joke. Now if you pay cash they don't have your name, per se, so it'll take a little more work to figure out who you are, but with cab IDs being highly visible and hotel security cameras everywhere, it won't be that difficult.

            • by slew ( 2918 )

              Oh, and when I get in a cab at a hotel and pay cash, there's no effective record of where I go and when. No stupid phone apps tracking me and modeling my behavior for future marketing purposes. The less data that exists about anyone the better.

              Actually, the cabs in Vegas keep a log of every trip they make including time, starting and ending location. No joke. Now if you pay cash they don't have your name, per se, so it'll take a little more work to figure out who you are, but with cab IDs being highly visible and hotel security cameras everywhere, it won't be that difficult.

              Wow, you must think those cab marketing departments really want to know exactly who some random person that takes a cab and pays cash.

              A cab company would probably have better luck deploying their own stingray [wikipedia.org] network and tracking your cell phone than getting casino to part with their security footage for marketing purposes of another company. Perhaps the OP should say the cab company has no *practically traceable* record of where you go...

              And yes you might as well remove your tin foil hat in a casino as it

      • You were lucky. Las Vegas taxis are considered corrupt across the board.

        http://www.usatoday.com/story/... [usatoday.com]

      • by Anonymous Coward

        LV taxi always try to trick you into taking the highway to the airport which is significantly more expensive than the normal way from the strip.

        • There's a hilarious article detailing the various attempts the LA local government has made to stop taxis ripping off tourists [medium.com], and which compares it with Uber.

        • LV taxi always try to trick you into taking the highway to the airport which is significantly more expensive than the normal way from the strip.

          That's cute. Going to Las Vegas to be thrifty? What exactly is the point of that? You are aware that those huge casinos weren't built by people being smart with their money, right?

          Personally I just rent a car when I go to Vegas. Costs about $30-40 a day and I can go wherever I want and parking is plentiful and mostly free. The monorail can get you to much of the strip and you'll be walking plenty anyway. Cabs can be useful but if you are going to take more than 2 cab rides a day you might as well rent

          • I go to Vegas to enjoy the largesse environment the gambling suckers provide.
          • by slew ( 2918 )

            LV taxi always try to trick you into taking the highway to the airport which is significantly more expensive than the normal way from the strip.

            That's cute. Going to Las Vegas to be thrifty? What exactly is the point of that? You are aware that those huge casinos weren't built by people being smart with their money, right?

            Personally I just rent a car when I go to Vegas. Costs about $30-40 a day and I can go wherever I want and parking is plentiful and mostly free. The monorail can get you to much of the strip and you'll be walking plenty anyway. Cabs can be useful but if you are going to take more than 2 cab rides a day you might as well rent a car.

            Depends on what you do in Vegas. For some, renting a car in Vegas would be a guaranteed DUI.
            Also parking near any strip hotel is basically the same as walking from hotel to hotel (given the distance to the "free" parking lot from the casinos).

            Have you ever tried to drive on the LV strip on Saturday night (after all the people from SoCal get there)?
            Or returning your rental car to the airport during peak times?
            Visiting during CES?

            On the other hand, if you are going to take a side trips to the Red Rock or Gran

      • The taxi monopoly shittifies transit in the whole city. Only in Las Vegas can hotel shuttles take you to the airport but can't pick you up there. Instead you have to wait in a huge line for taxis (as it's the only way out of the airport) and then have the driver take a circuitous route to double the fare to your near airport hotel. Good luck arguing with him as he doesn't speak a lick of English... Did I mention there is a monorail for no particular reason that goes down the strip? Sure would be nice if it

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Unless it's changed in the past three years, there are numerous shuttle companies that run buses to the major hotels on the Strip, usually for much less than a taxi.

    • Ugly Americanism (Score:1, Insightful)

      by sjbe ( 173966 )

      While I agree with your thesis that cab companies often provide shitty service for an outrageous price, I think you are wrong a few points.

      It's frustrating dealing with taxi drivers who don't know where they're going or what they're doing, since they only arrived in the country a month before.

      In the age of GPS this should be a non-problem. And frankly while I don't take cabs often I've NEVER run into a cab where the guy got off the figurative boat a month before. Maybe it does actually happen but I think that is more of an urban legend than anything else. More likely it is just the arrogant and often racist assumption that anyone who doesn't have English a

      • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

        In the age of GPS this should be a non-problem.

        ah by Vegas cabs almost universally don't have GPS. I was there just this summer probably took at least fifteen cab rides not one cabbie had a GPS.

        Most of them asked ME for directions. Shit, I don't live here dude, you are the cabbie YOU are supposed to know where to go. I am asking to go to major Hotel and other commercial destinations too, not like some residence on an obscure block somewhere.

        So in addition to the outrageous fairs, I am left using my phone and MY data plan to navigate for the drive.

        • ah by Vegas cabs almost universally don't have GPS.

          So what? You do if you have a smartphone. Or tote along a standalone GPS if you have one. Plug the route in and if they are taking the scenic route then direct them back or get out and complain to their parent company. A good cabbie won't need a GPS and it's not hard to figure out if they know what they are doing.

          I was there just this summer probably took at least fifteen cab rides not one cabbie had a GPS.

          So why not rent a car if you are taking that many cab rides?

          Most of them asked ME for directions.

          Then get out and find a different cab. No idea why people are so bashful about demanding that the drivers know what they are doing.

          • You are really being a dick with your un-useful rebuttals.

            1. This thread is about Vegas, so asking drivers to speak clear English IS relevant;
            2. Being a Cab driver is a SERVICE, which is paid for by the customer;
            3. The service should be efficient and be a pleasant experience;
            4. Most people do not want to hear loud music (never mind from which country or which type) while they are riding in a taxi, the cabbie is on my dime (see point 2), he can listen to music when I get off;
            5. Most people do not want to hea

            • by steveg ( 55825 )

              There may be hotels that don't have free parking, but I haven't run across them. If you need to drive up to the front and get out, then yes, you're going to need to pay for valet and parking. If you're willing to drive around the back and self-park, then it's free. Yes, on the Strip. At least the places I've tried.

              I've never tried any of the paid transportation options in Vegas -- I pass through on my way to and from Colorado, so I'm always in my own car. Anything I want to do on the Strip (mainly invo

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's also frustrating when they can't speak or understand English, which is the international language of the travel industry worldwide, especially in countries that are natively English-speaking.

        English is NOT a universal language or anything close to it and certainly isn't the "international language of the travel industry worldwide". While it is among the more commonly spoken languages more of the world doesn't speak English than does. I've traveled quite a lot in places where not a word of English is spoken. The assumption that everyone should speak English is ignorant and arrogant and if you honestly believe that then you are a jerk. This is the sort of ugly-american stuff that gets us such

      • In the age of GPS this should be a non-problem.

        Yes, it should. Yet people still get taken on bullshit routes, which has no effect other than keeping the meter running. It was always deliberate; now it is even moreso.

        English is NOT a universal language or anything close to it and certainly isn't the "international language of the travel industry worldwide".

        English is the closest thing we have to a universal language, even though it isn't one. It used to be German, but that fell out of favor for some reason, I can't imagine why.

        • English is the closest thing we have to a universal language, even though it isn't one.

          Since even the most optimistic estimate of the number of speakers (including non-native) is around 500 million, you are talking about a language spoken by about 7% of the world's population. So no, it isn't even close to being a universal language. It is probably the closest thing the a lingua franca [wikipedia.org] right now but it's no where close to universal. Hell there are more speakers of Mandarin than English albeit mostly in one country.

          It used to be German, but that fell out of favor for some reason, I can't imagine why.

          No idea where you got that idea. The Holy Roman Empire and Austro-Hungaria

          • Since even the most optimistic estimate of the number of speakers (including non-native) is around 500 million, you are talking about a language spoken by about 7% of the world's population.

            Yeah, but those 7% are widely dispersed in most of the places worth visiting. No other language comes close, so yes English is the closest thing to a universal language we have.
            BTW I'm not American or English, but I do travel a lot, to lots of places, and very rarely have to pull out the translator. Asia(incl India and Middle East), Oceania, Africa, Europe, Americas, they are all easily navigable with the English language.

      • The assumption that everyone should speak English is ignorant and arrogant and if you honestly believe that then you are a jerk.

        Maybe if an American was driving a taxi in a foreign country and only spoke English or an incomprehensible Americanized version of the local language. But we are taking about customer service in the US of A. Companies should hire drivers with "good communication skills"

      • Here's a suggestion: Talk to the cab driver. Ask him about his home country. You'll probably learn something interesting you never knew about the world, he'll think it's wonderful that an American is interested in the corner of the world he's from. And he'll get to practice his English so his accent will be less pronounced and annoying after a few years. Heck, you may even make a new friend.

        I can understand being frustrated with people who are set in their ways and refuse to change. But some of OP'
      • English is indeed the international language of the travel industry. In fact, it's the world's second language. People who have never been to any English-speaking countries use it as a common language to talk to each other. I think you need to get out more, your views are provincial and blinkered.
      • If you dont speak clear English in America, you simply dont get my business. I dont have time or patience to stumble thorough a communication barrier. Flat out, if you dont speak English in America, you shouldnt be in business at all. Its not being an ugly american to refuse to do business with someone who cannot communicate properly. If they cant speak English, how can i trust them to read road signs?
    • by tpwade ( 1419451 ) on Monday October 05, 2015 @09:57AM (#50660975)
      There's more to it than that. In most jurisdictions the taxi companies have been subject to more rigorous (i.e. expensive) standards than Uber has been following. For example, the taxi companies are regulated as to what what cars can be driven, the quality and inspection of those cars, insurance level, background checks, fee control, artificial scarcity of operating licenses (eg New York Taxi medallions) etc. All of these add to the cost of operating a conventional taxi business, and are things that Uber has been ignoring under its completely bogus "we are not a taxi company" claim. I am glad Uber is coming in to shake things up because a number of the above are simply there to protect a monopoly or outdated business model and desperately need revision. BUT Uber IS (or at least in just about every meaningful way behaves as) a a taxi company that is simply ignoring the regulations and is thus undercutting the competition and this is fundamentally not fair either.
      • In most jurisdictions the taxi companies have been subject to more rigorous (i.e. expensive) standards than Uber has been following.

        ...because they paid good money to write those laws. Taxi laws are a prime example of regulatory capture [wikipedia.org]. For example, Company A got a sweet deal on credit card readers and they spent 2 years installing them in their cabs. Then, they tell the local regulatory body that credit card readers are a necessary public good and suggest that all taxis should have readers installed in a reasonable time frame - say, within three months. Finally, they laugh as their competitors scramble to shell out inflated prices for emergency rush orders on credit card readers so that they can stay in business.

        For another example, three companies get together for group bargaining with an insurance company: "if you give us a good rate, we'll guarantee that all of our cabs will carry your new expanded coverage." Once that deal's in place, they ask for regulations to require all taxis to carry that level of coverage. Of course, all other companies have to pay the un-negotiated rate and now they have a harder time competing.

        You don't get to write the laws and then bitch about them. Well, apparently you can, but you shouldn't be able to.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        (eg New York Taxi medallions)

        There is a lot of punditry around these because they are so interesting for libertarians to pontificate about, but you need to understand the medallions are for yellow cabs which can pick up hails in Manhattan. If you are a car service, so people call a phone number to be quoted a rate and make an appointment to be picked up (usually ~10min after you call), then you are a "limo" and don't need a medallion. You need a special license plate that starts with T. These are the guys Uber is taking over. They

        • Medallions themselves are not the problem. The problem is the LIMITED amount of them and the fact that they are transferable by private parties. Medallions should be unlimited for all comers who meet taxi criteria and cost a minor fee ($200 ish), thus removing the incentive for transfer. Licenses like this should always remain the property of the issuing governing body, and have no value beyond the processing fee.
        • The medallions avoid a couple things,
          - drivers charging on a hail unsafely then haggling over who can carry them
          - lots of empty cabs driving around

          Gas prices and the expense of operating a vehicle in the city takes care of the second. Taxi companies won't run cabs if they're not making money, so the problem is self-limiting. Medallions only serve to artificially limit supply.

    • You don't resort to criminal or quasi-criminal behavior. It just makes you look sleazier and shittier than you already look when you do stuff like that!

      Wait were you talking about Uber or the taxi companies here?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      And as we read this, everyone in the midwestern US is laughing and thinking of how shitty it must be to have to go somewhere and not have your own car. And then it dawns on us... some people live in places where they just can't have their own car. And then we laugh at them. And then we feel bad, because nobody should have to be subjected to that shit.

    • Listen troll, uber is not a taxi service. If they were competing on the same terms you would have a point but they do not. uber wishes to avoid the laws which taxi services operate under. uber wants to skirt the laws period. So fuck off.
    • 2. Charge reasonable fares. A $6 starting fare, plus $8/mile after that, plus $1 for every 5 seconds idling at a light makes short taxi trips unbearably expensive, and it makes medium and long voyages pretty much impossible. The rates are excessive even if they were providing excellent service. But as we saw in the first point, the taxi customers are paying top dollar for third-world service. Short trips should be competitive with public transit fares. Longer trips should still be within reason. If an airli

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Monday October 05, 2015 @09:26AM (#50660801)

    They also stopped the monorail to airport.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They also stopped the monorail to airport.

      We're twice as smart as the people of Shelbyville!

    • They also stopped the monorail to airport.

      Who is "they"? If you mean the taxi drivers then you are wrong. The taxi drivers (at least the many drivers that I asked specifically about it) wanted the monorail so that the small fare rides ($10-$25) would mostly go away. They make more money the more time the car is occupied, and sitting in line at the airport or a busy strip hotel to pick up a fare is wasted time.

    • San Diego's trolley system mysteriously goes RIGHT BY our airport without a stop there. As you pass, you can photograph the plane you'll be leaving on as the car whisks you to some stop where you'll have to catch a cab. If Uber ever gets enough traction to bust the taxi cartel, perhaps its political clout will be damaged enough that it won't be able to fight for horseshit like this any more. That day can't come fast enough.
      • Never really thought about it but yeah, it goes right by with miles between stops.
      • Wow, I was thinking "it can't be that bad" since I was in San Diego last year and never took a cab, but then I realized I used the complimentary hotel shuttle. Meaning tourists are largely immune, it only hurts the locals, great government you got there!

      • Unfortunately, the terminal is on the opposite side of the airport from the rail lines. A trolley spur along Harbor Drive to the terminal was studied in the 1980s [voiceofsandiego.org] but there were several problems.

        The current plan is to improve pedestrian access [sandiegouniontribune.com] between the Middletown station and a stop on the new shuttle service between the parking and rental car facility being built on the north side.

  • by nefus ( 952656 ) on Monday October 05, 2015 @09:30AM (#50660813) Homepage
    Context of the story aside, my worst experiences with taxis have all been in Las Vegas. Being being asshats with lawyer ties to politicians, they are angry at their customers just for being customers. It has gotten to the point where I'd rather pay for a private car or take a hotel shuttle over a taxi any time we visit Las Vegas. I've been yelled at, my wife's bags tossed to the ground and just made really uncomfortable when dealing with them.
    • by delt0r ( 999393 )
      Funny, my experience was totally the opposite. I found them honest on the fair price before i hopped in. Informative on where to go, and even gave tips about where locals would hang out. Every time it was about 1am and i wanted to get away from the strip to a decent pub. Of course not much is open at that time. But there are few places. Afterwards i was taixing back to the strip. Again no issues. Of course i was moderately sober and didn't want to go to a strip club, in contrast to just about everyone else.
    • Yes, that's true, more and more these days awards are given for political purposes.

      Las Vegas cabbies are terrific. In 25 years' worth of Vegas trips (some with my wife!) I've never had a negative experience with them.

      They're not as cool as New Orleans cabbies, who are among the best in the world, but the Vegas hacks are pretty damn good.

    • Context of the story aside, my worst experiences with taxis have all been in Las Vegas. Being being asshats with lawyer ties to politicians, they are angry at their customers just for being customers. It has gotten to the point where I'd rather pay for a private car or take a hotel shuttle over a taxi any time we visit Las Vegas. I've been yelled at, my wife's bags tossed to the ground and just made really uncomfortable when dealing with them.

      In my experience, the taxis were fine, it was the customers in the taxi stand trying to trick you into sharing a ride for free (for them) that bothered me.

    • Context of the story aside, my worst experiences with taxis have all been in Las Vegas. Being being asshats with lawyer ties to politicians, they are angry at their customers just for being customers. It has gotten to the point where I'd rather pay for a private car or take a hotel shuttle over a taxi any time we visit Las Vegas. I've been yelled at, my wife's bags tossed to the ground and just made really uncomfortable when dealing with them.

      I've been to Vegas 50+ times, so I've probably taken 200+ taxi rides there. The most obnoxious behavior by a driver that I've ever seen or even heard of is talking loudly on the phone the entire ride. Not all of them are friendly, but I don't need them to be. No one has ever tried to "take me for a ride", probably because the strip hotels are in sight of the airport. And if you want a tip so that it ensures they won't take you on a long route when being picked up at the airport, say "take Tropicana" if you'

    • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

      I've had odd experiences on the hotel shuttle, too. One driver actually stopped the vehicle and got out with the intention of picking a fight with two pedestrians he'd almost run over, then ran off when they threatened to call the authorities. At my stop he gave me a "it's customary to tip" spiel, and when I explained why I wasn't happy with the service he harangued me for being cheap.

  • This feels like a description of a war between Al Qaeda and ISIL.

    A company with no regard to the law wades into territory infested with other groups who similarly don't give a rat's behind about the law. It's not even popcorn worthy...

  • Cool article... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrVictor ( 872700 ) on Monday October 05, 2015 @09:37AM (#50660843)

    ...other than the fact that it's one-sided bullshit.

    One of the reasons Uber, Lyft and all the other "ride sharing" app companies get so much flack because they are breaking the law. The taxi industry is regulated for very good reasons (one being safety) and all the "ride sharing" app companies blatantly ignore them. This, in turn, infuriates the traditional taxi industry that follows regulations and sees them as unfair competition.

    The other reasons for the controversy revolves around some pretty awful labor exploitation but that's a whole nother story.

    • One of the reasons Uber, Lyft and all the other "ride sharing" app companies get so much flack because they are breaking the law.

      I'd be more sympathetic if 1) Uber and Lyft were offering the same services as taxis (you can't flag down an Uber; you have to request one), and 2) many jurisdictions hadn't already ruled that you're wrong.

    • The taxi industry is regulated for very good reasons (one being safety)...

      The taxi industry is regulated for many reasons, a couple of them are even good reasons. The rest not so much.

    • by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Monday October 05, 2015 @12:10PM (#50662123)
      Well the great part is now we have choice! Customers concerned with driver screening and safety can take taxis. Customers who are not can throw caution to the wind. What I don't get is people who *want* a monopoly either way. Of rather have competition and choice, so even if I never use Uber or Lyft, I'm glad they exist.
    • The taxi industry is regulated for very good reasons (one being safety)

      I hear this all the time, but no one ever elaborates on what the reasons are. You said safety, but didn't say what the regulations are, how they are intended to affect safety and whether or not they really do.

      One regulation that does make sense is the requirement that they carry commercial insurance policies. I think Uber has addressed that part (though I know some think Uber's solution inadequate).

      As far as I can tell, the rest of the regulations are just an attempt to construct a functional reputation

    • The taxi industry is regulated for very good reasons (one being safety)

      But the main one being to create an artificial monopoly...

      and all the "ride sharing" app companies blatantly ignore them.

      Because the laws no longer make sense, and the law makers need to catch up with technology.

  • by Rotten ( 8785 ) on Monday October 05, 2015 @09:51AM (#50660931) Journal

    As many media outlets are commited somehow to spread the word about one but ONLY ONE of the many apps that promote illegal semipublic transport operating on no insurance or permits whatsoever. We bring this astonishing news about a city that tried to keep this illegal operation controlled and how a CEO complains about the big money involved and how they would love to have the government under their control.

  • I know it is fashionable to hate on them, so what do you think about their stance on licensing? Read the interview: http://www.forbes.com/sites/da... [forbes.com]

    • I know it is fashionable to hate on them, so what do you think about their stance on licensing? Read the interview

      No. First of all, Forbes runs interstitial ads you can't skip without letting them run Javascript. Second, anything the Kochs have to say serves their agenda, so fuck them sideways, I am uninterested in anything those corrupt pieces of shit have to say.

      • Nice to meet someone so open-minded that is willing to respectfully consider another's opinion and respond on the issues.

        • Nice to meet someone so open-minded that is willing to respectfully consider another's opinion and respond on the issues.

          The Kochs are evil fucks who have their finger on the wheel of American politics, and I hope they all go down on the same plane and have to eat one another to survive. That's the reality they're trying to bring to all of us, so it only seems appopriate.

          Go ahead and defend them, though. See how much mileage you get out of that.

    • I read the article and I only saw this:

      Q. How about our current president?
      A. Well, heâ(TM)s helping us on criminal justice reform, so weâ(TM)re grateful on that. And thereâ(TM)s a sign they may be beginning to realize the inequity and the harm that this occupational licensing does.

      ...which, uh, doesn't really say a lot. It's not even the starting point of a debate.

  • And I'll tell you why - read this:

    http://www.businessinsider.com... [businessinsider.com]

    Here's the short version. The taxi industry in San Francisco is $140M/year. Uber's business there is $500M/year. Note that Uber hasn't taken that much business from the taxi industry - that's on top of it.

    So, right now we can see that the actual taxi industry in that one city was 1/4 of the potential. That is seriously damaging the economy, particularly when you multiply it out among every city in the US. Put another way, the taxi regul

    • I guess you never heard of yelp.
      • Actually, I have. It doesn't help. If I'm waiting on a taxi I don't have time to go to Yelp and see if anyone has complained on there about the specific driver who is picking me up.

        It's amazing to me the contortions that the taxi cartels' looney supporters will come up with. There is nothing equivalent to Uber's simple rating of drivers for the taxi industry - and this is because the taxi cartels don't want it. It would be easy for them to implement.

  • In my area taxi drivers simply pay a set fee for the cab for the shift. It used to be $75. per shift. The driver keeps everything on the meter. A small number of drivers own their own cabs but operate through a major company like Yellow Cab. Most of the year in south Florida it is hell to make a living driving a cab. Some days the cab rental costs more than your intake and you actually lose money driving. If your car breaks five minutes into your shift they keep the $75. and you do not get another ca
  • taxi industry used every political maneuver in its arsenal to keep Uber and Lyft off the strip

    The only way to keep a competitor out of "your" turf is — or ought to be — by providing superior service at lower price. Being able to use "political maneuvers" instead or even addition to that is a sign of bona fide corruption.

    It does not matter, whether the politicians involved took bribes or were sincere — the government simply should not have the power to be a player. The war, that Uber, Lyf

    • I guess you didn't read the article. Nicely done troll. uber seeks to not follow the laws that in place for taxi services. Learn to read and understand the issue before commenting jackass.
      • by mi ( 197448 )

        uber seeks to not follow the laws that in place for taxi services

        Why do we need such laws?

  • It's located in an "officially unincorporated" portion of the county called Paradise. The city tried to annex this area once... once.

    source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
  • by k6mfw ( 1182893 ) on Monday October 05, 2015 @01:08PM (#50662671)
    ChrisJohnson posted this about Uber, I think it's insightful as I see many other businesses taking up this mode of operation to take advantage of Uber drivers:

    Quote:
    Sure, a bit. Uber's the same thing. It's designed to make maximum use of crazy people and force the others to live up to that standard or be fired.

    I'll define 'crazy Uber people' not as 'danger to customers', but 'people who are bringing more value in terms of vehicle, skill and desire to please, than they are getting back in pay and benefits'. So the crazy Uber person is the one who keeps buying a new Lexus or whatever, vacuums their car three times a day and busts their ass to outperform all the other Uber drivers, so they can continue to win out over anybody else seeking to be a driver.

    The key factor is that they are giving more than they get back, in the belief that they're cornering some kind of market or buying in to something important.
    [snip]
    Another way to be a crazy Uber person is to put more depreciation and wear and tear on your car than you can afford to repair (or replace). It's easy to be crazy in these ways. It's externalities which are easy to overlook. These Amazon/Uber business models are designed to leverage that kind of crazy as hard as possible, and kick out everybody who's not willing to lose (one way or another) on the deal. Psychology is useful in getting people to buy into this stuff.
    end quote
  • Nevada is the most hyper-libertarian of the states: machine gun ranges, brothels, Art Bell, wildcat gold miners, little barricaded compounds of people who claim sovereign planetary status while chugging silver colloids until they turn blue. Yet the largest city is an enclave of east coast Teamster-mobster thugdom. Uber would be prosaic anywhere in the state but in Vegas, but because of the touristic importance, that is where the ridesharing battle is joined.

  • I was in Vegas on Sept 21st, 2015 (3 weeks ago). Myself and 2 co-workers took several Ubers and several taxis that day.

    I don't know what was true when this article was written, but it is very out of date when compared to the reality I experienced, first-hand, just 3 weeks ago.

    Uber exists there; seems to work great, just like it works everyone else that it exists, with one caveat. . .
    The uber drivers are scared to death of going to the airport; either to pick up, or drop off. . .
    They claim that if th

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