UberX and Lyft protests

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UberX and Lyft protests

Unread postby DreamGoddessLindsey » Sun Jun 29, 2014 10:05 pm

I know I said I would try not to be back, but this is so outrageous I needed to say something about this.

By the way, I am only looking at this particular thread, will not be in other threads, and will leave this when discussion is over.

Anyway, check this out.

http://www.wjla.com/articles/2014/06/d- ... 04493.html

I'm baffled, to be quite honest. Based on everything I've read about this, the government is actively trying to stop efficient travel and cause more gas use. In addition, these cab drivers are behaving very immaturely. Take this quote from the link:

"They are competing against us for monies and that's completely unfair," he said. "Cease and desist now!"


Sorry, I didn't know legitimate competition for legitimate services was "unfair". The cab unions are trying to have a complete monopoly, and amazingly, the government is supporting that monopoly. Take this from the article:

DCTC recently passed a new set of regulations which bans mid-sized, fuel-efficient vehicles from being hired.


With this, I really doubt the government's ability to fairly set rules and regulations, and it's proof that they most certainly do not care about the environment. Banning fuel efficient cars just makes my head spin.

I'm completely baffled and stupefied by this whole thing. Competition is good, and fuel efficient cars are strictly better. Based on what I've read, it seems state and local governments are siding with the cab drivers and ignoring everything good about UberX and Lyft. They don't seem to be breaking any laws. Why is it when people start new businesses that are both creative and efficient, the government goes nuts and does everything to stop it? Thoughts?

P.S. I just realized the [hilarious] irony of these cab drivers showing the world that the stereotype of cab drivers being rude and obnoxious is true.
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Re: UberX and Lyft protests

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Mon Jun 30, 2014 4:00 am

DreamGoddessLindsey wrote:I know I said I would try not to be back, but this is so outrageous I needed to say something about this.

By the way, I am only looking at this particular thread, will not be in other threads, and will leave this when discussion is over.

Anyway, check this out.

http://www.wjla.com/articles/2014/06/d- ... 04493.html

I'm baffled, to be quite honest. Based on everything I've read about this, the government is actively trying to stop efficient travel and cause more gas use. In addition, these cab drivers are behaving very immaturely. Take this quote from the link:

"They are competing against us for monies and that's completely unfair," he said. "Cease and desist now!"


Sorry, I didn't know legitimate competition for legitimate services was "unfair". The cab unions are trying to have a complete monopoly, and amazingly, the government is supporting that monopoly. Take this from the article:

DCTC recently passed a new set of regulations which bans mid-sized, fuel-efficient vehicles from being hired.


With this, I really doubt the government's ability to fairly set rules and regulations, and it's proof that they most certainly do not care about the environment. Banning fuel efficient cars just makes my head spin.

I'm completely baffled and stupefied by this whole thing. Competition is good, and fuel efficient cars are strictly better. Based on what I've read, it seems state and local governments are siding with the cab drivers and ignoring everything good about UberX and Lyft. They don't seem to be breaking any laws. Why is it when people start new businesses that are both creative and efficient, the government goes nuts and does everything to stop it? Thoughts?

P.S. I just realized the [hilarious] irony of these cab drivers showing the world that the stereotype of cab drivers being rude and obnoxious is true.



I mostly support Uber and Lyft (they're making a marginal push in my city), but I entirely understand where the cabbies are coming from. Cabbies are engaged in a particular business. To do so, they're required to carry expensive insurance and in many cities they're required to bid for very expensive tokens (some sort of license allowing them to conduct business). As such, they're carrying expensive overhead costs they have to make up through services. Uber/Lyft are trying to offer an almost identical service (in the same regulated market) without any of the same costs. While I may be all for innovation and better products/services for the end consumer, its not baffling at all why the cabbies feel slighted. It's patently unfair. That may be ok if thats the philosophy of business we want to run with (I make no judgment at the moment). But on a one v. one basis its absolutely unfair.
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Re: UberX and Lyft protests

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Jun 30, 2014 11:49 am

Don't know enough about the gas (not the government as far as I can tell, just a regulatory body?) to really comment but does seem a bit odd.

The taxi protests is to be expected. Competitor threatens livelihood is going to be met with whatever tactic the taxi-drivers can get away with to secure their future, cab-drivers are doing the same thing as other trades do. As cab-drivers there don't seem to be claiming every third child will be eaten by raving demons if the competitors are allowed, this is moderate by some standards I have seen :wink: We have the same cab vs rival issue over here and like Shi, if one side has to pay something and follow certain rules but then the new guys don't, that does seem unfair so got some sympathy on that front.
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Re: UberX and Lyft protests

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Mon Jun 30, 2014 12:07 pm

DreamGoddessLindsey wrote:Competition is good, and fuel efficient cars are strictly better.


I agree with the last part. I prefer busses and subways, but you know, fuel-efficient is better as far as private cars go. But, 'competition is good'? You sure you're a socialist?

Shik is right - in most US cities taxis work on a medallion system. The taxi drivers may or may not own their own capital, but they are essentially wage labourers working in a guild which guarantees a certain quality level of service. Uber and Lyft are essentially functioning as pirate temp agencies which are involved in circumventing the guild's rules, undercutting these labourers' wages (which are already low enough), and making worker self-management for taxi drivers vanishingly less likely. I'm fairly certain Karl Polanyi wouldn't approve of Uber or Lyft.
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Re: UberX and Lyft protests

Unread postby James » Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:43 pm

I haven't been following this too closely, but my position from what I have read and observed is that it isn't the government's position to tell people who they can and can't give rides in their vehicles, at least in this particular sort of system (there are much riskier situations which may warrant concern). I see absolutely nothing wrong with a system where people can network through an app to give one another rides in their vehicles. If anything might be a candidate for adjustment there it is the 'donation' system. It might be the sort of thing which should be classified as income.

As for the cabbies, yeah, of course they're up in arms. In some ways it is rather like cases where other industries face some degree of potential disruption and respond negatively, such as auto dealers in New Jersey pushing to keep Tesla stores out of the market (amusing that supposedly anti-government-oversight Republicans support them in case like this, but I suppose that doesn't stop them from wanting to legislate a woman's body and marriage).

For the cabbies, in my ideal and entirely fictional world, what would make sense is to evaluate the position they are forced into as businesses. Are we, as the state level government, taking advantage of their business to tax or regulate them in ways which really don't stand up to logical reasoning? That should be revised. But as an organized business they must be subject to a level of regulation which should not necessarily extend to citizens who which to network with other citizens for transportation. Have the cabbies or those who run their businesses organized a dinosaur which cannot respond reasonably to this new competition? Are their unions or organizations holding them back in some ways? That's their problem, and something they need to sort out on their own. They shouldn't expect the government to step in and have their backs.

But of course this is not how the real world works.
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Re: UberX and Lyft protests

Unread postby DreamGoddessLindsey » Mon Jun 30, 2014 6:40 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:I agree with the last part. I prefer busses and subways, but you know, fuel-efficient is better as far as private cars go. But, 'competition is good'? You sure you're a socialist?


I'm a true socialist, and not really a communist. I'm okay with competition, though I'm against massive corporations under almost any circumstance. As Marx said, "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." If someone is able to organize a new business that makes a previous system outdated, and the new system is both more efficient and more friendly to the consumer, then we as a nation should embrace the new system.

The banning of fuel efficient cars is profoundly stupid in this case. I don't know any other way to say it, truth be told. Bannning fuel efficient cars is just entirely 100% illogical.

I'm glad to have gotten responses from all sides on the main issue of the business versus business. All said, though, I think I agree with James. We shouldn't be shunning this new business model, but rather amending the cabs' old model.

Either way, the banning of fuel efficient cars just makes my head spin. I literally can't fathom why they did that. I put the needs of the planet first, the consumer second, and the business third. Banning fuel efficient cars violates number one and number two in all cases, and violates number three for UberX and Lyft drivers.
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Re: UberX and Lyft protests

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Mon Jun 30, 2014 9:41 pm

James wrote:I haven't been following this too closely, but my position from what I have read and observed is that it isn't the government's position to tell people who they can and can't give rides in their vehicles, at least in this particular sort of system (there are much riskier situations which may warrant concern). I see absolutely nothing wrong with a system where people can network through an app to give one another rides in their vehicles. If anything might be a candidate for adjustment there it is the 'donation' system. It might be the sort of thing which should be classified as income.


I'm all for people being able to do this as well, but I think it runs afoul of certain areas in which the government and other industries actually do have an interest. In many ways (though perhaps slightly) the government does regulate not only who can ride in your car but also in what manner. They're able to do because driving isn't a constitutional right and public safety is a compelling government interest. Add to this, as you yourself note, the fact that people are deriving income from this service it includes those individuals into a market in which the government regulates not only for public safety reasons but also commercial ones.

For instance, cabbies keep expensive insurance not only because of potential auto damage but also for liability to passengers. Lyft operators are forced to carry none of these, thus not only being unfair but also dangerous to the passenger. Additionally cabbies and/or their parent companies are required to purchase new vehicles usually every X amount of years and they're required to maintain them at a certain recorded level of quality. This is for the protection of the consumer/passenger. Lyft operators do not have to do any of this.

As much as I sincerely like the idea of Lyft (and other unconventional ideas like this) I fail to see yet how they're not essentially entering the cab business and therefore not subject to the same regulations. I'm not opposed to contrary novel opinions on the matter mind you. I've just yet to hear them from the Lyft sector yet.

DreamGoddessLindsey wrote:If someone is able to organize a new business that makes a previous system outdated, and the new system is both more efficient and more friendly to the consumer, then we as a nation should embrace the new system.


That touches slightly on my issue though. I'm not sure a new system has been created, and I'm certainly not sure the old one is a) outdated and b) inferior. When a cab crashes, a consumer has a recourse. A consumer is proactively protected.
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Re: UberX and Lyft protests

Unread postby James » Mon Jun 30, 2014 9:53 pm

Shikanosuke wrote:I'm all for people being able to do this as well, but I think it runs afoul of certain areas in which the government and other industries actually do have an interest. In many ways (though perhaps slightly) the government does regulate not only who can ride in your car but also in what manner. They're able to do because driving isn't a constitutional right and public safety is a compelling government interest. Add to this, as you yourself note, the fact that people are deriving income from this service it includes those individuals into a market in which the government regulates not only for public safety reasons but also commercial ones.

For instance, cabbies keep expensive insurance not only because of potential auto damage but also for liability to passengers. Lyft operators are forced to carry none of these, thus not only being unfair but also dangerous to the passenger. Additionally cabbies and/or their parent companies are required to purchase new vehicles usually every X amount of years and they're required to maintain them at a certain recorded level. This is for the protection of the consumer/passenger. Lyft operators have do not have to do any of this.

As much as I sincerely like the idea of Lyft (and other unconventional ideas like this) I fail to see yet how they're not essentially entering the cab business and therefore not subject to the same regulations. I'm not opposed to contrary novel opinions on the matter mind you. I've just yet to hear them from the Lyft sector yet.

My reasoning begins from the perspective of people networking with one another for transportation and what is or is not an appropriate overreach of government from the perspective of opinion. I can certainly see why the government might take an interest in aspects of this. For example, safety concerns, or taxing what is currently classified as 'donations'. But at the same time, it strikes me as an intrusion for them to start regulating too much what really is an interaction between two residents of the city. Where would we draw the line? Is it commercial because a company is involved in facilitating their interaction? Should the same apply to social media? Should it apply to an individual transporting a friend's friend to the airport?

I'm certainly not debating what they can do. They can do a lot here. They can also do a great deal of harm or a great deal of good. Rather, I'm concerned with what they should do.

Cabbies themselves should be subject to a considerable degree of regulation as, for the most part, in cities where cabbies are a regular presence, they are also a fundamental element of that city's transportation infrastructure. It truly is a profession from the ground up and regulation has a meaningful impact on crime, pollution, and safety. But that this system exists, I argue, does not mean the government should overreach into far more personal interactions simply because they bare some resemblance or involve some overlap.

A reasonable middle ground, off the top of my head, might be to impose some additional requirements on people who are using a service like Lyft to make a living (as defined legally in a suitable manner) while imposing on an organization that facilitates these interactions that certain information is maintained. But even here, I'm starting to see areas where there's more government interaction than I'd like. I think it is fine for an adult to choose to interact with another adult through this system and I think they should be allowed to make the relevant safety choices in doing so. And I also think it would be a very important part of this community for individual drivers to build up reputations through, perhaps, a ratings system, so people can make those informed choices. That's a solution which couldn't be applied to cabbies.

Shikanosuke wrote:
DreamGoddessLindsey wrote:If someone is able to organize a new business that makes a previous system outdated, and the new system is both more efficient and more friendly to the consumer, then we as a nation should embrace the new system.

That touches slightly on my issue though. I'm not sure a new system has been created, and I'm certainly not sure the old one is a) outdated and b) inferior. When a cab crashes, a consumer has a recourse. A consumer is proactively protected.

While I'm pretty sure this represents a degree of disruption, even if allowed to run unchecked I doubt that this would impact too great an amount of cabbies business. People who use a service like Lyft are going to represent a limited portion of the population. If, as technology and familiarity with technology progresses over time and it does become a disruption, then I'd definitely be agreed with DGL here. I very much dislike to see the government standing in the way of disruption.

For example, I was quite upset about the Aereo ruling.
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Re: UberX and Lyft protests

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:02 pm

James wrote:My reasoning begins from the perspective of people networking with one another for transportation and what is or is not an appropriate overreach of government from the perspective of opinion. I can certainly see why the government might take an interest in aspects of this. For example, safety concerns, or taxing what is currently classified as 'donations'. But at the same time, it strikes me as an intrusion for them to start regulating too much what really is an interaction between two residents of the city.


I understand this viewpoint. And its certainly an intrusion. I guess I'm just not sure its an overreaching one. You're entirely right its a interaction between two residents of the city, I'm just not sure its a private transaction in the same way you would sell a bike on Craigslist. I think it's more akin to offering a service such as lawncare, mechanic, etc which inevitably may subject you to duties to the consumer.

Where would we draw the line? Is it commercial because a company is involved in facilitating their interaction? Should the same apply to social media? Should it apply to an individual transporting a friend's friend to the airport?


That is an excellent question. I certainly don't have the answer either. I just suggest that if Lyft operators are not already on the 'regulated' business side of the line they're skirting so close to it they shouldn't be surprised when business owners and legislatures attempt to bring them in.

They can do a lot here. They can also do a great deal of harm or a great deal of good. Rather, I'm concerned with what they should do.


Again I agree. I guess its a tough question for me because when comparing the two interests, commercial innovation and private contract law vs. public safety I'm not sure I don't err on the side of caution. And I also won't suggest that consumers/individuals shouldn't have some responsibility for their own safety and due diligence either.

But that this system exists, I argue, does not mean the government should overreach into far more personal interactions simply because they bare some resemblance or involve some overlap.


That is certainly a reasonable argument. I guess it boils down to a matter of 'is this merely an incidental overlap?' or have they entered a market.


For example, I was quite upset about the Aereo ruling.


I found Aereo's idea interesting, but I was a little skeptical when I heard of it how it wasn't borderline theft.
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Re: UberX and Lyft protests

Unread postby DreamGoddessLindsey » Mon Jun 30, 2014 11:44 pm

I actually don't really have more to add to the discussion. I am in pretty much complete agreement with James's view on the matter. One thing, though:

Shikanosuke wrote:In many ways (though perhaps slightly) the government does regulate not only who can ride in your car but also in what manner. They're able to do because driving isn't a constitutional right and public safety is a compelling government interest.


I'd like you to give me a logical reason why the government banned fuel-efficient cars for use in UberX or Lyft. It goes against not only government interest but also environmental interests. Fuel-efficient cars are often safer than gas guzzlers as well. This strikes me as an odd move akin to when Mississippi limited abortions only to clinics that have hospital admitting rights, which simply don't exist in the state (thus creating a backdoor ban on abortion). That is, in other words, it feels like an intrusion meant to hurt UberX and Lyft business. [Note: I did not bring up the comparison to discuss abortion in any way, just as a comparison in reasoning and not a comparison of the acts themselves.]

It certainly feels like government overreach, though. As a socialist, I'm against a nanny state, and that's what it's coming across as in my opinion.
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