Conservatives in Action: or how I learned to love Uber


#1

As can be gleaned by my output here I'm extremely skeptical of virtually all conservative policy positions today, but very very occasionally conservatives seem to do something right. So in the spirit of fraternity I thought I'd post a recent example.

It looks like much of Texas is close to driving Uber and Lyft away because of their refusal to accept background checks on their drivers by municipalities.


#2

What is Uber and Lyft’s problem?! They could have paid for 5 years worth of background checks with all the money they blew on this stupid campaign. I grow to despise those companies more as time goes on. I’d like to see a company that charges just 2% of a ride share and is happy to abide by regulations to drive those two companies out of business. As far as I’m concerned they are do nothing companies who’s only existence is to skim money from people taking all the risk and doing all the work.


#3

Isn’t Austin fairly liberal for Texas?


#4

Sure, for that city anyway, when it becomes ALL cities, they probably start losing out a lot.

Extremely.


#5

Sure, it’s no fun if you have to play by the same rules as everyone else.


#6

I’m a bit confused. Why does Uber not want the municipalities running the background checks? The article only says that they’re redundant, which if so seems like they could just adjust on their end of the process. As a side question, what’s the deal with trying to repeal the prohibition against loading and unloading in travel lanes?


#7

Yeah, I’m not really defending the concept, I’m just saying economically it [I]does [/I]make sense on their end.


#8

Because the prices is largely being used to create a barrier to entry for drivers, rather than a legitimate process that serves a purpose. The supporters of the regulations are pretty much universally taxi companies. The idea that any of this is corporations like Uber vs. “the people” is laughable at best.

It’s new corporations like Uber vs. old taxi corporations.


#9

I think I understand - so the municipality is charging them more for background checks than what they pay on their own? (and yeah, I figured it was company vs. company violence)


#10

I don’t think it’s necessarily a matter of cost rather than a matter of increased bureacracy which slows down the process and makes it harder for people to become drivers. Without knowing the details and based only on my own experience with a similar requirement, I’d expect that requiring municipal fingerprinting means you have to schedule a time with the police department, go in and get fingerprinted, have them mail it off. It’s kind of a pain and time consuming. And Uber already does a background check.

The biggest resistance to Uber, and services like it, comes from the existing industry and the regulatory corruption that surrounds it. The same thing has recently happened with AirBnB in NYC. Big corporate hotels hate the fact that it is undercutting their prices in the short term lodging market, and those big corporations already have an in with the local politicians. So they get laws that try to prevent these emerging business models through regulations made under the guise of protecting consumers. In the case of preventing AirBnB, they said it was due to problems with safety and quality, despite not being able to cite even one single case where AirBnB resulted in complaints.

The crowd sourced services market is an innovative thing which benefits consumers, and gives flexibility to providers and allows people to control their own working conditions in a way that was previously impossible.


#11

Well, there is the question of tax collection, and basic safety requirements, that AirBnB seems to gloss over. Also, zoning ordinances.

And as a city, your responsibility is to provide services to the community, and collect taxes to pay for those costs.

Sure, a lot of bureaucratic red tape, but the bottom line is that these news business want to reap profits without have any sort of overhead or liability. And that is what scares me. When shit goes pear shape, the average consumer and the ‘independent’ contractor are holding the bag, and responsible for the costs, while the company makes a tidy sum of profit and walks away.


#12

Hilariously the Austin CC banned employers from conducting criminal background checks earlier this year.

https://www.shrm.org/LegalIssues/StateandLocalResources/pages/texas-austin-ban-the-box.aspx

On March 24, 2016, the Austin City Council passed the Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance, which will prohibit most employers from asking questions about or considering an individual’s criminal history until after making a conditional offer of employment. - See more at: https://www.shrm.org/LegalIssues/StateandLocalResources/pages/texas-austin-ban-the-box.aspx#sthash.o981Yftm.dpuf

Like many “regulations”, there is nothing to this except a transparent attempt to harm competition of politically favored business interests.


#13

All I know is that I’m not at all interested in taking a ride in some random Joe’s car just because he decided to make some bucks working with Uber. Any more than I’m willing to stay at some random person’s house instead of a hotel. I know that I’m probably in the minority, as most of the people I know younger than myself are all gung ho about this, but I guess growing up with yellow taxis and hotel chains as the default has pretty much made me set in my ways. I prefer predictability and accountability over price I suppose.

Besides, big city cab rides are all about the education–the languages you learn, the new ways of navigating the city, all the cool things cabbies do for you! Oh, and the smells.


#14

That’s the thing, no one forces anyone to use AirBnB, or Uber. But if people want to, the government doesn’t need to get involved. Adults are able to make those kinds of decisions for themselves.


#15

I’m like you but I take a cab once or twice a year, so paying more than Uber’s prices is no big deal if I feel it’s a safety concern. I can see how people who cab it a couple of times a week might welcome Uber.


#16

I use Uber multiple times a week. For me a ride isn’t about “the education” it’s about getting home after working 11 hours on a Sunday as quickly and cheaply as possible. Uber and Lyft are great for that. I don’t care if it’s Joe Schmo or a driver in the Indy 500 behind the wheel. I want to get from Point A to Point B, and not a whole lot else. From my experience getting a ride with Uber or Lyft is just much more efficient than the old cab system.

Even if you want more of an “experience” companies like Uber and Lyft have brought in a whole cohort of people that would never have been driving cab before. At least in my city the cab industry was dominated by two closely related ethnic communities, now I’ve met people from far more diverse backgrounds, particularly in regards to gender.


#17

Me thinks you missed the sarcasm in my post…easy to do on the 'Net, for sure. No one actually likes taking a cab. But like a lot of folks, I take a cab maybe once every five years. Literally. I suppose there are folks who don’t have a car or travel constantly, and cool, Uber it up if you like.


#18

Eh, I don’t have a dog in that fight really. My philosophical concerns, if I could be bothered, would be about Uber’s financial model, which seems to be sort of a serf system where the guys at the top take the money and the guys at the bottom do all the work. But I certainly don’t see why they should be regulated any more or less than any other car for hire service. But if one type of service is regulated, seems fair (fare?) that all of 'em should be, equally.


#19

I fly about once a month, if not more frequently. With my sample size being SF, Seattle, LA, and NYC, I’d say NYC is the only city in that group that I’d willingly ride in taxis in. Between difficulty in hailing cabs, how difficult it can be to get them to take credit cards, no shows when you arrange a pickup ahead of time, no shows when you try to call, and refusing to go to suburban neighborhoods because it’s harder to get a return fare, I can’t stand cabs. While they aren’t perfect, and there is a lot about practices and whatnot to change, being able to call a Lyft/Uber to go somewhere and pay them with my card with minimal hassle makes the end experience vastly superior.


#20

If you take a cab once every five years, then you really have no skin in the game. I travel for business fairly regularly, and my experience with Uber is vastly superior to cabbies in almost any city, major or minor. I’ve never had a truly horrible car with Uber. I’ve definitely had some horrible cabs.