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Author Topic: Uber & Lyft just left Austin  (Read 2407 times)
davideinstein
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« on: May 08, 2016, 07:52:58 am »

http://techcrunch.com/2016/05/07/uber-and-lyft-shutdown-in-austin-after-voters-defeat-proposition-1/
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AquaMan
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« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2016, 11:14:29 am »

There were more issues on that ballot that included things like pickup in specific traffic lanes for Uber and Lyft.

My own experience with Uber is limited but telling. I have a CDL with passenger endorsement and 5 years of commercial experience. I have no criminal record, no tickets within the last decade, a late model car and full coverage insurance. My employer requires a background check and fingerprinting as well.

So, it would seem, I was a slam dunk for acceptance as a driver. However, no matter how many times I submitted the requested paper work confirming all this, they never seemed to receive it. Even when I checked my status as a driver and all materials were listed as received. Even my DL was visible in their records. The last straw was when they sent an email to me denying my application because...."you don't have enough driving time since drivers license was issued". 49 years was not enough?? It seems their workers could not tell that my license had been recently renewed, not first time issued. No local office to contact, no humans to talk to on the phone. They still list me as active and still occasionally ask for my verifications.

The drivers I spoke with confirmed they had difficulty in being paid and saw their income dwindle as Uber recruited heavily for new drivers to such an extent that it wasn't worth the effort and risk.

So, am I dubious of their argument that they don't need to do the same background checks as other transportation employees have to do even though in reality they are merely another taxi company using other peoples equipment with shoddy administration? Yes. I would be quite hesitant to use them or taxis unless I knew the driver.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2016, 11:16:32 am by AquaMan » Logged

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davideinstein
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« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2016, 12:19:47 pm »

Uber has issues. I switched to Lyft while in Austin ironically enough.
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rebound
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« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2016, 09:43:08 am »

We have a corporate account with Uber and I have used it extensively all over the US in the last year and have only had one incident where the guy just couldn't find me (in a crowded area near Times Square) and finally gave up.  Overall, I have been very satisfied.   The one issue I have is with their fare hikes during peak times.  During those times, I do check Lyft and have found that I can often get a Lyft for base price, rather than the inflated price of Uber.  Either way, both of them are quantum levels better than a taxi.

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DTowner
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« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2016, 03:03:15 pm »

So, starting today, stodgy unhip little old Tulsa has Uber and Lyft while ultra-cool hipsters in Austin have to hail a cab.
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AquaMan
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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2016, 07:00:08 pm »

The issue isn't how easy they are to use. Or reliable. Its the fact they refuse to yield to satisfying the same requirements other businesses that serve the public have to wrestle with. They don't want to do real background checks, fingerprints, etc. They want preferential treatment for pickup areas and they continue to insist their employees are private contractors. They seem to be the at the same level Napster was.

To put your remarks in perspective, I drove for a decade with no seatbelts in my car. They were only available at extra cost. They were not required even though the industry knew they would save lives. I never had a problem. Corporations rented Pintos for their employees for years with no problems and great reliability.

Would you rent a Ford Pinto with no seat belts and an exploding gasoline tank today?
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davideinstein
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« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2016, 07:48:37 pm »

The background checks take too long and their background are good enough. Too much government.
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Red Arrow
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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2016, 08:39:50 pm »

To put your remarks in perspective, I drove for a decade with no seatbelts in my car. They were only available at extra cost. They were not required even though the industry knew they would save lives. I never had a problem.
What were you driving?  I started with the family (actually mom's) 54 Buick Special which had no seatbelts.  I doubt they were even available.  Everything after that had seatbelts at least in the front.  When my dad bought a 63 Ford Falcon for my sister to go to college, we installed lap belts for the front seat. (But maybe not right away, I don't remember exactly when we put them in.)

Quote
Corporations rented Pintos for their employees for years with no problems and great reliability.
Would you rent a Ford Pinto with no seat belts and an exploding gasoline tank today?
I thought that Pintos were manufactured after seatbelts were mandatory.  Ford obviously made a bad decision on the Pinto gas tank. I do wonder though how well other cars of similar size of the era would have protected the occupants in the infamous crash.
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Breadburner
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« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2016, 06:21:56 am »

Good on Austin.....
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DTowner
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« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2016, 08:25:13 am »

The Austin city council is so concerned about public safety that in March of this year it passed an ordinance that prohibits employers from conducting criminal background checks on applicants until it is ready to make an employment offer.  In other words, the employer must go through the time and expense of the entire hiring process only to learn at the last moment that its perfect candidate happens to be a child molester, embezzler, etc.

 http://kxan.com/2016/03/24/council-passes-fair-chance-hiring-ordinance-to-delay-background-checks/

The Austin council is selling its Uber/Lyft ordinance on public safety, but it reeks of classic “rent-seeking” to protect the local taxi industry.  That’s Austin and its voter’s prerogative - I just find it funny that Tulsa has ride-sharing services that hipsters everywhere deem practically a fundamental right and Austin does not.  This round goes to Tulsa:  Tulsa 1/Austin 0.
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AquaMan
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« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2016, 09:19:02 am »

What were you driving?  I started with the family (actually mom's) 54 Buick Special which had no seatbelts.  I doubt they were even available.  Everything after that had seatbelts at least in the front.  When my dad bought a 63 Ford Falcon for my sister to go to college, we installed lap belts for the front seat. (But maybe not right away, I don't remember exactly when we put them in.)
I thought that Pintos were manufactured after seatbelts were mandatory.  Ford obviously made a bad decision on the Pinto gas tank. I do wonder though how well other cars of similar size of the era would have protected the occupants in the infamous crash.

I started with a 55 Plymouth, then a 56 Chevy, my mom's 62 Impala, then a 61 Impala, followed by a 59 Lark and a 63 Nova. It wasn't till the 69 Malibu that seatbelts appeared for me. Still, hardly anyone I knew used them in spite of the overwhelming stats proving their life saving ability. Trucks/vans were exempt until at least 1978.

Pinto's design flaw was putting the tank behind the passenger seats with no shock absorbing protection in case of rear impact. They blew up quite easily because of that and the real tragedy was that Ford knew having been warned by engineers. They ran the cost/benefit of the improvements and decided it was more expedient to just pay off death claims, a practice emulated by many thereafter. They got caught.

My point is that when you put your life in the hands of strangers who have contracted with an internet company who has little exposure but immense profit to be made, you ought to have some knowledge of the mental stability or criminal proclivity or driving record of that "contractor". If someone refuses finger printing or shows up as a wanted felon they can be filtered out. My direct experience is that their claims of background checks being done is probably a sham. I know some of these drivers. You get what you pay for.

Its also a matter of fairness. If they can weasel out of that obligation, then why should a taxi company have to do it. In fact, why would any business that deals with the public? But, maybe that's the new independent, damn the gubmint thought process.
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heironymouspasparagus
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« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2016, 10:31:22 am »

What were you driving?  I started with the family (actually mom's) 54 Buick Special which had no seatbelts.  I doubt they were even available.  Everything after that had seatbelts at least in the front.  When my dad bought a 63 Ford Falcon for my sister to go to college, we installed lap belts for the front seat. (But maybe not right away, I don't remember exactly when we put them in.)
I thought that Pintos were manufactured after seatbelts were mandatory.  Ford obviously made a bad decision on the Pinto gas tank. I do wonder though how well other cars of similar size of the era would have protected the occupants in the infamous crash.


The government started its regulatory overreach, intruding into people's lives by requiring seat belts installed in cars - at least in front - in about 1960.  Phased in so as to not cause too much trouble for the manufacturers who bought Congress. 

They were available back into the 30's as options on some cars, but few ever bought them.

1957 Chevy - no belts.   1960 Chevy - front seat belts.  Have seen several 1958 Chevy's without belts.



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heironymouspasparagus
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« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2016, 10:35:53 am »

I started with a 55 Plymouth, then a 56 Chevy, my mom's 62 Impala, then a 61 Impala, followed by a 59 Lark and a 63 Nova. It wasn't till the 69 Malibu that seatbelts appeared for me. Still, hardly anyone I knew used them in spite of the overwhelming stats proving their life saving ability. Trucks/vans were exempt until at least 1978.

Pinto's design flaw was putting the tank behind the passenger seats with no shock absorbing protection in case of rear impact. They blew up quite easily because of that and the real tragedy was that Ford knew having been warned by engineers. They ran the cost/benefit of the improvements and decided it was more expedient to just pay off death claims, a practice emulated by many thereafter. They got caught.

My point is that when you put your life in the hands of strangers who have contracted with an internet company who has little exposure but immense profit to be made, you ought to have some knowledge of the mental stability or criminal proclivity or driving record of that "contractor". If someone refuses finger printing or shows up as a wanted felon they can be filtered out. My direct experience is that their claims of background checks being done is probably a sham. I know some of these drivers. You get what you pay for.

Its also a matter of fairness. If they can weasel out of that obligation, then why should a taxi company have to do it. In fact, why would any business that deals with the public? But, maybe that's the new independent, damn the gubmint thought process.


The 61 and 62 and later had belts from factory, but may have been taken out or pushed back under the seat.

Friend had a 61 Rambler American that had factory belts in front. 

Other note I mentioned "phased in".  I think there were options until 1968 when it became mandatory for every car.  Many had belts before then.  Big Chevy and BOP had belts.  Small ones may or may not have....Impala versus Nova.




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“When you wage war on the public schools, you're attacking the mortar that holds the community together. You're not a conservative, you're a vandal.”    - Garrison Keillor

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

What you do speaks so loud, I cannot hear what you say.
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« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2016, 12:10:14 pm »

The issue isn't how easy they are to use. Or reliable. Its the fact they refuse to yield to satisfying the same requirements other businesses that serve the public have to wrestle with. They don't want to do real background checks, fingerprints, etc. They want preferential treatment for pickup areas and they continue to insist their employees are private contractors. They seem to be the at the same level Napster was.

This is ridiculous.

Napstert encouraged people to steal music by posting other peoples property for free on the internet. Uber/Lyft will pick you up and drive you to your destination in exchange for a fee.  I think the differences are evident.

They satisfy almost all the requirements of other businesses serving the public. They file with the secretary of state, they pay taxes 9as an entity, gas taxes via their employees, etc.), they advertise, they run background checks (most businesses that serve the public do not. And yes, they do "real" background checks. What they don't do is hire the Austin PD for no reason to rerun background checks. I don't know any employer in Tulsa that uses the Tulsa PD to run background checks), they carry insurance. What they don't do - is pretend to be a Taxi service.  Which is exactly the point.

If they want preferential areas for pickup, then negotiate with whomever the business owner is to have such a space. Same thing Taxi services do with certain hotels/businesses in NYC. Or are you saying that Uber/Lyft drivers should have to wait in the cab line at airports? Because when I call Uber/Lyft, I'm contracting with q specific vehicle to pick me up. Taxi's wait first come first serve to get business - totally different model. You don't want either Taxis or Uber/Lyft sitting around an airport clogging it up - but that isn't an issue with Uber/Lyft because they come in and pick a specific someone up, just like my wife does when she picks me up at the airport.

And how are they NOT private contractors? They determine when, where, how much and how to work - not an employers set schedule or location. They can quit whenever they want and rejoin at will. They use their own vehicle (their own tools of the trade). There are no requirements for assistance or office. They buy their own supplies. They get to choose their own jobs, work order, and sequences. They are paid by the specific job without regard to profit or loss. They are free to work for any other company they want (most Uber Drivers are also Lyft Drivers, they prefer Lyft). They decide how much to invest and how much to work. They decide what their market will be. The written contract is exceedingly detailed spelling out the relationship. The benefits are indicative of a contractor. 

Under both Oklahoma and IRS guidelines, they are almost certainly a contract employee. If Uber/Lyft drivers are not contract employees, the "gig economy" is immediately dead. It's hard to think of regularly utilized contractor who have more freedom than these drivers?

And wildly profitable?  Most business publications surmise that Urber loses money hand over fist. Lots of revenue, not so much on profits to date.

Finally, consumers have chosen. They have chosen Lyft/Uber dramatically over traditional taxis. The contractors have chosen to work for Uber/Lyft. The only people upset by this are the antiquated taxi services that most people hate and government officials who want to regulate to death a system that is fixing itself.

I use Lyft probably once a month and have for the last ~4 years. I've never had the slightest concern anywhere in the country. I've had sketchy cabs, I've had cabs that just don't show up, I've been told they are no longer running, I've had cabs get lost, people who don't speak English to a communicable degree, and been overcharged by a cabby. Lyft is straight forward and easy. Plus, its a $10 drunk ride home from Conan's beer garage.
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AquaMan
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« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2016, 12:49:45 pm »

Like I said, we're from and exist in different worlds. This world is yours to exploit, enjoy, define and defile. My world is fading. I actually tried to become one of their drivers and their incompetence was obvious and not uncommon. Yet you give them credit for it. Because its always worked so well for you. Yet it didn't work so well for others, like the guy who drove around picking up fares and shooting people along the way. Or the drivers abused by fares. Some of the drivers are diabetics and take insulin. I have to get a physical and can't drive if I am diabetic due to obvious problems or have heart problems. Passing out, heart attack, stuff like that. When a taxi driver shows up loopy from a few lunchtime margaritas he likely isn't going to drive if his supervisor sees him. Not so with an unsupervised contract worker popping a few adderal or oxy's.  I received training in CPR, MANDT, and I receive ongoing updates. I can save your life in more ways than one. Industry associations keep us up to date with issues affecting safe driving. Good luck getting a contract driver for Uber to have satisfied any of these "obnoxious" government requirements. I avoid, without exaggeration, about a dozen accidents with poor quality drivers every day. Texting, eating, unable to understand signs or obey them, speeding, etc. And it isn't poor, ignorant drivers doing this stuff. No correlation whatsoever. Yesterday I witnessed a car hit and run off the road into a ditch. The riders and driver of the car bailed and ran off. Nice. Does the Uber driver's insurance company of the hit car know he's driving for them? If not those damages are on the driver.

Yes, they are defensible in court as contractors. Even though they are in reality people renting out their assets because they can't find legitimate work or have gotten too old for physical labor. And the contract is overwhelmingly in favor of UBER. Take it or leave it. Yes, taxi companies have become the deserved object of ridicule. But you strangely omit that this novel new concept is now world wide and being fought worldwide for the same reasons I list. Profitability is illusory and irrelevant. They want market penetration. Stockholders know the profit will come. They compete unfairly and their security is suspect.

Napster was a pier to pier music sharing platform if IIRC. Avoided all those pesky regs and music rights. The similarities are evident if you look at it dispassionately. They avoided the costs that record stores carried. Been to a record store lately? They screwed the existing and hated music industry record labels. So, they must have been honorable. Except they weren't and disappeared. I am not a taxi driver nor have I taken one in ages. I like that NAPSTER started a new model. I like that Uber started a new model. I hate it that people are so forgiving of the negatives of the model. Like Trumpy says, its going to be negotiated.

Note. I forgot to add drug testing
 Another onerous regulation for cdl drivers at my employment that routinely edits out grass smokers who think it's okay to drive others while high. Now that its legal in some state s Uber drivers can do so without worry.
Then there's mechanical upkeep. My employer makes sure equipment is roadworthy. I recently refused a vehicle that had steel cord showing thru the tire. Uber shifts that to the driver. You been checking that with your drivers?
« Last Edit: May 10, 2016, 01:38:36 pm by AquaMan » Logged

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