Monday, August 13, 2018

Uber CEO vows to steer company past recent troubles: ‘We will win this war’

CEO Dara Khosrowshahi

     “The Pickwick Papers,” set in 1827, begins with Charles Dickens’ kindly hero, Mr. Samuel Pickwick, “his portmanteau in hand, his telescope in his greatcoat pocket, his notebook in his waistcoat, ready for the reception of any discoveries worthy of being noted down,” setting off on his adventures from the coach stand at St. Martin’s-le-Grand.
     “Cab!” he cries.
     From then until a decade ago, that was one of three common ways to find a taxi — present yourself where cabs usually congregate, stand on the curb, arm flung in the air and hope a cab happens by, or, if you have time, phone a cab company.
     A new method was added in 2008, when two software programmers, looking to ease the challenge of finding a taxi in San Francisco, came up with a program they called UberCab.
     The company quickly grew by ignoring numerous strict regulations regarding cab companies in cities Uber entered. Taxis need expensive licenses, called medallions. Drivers also require lengthy training — the newspaper once sent me to get my cabbie license; the course prepping for the exam took three days.
     Uber sidestepped all this by insisting it owns no cars, employs no drivers, so it isn’t a cab company — it dropped the “Cab” from its name to boost this argument. It’s just a piece of software, the way eBay isn’t a department store...

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  1. In recent articles I've seen, NYC cab drivers don't seem to understand that decades of wild driving and rude behavior by a large segment of them made the public a lot less sympathetic to their not illegitimate plight once Uber came along. Reaping what one sows comes to mind here. Not to mention the Black men who reported that while it's not completely equalizing they have found it much easier to hail an Uber ( especially with some good tipping helping their ratings ) than a cab which they often found almost impossible to secure on the streets.

  2. Uber & Lyft are causing massive traffic problems in downtown Chicago. While waiting for a bus on Michigan Ave., at least every fifth car has those stickers on them.
    If the drivers are making even minimum wage, I'd be amazed.
    They're also causing the CTA huge problems in passenger losses, which will lead to higher fares, which will cause more passenger losses.
    Just like NYC is now doing, Chicago needs to limit how many of them can operate here & especially limit them downtown.

  3. I'm waiting for Uber Airlines.


    1. Now there's an idea whose time will come! Maybe that guy at Sea-Tac should have bought his own plane.

  4. There may be traffic problems, it may be unfair to cab drivers, the pay for the drivers might suck. But I can take out my phone and get a ride from just about anywhere in about five minutes. In my opinion, that's wonderful. Downtown they might be competing with other options (train, bus, cab) but in a lot of places it can be the only option.

  5. In the 1970s, California had a law making it illegal to offer transportation for money without a license. As I understood it, this was mostly used against people who tried to give undocumented aliens a lift to Los Angeles and points north once they made it over the border.

    But in connection with "ride-sharing services" like Uber and Lyft, it raises certain questions: Is that law still on the books? If so, why isn't it being enforced? Uber can say "we're not a taxi company" until it's blue in the face, but its drivers still would be in violation of that law, it seems to me.

    If that law is still on the books but not being enforced, it makes IMO an interesting situation for the "send 'em all back because illegal means ILLEGAL" crowd: Have you ever used Uber or Lyft? If so, why should the law against offering transportation for money apply when the passengers are undocumented Mexicans/Central Americans, but not when it’s you in the back seat?

  6. To many cab drivers the concepts of safety, comfort, cleanliness and customer service are as foreign as their heritage. This is why people will gravitate to a more pleasant service. Though the government regulation supposedly provides a safety net, the real world experience is not comforting for riders in medallioned cabs. I have driven cabs and livery and repeat business flows from clean vehicles, smooth rides and a respectful driver. A friend recently returned from Ft. Myers with a common tale. The Florida cabbie agreed to a flat rate, then scared them to death enroute, while sickening them with his reeking vehicle. Upon arrival at RSW airport he charged the meter rate. I would have given him the minimum and challenged him to complain to any authority he chose, but my friend is no so confrontational. Uber is in his future and cabbies themselves are to blame.


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