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Bad news for Progressives as Uber wins big in NYC

Bad news for Progressives as Uber wins big in NYC

Hillary Clinton hardest hit

Anti-consumer choice advocates were defeated once again in the ongoing war to regulate Uber into oblivion. Uber declared yet another over NYC Mayor DeBlasio and the city’s cab cartel Wednesday.

Under the guise of wanting to monitor Uber’s effect on NYC traffic flow, DeBlasio failed to whip the requisite number of votes to pass legislation that would’ve limited new for-hire vehicle licenses.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Uber, for instance, would only be able to add 201 cars over the next year, a pittance compared with the area’s about 20,000 drivers offering some 100,000 rides a day. The ostensible purpose was to allow the city Transportation Department time to study how such services affect traffic congestion.

The real motivation was taxi interests. The price of New York taxi licenses, known locally as medallions, has dropped nearly a quarter in recent years from a high of $1.3 million in 2013, as more consumers switch to summoning a car on a smartphone instead of hailing a cab. This is called competition, and taxis want to recoup market share by stifling alternatives.

Mayor de Blasio and the far-left City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito went along for the ride despite their supposedly progressive politics. It must be a coincidence, comrade, that the yellow taxi industry has lavished campaign contributions on both of them.

But the influx of Uber cars is only adding to NYC’s traffic congestion, right? Hardly.

As for congestion, Uber makes up less than 1% of cars on the road. Politicians blamed ride-sharing services by showing that speeds in Manhattan have slowed 0.84 mph since 2010, to 8.5 miles an hour. What they didn’t mention is that average speeds hovered around 8.5 miles an hour in 2008, before the recession took cars off the road for a few years.

Uber refused to go down without a fight and launched a hilarious “DeBlasio” feature on its app:

Uber punched back, debuting a “ DeBlasio” feature on its app that showed how today’s two-minute wait for a ride could turn into half an hour, and blasting out ads. Soon enough the public that has grown accustomed to using this convenient service piled on, and disapproval ranged from model Kate Upton to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

DeBlasio and Uber were able to reach an agreement, temporarily halting DeBlasio’s battle against consumer choice.

But DeBlasio isn’t the only Progressive out to smite Uber and others innovators in the ride-share industry.

Hillary Clinton not so subtly railed against Uber, entrepreneurialship, and part-time work.

In a speech given on July 13, Clinton said, “Many Americans are making extra money renting out a small room, designing websites, selling products they design themselves at home, or even driving their own car. This on-demand, or so-called ‘gig economy,’ is creating exciting opportunities and unleashing innovation. But it’s also raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future.”

There is nothing progressive about continued attacks on progress. But if income generating innovation so dearly beloved by millennials is the hill on which Democrats like Clinton and DeBlasio want to wage their anti-consumer choice war, they can go right ahead. I’ll bring the popcorn.

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Comments

Uber is not progress. Uber is crony capitalism to an extreme. In Uber, one sees an entity that has managed to not only skirt regulations and laws but also prosper off of the maintenance of those regulations and laws over everyone else (with the possible exception of Lyft).

If I wanted to drive people around NY City for a fee, I would be arrested, even if I created an app to get customers. Uber manages to intimidate the local authorities through their sheer size, their financial power, and their hipster popularity. At the same time, the cab drivers, cab companies, chaufers, car services, and other livery services are all forced to expend significant resources complying with regulations. Moreover, a regular citizen cannot simply operate because of the barriers to entry created by the government.

I could see cheering on Uber if it was arguing for deregulation, open markets, and less intrusive government. However, it is not doing any of those things. Uber’s business model relies on such onerous burdens existing for everyone but themselves.

    Ragspierre in reply to WTell. | July 23, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    You are an idiot and a liar.

    Other than that, I agree.

      DaveGinOly in reply to Ragspierre. | July 23, 2015 at 7:54 pm

      Take it easy, Rags. We both may have misjudged him (if only slightly, and not entirely – see my comment in response elsewhere). I think he may have just not stated his position clearly. See his follow-up remarks to NC Mountain Girl.

        WTell in reply to DaveGinOly. | July 24, 2015 at 11:35 am

        DaveGinOly, you are right that you both misjudged me seriously. Appreciate that you realized that. I think people on this site used to read to the end before jumping at others. Not sure if they do anymore. I wrote very clearly,

        “I could see cheering on Uber if it was arguing for deregulation, open markets, and less intrusive government. However, it is not doing any of those things. Uber’s business model relies on such onerous burdens existing for everyone but themselves.”

        I hate almost all regulations. What I hate more is that some businesses actively support and even lobby for regulations because they benefit from these regulations that hurt their competitors and potential competitors. Every single thing that Uber has said regarding laws and regulations worldwide has indicated that they are in favor of maintaining regulations that hamper everyone else. They simply want to be excluded from the requirements.

        I will be happy to change my mind about Uber if someone can find evidence that Uber actually takes a stand against regulation or that Uber’s success will lead to overall lessening of taxi regulations. Meanwhile, let’s all advocate for dumping unnecessary regulations and lessening the burden on everyone.

    NC Mountain Girl in reply to WTell. | July 23, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    It seems to me the solution then is to limit the regulatory burden. But that means less opportunity for graft, doesn’t it.

      NC Mountain Girl is entirely right. All the regulations should be lowered for everyone, not just for Uber.

      We’re told that Uber represents deregulation, but it doesn’t. It represents skirting regulations and leaving them in place to harm competitors and potential competitors. I’d love to hear Uber executives call for an end or extreme loosening of taxi regulations world-wide, but they don’t. They call for an exemption for themselves only.

      Remember, Uber hired David Plouffe–Obama’s David Plouffe–just last year to help them get just these crony capitalist exemptions.

      Most of us see regulation as the problem. Uber’s ceo said last year they are up against, “an a$$hole named Taxi.” Uber wants regulations, but they want them to apply only to the taxi companies and their other competitors.

    Uber is not progress. Uber is crony capitalism to an extreme.

    Uber *is* progress. If Uber starts engaging in the same protectionist ways which saw the downfall of taxis and the rise of Uber, then we’ll need some sort of post-Uber free market ride-sharing service to do to Uber what they did to taxis. Uber showed that it could be done. And people’s reaction to Uber showed that there is a huge market out there for less-regulated “taxi” type services.

    Even if Uber completely falls to enthusiasm for regulatory capture and crony capitalism, this is just the beginning. Not the end. Uber started it. That doesn’t mean they necessarily get to finish it.

    Estragon in reply to WTell. | July 23, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    The real crony capitalism is in the taxi business. Over $1 million per medallion? Are you even reading the garbage you put out?

    There is a serious regulations problem with Airbnb, where people’s property values can be affected when neighbors decide to violate zoning laws. But there is no rational justification for limiting taxi service other than protecting cronies.

    DaveGinOly in reply to WTell. | July 23, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    “In Uber, one sees an entity that has managed to not only skirt regulations and laws but also prosper off of the maintenance of those regulations and laws over everyone else.”

    So, you’re in favor of leveling the playing field by eliminating those regulations and laws so Uber can’t use them to the detriment of its competitors? No, I think you’re not.

    Are you admitting that the laws and regulations hurt Uber’s competitors by making them uncompetitive? No, probably not, except in so far as that you want to see Uber impaired by those laws and regulations along with everyone else.

    I can see someone wanting Uber to play by the same rules as everyone else, but your statement is so inartfully crafted that it appears you’re actually condemning the laws and regulations themselves for creating the atmosphere in which Uber thrives. I am pretty sure that was not your intent. I’m pretty sure you’re all for laws and regulations that strangle the free market, so long as they strangle everyone equally.

NC Mountain Girl | July 23, 2015 at 1:38 pm

You think the progressives would be pleased. A service like Uber solves a lot of problems for the urban poor. Consider Michelle Obama’s “food deserts”, the dirth of supermarkets in the inner city. One can ride public transportation to a grocery store but is hard to use public transportation to get home with several shopping bags.

Not A Member of Any Organized Political | July 23, 2015 at 1:43 pm

God Bless Uber.

Uber Thrives: Why?

In spite of the fact that Uber is the most banned company in the world, it thrives for one simple reason: People like it, especially business travelers and millennials, even if politicians don’t.

For the first time ever, Uber Tops Taxi Use for Business Travelers.

Read more at http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2015/07/uber-thrives-why.html#x8zbLfULk12Ez07y.99

A major factor I don’t see in these stories is the money.

There was some excitement a couple of years ago involving the “livery” biz in Boston. A license is extremely expensive—something over $20k. That’s for one driver operating one cab. The interesting thing about the story at that time was that certain immigrant groups with unusually tight family-based support structures are able to come up with the money; hence the domination of Haitians in Boston, Sikhs in New York, etc.

But the relevant lesson here is that hackneys are Big Money to the town. Nobody is going to be enthusiastic about innovations which intrude on steady revenue streams.

Sammy Finkelman | July 23, 2015 at 3:37 pm

It’s not new money, except maybe for campaign contributions.

It;’s all these sunk costs.

If you are worried about traffic, it’s actually regular taxis, that pick up passengers, that should be gotten rid of, not taxis that are summoned. Maybe some taxis should be given rights to ark at the airports, or at fixed spots in the city, and just possibly, n very heavily used areas, wwhere it won’t take more than one minute to find a fare, cruise around, but that’s all.

The problem is that value of taxi medallions has risen into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and banks have made loans against them. It’s a completely useless ecoomic rent, created soley by government.

https://www.aei.org/publication/chart-of-the-day-nyc-taxi-medallion-prices/

As a result, taxi medallions have fallen mostly out of the hands of indiviodual owners, the actual taxi drivers, who rent cabs, work long hours for very little money, and taxis try to limit themselves to the most profitable business.

It’s been close to 50 years since regular yellow taxis circulated in most of New York City.

Now Uber comes in, and the value of a medallion starts to decline.

https://www.aei.org/publication/chart-of-the-day-nyc-taxi-medallion-prices/

The rise of medallion prices to astronomical calues should never have been allowed to happen.

If the politicians were honest about what the problem is – the possible destruction of a million dollar investment as a result of a change in government policy, with impact maybe on banks that made loans to buy medallions – they would try to compensate the medallion owners.

This would be better than keeping the status quo. The city could, for instance offer to buy back medallions, at say, $800,000 each, reducing the price slowly year by year.

Or they could sell more medallions, as their value declines, but give the money to the current owners, not pocket the money.

Sammy Finkelman | July 23, 2015 at 3:40 pm

Sorry, the second link should be:

http://www.businessinsider.com/uber-v-medallion-prices-2015-2

The scariest part — for taxi companies — is the bottom part of the medallion chart, where the blue bars indicate sales coming from foreclosures.

Sammy Finkelman | July 23, 2015 at 3:46 pm

In New York City we are talking about legal </i. taxis. (At least Uber says they are legal – the taxi industry is suing in state court.

In Miami, you ahve illegal taxis, with Uber simply paying teh fines.

Marco Rubio and maybe some others are calling for amnesty – nobody, not even Donald Trump, is calling for the law to be enforced before there can be any consideration of legalization.

http://blogs.marketwatch.com/themargin/2014/06/04/uber-defies-local-law-launches-in-miami/

Lady Penguin | July 23, 2015 at 5:07 pm

Oh, the joy of being able to weigh in on the Uber model in NYC, having just returned from visiting my daughter, who lives there. Upon arrival in Manhattan, I had to take a yellow cab, which I’ve done numerous times before, and it’s a hair-raising experience, close your eyes, hope you survive, as well as put up with an attitude, bordering on rudeness, and at times rude.

My daughter, has a smart phone and uses Uber. We used them twice (S-i-L driving, and subway rides made up the other trips.) Uber was wonderful. Both times the drivers were kind, considerate and friendly. Cost reasonable and less than the yellow cabs.

One other thing people may not realize. One cannot call for a yellow cab in NYC, only allowed to “flag down.” So when needing a ride, before Uber came along, one HAD to call a car service (also black cars), so this is all about the yellow cab monopoly staying in charge and intact.

Progressives are going to find that even their base likes a good deal, efficient and helpful, and are not really wanting to spend money they don’t have. Millenials and their technology are going to pave their own way – regardless of the radical leftist union demands.

PS uber drivers are rated by their riders and vice versa, the drivers rate their clients. Nice.

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to Lady Penguin. | July 23, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    Here is Mephi Stopheles (over aht Mish’s Global Economic Analysis’s top reasons for loving Uber.

    “Why I use Uber:
    1] I can see where the vehicle is on my phone when I order it (plus a countdown timer)
    2] I can type in my destination and the Uber driver’s GPS is automatically updated
    3] Clean cars without silly plastic partitions
    4] Lower prices
    5] I’m not stuck with some driver who is on his phone the entire time speaking farsi/hindi/urdu
    6] No awkward reaching for the wallet and exchange of cash when exiting
    7] Detailed email receipt 5 minutes later
    8] Driver rating system”

    http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2015/07/uber-thrives-why.html

    Sammy Finkelman in reply to Lady Penguin. | July 23, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    The problem is you can’t call Uber either. You must use an App.

    You can call a “car service.”

    Even in Manhattan.

    But you have to know the number.

      DaveGinOly in reply to Sammy Finkelman. | July 23, 2015 at 7:47 pm

      “The problem is you can’t call Uber either. You must use an App.”

      That’s a distinction without a difference. You use a phone to(voice) call a cab, you use a phone to hail (via an app) an Uber driver. In both instances, you summon a vehicle and driver with a telephone. There’s no substantive difference between the two.

        Sammy Finkelman in reply to DaveGinOly. | July 24, 2015 at 9:30 am

        “The problem is you can’t call Uber either. You must use an App.”

        DG> That’s a distinction without a difference. You use a phone to(voice) call a cab, you use a phone to hail (via an app) an Uber driver. In both instances, you summon a vehicle and driver with a telephone. There’s no substantive difference between the two.

        But not all phones can be used for both things. Nor does everybody know how to use an app, or have it installed.

So I have a question: Do any of the taxi companies have the same or similar applications for smart phones that allow you to summon a ride after checking the driver’s reviews, and if not, why not?

I would think that an established taxi company who more-or-less ‘Me-Too-d’ the Uber app would rake in the riders due to their established reputation and ability to compete across a large area. Or maybe their poor reputations are the actual reason *why* people are turning to ride-sharing companies?

    Sammy Finkelman in reply to georgfelis. | July 23, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    Do any of the taxi companies have the same or similar applications for smart phones that allow you to summon a ride after checking the driver’s reviews, and if not, why not?

    It might not be legal.

    To do that, you need a limosine license, and I don’t think any car that has that is also allowed to pick up street hails. At least in the area that the yellow cabs are in.

    I would think that an established taxi company who more-or-less ‘Me-Too-d’ the Uber app would rake in the riders due to their established reputation and ability to compete across a large area.

    What established taxi company?

    Yes a car service maybe could, but they can’t just pirate Uber software.

      DaveGinOly in reply to Sammy Finkelman. | July 23, 2015 at 7:49 pm

      Uber could always license its software, and could still hope to out-compete the establishment by having friendlier, more courteous drivers and lower cost.

We need laws that require taxi companies to develop and offer a smart phone app, where riders can call a taxi, get an estimate of the fare, connect to a driver, know who and where he is and when he will arrive, show the GPS route to the rider’s destination, handle the payment through a credit card account, no cash, with a way to report the driver’s quality of service. Also the app must send a receipt to the rider’s email, and allow riders be able to contact the taxi company via email for a specific ride and driver, for items left in the car and to discuss any issues or concerns, with a quick, friendly response and resolution. Also the drivers must operate late-model cars that are clean and without air fresheners or scents, or body odor. Taxis should offer riders bottled water, phone chargers, gum, and streaming music to enhance the ride, but possibly these could be options, not written into the laws.

    Ragspierre in reply to MPCRpiano. | July 23, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    “We need laws…”

    NO! We decidedly do NOT need laws. Or regulations.

    We NEED to let the markets do what they are brilliant at doing via competition…innovate and establish the MARKET rate for goods and services.

Huffington Post or the Onion? It’s getting harder and harder to tell…

“The fight over Uber can be reduced by the media in a place like New York City as a fight between hide-bound yellow cabs and high-tech Uber “innovators”–but that’s a frame that ignores the more than 95% of the population that don’t use any kind of cab at all. And when you take a step back, the fight over Uber and its future likely use of driverless cars has enormous implications for whether our nation and the world can stop climate change from killing the planet.”

That’s from a post by HuffPo’s “Data Justice Director”. Further vindication of this blog’s prescient recent editorial decision.

Sammy Finkelman | July 24, 2015 at 11:18 am

I think it is more than just 5% of the people who at least occasionally use cabs. Of course that includes car serviices, which are neither yellow taxis nor Uber.

I had never used Uber until I was in Boston visiting my daughter, who uses it all the time. I took a regular cab from the airport, and because the driver barely spoke English, he took me to the wrong place. I had spelled the name of her street twice, but because his command of English (and spelling, obviously) was poor, he got the street name wrong. After a 30-minute ride, which should have been 10 minutes, he shut off the meter and charged me $30. I told him he was a thief. The rest of my visit, we took Uber and had no problems. We never waited more than 3 minutes for a ride, and every driver spoke English. Uber wins, hands down.

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