"It is also this setup that also allows Uber to pay what their critics say is less than their ‘fair share’ of tax – Uber pays no VAT and, last year, only paid £411,000 in Corporation Tax."
I also traveled domestically and overseas a ton (four years with Accenture on the road constantly) and remember a pre-Uber world. Shudder. While you are right that I can theoretically go with multiple services domestically in the US, I'd still go with a single one to ensure easy accounting, and when dealing with overseas travel, it is a no-brainer.
Taxi Cab industry is a heavily regulated industry which was screwing only one group of people, i.e. the consumers. This is why there is little love for the cab industry in America. For more economic analysis on this, check out the lecture by Murray Rothbard given in 1989 at NY Polytechnic .
2. https://mises.org/sites/default/files/Government%20Cartels%2... [Part about taxi cab medallions start from 29:21]
As a tech person I'm not against smaller independent businesses. I actually support them as much as I can. However, I also support convenience. Smaller businesses should strive for convenience, and tech businesses should consider supporting and enable those smaller mom-and-pop shops to flourish. Lyft and Uber are, in fact, doing exactly this, by solving a transportation problem for a lot of smaller guys. Like me. I save a lot of personal money because I can get around on-demand and don't need to own a car. (I rent for longer trips, and the amount I spend on Uber+Lyft+Enterprise+Zipcar is much less than the cost of car ownership.)
Taxis are very, very far from your innocent mom-and-pop shop. I'd be quite glad if they die. For the following reasons.
- Taxis regularly rip you off when they drive by meter (I say this from experience). Uber drivers don't. Seeing the car on a map with your destination and route gives me peace of mind.
- Being able to set the destination on your "taxi"'s GPS navigation system using your own phone is amazing. You can just click on addresses in your calendar events and get a car without having to spell out street names for taxi drivers. It also helps a LOT when you are in a foreign country to be able to just click on stuff and physically get there, no questions asked.
- Taxis don't have a carpooling system. As a customer, I want lower fares and lower carbon emissions. In fact I bike most of the time and seldom drive a car because I don't believe in 1 person per car as a sustainable form of transportation. Taxis don't solve that problem. UberPool and Lyft Line are taking a step forward here. It's a step toward Public Transportation 2.0, the way I see it.
- Not all taxi drivers take credit cards. Especially outside the US. Uber solves the payment problem in a lot of parts of the world.
- In about 95% of places where I use Uber/Lyft, taxis don't really run around on a regular basis. You have to find their weird phone numbers, find a phone, and call them. And sometimes they don't show up for 45 minutes. Having a system that tells drivers where people want rides is a lot more fuel- and time-efficient than taxi drivers trolling around looking for business. (Guess why taxis are more expensive!)
- ONE app to get you a car on-demand, in any country, anywhere. How cool is that?
I am sure there are regions where taxi companies don’t completely suck. My very limited experiences w/ cabs in the South of France was markedly better than with taxis in Texas and San Francisco, for example.
Creating an app like uber is cheap enough that competitors will pop up whenever uber feels like making money.
You might be asked to extract rent but you can't extract too much (just my conjecture, no clue how much is too much)
So I might be the last person to realize this but you're right! If I don't mind being ten or twenty minutes late, then how about taking this a step further with a bus? You enter where you want to go and the closest bus gets rerouted based on where its existing passengers are going (or if you're going somewhere weird it won't trigger the bus but rather a small Toyota Corolla I am not completely opposed to small cars). It doesn't even need to be self-driving. The main thing is there needs to be enough of them (and it would be nice if they had access to bus lanes but the amazing Uber legal time I am sure can figure this one out). This is brilliant because if we can reroute bus traffic based on who is travelling and where (and we know live traffic information thanks to Google and Waze) we can make "public transit" a lot more palatable. I'd argue we can realistically make an "unlimited" rides card that allows you to ride any uber pool anywhere for say $200 a month? I mean if you never have to wait for the bus/taxi for more than twenty minutes, it is surely worth it right?
I guess the point is that there is a lot of room for innovation with uber pool and uber has to continue to innovate to stay ahead. If they do, I don't mind if they take a small portion of the money. We as a society will be better off with fewer cars on the road.
anywhere doesn't actually mean anywhere but anywhere within certain areas. Can't uber pool between brisbane and sydney :)
The leading startup in making that vision is Via, they just got $200m investment from Mercedes and a partnership, they are deployed in 3 major cities in the us, also starting in Europe via big partnership and working on dual model of both their own service and licensing their software to others, what could enable rapid takeup.
As for prices, recently I read a story comparing ride services, for 4mile trip , Uber costs ~$20, via $6(although via can sometimes get delayed for long, but I think with scale that could greatly improve, and maybe prices a bit).so this may give a scale for the practicality of $200 free pass.
And btw to run such service you need 8 passenger minibuses , which are commercial vehicles driven by commercial drivers, who hate Ubers guts,and probably won't work with Ubers model, and if Uber changes their model and gives preference to these drivers, they could alienate their own drivers.So maybe that's why they don't fully compete.
And one more thing: the other big possible improvement is in vehicle design, to allow multiple people sharing a vehicle more comfort and privacy. But now that Mercedes is in the picture and they said they will optimize vehicles , maybe this will get solved.
Uber can change price dynamically while you load your app within seconds. Somehow doubt the whole Taxi industry of Medallion et al can reboot in a matter of seconds (or days or months).
The problem currently just is that while Uber could be something like 25% cheaper, they are actually rather 40% cheaper and pay the difference out of their own pocket.
And if one of these companies goes under, expect wages to fall further because they do not need to compete with the other.
When Uber leaves a European market taxis generally profit from it.
SF center to SFO is like $15-35 for Lyft Line while Uber charges $19-45.
SoMa to Marina is $4.05 for Lyft today and > $5.50 for Uber
It's much easier to entice new riders by giving them coupons than it is to generally lower their fares.
I fully extremely appreciate how I like the redundentcy of the repetitive redundance.
frequently: frequency is high
less frequently: frequency is low
increasingly frequently: dfrequency/dt > 0
increasingly less frequently: dfrequency/dt < 0
Would love them to introduce that in London, the price would be the same as for a tube season ticket.
- Uber has more money on their hands and is massively subsidizing something that may not be sustainable long-term
- Uber may have more customers and can pool rides more efficiently and cost-effectively
So now it's Lyft. A nice bonus is that I absolutely love the UX.
My experience has been otherwise. The apps are commodities, but Lyft drivers have been consistently nicer humans that seem to care more about their cars.
I do get the occasional nice Uber driver, but most of them seem to have zero interest in what they're doing. If the car runs, it's good to go. They just want you in and out as fas as possible.
Which service I use just depends on 2 factors: Least of the estimated fares and speedier pick-up. And of course if the 'Pool' or 'Line' carpooling available on the route I am going.
there are hundreds of additional subconsious decisions being made in a persons head that inform which app will ultimately be opened up. These companies public actions/reactions matter ALOT in terms of determining their success.
You could say the same thing about search engines, it's just a matter of which search engine you open. I'm sure you'll say 'but they give different results, and one is faster, and one doesn't track me, etcetera' - but you could make the same argument about Uber vs Lyft. At one point only one service offered tipping (although that's since changed). Initially Lyft drivers tended to fist bump their riders and would encourage them to sit in the front seat, although that seems to be less common. They do seem to be getting more and more similar, but it's not hard for them to differentiate themselves beyond price.
My latest tactic is to answer these questions in an unnaturally enthusiastic,
— yet earnest — manner, while at the same time avoiding commenting whatsoever on the ride itself.
"Kevin is proving to be a very valuable member of the team with a promising future ahead!" or some similar piffle.
I suggest everyone try it; it's an interesting challenge to invent a new variation following every ride.
(And I just imagine what such constructions do to the filtering AI they probably send these through. My goal is to have each one reach human eyeballs, but seeing as I'll never know for sure it's akin to a message in a bottle. It's still fun, though.)
Uber at least demands a check sheet filled and signed by a mechanic from a list provided by them, and it has to be refreshed yearly.
Uber was initially ahead on brand recognition and funding so they expanded aggressively. This may come back to haunt them as they have to fight every jurisdiction where they rushed in and often broke laws. Lyft could definitely move into more markets as the article says they plan to do.
>Alphabet is also an Uber shareholder through its GV venture capital arm, but Waymo, a unit of Alphabet, is currently suing Uber over self-driving car technology. As the relationship has deteriorated, Waymo signed a partnership with Lyft to work together on testing autonomous vehicles.
These two events don't seem unrelated, there appears to be a big shuffle-up going on. GV must be one of the shareholders looking to cash out of Uber.
Google ventures was part of a 258 million dollar investment round in Uber in 2013, and it's anybody's guess as to what that's worth today with the complexities of Uber finances.
Alphabet subsidiary Waymo announced a partnership with Lyft in May, though the particulars of that partnership were vague.
Yes, although you - the lowly plebe - only has the ability to feign passion for and work for a single founder at a time, the same VC's will be at Startup Grind 2018 bragging about how they have two dozen of the same kinds of companies in their portfolio, because they had a moonshot on one of them in the 90s.
Is either company building a viable business? Or will usage sharply drop off once they have to eventually charge a realistic rate for a ride? Or are the drivers just a temporary casualty and the plan is to get rid of them completely ASAP?
For the record it has been like this in Poland since 2016. It is cheaper here, but at the same ratio vs. taxi prices. Also no uber pool here or Lyft at all here.
To me it reads like a warning sign that Lyft desperately needs money.
If someone in Lyft management thinks that this leak will help twist Alphabet's arm even a little, of course they are going to leak it.
Edit: The podcast is a conversation with Taggart Matthiesen, director of product at Lyft.
Planting/havesting/etc regular rows of crops on private property with computer positioning control is easy compared to high-level auto-driving on public roadways.
Similar position-automation technology is widely used in mining, construction and more.
I fully expected that my daughters, now 12 and 13, might never need to own cars. My wife even thinks they may never need to learn to drive. I now think that's unrealistic. It's true that for 95%+ of most journeys, self driving cars would be fine, but that last 5% or less really matters even if for only a minority of journeys. Finding a parking space can be very hard and our current streets, curbs and driveways aren't designed for self-driving vehicles. Rural settings can also be highly challenging.
I think the big changes initially will be road haulage because companies can re-engineer pickup and drop-off points to be highly autonomous friendly and automated. Next will be companies like Uber and Lyft providing driverless cabs from and to designated points. Then a gradual demographic trend to less car ownership, but driverless cars for the masses are going to take at least a decade to come IMHO. The last 10m is really tough in too many common scenarios.
If cars were really just to get around, we'd see different kinds of cars on the road. Cars are a lifestyle symbol and for many people a place where they spend a lot of time. You don't want to rely on municiple fleets for that.
But at least that part of the moat disappears when you no longer need drivers.
They announced today that they've logged their 1 millionth test mile, and completed over 30,000 passenger rides in Pittsburgh and Tempe.
I have no idea how good their cars are compared to their competitors, but, with 200 test cars, their operation is supassed in scale only by Waymo.
They're hard at work digging their moat. Clearly Lyft has some tricks up it's sleeve as well.
Or maybe not, maybe they'll be some point where the software matures enough that people end up being sort of indifferent between who developed it as long as it passes some "good enough" threshold, and some of the set of developers with good enough software will license it to whoever wants it to undermine the dominant player. For example I'm not sure which of the Maps/directions apps out there right now is actually the best, but they all seem good enough to use and I can't actually tell which is superior except for rare edge cases that I won't see often enough to be able to quantify.
If they come to market at the same time as others they'd need to find a manufacturer that doesn't already offer it. If they want to be first they need to beat manufacturers that have recognised the risk and can spend several billions a year without making a loss..
Are these lax checks something you know firsthand or have read somewhere?
(I know a guy who has driven for Lyft for months while he had a tourist visa. He entered an all-zeros SSN when he registered, and they never followed up.)
Once self-driving arrives each transaction could be a barter based on source and destination locations, along with the self-driving car's specific schedule. An intelligent network may emerge, where specific rides are cheaper for a car that needs to go to the specified area of town.
You could further augment costs by allowing the self-driving car to manage it's own energy supply.
I realize there are downsides to be thought through and the technology is nowhere near ready for this idea.
A decentralised app (or apps) could work on a protocol and use bitcoin and the margins can be squeezed to almost zero as there are lots of competing apps, providers and aggregators etc.
Think: like airlines. Only without the luxury/economy differentiation that exists in that industry.
Ridesharing is subsidized right now but that can't last forever, right?
I don't understand what using a decentralized currency would really change. Uber or Lyft could very easily add decentralized currencies as payment options in their apps now. It wouldn't change anything about the fundamental nature of the business other than you'd have another payment option. They still have to pay their software engineers, etc.
As for this theoretical decentralized app, who writes it? Who pays to run the servers? If I have a problem with my ride, who is the arbiter?
That would be ideal, but I'd be happy if one can call a ride-share in an anonymous way (just like a regular taxi) and pay by cash, without tons of cameras spying on you during your trip. Somehow I guess this not going to happen like that, and tracking where you go is going to be another ad-selling business in itself as well as new tactics for privacy invasion. Oh, and there's a good chance it will be calling home to Google, again.
Good for them.
As it is though I live in the UK so I can't.
That's assuming "pro free market" and "pro business" aren't in contradiction with each other. It rather depends which business one is being "pro" towards.
Regulatory concern and Wall Street accounting image management would be the justification for this kind of deal.
So are you saying a new player can easily beat them?
Though, it wouldn't really make sense given their business model. They want to know where you are, not get you there. If you have an Android phone, they already have that information. So it seems like an unlikely play.
Lyft employees? So far, there are not really any substantive counter arguments being posted. It's pretty rational to down-vote my comments if you have stock options that vest on acquisition. I bear no grudge, these people gotta earn.
Google wants in on this market because it fits in with their self driving car plans. Car Drones don't really make sense without the context of a rental market because right now the cost of the LIDAR sensors alone can be as much as the cost of the car itself.
That's why Tesla's stated goal is to do it with CCD cameras like the ones found in your phone. Because the cost of adding them to the car is next to nothing.
Though right now they follow the UberPOP pricing model, at-cost rides. It has additional aspects that only work for commutes. For example, the rider has to wait at a pick-up point near a highway.
That said, if they made any serious effort, they could likely gain significant market share. Uber and Lyft already did the hard work of lobbying and creating the demand for riding and driving. Google could swoop in and reap the benefits.
It would require Google to do something novel for the company: have large distributed customer-facing operations.
So why did Google fail with Google Plus with such a huge warchest?
If they did that before 2007, we'd be talking about Facebook like it was MySpace right now.
So you are saying they failed even with the huge warchest.
If your point is that Google could fuck up a ride market the way they let Facebook slip past, that seems like a pretty broad overreach to me. Identity on the internet is complex thing, they had big brother issues to contend with, also Google was a much more idealistic company back then with their "Dont be Evil" ethos. Ride sharing is a commodity industry and basically consists of an app with a single "Come Here" button. It's a false equivalency in my view.
Just because they have money does not automatically mean then will win the ride sharing market.
Do you think their driveless cars (that are way ahead of everyone else) might help them lower some of their biggest costs on the supply side on sunny days when passengers need to travel low risk routes?
Your argument was that they failed with G+, so that equates with this situation. I'm saying it doesn't equate. Success & failure are more granular than the binary thing you are making it out to be. G+ brought Google other benefits.
Exactly, now you get it. Just because a company has huge warchest does not automatically mean they will succeed at everything.