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There’s a reason nobody cares about the taxi industry before ride sharing: it was small because it was too expensive for most people to use outside of special circumstances.

I disagree. Expense was never really an issue for me.

My issue was always summoning the taxi. I was generally operating in secondary markets like Las Vegas off-strip, San Diego, or Pittsburgh. You couldn't schedule your trip to the airport because you never knew when the stupid taxi would show up.

While I hate many things about Uber/Lyft/ridesharing, they changed the customer service expectation of the whole field. Even if the prices go back to taxi levels, that's a massive improvement.

You have to realize how small the group of people is who can regularly afford to hire other people to perform services for them (which is what a taxi is). You're in that group, so the problem for you is convenience of hailing. But most people just can't afford to hire others to perform services for them on a regular basis. And that will never change, since it's inherent to the distribution of incomes in the population.

> You have to realize how small the group of people is who can regularly afford to hire other people to perform services for them (which is what a taxi is).

You will note that I picked a specific use case: going to the airport.

For anyone who flies (and lots of people fly for one off events--so you aren't automatically "well-off" just because you have a plane ticket), transportation to the airport is particularly painful because you have a fixed time deadline.

Most of the options really suck--ridesharing is actually the most cost effective of the bunch.

If you take your own car, you have expensive parking and get the joy of the shuttle from long-term parking (often longer than a ridesharing ride). If you order a shuttle, it will be slow and have multiple people and tends not to be well time controlled. If you call a taxi, it may not show up as you don't have tracking or the ability to penalize them. Limos work well but are ferociously expensive if you can't split the cost.

Options differ based on location - at my local airport Car2Go is notably more cost effective than Uber, about half the price. (You do have to shuttle to/from the parking, but I've taken it dozens of times without issue.) Limos (or limo company sedans, if you're solo) are also surprisingly affordable - they operate on a flat rate to/from the airport, which is only $10 more than a typical taxi ride from my house.

Ideally your city would have a reliable public transit system to its airport.. I always take Bart to SFO, it's a lot more dependable than any car / shuttle service which is subject to traffic.

I think what the poster is saying is that there are places and times when you used to hire a limo or rent a car, because Taxi service is unpredictable. A lot of those cases can be replaced with Lyft / Uber. I know there are business trips where I used to rent a car and now use Lyft / Uber. I think Uber is replacing a lot of car rental for business travelers.

Fair enough. I'll add to that that it seems like taxi utilization for drunk people has probably gone way up as a result of ride sharing services. But the case that all the bulls were putting forward was that Uber was going to transform personal transportation. But now it's merely a taxi company which can encroach on some adjacent industries. And one that doesn't seem like it will end up with a monopoly the way AirBnB did.

> And one that doesn't seem like it will end up with a monopoly the way AirBnB did.

I think you are confusing "monopoly" and "barrier to entry". "Monopoly" would imply some state where every person using your system makes it harder on your competitors. If, however, your system needs to reach a minimum level to be useful, but doesn't have a feedback loop above that--you have a "barrier to entry"-a fixed cost that must be paid on entry to the space, but doesn't automatically get bigger when your competitor adds customers.

AirBnB doesn't really have a monopoly but they do have a barrier to entry--they perpetuate mostly by continuing to turn a blind eye to the violations of law. If someone stood up a site and used VC money to reimburse listers in New York and San Francisco, AirBnB would lose most of their revenue and you'd have an Uber/Lyft duality. The barrier to entry is that they are already in the space and there doesn't seem to be enough money floating in the space once laws start getting actually enforced for VC's to be willing to throw money into the ring.

Uber and Lyft also have a barrier to entry--a network of drivers. I can pop open the Uber application and know that there is probably a driver within 5-10 minutes of me. Nobody other than Uber or Lyft has that coverage so I'm not going to use another service. Could someone else build that network? Yes, they could--that's a fixed cost that must be surmounted, but once on the other side of that cost adding more drivers or riders doesn't really have an effect that makes it harder on your competitors.

I remember trying to use Taxis in LA on a few occasions (never mind the ride back from the airport to WeHo was always a nightmare) and it being a non-starter most of the time.

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