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Uber and Lyft did the hard work of making ride-sharing mainstream, but there's really very little they have to offer other than name recognition) over any other player that tries to enter this play. I still strongly believe that some aggregating service like Expedia, Travelocity or Kayak for ride sharing the treats Uber, Lyft or any other player in the market as the equivalent of an airline would work fine in the vast majority of cases.

That, and I firmly believe Uber still deserves to be punished for its past bad behavior on so many fronts. I used to feel for the people working there that didn't contribute to the problem, and worry that any punishment too draconian would hurt them, but Uber got away with stuff so bad for so long, that I think anyone that didn't vote with their conscience and try to find somewhere else to work was taking a calculated risk, and it's not a risk if there's no chance of a negative outcome, so they reap what they sow. Anyone that didn't make the choice to leave ended up contributing to the problem by allowing Uber to ignore the consequences.

In Austin we have smaller ride share services that were able to thrive when Uber and Lyft got kicked out temporarily. They only charged the drivers $1.00 per ride instead of 25%. Such a deal can only be dreamed of since Uber and Lyft came back and crushed all the small players like flies. In my opinion this is not a service that requires billion dollar companies to exist. I would love to see an open source suite of software that allows local companies and municipalities to easily start a ride share service. At least then all of that economic activity would stay in the region instead of getting hoovered up into the pockets of millionaires in San Francisco (nothing against San Francisco or millionaires, I would just rather the local economy benefit).

You know, I also often think about (and have mentioned here) how it seems like an open stack or API of some sort could handle this, and I also used the Austin services back in 2013 when I visited for YAPC. I think it was the first time I ever installed an app to call a ride. I wonder how much that also shaped how I see the industry as it developed.

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