"When TfL decided not to renew Uber's licence in 2017, the company addressed some of the issues raised by TfL back then and then a magistrate later granted Uber a new licence.
On the face of it TfL is standing tough against perceived failings by Uber. But in effect it is letting the courts decide, at a later date, whether Uber should have a licence, or not."
In the centre of town during the day black cabs are often ubiquitous, immediately available, and skilled at getting you the hell out of dodge. Something for which I’m happy to pay a premium.
Anywhere else they can be capricious and scarce. After 11pm this is the case with in fact almost all black cabs anywhere in the city, when a very different type of driver — “borrowing” their license from a friend, card machine with a “sorry not working” post it taped to it, no chat — starts working the night shift. Usually these are more often likely to be rental drivers — during the day it’s owner drivers. The difference between the two classes of driver is, if you will, day and night.
By contrast, the semi robotic Uber will always come, eventually. They’ll drive past you. Go the wrong way to pick you up. Stop on the wrong side of the road and wait for you to cross because they don’t have a tight turning circle. Go the wrong way on your journey. It’s a fact of life that while not all black cab drivers meet the highest professional standards, it’s much rarer to find a good Uber driver.
SF and the Bay Area — I mention them as the root source of Uber’s app and product culture — certainly aren’t a cakewalk to drive around but it’s not a patch on London’s warrens. You can absolutely see that in the navigation skills of those using the big map apps to get around, and those who did The Knowledge. My subjective viewpoint isn’t some romantic notion based on the old ways or traditions either: everyone I know in London has pretty much the same experience.
Same problem has infected everything from rating your apartment maintenance guy to the support person at the call center.
And if they compensate for that by eg. lower price, then how is it different from any other market. You want premium quality, you pay extra - you're fine with compromising on it, you go for the cheaper option.
Also, Uber are paying under the minimum wage in the UK, or at least the regional minimum living wage in London. Uber don't pay taxes in the UK like a London minicab company would, then they underpay their drivers and expect our welfare system to pick up the slack on their crummy wages.
Minimum wages should apply to gig type working like Uber/Deliveroo etc as much as it does to everyone else. This is the market failure.
Without a minimum wage, sick pay, materity/paternity leave pay, of course you can make the ride cheaper.
I take my fair share of Uber rides but I can see the next dot com bust happening now when this unprofitable business model all washes out. See also WeWork.
This is the reason why I find this "TFL is against innovation" rubbish is so annoying. AL had an app way before uber was in london.
The only difference for the end user is that AL is more expensive. (because whilst the drivers are "independent" they lease the cars from AL, and have an exclusive contract with them)
There are multiple markets where Uber is not ripping their drivers off in any way, because if they did they would be running to competitors. The problem with gig economy workers nearly always stems from the core issue of lack of legislation in self-employment.
According to Q3 financials, I believe that is longer true for ridesharing.
Customers will frequently do things that are bad for them and bad for everyone, just because they have received advertising. That's why I think Uber is basically the antivaxx of taxis; they ignore regulations and break laws, putting people at risk and do everything they can in bad faith, but remain incredibly popular in some circles so I expect the law to drive them out, not "customers themselves".
Given that this is the only part of your comment that remotely reaches "bad for the customer" , can you elaborate on this? I've heard scattered reports of safety concerns but they never seem to add up to much, and I've never seen anyone try to do an apples-to-apples comparison to taxis. There's obviously inherent danger in large numbers of people getting into strangers' cars, and the question is whether Uber is less safe than taxis.
 I mean directly, not via "bad for everyone"
Not the person you were replying to but sexual harassment or just creepiness is a common one here in Indianapolis. This year alone:
- one friend had an Uber driver offer her perfume when she took an Uber home which creeped her out
- A co-worker driving Uber on the side had a couple invite her into their home offering her use of their hot tub and telling her that she could borrow clothes or just wear her underwear
- Another female friend had a driver offer her "complimentary earnings".
- Two female friends getting a ride to a bridal bar crawl were repeatedly asked for their phone numbers to 'meet up later tonight'
And I don't think this is abnormal either, a little searching on reddit/facebook/twitter and you can find report after report of such activity on the various ride platforms.
Pretty much everyone I know will not use ride share any more for being responsible while out drinking or when needing a ride to the airport and have gone back to using cabs or friends/family.
I've only used them myself a few times, all last summer when I was in San Francisco for less than 48 hours and none of them left me feeling "yay this is a great service"
- The guy that picked me up at SFO apparently didn't speak a word of English and just kept smile and nodding when I tried to ask him questions. It was Pride weekend and a road between us and my hotel (the Proper) was closed for the parade and he kept trying to find a way around and looking at me panicked, eventually I cancelled the ride and got out to try and find my own way.
- The guy that picked me up to take me to OpenAI had some sort of Alex Jones-esque talk radio on that was talking about 'government sanctioned false flag events' that left me wondering about the mental well being of the driver, he never said one word to me the entire time. No hi, no are you my guy, no we are here, no get the hell out of my car. Nothing. Worse, the dude had total Travis Bickle vibes WITHOUT the radio/podcast. He dropped me off on the wrong side of the street and at the end of the block.
- My first ride from there to YC's San Francisco office was hijacked by someone else. Got in my ride and the app reflected me in the car being charged, I cancelled the ride after a minute while trying to find any sort of way to notify the app or driver I wasn't in the vehicle. Had to request another and wait several minutes, this guy seemed alright, said hi to me, then proceeded to drive like he just stole the car while cutting off a couple of buses/trolleys on the way back to the Proper while letting off strings of 'mother f* this, hole that, can you believe this guy" and had three phones on his dash with some app open that was apparently telling him if he should take a Lyft or Uber fair right then (IIRC it was actually a company from a YC batch, I looked it up on my phone because I thought it was a neat concept). He also was on the wrong side of the street and and said "is his good" after he'd already put the car in park with traffic behind him.
- The guy that took me from the Proper to SFO again, apparently did not speak or understand English, I believe was muttering at traffic in Russian or Serbian, was extremely impatient in traffic getting out of the city with a lot of hard accelerations and abrupt stops trying to get one car advantages by weaving in and out of the lanes. Also had 2 phones on the dash and a dedicated GPS unit and accepted a Lyft ride with me still in the car on an Uber ride as he was maybe 1/4 of a mile from the terminal, jumped out of the car and had the trunk open before I was out and was shoving my suitcase at me and immediately walked up to his apparent next customer to get theirs.
- I think had another ride back to the YC SF offices to meet with another person a little later and the woman that picked me up kept turning around to talk to me face to face while driving, told me how she was raising her son 'free range' and asked if I was in town for Pride. I informed her no and told her about the entirely naked man I'd seen walking down the street with only sandals and a bag  at which point she went on to explain that her and her child's father took him to the parade the day before to expose him to as much of the 'exposed male form' as possible because she thinks 5 is old enough for a child to start learning about sexual freedom, again while looking back over her shoulder at me regularly.
- The guy that took me back to the Proper had been (or perhaps a passenger), at some recent point, vaping THC containing vape in his car as there was both a fruity and a immediately recognizable skunky aroma in the car
Prior to this I'd only ever been in one other Uber ride, all of a mile here in Indy that a co-worker and I took just to get out of the rain that we'd been in all day so we could try and figure out where to eat now that an outdoor concert was over and that guy too didn't say as much as boo to us.
Now, I'm a 6'1 330lb male strength athlete and I generally found the rides to be questionable at best. Combine that with my female friends consistently having creepy drivers ('complimentary earrings'!) and I'm honestly surprised at how many people seem to swear by such services.
 censored photo here about 1/4 of the way down the page https://www.ryanmercer.com/ryansthoughts/2019/3/4/21ad-after...
I once waited 1.5 hrs for a cab to pick me up from a hotel. The idea you would just hop in a taxi and travel places was impossible pre-Uber. If you were downtown, you might be able to flag a taxi but once you arrived at your destination you wouldn’t be able to flag a taxi down depending on where you were. So you would have to call a cab and hope they would show up. At 3X the price.
This is part of the equation that you don’t get. Empty cabs would pass people on the streets because they would pick and choose rides to the airport because those were the most lucrative.
Safety was impossible. Now with Uber safety is better than it ever has been, you just don’t realize it because you don’t know what the taxi stays on safety were before.
If you don’t like the service, give them 1 star and complain. That’s how it works.
Using a taxi cab in Berkeley before Lyft was a worse nightmare. It's a long story, but Berkeley has a "medallion" system ( because, um, they were afraid of a crush of taxis? ), and one business bought them all, but then went over the limit of something like 3 employees and thus would have to pay benefits. Since they were cheap, they didn't want to pay benefits ( sound familiar? ), and created lots of small sham "taxi companies". Each had a different phone number and dispatch, with the same poor cars and drivers, and the numbers were always busy. The only way to get a taxi was to get somehow to the taxi rank at Berkeley Bart, anything else, forget it. Forget living 5 miles from the train up in the hills or needing a ride to the airport, you simply couldn't do it.
San Francisco was about as bad. Locals realized ( eventually ) that the only way to get a taxi was to head to one of the major hotels and present yourself as a guest to the doorman. If you didn't live within walking distance of a downtown hotel, you weren't ever going to get a taxi. Dispatchers ( there were only two real companies, Veterans and Luxor ) would simply refuse to service non-business addresses, and if you asked a bar or restaurant to call on behalf, they would simply reject outright half the time.
When I read that people were "made uncomfortable by a comment", I agree the system could and should be better, but what happened in the bay area is we moved from an entirely non-functional system where taxi rides simply can't be had, to a system with some problems but people can get rides. The story above about getting rides and the complaints about being dropped off on the wrong side, um, yeah.
I would say about 10% of the rides I take by Lyft are less than optimal. I wish the app allowed me to select preferences: fast driving over chit-chat, don't bother with my luggage I got it, drop me off somewhere close instead of being precise, because we all have different opinions.
I've had my fair share of bad rides, one where a guy was nodding off and I thought we were going to die, a couple where the "meter" was turned on early or off late. The most recent ride I took wasn't great, the guy kept calling me and his location didn't budge for 5 minutes --- I don't answer anymore, they're trying to figure out where you're going and if they don't like it they cancel the ride. That particular guy picked me up from the wrong bay at the airport ("oh, my app didn't show me", yeah right ) as well, but drove me home quickly and correctly otherwise.
I had this same discussion with a driver in Munich last week, and I argued there are places where the old taxi system works great, and those places aren't at risk for replacement. Germany is one of them, and there's no point in using Lyft there. Japan is another. Some of london is fine, the rest, you have to know the minicab number to call. I was in a London cab a few days ago, it was great --- and they're electric! Manhattan isn't bad, but you get some crazy apples.
You could invent a better system. It's pretty easy. The primary customer issue is hailing and tracking. If you built a hailing and tracking app, and the municipal law simply says "anyone offering rides can do it how they want, but they must ALSO offer rides through the municipal app" with a well defined REST API, and created a bidding-like system to allow prices to fluctuate, _and_ gave the municipality the ability to operate that app instead of a contractor agreement where a for-profit company owns the monopoly part of the transit infrastructure.... that works.
Unfortunately, that would require someone to build such an app and offer it to municipalities without the 1000x investor payoff that is required by investors. And it would require a municipality to operate a 7/24 web service, or contract it out, which we haven't seen municipalities be able to do.
I have heard of not speaking English too, was watching a cruise vlog someone did from Miami, she commented on that fact. Probably awkward, but I guess if you want to be a world traveler got to figure out the language barrier.
Checked out your blog post. Also interesting about pride, very popular there so not surprised it's mess. "move along, KEEP MOVING", surprised the police didn't want to help with directions, but probably a huge crowd? so trying to control the crowd maybe? hmm. I know there's reports that the police in SF don't even investigate car break ins anymore either, so not sure what their job is anymore. Needles and poop part I hear a lot about sadly though. It seems like the entire west coast is going down hill. In Seattle the local news station KOMO did a special called "Seattle is dying". Also not sure if people running around Naked is normal, but maybe doing it just because of pride? Kinda surprised they tolerate that, I think if I started running around nude here I'd be arrested and probably sent for a mental evaluation.
I used to want to go out west because of tech, but I've woken up a lot more about the realities. The housing costs, high crime, high taxes. I kinda change my mind a bunch of where I want to live though, I think working remotely being a digital nomad would be nice or retire early if got lucky from creating something successful... So much to explore around the US and world. Want to do a bit of cruising and international travel, RV around the US, plus I feel like RVing would be cheaper than exploring the globe so more long term. And it's basically a home on wheels. There's parts out west though I think would be nice to vacation, but not a place to live. Like you see Seattle on TV growing up on TV shows and movies so be nice to sightsee. Same with some of the places in California.
Spend summers exploring more north, spend winters in the sunbelt. But if that dream doesn't happen yet, my other goal is to go somewhere warmer and nicer like FL or TX. But it seems like Austin is growing, and starting to have some of the same problems as SF... Austin is warmer too than here but still some days it gets cold it looks. Tech is growing in Miami too. Orlando would be another spot, plus could get an annual pass to Disney! Some people are happy if they get to go once in their life, imagine being able to go almost every day! Some people with passes living near by will just go only for dinner and maybe ride one ride or two. One of my goals with the RV dream is to spend probably at least a month in Orlando during the winters, but there's other spots in FL to explore. Galveston, TX and Quartzsite, AZ are some other winter destinations that seem popular.
The crowd was INSANE. It was effectively crotch to butt for a block or more in some spots with no movement at times and the collective body heat actually making it difficult to breathe on the street that had the barricades, then you'd duck down a street going the opposite direction and it was much more sane. I landed I guess as the parade was starting, by the time I actually got to my room the last few floats were passing by outside it.
Just apically bad timing/bad planning on the assistant that booked my room and flight (to be fare when she asked how my trip was when she saw me before one of my meetings she admitted she hadn't even thought about the parade and apologized for not looking at the parade route and wher the hotel was.
If my plane had landed an hour later I imagine things would have been quite different as far as getting directions on how to get around the barricades (under the street as it happened to be).
>Also not sure if people running around Naked is normal, but maybe doing it just because of pride?
So my boss back here in Indy actually recognized the guy (on description alone, before showing the photo) from when they lived there for a few years before transferring back to our office. I guess it's just his thing and based on research when I returned apparently San Francisco allows public nudity via permit for events.
Not gonna lie, the naked guy made the whole trip. I followed him for several minutes just watching people's reactions and that woman in the photo, catching her looking down at his crotch and that expression was completely an accident, I wasn't even paying attention to the crowd.
I doubt that there are many Uber drivers that do it long term. Eventually at some point they have to realize that they're making peanuts (if not operating at a loss) after they factor in routine AND long-term maintenance costs of their vehicle. Or they simply get 'real' jobs and were using Uber between jobs or to supplement income temporarily.
The people I know that have personally done driving for these services has done it in addition to full-time work, largely hoping to earn decent extra money from tips.
It is human to not do a shit job perfectly all the time and I won’t make their day any shitier, just because they hurt my sensitive soul by not treating me like a member of the royal family.
I’d rather blame the systems that organize their days.
Cities need to designate pick-up/drop-off spots away from heavily-trafficked streets for these pseudo-taxi services, UX be damned.
Maybe some form of limited-supply, transferrable crypto-token... Could be used to prevent these sorts of situations.
 I am, of course referring to medallions.
 I am, of course, fishing for karma, by introducing a blockchain when one is not necessary.
The Night Tube has been operational since mid-2014 and it has only gathered pace.
On what planet are "the poor" commuting back and forth to work via Uber?
I drove for Uber for almost a year when I was between jobs. The hours I chose were generally 3am-noon (early because I like mornings, but late enough to dodge most of the drunks). The majority of my passengers were people going to and from factory jobs.
A large number of those passengers were people who didn't speak English whose English-speaking children would order the Uber for them. I didn't notice it at first, but after a few pick-up confusions where the passenger handed me a phone to talk to the person who actually ordered the ride, one of them explained it to me.
I live in a transit-sparse city, and a surprising number of poor people use Uber as their main means of getting around. It's simply cheaper than owning a car, especially if you don't have money up front, a steady job, or exceptional credit (Notice how car ads on TV are now disclaiming their advertised interest rates to indicate those rates are only for people with the best credit).
Even for me, now being an office-dwelling developer, if I factor in the cost of just a car payment and fuel, Ubering to work would be cheaper than owning a car. And that's before factoring in insurance, repairs, maintenance, etc... If I didn't enjoy weekend road trips, I'd ditch the car altogether.
For example this map is the night bus map just for the area around the Bank of England, and most of those will run at 15 minute intervals: http://content.tfl.gov.uk/bus-route-maps/city-of-london-nigh...
This is not unusual - other maps exist for other parts of London, and even when I lived in W6 (Zone 2), I could get a bus at all hours of the night from Piccadilly Circus to my home or vice versa. Even now living out in TW1 which is some 11 miles out from central London, I can get a night bus all night, every night to and from Oxford Circus.
Costs are also low: £1.50 a ride, with a second ride taken within 60 minutes of your first ride being free/included.
Realisitically that means you can easily get from one side of London to the other in the middle of the night for £1.50 - £3.00. It might not be the most direct or fastest route, but it's popular, and with good and obvious reason.
Tubes also run all night on some routes a few nights a week, and even when they don't 5am is a typical start time.
Poor people don't tend to use Uber in London as a utility that it sounds like happened in your city - it's a luxury product with luxury prices. Their target market here are those who are drinking and meeting friends off the beaten path from home or work on the tube network.
However, I was replying to someone who could not grasp that anywhere "on the planet" would poor people use Uber.
Most public transit services have reduced service on nights and weekends; so, in a world where you don't have a car; you can take the train/bus to get to a shift in the day, but must take a cab or uber home.
It seems obvious that Ubers or Taxis would serve this purpose wherever vehicle ownership is cost prohibitive and public transit is at all available.
Likely, this isn't "the poor" but inclusive of much of the working class in modern cities.
The working class does not in general commute by Uber in London.
Honestly, what's your solution?
I think it's just symptomatic of hundreds of years of town growth.
I do think that if the city tried to make navigation more user friendly, a few simple ideas could improve things. I suspect no such effort has ever been made.
I know this is very hard even in companies that live or die by their their products being user friendly, so for a city that don't have those incentives, it probably will never happen.
Not sure how bulldozing would help. It doesn't seem like a charitable interpretation of my post :)
If they introduced one-way systems to reduce the number of signs in a given area, it'd still lead to having to have "knowledge" to know about the one-way system and how to get on/off it at the appopriate place so that wouldn't be an improvement.
If they reduced signs, it'd require knowledge of the area.
If they added more signs to help make it more navigable, it'd be impossible to read at speed (like it currently is).
There is honestly no solution. At some point you will have to actually learn something of the locality. We wouldn't apply the same logic to writing software - "people shouldn't have to learn a programming language! It's not fair!" - no we have to have knowledge of the machine we are writing for and an understanding of the language we are using.
And I say this having driven there before GPS and driving into the (new at the time) congestion zone accidentally and getting a fine.
There is currently a "super sewer" tunnelling project (Thames Tideway Tunnel) which goes down to a depth of about 75m, below other infrastructure.
The Elizabeth line and other tube lines are shallower, for access reasons and because building stations at a great depth is more expensive. But a road tunnel could go deeper, especially if it only permitted zero-emissions vehicles so that ventilation is easier.
Of course, it'd all be very expensive. And there is an argument that building more road relief capacity is not a desirable thing as it just encourages traffic elsewhere.
Cars are an extremely modern invention for London - the city is almost 2000 years old, and has some really fancy, really old, really precious stuff in the way.
So Uber as a service hasn't been that revolutionary in London, the things they HAVE done is improve the ordering UX and making CC's ubiquitous.
Nobody denies that people like Uber for reasons but what does it even mean for a Taxi system to suck when compared to a super exploitative, unregulated enterprise such as this? As a driver, this is not only about compensation. It's about a critical lack of security in all aspects of your life. And if, as a passenger, you can't really afford decent service and working conditions maybe you are trying to live beyond your means and you should really be boarding a train or bus instead. And if you can't, that, to me, seems like a political problem that shouldn't be solved on the backs of some of the most vulnerable sectors of society.
However, it seems so many many taxis were frauding their taxes, that it became cultural and enforced.
Which means taxis, which are already known as the top thief job in the world, also steal the citizen on a third level after the ride itself and after choosing the night rate at noon: taxes.
I dare to say Uber, as bad as they can ever be with wages under the legal minimum, can still be a better behaved citizen.
Car hire can work but it's often more expensive, needs to be booked ahead of time and they also refuse trips that aren't profitable for them.
Uber openen up travel for many people in London, especially at night. It's quite easy to find a lot of places in London that aren't serviced by Night Buses, there are plenty of places that are 15-30 min walk from a tube station, and the Night Tube is only available on select lines and only during the weekend.
They're bad in the center too. I live in London bridge / SE1 and black cabs still illegally refuse to take me home from say, Shoreditch because they can't be bothered crossing the river.
Even in the center good luck hailing one at 2am on a Saturday night.
I’ve been refused rides form the Shard, Bank, and Canary Wharf plto Lancaster gate, both of which are in Zone 1.
If I want to hail a cab from my home I have to walk 10 min to Paddington and I live essentially across from Hyde Park which makes me considerably more central than most people in London.
For my friends who live in Hammersmith, Fulham, Acton and Chiswick they might as well be living in Belgium as far as black cabs are concerned they don’t go there and they won’t take you there.
I don't know if they still do, but many nightclubs would have some arrangement where there was someone from a minicab company in the lobby or just outside. You'd say "W3", he'd say "That'll be £20, in 10 minutes time" and you could wait in the warm until the car arrived. (Of course, if you knew a number for a different company, you could phone them yourself.)
The drivers were pretty clueless -- even a fairly large inner-London station name like "Ealing Broadway" would frequently be misunderstood, and they'd want to slowly type a postcode into a satnav -- but otherwise they were OK.
In London? The suckage level was zero. Black cabs were fine. Reputable minicabs (Addison Lee etc.) were fine. Uber does not provide anything like enough improvement to justify the level of illegality it's riddled with.
Just recently I took a bus at LGA that takes you from the tetminal to the taxi stand due to construction. Even this was easier than getting a Lyft or Uber. I was in the cab way faster (including bus ride) much faster than if I trek to the designated ride hailing pickup areas and negotiate the sea of traffic to find my driver (even in less busy hours).
To boot, the cab trip started further from the airport due to the bus ride, so we were out of airport’s immediate dropoff traffic right away.
Ride was ~$10 cheaper than Lyft as well. The only downside was the annoying TV embedded in the cab. I muted it but could not power off the display.
Usually I just take a taxi from the airport if there isn't a good transit option available. (Or book a car service in advance at my home airport.)
And this seems to just be the commonly accepted narrative among upper middle class progressives, so much so that nobody even bats an eye at the extraordinary contradiction.
I feel like I'm living in an alternate reality lately. All tech is evil, that's just a fact, but it has improved our lives so much that we all continue to use it all day every day.
And yes, I think Uber's attempt to squash all competition is bad. But because they are managing to do it, the smaller firms lack driver mass and when i need to get from A to B, I'm stuck with Uber. Tomorrow I will try Kapten, and if that works fine, I'll just use it. If it doesn't deliver, I'll stick with uber while it's around. Between standing in the rain and using Uber - my choice is already made up. Still doesn't mean i need to like them.
Even with Uber never getting a real foothold in Germany, they still did just that. It start with the myTaxi (nor for some inexplicable reason rebranded to FREE NOW) app that allowed you to book a cab, see where it is, get a price estimate and pay with your credit card. It wasn’t as smooth, but still better than before.
Now last weekend when I came back from a party at night, I called out "Anyone taking card payments?" and two drivers out of 10 raised their hands, they used SumUp  which is also what my favorite cocktail bar uses :)
Black cab drivers also got into Halo and other apps for ride hailing, and there are now a few other third party private hire apps for non-Uber drivers. I also think it made Addison Lee - the largest private hire company in London pre-Uber - shake their game up a little.
A few people will complain, but genuinely, London will be a better place without the fleet of thousands of Toyota Priuses circling all day, every day being driven by people who TfL suspect are not fit to hold a private hire vehicle license.
But it's all related. There is more availability because both drivers and customers are being subsidized.
At the end of the day, a car costs so much to operate and maintain, and a person requires so much economic profit to make driving around worth their while. No "hacks" around that fact.
I imagine Uber is incredibly badly managed.
This tunnel vision of only seeing one provider of a new but fundamentally commodity service is interesting. It reminds me a lot of how Git and MySQL took off - people encountered them, thought, "oh, that's great, i'll use that", and never stopped to think if there might be better alternatives.
What is a "violent" takeover? What would a nonviolent takeover be?
I'm all for new companies providing better services to consumers. If they take over a market, isn't that because the existing market wasn't meeting consumer needs? A new company taking over a market is generally a good thing, the creative force of capitalism itself.
(Provided it's not done by ignoring legitimate standards for safety, environment, externalities, etc.)
Wait, what? You get paid once a month? Is this a UK thing? Every single job I've had over here (Canada) was either once every two weeks, or two times a month.
Admittedly, I only have my own anecdotal evidence among my own experiences, friends, and family, but I can't think of anyone I've had the salary conversation with that mentioned getting paid other than monthly and would be curious to see what the actual breakdown is in the US.
Edit: This  article states that 59% of the US workforce is hourly, so it's accurate to say that bi-weekly is the most common frequency among all jobs in the US, but I can't find any resources that focus on the breakdown specifically among salaried workers.
So the data suggests that being paid every two weeks is somewhat more common than monthly. (And, for larger businesses, biweekly is overwhelmingly the norm.)
> In March 2013, 94.8 percent of private businesses were single-pay-period businesses
meaning that most companies pay all workers on the same schedule. Therefore, if a company has any hourly workers that get paid more frequently than monthly, everyone salaried in the company is going to get put in the same pay schedule as well. All the orgs I've worked at either paid monthly uniformly or were part of that rare 5.2% that had different pay schedules, so I admit that my experience is an outlier here.
I assume this is because small businesses (and many employees) prefer a pay schedule that's aligned with their (often monthly ) bills for cash flow reasons. Whereas larger businesses prefer to keep payroll expenses from fluctuating a bit depending upon how many days are in a given month.
My own personal experience has been in the post financial crisis tech industry, and I wonder if tech pays monthly more often compared to others (and if funding plays any role in that).
there is no real room for big players which is why Uber's business model is burning investment money and dodging regulations.
Have you ever seen a taxi monopoly? There is no scale effect to this business because adding more drivers and more taxis just drives your costs up linearly, and given the diseases big business suffers from and all the tech overhead of Uber it's probably worse than that.
That's why transportation like trucking or the cab industry is dominated by small business.
I wonder if it will trigger some social structure / device to avoid too much stagnation without requiring a shark-like company to try wiping the traditional market with infinite pockets.
I'm not a fan of them and I've never paid them any money, neither one. They are scum bags.
How will the world improve if you reward what you don't like?
Sure "The Knowledge" is an impressive feat of learning, but more often than not the drivers don't make use of it because the best route is not the most profitable one for the driver.
I have lost count of the number of times I have been subjected to the "tourist tax" where the driver heads straight for the major artery roads with their traffic jams (e.g. Kings Road, Strand, Embankment etc.) so you get to sit there watching the meter clock up whilst you move nowhere. Or the number of times the quickest and least-traffic route is South of the river but the driver sticks religiously to the Northen route.
Or the number of times the driver fumbles slowly getting the change, in the expectation that you say "oh forget it, keep the change" ... even if that change is £4 or more !
Or when I've been driving around London only for the Black Cab in front of me to stop on a double-red line to drop off a passenger. Or make a U-Turn in the middle of a busy street.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not fond of Uber either. Their standard of driving is pretty poor, and I hate the way they sit at the Heathrow DROP-OFF area waiting for their next job.
What I am saying is that the London cabbies are in dire need of some stiff competition. Yes I would rather that competition come from someone of better quality than Uber.
Black Cab drivers seem to think it is somehow their birth right to have a job that charges outrageous amounts, like they are some sort of vital service like the police or ambulance service that needs to be protected no matter what. Bullshit - I bet if they all disappeared tomorrow most non-tourists wouldn't even notice apart from the lack of traffic and diesel pollution near stations.
And "The Knowledge"? yeah yeah yeah...whatever. Most of us had to study full-time and/or in evenings & weekends in order to pass exams to get our jobs too, but that doesn't mean our out-dated and largely obsolete knowledge should be put on a pedestal and protected against more efficient modern tech (1).
The sad reality is that they have TfL by the balls, and that is why this action against Uber is happening. Just as a reminder, the UK's most prolific rapist was a black cab driver who picked people up in his cab then drugged and raped them - they think he raped up to 100 people (2) so it is clear that the vetting for black cab drivers does not actually work (3). Yet despite this, and the obvious parallels of anyone being able to borrow their mates black cab just the same as anyone can borrow their mate's uber login & car - TfL do nothing about Black Cabs.
1 - "the knowledge" only memorises fixed routes. It does not provide information about traffic, road works, accidents etc, but google maps API as used by Uber et al does, so the knowledge is obsolete there.
2 - "The Blackcab Rapist" - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Worboys
3 - this guy was not just a "one off" that slipped through the vetting process through a moment of madness or a "who could tell that one day this man would rape someone?" He was a maniac who raped up to ONE HUNDRED people - the UK's most prolific serial rapist in fact - yet the vetting process failed to detect the worst rapist the UK has ever seen and approved him to be a black cab driver. You have to wonder how many small-time rapists also got through the vetting...
There is stiff competition, if uber is banned from london permanently, the drivers will be going to one of the three+ alternatives.
Uber's idea isn't new in london, Addison Lee had a "app based booking" since at least 2013. The _only_ thing going for it is that its ubiquitous. Its not even the cheapest.
I rarely get taxis anymore, because frankly its pointless unless you're drunk. However when I have been forced to (wife in hospital, post tube closing time) The fastest, cheapest and most comfortable was the black cab.
Failing that there was a really good minicab firm round the corner from my old house.
The black cabs have different rules and regulations.
Uber has its advantages, but as I've moaned about here on HN in the past, its drivers tend to slavishly follow whatever automatatically-derived route it is that Uber spoon feeds them, often meaning they set off in the wrong direction (based upon which side of the road they pick up from) or use routes that anyone who knows the local area (or has The Knowledge) would do their utmost to avoid.
Uber took off here easily because existing minicabs were all really really crap. Not just expensive but often rude or incompetent drivers. I would guess a lot of them were unregistered and uninsured and their cars barely road legal.
Black cabs are Better but very expensive and still rip off tourists all the tine by charging without the meter. Even with the meter it was impossible to get any idea how much a trip would cost before you took it. And you needed cash.
Example: One time I got a minicab, it took the guy over half an hour to arrive, then he had to actually find me which took even longer. Then I realised the back seats of the car were full of vomit and he made me ride up front with the windows wide open - it was winter and cold. Then he didn’t know where he was going and got lost and then he charged me £30 for what would have cost £10 on Uber.
Uber, by comparison is great.
At the very least, if the only penalty is getting booted off the 'platform', getting added to Uber's platform is relatively cheap. Getting added to the black cab 'platform' requires getting licensed, which takes years and costs a lot of money.
I'd imagine that fraudulently impersonating a black cabbie comes with significantly more penalty than getting 'booted off the platform' (license revocation).
There is concern that this is happened in the past and penalties are extremely severe: the owner of the original license will lose their badge and may face criminal charges.
It's a bit hard to describe the taxi market in London to anybody who doesn't live here, but it's a closed shop only to the extent that if you're prepared to do the work to get a badge, it won't cost you $1m like New York, but you will have to put some hours in, and you'll get known by many other black cab drivers.
If you show up with "Dave's cab" and you're not Dave, you're going to get asked questions. Do it a couple of times, and they might decide to pull your badge number up.
A few years ago a genuinely licensed black cab driver was convicted of rape and sexual assault, and as a result the community was shaken: it was the first time in over 300 years where a licensed operator had been convicted of such a crime, and they now look on newcomers with even more suspicion.
There are no lobbyists in parliament, and most black cab drivers I know have modest incomes. They declare an average of £38k/year, but as a cash business (until recently), it was assumed they were actually doing about £50k/year. Good money, but not megabucks.
The system is supported because it's worked for hundreds of years. Their chief complaint against Uber is whether their drivers have to undergo the same amount of vetting as they had to (they don't), and whether the fare structure is fair (it isn't, especially as it's VC-subsidised).
Uber is a great solution in many places that have poor transit and poor taxi solutions already. London isn't one of those places, and hasn't been for hundreds of years.
I guess demeanor, dress, etiquette, and a bunch of other pleasantries are still a commodity, but then again the stereotypical NY cabbie gets their fair share of likes and dislikes from the movies and tourists too. To me, Uber and Lyft are indispensable for doing business across teh US now. I can go away with car rentals where I only need to make a few hops during a day, and I can stay somewhere without worrying about parking or hailing down a cab.
This boogeyman trope needs to die. Uber is not funded by VCs anymore.
Black Cab drivers have the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association lobbying for them politically https://twitter.com/TheLTDA
A black cab driver has made a more significant investment in that license and will be much less likely to jeopardise it than some shmuck loaning out his uberx login -- especially when Uber not only doesn't do anything to stop it, but encourages it with more dark patterns.
Literally what? Who does this? The app is a source of income, why would anyone share it?
If anything, this ban makes me feel like London is run by a bunch of protectionist luddites.
Not that America is any better these days, NJ recently decided to get into the game and started to go after Uber.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Uber riders blocking taxi ranks if Uber actually stopped operating, Black Cabs serve very few Londoners.
Edit: Not "literally couldn't get home", I would just have to spend over an hour on a night bus.
Don't be ridiculous. Private hire minicabs have existed since the 1960s.
I'm not being flippant here: customers have routinely shown that for lower prices they'll suffer almost anything, to the point that safer alternatives become uncompetitive.
TfL isn't asking for much here: just that drivers are vetted properly and consistently. Every other firm in London is asked to do it, and complies. If Uber can put them all out of business by saving money on not doing that, the market will make the industry less safe for passengers.
We have voted in people to ensure that doesn't happen, because we want protection from the free market, simple as.
Do we have any numbers on sexual assaults by Uber drivers in London?
Another huge reason is that black cab drivers need to pass The Knowledge, a test of London streets, that often takes 3-4 years of study to pass, and AFAIK the requirements for this test haven't changed in the age of smartphones. This is utterly absurd with modern GPS, and just serves as protectionism and a false barrier to entry for new drivers.
Perhaps it's a regional condition?
Perhaps it's the London / out of London divide. The BBC certainly has a London-centric approach to news on its all-day news-recycling channel, I noticed.
I take it for granted that the staff at Uber would do anything not to lose the license. I am sure that, for 17 months, they've been investing heavily in security systems, ID verification etc. They must have followed up on every complaint. If I were them, I would have just manually followed everything that the Cabs do till I had a technology in place.
It also seems that the city is making some effort to give them space to improve: 15 months, then 2 months.
So then why didn't the gap close in time? Is this because the technology platform was so massive that turning it just took more time? Or is there something about the details that I can't see?
Edit: I start with the assumption that both Uber and the City are trying to do their best, and don't ascribe nefarious intent to anyone.
Even worse, "Pedestrian outside crosswalk not assigned goal of crossing street", "Tracking history not considered when classification changes", "Predicted path depended on object’s goal".
Basically they configured it to run over people who crossed outside a sidewalk.
I would not assume Uber are doing their best. Or, insofar as they define "best", it's "what can we do as quickly as possible with no consideration to what is legal".
To be fair, I could see myself implementing these sort of heuristics to get a working prototype. On the other hand, I deliberately avoid working on life-critical software because of how easily it can go wrong.
But, for the sake of argument, let me grant you that some large subset of the decision makers were callous about these safety concerns.
I don't know how they would still not be sensitive to the need to respond to the authority that has only conditionally let it have its license back. I mean, that sort of threat has a tendency to focus one, even if one is cynical about their motives.
Uber has to straddle both sides with great risk of leaning toward the wrong side in any particular scenario.
“Any London politician wants the black cabs on their side. They carry a political and electoral clout that is way beyond their numbers. There is nothing secret about that,” says Daniel Moylan, who was deputy chairman of TfL under Mr Johnson. 
Multiple mayors - including the current PM who was once Mayor of London - have explained that there needs to be an open culture.
There are other private hire vehicle operator firms in London. Addison Lee is huge, and there are many, many "minicab" firms. They all comply with TfL's licensing and vetting procedures. Uber does not.
This isn't "black cabs vs Uber", this is "black cabs, Addison Lee, all the minicab firms, TfL and the Mayor of London demanding basic vetting procedures that everybody else does without question or issue".
However, if that were the case, why not just say no license? Why give an opportunity to Uber to show an improvement in their numbers? And why do it twice?
Plus, there are two taxi systems, the Black cab, and the minicab. There are way more minicabs than black cabs, and they are a much bigger competitor to uber than black cabs.
I would not be surprised one bit to learn that they did very little or even nothing at all to address the concerns.
This seems, from a technical perspective, an easy problem to solve with the resources of a public company.
Is it the desperation of people who need the money so badly they will constantly cheat the system? Can you design for that?
Is it the desperation of people who need the money so badly they will constantly cheat the system? Can you design for that?
I don't think the motivation on the part of the drivers who do this is very important. They're intentionally deceiving Uber customers, and in some cases endangering them. That just has to stop, even if the driver is desperate. The point here is that it's Uber's responsibility to stop it happening, and Uber has apparently chosen not to (like you, it's not that hard). That will be very hard to justify, especially as Uber were running TV ads about how they do background checks on all their drivers here in the UK recently.
It's a pain in the ass to have to pull over and do this sometimes, but it does seem like they're trying to do the right thing with it. I will say that at first it made me pretty angry, but when I realized the implication - that someone has probably already tried to fraudulently hand control to a different driver - it gave me chills and I realized they may not have many other options.
Perhaps a selfie with the driver taken by the passengers during the drive would also suffice.
In my opinion, Uber has done enough. They provide the passenger with the drivers name and photo. It’s up to the passenger to verify, but Uber should make violations easy to report.
They are. Click a trip, scroll down, click "my driver was unprofessional", click "my driver didnt match the profile in my app".
The problem is most people dont report stuff to uber. I hear stories all the time from people and everytime I ask if they reported the driver they say no.
This is the Internet. If you don't design for people cheating you, they will wreck your system as soon as it becomes popular enough to be visible.
You could also do spot checks (no idea if they do or not), but that's not going to eliminate the problem just reduce it.
Unauthorised drivers who don't match their picture ID driving.
They tried to solve the problem from the wrong angle, and it turns out that the high cost of taxis, while suboptimal for sure, might not be entirely for no reason.
For a private hire vehicle (the kind you telephone or use an app to book), the price is under £700 (under £500 if the driver speaks English).
That doesn't seem unreasonable. The GP comment was referring to the American system where the license are traded at very high costs (tens, hundreds of thousands of dollars).
The private hire license avoids the need for "the knowledge" and to have the traditional London black cab. There are still fees involved, of course - but becoming an Uber driver is much less demanding than becoming a black cab driver.
Well get this, I live in London and I love Uber and I would definitely miss Uber if they stopped operating here. So your statement is wrong. In fact, our general slack channel at work had a ton of people posting sad faces about this news. But yeah sure I guess you know what every Londoner thinks...
I saw few acquaintances trying Bolt (in London) and the main argument is the first rides are free, then the next rides are free too if you refer a friend.
Their race to the bottom was absolutely beneficial to consumers while it was going on. Smaller rivals have nowhere near the resources of Uber when competing with Grab.
We surely missed Uber when it left.
Free Now for instance, previously MyTaxi, previously Hailo.
How many time will this thing get rebranded? How many times will my data be shared with new entities?
I ride with FreeNow in my city, just as I did with MyTaxi before. Same drivers, same app, same prices, just different colors (and slightly less favorable terms of employment, from what I've heard from the drivers during the time of transition).
I'm pretty sure Uber will raise prices the moment it kills the competition
From my understanding, this might be called "limousine service" in the USA, although unless you make a special request it will just be a fairly normal car.
Mobile phones and then apps made the border between the two services fuzzier, but they are still separate things.
This is and always will be a matter of opinion.
Uber is not putting a gun to anyone's head. If it's not profitable for you to drive, you don't have to.
In an era of record low unemployment (in the US at least), claiming that it's "Uber at low wages or you don't eat" is kind of a ridiculous hyperbole.
Such enormous cognitive dissonance. We humans are so good at that.
I just find it crazy that in the scenario where Uber pays someone poor $8/h while I pay them 0$/h, Uber is the bad guy, while I am completely blameless.
The only actor actually paying the poor person is somehow the problem!
It's hard for me to come up with a logical framework that supports that conclusion. So I think it's not actually a matter of logic.
Uber outsources all the risk and fees that taxi companies would have to cover.
I wonder if we would all feel the same about some other ponzi scheme.
They aren't regulating an app on the store, they would be in this hypothetical scenario regulating the labor practices of a multinational corporation, which is for sure the job of any government.
- What do you expect would happen to Uber prices?
- How do you expect that change would affect overall demand for the service?
- From there, how do you expect this change of demand (if any) would affect the take-home pay of the drivers?
That would depend on how much money Softbank has left to invest. Prices might go up.
> How do you expect that change would affect overall demand for the service?
Uber's great advantage is that the quality of service is better than the alternatives. If drivers can make more money, more drivers might sign up and wait times would drop. A better experience means the service will be used even more.
> From there, how do you expect this change of demand (if any) would affect the take-home pay of the drivers?
There are two parts to this. First Uber should have to make sure no driver ever makes less than minimum wage. If a driver starts the app to announce their availability and has the app running for four hours, they are entitled to a minimum of four hours of pay.
The second part is that I think getting 95% of the fare would mean drivers take-home pay is generally higher than it is today. If Uber wants to make more money by raising the rate, then drivers automatically get a pay increase as well and that seems fair.
Really the problem is not that Uber gets paid too much, but that drivers are underpaid. I think a minimum wage for drivers is a better solution. In California such a law is currently underway.
But their platform has a near-monopoly in many markets, which they use to set prices while simultaneously classifying drivers as independent contractors.
They are independent contractors. There's no time you have to be at work. There's no amount of time you have to work a given day of the week, or during the whole week. If they were forced to turn them into employees, that would all go away.
I personally have a moral problem with drivers not being allowed to charge their own rate while simultaneously being labeled independent contractors.
Especially in New Jersey's case trying to retroactively tax them. California at least is just changing a law.