My driver pulled the car over as we approached the airport. He asked me get into the front seat, and then told me we had to act like friends if we were forced to stop and end up getting harrassed. He then went to the trunk and pulled out a pair of his normal clothes and changed right there on the side of the road (Uber drivers are easily recognizable thanks to their fancy attire). Upon settling back into the driver seat, with a big smile and a thick French accent, he said, "I am Batman."
I rated the trip 5 stars.
"Free market" is not really a reality in France; it's not just "second to politics", it is hated for its own sake. Competition is considered a bad thing; the reasoning is that it leads to waste, that resources are better allocated when centrally planed by civil servants who don't have a dog in the race. Many sectors in France still operate exactly like that, in 2014 -- not just taxis; for example if you want to sell cigarettes you have to apply for a licence to the state and you'll only get it if you're far away enough from other cigarette sellers.
It must sound crazy to non-French people but that's just the way it is; is it sub-optimal? Yes. Stupid? Probably. Will it ever change? I wouldn't hold my breath. This is how this country is and thinks.
But, in the case of the taxis, they have a reason to be upset; they all buy their licence for a very expensive price (I believe half a million Euros), usually borrow the money for it and have to somehow pay it back. If they are suddenly out of business or their licence worth nothing, it's a problem.
In order to free this market, the problem of the licence has to be addressed (state buy-back?); or, maybe, the govt. can decide you don't need a licence anymore: taxis will be extremely upset for a while, and then when the dust settles the problem is solved.
In typical French fashion however, the current govt. has decided nothing; non-taxi taxis can operate with a stupid 15 minutes delay, which is supposed to appease the incumbents.
This 15 minutes delay is even worse than it sounds, because it doesn't apply to 4- and 5-star hotels!! (And this is a leftist government). If you want to call Uber from the desk of the George-V you don't have to wait; if however you're calling from Hotel Ibis in Pantin then you do have to wait.
I'm sure lobby groups had nothing to do with this at all.
How does this work with the app? Do they geo-locate you and make sure your phone is sufficiently close to a 4/5 star hotel before sending you a car without delay?
I'm not sure, but I believe you always have to wait, except if the hotel calls on your behalf and asks for a pickup in front of said hotel.
I know, the buggy-whip manufacturers are doomed to be replaced by the... slightly-more-sophisticated app-supported buggy-whip-manufacturers.
Seriously, Uber's success doesn't come from spectacular disruptive technology, they succeed by circumventing the absurd regulatory capture that exists in the taxi market in some cities.
With potential supply consisting of "everyone with a car", either prices would be driven down to bankruptcy, or with prices fixed by law, demand would be smeared too thin, or (as actually happened) means of limiting the supply would be created (violence and mob links outside the law, or regulation inside it).
I'd argue that the best way to handle the taxi drivers of all sorts is to move to a licensing system. Give priority to existing drivers, but at the same time, allow flexibility in setting the supply to give the little guy a chance to compete. Taxi systems in most city are corrupt from top to bottom, and these actions in France just show how the drivers are willing to go along with the broken system at hand.
Humans are a funny bunch who overall suck are cooperation, specially when trying the role of a worker ant.
Once the people are already there, they need to get home somehow -- what do you expect? How do fewer taxis help the problem?
All those things come into play when regulating how many registered taxis are allowed on the street. Or the decision to regulate at all. Also its one of the sticking points for locales as to why they want to regulate operators like Uber as local planners need to be aware of them and their numbers.
"..and an event planning problem related to specific events"
The venues don't really have a say in who parks out in public streets, they can raise complaints if it becomes a problem though and often try to cash in by hiring services themselves. The more monied customers will most likely not ride the meat bus over to a public transit hub though.
Ample competition doesn't mean bankruptcy.
To be honest, my uncle has access to a premium taxi service: the yearly fee is a bit high for me to consider it, but the service is similar (minus the iDevice charger until recently) and I have no qualms with them. I generally frown on luxury, but common taxi drivers are so horrible creatures that I gladly shell out to Uber when I need to.
Hard to say. Regular taxis in Berlin have a very Uber-like app, and even though Uber is available here, I've never thought of taking it instead of a regular cab. Convenience level is about the same (though taxis win by being more ubiquitous and probably cheaper)
How meaninglessly privileged and small minded.
> France, where free market competition is second to politics and special interests.
As it should be. Free market is like a wind, and sometimes you have to protect yourself from it.
For someone who supposedly hates politics, you seem to be engaging yourself in it quite enthusiastically - as do most people on this site. Or anywhere, really.
I'd comment on your sentence that seems to relate to France if it were a sentence. I think you might be putting low-ranking civil servants in the same bag as oligarchs from the top, which is foolish to say the least. But you generally seem to be confusing politics with oligarchy and/or oligarchy (that part about being politically privileged supports that theory quite strongly). Not sure how you're going to protect yourself from that without, you know, politics.
As a side note, that's why I've started to prefer getting low-to-none-upvotes: in a way shouting into the vacuum is better than answering comments like this one.
I didn’t give you the etymology, I gave you the encyclopedic definition. Which mentions etymology, true. But you are even trying to perform politics and change the balance of power by ridiculing the (imagined) me right now, which is what I pointed out.
Also, seriously, you’re trying to complain about privilege and political power while scorning the workers. That’s ridiculous.
You think this violence is representative of the working class? That's a pretty dismal view of a huge part of society.
I'm hoping it's just that you lack a full command of that word...
That's more about privilege than about class. I'd love to see what Wall Street bankers as a class would come up with if they felt their livelihoods were at risk.
"Too big to fail!" And yet, surprising, not too big to be considered a security threat to the entire United States. My, what lovely clothes you're wearing today, Emperor!
For the same reason you don't see CEOs snatching purses.
Part of that's to do with this sort of protectionism. Capitalism is not a panacea for all ills.
The internal combustion engine?
They're not exactly brain surgeons.
But there are still a few things I don't understand:
Why do the Paris cab drivers require such regulations?
How come the Uber drivers aren't required to have such a license?
And maybe I don't completely understand the advantages of Uber (because I've never used a cab before), but at first glance, it seems the main reason uber is succeeding so well, is that there is an app to quickly summon a driver. So why doesn't such an app exist to call these licensed drivers who are so angry?
The precise regulations vary but generally the type of things they include are:
* Criminal background check
* Level of city knowledge
* State of car
* Prohibited to refuse to pick someone up
* Prohibited to refuse short journeys
* Regulated pricing
* Rules on detours
I'm not generally against regulation but being french and living in paris I cannot really defend the cab drivers. Riding a cab in Paris is pretty expensive and the drivers are often rude (even by french standards). Many of them try to "scam" you anyway by pretending that their card machine is broken so you have to pay cash or others. If you read french you can find a bunch of testimonies here. The title is "why I don't want to take the taxi anymore".
That being said while I'm in favour of deregulation those people have paid upwards of 200 000 euros for their licenses so I understand that they fight for the status quo.
I wish they would fight by improving their services instead of harassing people though. I wonder how this'll turn out. Maybe the state can reimburse the cost of their licenses? That would seem fair but I really doubt the government would do that in the current economic situation...
- Police department say they see issues frequently, but clients are often foreigners, and unable to testify;
- the head office, G7 (because they need to be named and shamed) reaction was that hiring and paying road criminals was not their concern. After making that phone call several times, I support long prison sentences for the executives of that company.
Limo companies don't cause this unneeded congestion because they only go out when they have a job to do, so there is no need to regulate the number of limos on the street. Whether or not Uber should be regulated depends on what their drivers do with their down time. Do they trawl the streets or do they get off of them? It seems like they should get off the road since they can't really pick people up without a reservation. However they may trawl good spots for pickups like near bars or something in which case they are causing unneeded traffic and should be regulated.
There are some regulations that should be there in common, such as protections for the passenger (since you're effectively imprisoned) but stuff like background checks should suffice and I'm pretty sure that Uber and the other companies do this.
Also, the 15 minute wait is because the taxis-by-dispatch are inherently slower. Instead of trying to compete, the taxi union pushed hard on Paris and got them to pass the restriction.
Generally, rather than innovating and trying to compete, the taxi companies in the union have taken the much simpler route of attempting to blockade the upstart.
>Also, the 15 minute wait is because the taxis-by-dispatch are inherently slower. Instead of trying to compete, the taxi union pushed hard on Paris and got them to pass the restriction.
Luckily the community rallied, Uber drivers got to continue operating, which everyone but the incumbent viewed as fair since the Uber drivers were already licensed limo operators and the incumbent had some insurance problems exposed when the local reporters picked up the story.
If uber pays 1M $ OR 500K Euros for every taxi license, uber will ask much more than what Taxi unions are asking for.
The other way to solve the issue is let govt repay the money to taxi owners and allow everybody to compete on equal footing.
EDIT: a below comment posted that it's 230k Euros max in Paris...
You imagine "200 cabs clogging the airport" -- have you seen how cabs work in places where they are plentiful? There's no point in having 200 at an airport at once. They don't take passengers at random, they line up and wait their turn.
If there are a lot of cabs at an airport, the drivers will be better off going into the city and finding a fare there than waiting in a line of 200 cabs.
If there is actually such demand that 200 would "clog" the airport at once, they're obviously solving a problem that isn't being solved by alternative means, such as cheaper and more efficient busses and trains.
Why would drivers aim for CEOs? Cab fares are regulated, so that just leaves tips (something not even customary in many places). They'll get more in a couple hours driving around than waiting for the lottery in the form of an abnormally generous CEO.
It just isn't a good use of their time - if you drive all the way out there with an empty cab, you've just sunk a whole lot of gas and time on a deadhead when you could have spent the same on picking up several fares downtown. And even when you have someone who wants a ride out to the airport, it's not necessarily something you want to do because then for a return fare you've got to go to the cab stand and take whoever you get wherever they want to go - which could be somewhere way out in the weeds so you still end up stuck with a dead head. That's the reason why in most cities there are actual laws on the books saying cab drivers aren't allowed to refuse to take you to the airport - without those laws, many of them would.
You've made lots of statements about how things would work, which I doubt you could back up w/ evidence.
In that city what seemed like every 10th car or so is a taxi, it'll take you no more than 30 seconds at almost any given point in the taxi to hail a cab. By social convention the cab will stop for you even if it already has passengers, if the passengers are going to a similar location they'll ad-hoc split the fee.
It was cheap enough due to the unregulated nature that you could take a cab for all your trips, and there was almost no incentive to have a car in the city. The number of cars overall was probably drastically reduced, and it was a much more efficient system than any similarly sized metro bus or tram system I've been to in a similarly sized city.
I don't know what the ideal system is, but consider the tragedy of the commons you might be imposing by artificially driving up the price of what might effectively become small ad-hoc point-to-point public transportation in lieu of personal vehicles for everyone, or a larger and less efficient public transportation system.
I wouldn't be surprised if some folks that own taxi companies in your city lobbied the council-people with that social good argument, as a means to maintain an artificial scarcity and keep cab prices up.
But Uber does solve some real problems with traditional taxi service. In many cases it does a better job at solving the problems that might historically have been addressed by just having more cabs, such as it being difficult to get a ride at certain places/times. To that end it would be nice if more cities would allow regular taxi drivers and cab companies to get in on something like UberTAXI so that it can be a better solution for them as well.
The society regulating itself (read: taxi unions and politicians) recognizes that if the number of taxis weren't limited, the prices of the fare would go down, usually favouring people which are desperate enough to earn some money (read either young or immigrant). This would drastically reduce the wage of the non-immigrant french/american/italian citizen who has to provide for it's own family.
If the regulation would impose a minimum fare (in order to disallow competition among taxi drivers), there are still concerns that individual taxi drivers would have a bad time competing with taxi companies (with drivers that don't own the car or license).
In addition, it's always difficult to evolve the law with the times, or remove it entirely, than to create new ones. So we're left with an ever-growing legacy of non-productive policy.
The type of regulations that can work well are those that benefit a large number of diverse groups (i.e. financial regulations preventing banks from doing stupid things with their customers' money) whose interests are so poorly correlated that they cannot effectively organize for a monopoly on some special privelege.
Historical and ongoing abuse. The usual reason for regulations.
"The competition 'was merciless,' according to Hodges, and 'Many cabbies turned to petty crime to help make ends meet.'
"There were strikes, and there were fare wars.
"Ultimately, an alderman named Lew Haas decided to do something about it.
"In 1937, he proposed a bill that would limit the number of taxis to 13,595, and make medallions automatically renewable, tradeable assets. It was signed that year by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia."
"A 1934 strike turned violent, despite various promises of taxi drivers' associations to Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia that peace would prevail."
"Until 1935, the taxi industry in New York was comprised of unregulated companies fighting for dominance. This all changed during the Great Depression. Widespread poverty prompted many New Yorkers to opt for less-expensive forms of transportation, decreasing the demand for taxis. This put many companies out of business and caused many cabdrivers to lose their jobs. The situation was made worse by the tactics of 'wildcat' (unlicensed) taxis who used what some considered to be 'underhanded tactics,' such as drastically lowering fares, to get more business."
Next time, you might try renting a bicycle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V%C3%A9lib'
Holy crap. And I thought the "Lang Law" was bad:
Apparently, France also fixes the price of all books to keep it 'fair' for small bookstores.
So does Germany. As well as many other countries: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fixed_book_price_agreement
Do you feel like their violence against other citizens are justified?
Though really I just don't want to live on this planet anymore.
For example, kidnapping the boss to prevent layoffs (or at least get better severances) is something that happens regularly.
Don't get me wrong, French unions are mostly wrong on about everything, but violence against individuals is still a big no-no. Thankfully.
It looks like the police don't get involved for political reasons.
AFAIK, no one was hurt. And the union status of the taxi drivers involved got little to do with the case, pretty sure all taxi drivers, unionized or not, feel the same about people that chose to do the same work as they do, without respecting the same rules as they are.
Violence is "the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation.
Yes, he's in the same business, but radio cabs are a competing arm compared to licensed taxis.
e.g. cafeteria workers are on strike, so the org orders pizza instead - are the pizza makers and delivery people scabs? Or is that just a work-around?
e.g. continuing with the cafeteria example, if people decide to go off campus and purchase food at a different establishment, are those food workers then considered scabs? Or is it only scab labor if it's hired as a temp replacement by the company against whom the workers are on strike.
And back to the original example, what happens a person needs to get to the airport, or to work? The challenge with substitute goods and services (e.g. Uber or gypsy cabs or other app-based car services, in place of licensed cabs) is that a monopoly gets marginalized and a strike is less effective. But what's a person supposed to do who needs to be transported from A to B? Not call Uber?
So a restaurant worker not refusing to feed a student off campus would not undermine the shutdown of the on campus cafeteria. But any attempt to recreate the cafeteria by the school, on or off campus, would.
You should do the best you can to do nothing that could undermine the strike. A key is who do you complain about and complain to. If public transit workers are on strike, which makes your commute worse, do you blame the workers or complain to the management.
In that case, I'd probably just call Uber. Or a cab. ;)
If a person works in an industry that creates a substitute for the products or services of a unionized industry, is he or she a scab worker? Obviously, when the company hires temp replacements, that's very direct. But if a new industry makes an old industry irrelevant, using that kind of critical language seems like an unfair attack on the workers in the new industry.
When you are the beneficiary of what would otherwise be called a protection racket if it weren't state sponsored, it's easy to be angry when others don't pay the protection money and get away with it.
How honorable. It's hard to earn a living, it always has been. That doesn't give people the right to use violence to stop other people competing with them. The more violent person is not entitled to an easier life.
This sounds like a joke made up by a Tea Partier about how unions cut efficiency. I can hardly believe it.
Medallion owners pay close to 1.0 M $ to get the Taxi license from the city (NY) and they are not doing that for charity. If a new middlemen like Uber try to take the market without paying single dime it is bound to cause issues who have played by rules and invested significant money to acquire the license.
Uber simply tries to aggregate the demand side and demand concessions from the supply side to get the leads. Portraying Uber as egalitarian is wrong in so many levels.
Good people won't cross them out of principle. The unprincipled among us may encounter other obstacles. It is very likely this driver got his just deserts.
You're saying that you're ok with someone being subjected to violence because he just did his job as he does every day, but other people who did similar but different jobs happened to think that he should have stayed home that day. I doubt you'd think the same if a competitor of yours went on strike and attacked you for going into work.
Saying that the driver here got his "just desserts" is a truly disgusting and reprehensible attitude that is not fit for a civilized society. When a larger group of people can organize and use violence to subject smaller groups to their will, you no longer live in a free society.
If a Wendy's employee attempted to cross a McD's picket line to work at the McDs, things would not go very well.
Even if the analogy were valid, if McDs employees on strike committed violence against someone crossing their picket line, it would be both illegal and immoral. Defending violence as somehow being ok because some group is on strike and gets angry at those who aren't is abhorrent.
Can you explain why? I fully respect workers' right to unionize and strike, but there's no reason I should be bound by their strike.
The early days of unionization, and the conditions that led up to them, were horrific. Forced labor, private and gov't armies shooting workers, beatings, below-living wages. Workers fighting back proportionally: strikes, destruction of corporate property, retaliation against scabs... The civilized workplace we have today -- 40 hour weeks, paid overtime, OSHA, banning of child labor, living wages -- was paid for with blood.
Wow, you must be the oldest person on hacker news!
You may be philosophically against all of the labor rights that have been gained through strikes (which are all labor rights), and in that case, you shouldn't care. In fact, in that case you should go out of your way to break strikes like homophobes went out of their way to eat at Chick-Fil-A.
But I honestly don't see why that should be related. Just because strikes have been a great tool to achieve important rights doesn't mean every individual strike is that way. If a strike is pointless, stupid, or actively campaigning for something I disagree with, why should I respect it?
Every answer I've received so far has been some variant on, "strikes were used to obtain things you now enjoy, so you should respect all strikes." This makes no sense. It's like saying we should respect the NSA because its predecessors helped defeat the Nazis by cracking Enigma.
But police aren't workers... So, yea.
If you are a capitalist, you wouldn't.
There's also a massive unstated assumption that there is an improvement at all.
Surely if I happen to disagree with one or both of these assumptions, I can cross a picket line without being a "bad person"?
This isn't about a 40-hour workweek.
I'm relatively certain that I have different views than you on the usefulness and appropriateness of unions in the modern world, but I appreciate your counter-position on the thread here.
And, scorn is certainly merited from strikers toward strike-breakers. Scorn from non-strikers toward strike-breakers is for the individual to decide based on their opinion of the strike and the union striking, obviously.
This isn't a bunch of striking coal miners who are protesting hazardous working conditions. This is an established incumbent who is trying to bend the regulations to stamp out an innovative service that is beating them out by offering a better customer experience.
Anyone thinking Uber plays fair in this instance is deluded... Which doesn't mean the system doesn't need urgent reform...
In NYC, medallions go for about a million bucks these days, and there are over 13,000. So this plan would cost the city $13 billion, or about 1/3rd of the city government's yearly budget. That's a huge amount of money, but not completely out of the question.
The auctions will still raise a nontrivial amount of money, especially in the first few years, which can be used to help fund bond payments and/or repurchase some of the bonds outright.
Too ashamed of the violence you promote to be explicit about it huh? People like you belong in prison.