Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Here we go again: Uber edition

Some people don't know when to leave well enough alone.  The cabbies are howling about Uber as they are unable to handle the free market.  WLBT reported:


MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

The battle between Uber and Taxi Services continues, after years of back and forth.

Jackson's City Council is going to be discussing a new ordinance this week that Councilman Stokes says would level the playing field between Uber and Taxi cabs.

Nathaniel Johnson has been a driver with Jackson Taxi for 40 years, but with the introduction of Uber and Lyft, he says he's barely getting by.

"They have taken so much of our business," said Johnson. "I don't even make half of what I used to make."

Johnson says taxi drivers are held to different standards than people who drive with Uber.

"We have to be badged and take drug tests, and physicals. They don't have to do any of that," said Johnson, gesturing to three different permits. "All these badges, they cost money. We have to pay for them."

Many cab companies have been pleading with the City Council for years now to help them.

"The taxi cab community feels that Uber has had an unfair advantage. We are listening to their concerns," said Jackson City Councilman Kenneth Stokes at a press conference Sunday.

The councilman wants to put together an ordinance that would address some of the discrepancies between how the different transportation services are regulated.

"Some of the handicapped citizens throughout this community feel like they do not have representation in terms of cab services. So we want to deal with that issue also," said Councilman Stokes.

The problem is, most legislation dealing with Uber is actually state law, so the Council can't control how everything is handled.

But Councilman Stokes is trying.

"I think he has the right to do that, so I just hope he do," said Johnson.

There will be a public hearing at Jackson City Hall Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. to allow the public to voice their concerns with the transportation systems to the City's Planning Committee.

Unfair advantage? It was the cabbies who had an unfair advantage and provided crap service for decades. The cabbies sat on the licensure board and determined who their competitors could be. They froze poor people out of the taxicab business by requiring someone to own EIGHT taxicabs before he could get a license. There were other restrictions that screwed the public and padded the pocketbooks of the cabbies. They even got to fix the prices for everyone so there was no price competition.  Most of these abuses were fixed when the laws were changed last year. 

Now they have to compete and they don't like it. Maybe the complaining cab drivers should try driving for Uber or Lyft as many are doing. They might actually make more money since people want to use them. What is interesting about the politicians is none of them in this story spoke up for the customer.  No one.  

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am retired, but recently had the need to fly to a large city I had never been to before. My traveling companion has the Uber app on her phone. When we landed, she used the app and within minutes our ride pulled up in the airport to take us to our lodging. The car was clean, the driver polite, and the direct route was on the app display so that we could know we were taking the shortest, most direct and efficient route. No money changed hand as the payment was made via the app.

A stark contrast to the taxis I used when traveling years ago. The hell with the taxi drivers. Times change.

Anonymous said...

It seems Mr. Nathanial Johnson was more than fine with the fact that the cab companies had the rule of law and now there is competition he is upset. Sounds like a he's use to having his way all of the time. It clearly reads that the State of Mississippi has the ruling on these regulations rather than the city. Mr Stokes is just stirring the pot as he is aware he can do very little about it.

Anonymous said...

Adapt or die.

Anonymous said...

Uber is all good until the stupid money spigot gets turned off.

Now a new analysis of Uber’s financial documents suggests that ride subsidies cost the company $2 billion in 2015. On average, the analysis suggests, Uber passengers paid only 41% of the cost of their trips for the fiscal year ended in September 2015. https://www.fastcompany.com/4026256/investors-are-paying-2-billion-per-year-to-subsidize-your-uber-ride




Anonymous said...

Let's get a few things straight here:

1. First of all - it's not "their" business (meaning any taxi company), its a market of available transportation options.

2. Taxis in Jackson (name the company) are notoriously unreliable, very expensive (how about $40 for a less that 8-mile ride), and don't show up for reservations made well in advance (e.g. for early flights).

3. Every taxi I've ridden in has been a smelly, filthy, beat up piece of shit, driven by a rude person with a chip on their shoulder.

4. The taxi companies' business model is stuck in the past (hanging out waiting for fares) and they have failed to evolve to the more efficient just-in-time method.

5. I don't care if your founder was a civil rights figure - that has absolutely no influence over my choice of safe, clean, reliable, and affordable transportation.

6. When government types talk about leveling the playing field, why do they assume that a market innovator must be brought down to a lower level, rather than supporting the evolution of existing competitors to meet the changing market?

7. If Stokes really wanted to help these folks, he'd be looking for a grant to help them write an app to help them compete in the new marketplace. How about leveraging some of the talent at JSU?

I use Uber EVERY week, either in Jackson (to avoid the ridiculous cost of parking at the airport) or in EVERY city I visit for work. In hundreds of rides, I can count the number of bad experiences on one hand - conversely, every experience I've had with a city-licensed taxi company in Jackson has been horrible.

If Jackson wants to evolve itself, it starts with the small things and they need to embrace change and innovation. Frequent travelers like me have certain expectations when they visit any city - Uber or Lyft just happens to be one of them.

Placing unnecessary burdens on competition distorts the market and ultimately hurts the consumer. If his Mayor is as smart as he seems to think he is, he will listen to the consumer and not some idiot who wants people to throw rawks, briyucks and bawtuhs at the poh-leese.

Anonymous said...

Here's a novel idea. Taxi companies get their own app like Uber. Get with the times instead of whining and bitching. Most every major metro area has Uber, Lyft and taxi cabs competing for fares. It's healthy business for all involved when actual level competition takes place instead of politicians taking to the stump to try and benefit a few. Now taxi drivers are special interest groups needing political support?

Anonymous said...

One more example of a city councilman being corrupt --- sweep em' out!

Anonymous said...

Become an Uber driver. Badges are government protection for a dying industry.

But based on the cabs I've seen in Jackson, their cars wouldn't meet the Uber requirements.

Anonymous said...

8:00 nailed it. Governments want to claim that we need "standards". But Uber has much higher standards than taxi companies.

Anonymous said...

@ 7:48 - all 7 points are spot on! No need to even add to your comments.

Anonymous said...

The Uber zealots and cultists don't care about financials @7:48. Uber is only marginally more sustainable through the fare box than JATRAN.

Anonymous said...

8:29 doesn't know the difference between government and private industry - how cute...

Anonymous said...

@8:29

Uber's prices are low because they're aggressively trying to expand into markets and establish the brand.

Uber prices will climb, but that would still keep them cheaper than cabs and way more convenient.

Finally, Uber's long term plan is to eliminate drivers altogether. That's when prices are sustainable. They've made huge investments in automation. But the argument about a UBI to offset employment loss due to automation is another argument.

Justice for Jackson Taxi said...

8:29, your ad hominem attack illustrates the weakness of your argument. Lemme beat you to it - I guess I'm a racist too...

Anonymous said...

Is this the same Nathaniel Johnson on TV that's says he is disable to work and getting a a disability check, free government housing, Medicare and Medicaid benifits. What a joke and people that really can't work can't get the much needed assistance. And he really wants to complain about unfair. Kingfish check your sources and you will see. I bet the government don't know he is working a full time job ..

Anonymous said...

Every Uber driver I have had was polite, non threatening, clean car. Can't say that about cabs.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Kingfish. We should apply this same line of thinking to every industry. *cough cough* education...

Anonymous said...

8:29....who cares? taxpayers are not on the hook for Uber losses, but they are for JATRAN losses. Big difference.

Anonymous said...

Start your own local Uber app

Anonymous said...

Uber has repeatedly stated that they are all in favor of local governing authorities removing the regulations placed on cab companies and allowing them to compete on a level playing field w/ Uber, Lyft, etc. Jackson should consider that.

Anonymous said...

The people care about their experience when they need to use a taxi.
Jackson is a dirty smelly city. Their cabs are the same. The leadership is the same.
If the cabs can not keep up with what the public wants they should keep up with the times.
Shape up, clean up, and quit being so crooked. That goes for the city council as well as the cabs.

ANONYMOUS said...

I have to agree with Stokes on this. Uber and Lyft have an unfair advantage and they are a danger to the public at large because they aren't regulated. Who the heck can argue with having reputable drivers that are drug tested and registered with the city? Not all regulation is bad yall, jeez.

Anonymous said...

Voters that hoisted Antar onto his throne don't use Uber or Lyft. Get a clue.

Anonymous said...

As a customer, I should be able to decide if it is worth extra money and worse treatment to be driven by someone that has been drug tested and registered by the city. If I don't want to pay for that "protection", then it is my choice, not the city's. Thanks 9:50 for your and Stokes' concern about this - but for my money I would rather trust the process by which Uber and Lyft vet their drivers than the one that the cab companies and the City of Jackson claim as being in my interest.

Anonymous said...

Same Uber loving SJWs adopting the Adapt or Die mantra also opposed Walmart.

Bill Dees said...

It wasn't a "free market" before Uber and Lyft arrived, and it's not a "free market" after their arrival. The complaints depend on whose ox is being gored. Would-be taxi competitors rightly complained then, and taxi drivers rightly complain now.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:50 - Just because they are regulated doesn't mean that you are getting good service or reasonable rates. Uber and Lyft have methods of regulation through the ratings the drivers receive. Which means bad drivers get out of the system quickly which is rarely the case with Taxi companies. Every tried to complain to a cab company about a driver? Plus we are talking about driving here. Something any competent 15 year old can and does do. Regulating Uber and Lyft isn't about your safety anyways. It is about the city and politicians getting their cut and being able to appoint their voters to boards and positions.

Anonymous said...

All Uber and the other ridesharing companies have done is shift the
risk completely to the driver. Read the Uber driver forums. Lots of
dissatisfaction and bankruptcies. It is a predatory company. Sadly,
the cabs in Jackson are horrible and the public transportation isn't
any better.

Scaramouche said...

Uber & Lyft needs to bury Jackson in federal lawsuits if the govt. put any impediment in their way.

Anonymous said...

9:50 - really?? I trust the City of Jackson about as much as a fart during the stomach flu.

@10:25 and 10:43, right on!

Anonymous said...

Isn't there a state law in place that pre-empts any local ordinances pertaining to ride sharing?

Anonymous said...

Two questions for Kenify:

Where is the "taxi cab community?"

What is an "oobah?"

Free the cabbies, by any means necessary! said...

1:47 - the taxi cab community is right there at the airport. The last time I met my oobah, I counted eight taxis sitting there - NOT hustling for business.

Anonymous said...

Good thing the State finally allowed micro breweries. If you used the same logic given here then only the largest, national, brewers could provide you a safe, regulated, beer. Anyone else who provided beer (even if it was better quality and/or better priced) had an unfair advantage and was harming AB and Miller. Give me a damn break (or beer)

Anonymous said...

Bill Dees, the difference is that the taxi drivers can go compete with the Uber/Lyft drivers. But an Uber/Lyft driver couldn't compete with the established taxi companies, ergo with their drivers.

Playing field is now level. A qualified, competent taxi driver that doesn't like the regulations being imposed on him, one who thinks the Uber driver has an unfair advantage can become a driver for Uber right now. Have the same 'unfair advantage'; have the same requirements. But, that street is a one-way street; the Uber driver cannot operate as a taxi - eight car minimum, approval by City Council, all the other regulations that the taxi 'community' is bitching about.

Want to stay in the taxi business? Great. Get competitive, provide service, upgrade your business. But don't look to the government to keep you alive by killing your competition because it does a better job cheaper.

Anonymous said...

1:47 pm

One question for you:

Did you leave your hood in Charlottesville?

Just sayin....

(In case you can't read into things....you are a racist.)

Bill Dees said...

2:32 PM: If the regulations applicable to taxi companies aren't the same as regulations applicable to Uber and Lyft, then, by definition, the playing field isn't level. That's not a free market.

Who Kilt Da Mayah said...

2:35

Is expecting people to communicate clearly in the English language an act of racism?

You set some LOW expectations on people, if so.

Anonymous said...

11:45 Uber and Lyft are regulated by the State. City can't regulate them, only taxis.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of unfair advantage, did poor little tink tink get disqualified for an unfair advantage in the 400m race, the man with no #&$!&*^) legs...always be cautious when someone says unfair advantage.

Anonymous said...

Bill Dees, I don't disagree. Therefore, do what Uber has suggested, and what the market demands, and do away with these ridiculous regulations that limit competition and innovation. Get the city out of the taxi business; let the taxi companies operate as they choose. If they want to continue with their current business model, that's their choice.

But like I said, and you ignored, the taxi drivers have a choice - continue working for that business model or do what the Uber/Lyft drivers do and move to the model that consumers prefer.

I realize that you conveniently ignored the answer before, and stuck to your predetermined opinion. But if the taxi driver claims that the field is not level, there is nothing to keep him from changing and taking the course that other drivers have - and moved to the Uber model. But no ---- they want to keep out competition, make the customer pay more for poorer service, and let the government be the bad guy by regulating the market.

PittPanther said...

A couple of years ago, I was traveling to Pittsburgh pretty regularly for work, along with my peers from other places. We all used a successful taxi app called Taxi Magic, which always resulted in a clean, comfortable taxi meeting us at the workplace to take us to the airport. Rain, snow, sun, the taxi always showed up, and the taxi was always equipped with a user controlled credit card reader.

Let's see Jackson Taxi implement such a thing. Otherwise they need to STHU.

Anonymous said...

Pitt - I'm afraid you lost them at clean...

Anonymous said...

If democrats remain in charge (or regain that authority) of decisions, taxi-cab drivers will soon be among "protected groups" and it will be illegal to discriminate against them. Race is the only thing that rouses Stokes from his slumber. After all, when was the last time you saw a white cab driver? If the group was 50% or more white, you'd never hear a chirp nor a fart out of Stokes.

These people deserve to be huddled up under the government umbrella. All cab driver lives matter. The struggle is real. Granting these people special privilege is simply another form of reparations.

Anonymous said...

Uh oh, Kenuff! Look like Oobah don't care none bout yo huffin and puffin.

http://wjtv.com/2017/08/16/uber-expanding-in-mississippi/

Anonymous said...

I find it amusingly ironic that the very (competition-eliminating) regulations certain taxi companies supported, are the ones that will kill them now.

I love capitalism. :)

Anonymous said...

I used the horribly expensive taxi service in Jackson to go from Airport to Castlewoods, $48 American, Uber was $18, if anyone is to be upset here it should be the paying public that's been paying highway robbery for years!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...I have a few questions?
Uber doesn't have to buy the cars or maintain them or make them identifiable, do they? If Uber drivers are providing their own cars and paying Uber a percentage, I wonder if they've done the math on the depreciation of added miles, more gas, and more wear and tear on their vehicles as a deduction against income?
In big cities, taxis have lights on top that are on or off to hail a cab as well as having common identifying characteristics because parking is an issue in many big cities. Should the requirements better match the size and needs of a community?
What are Uber standards for drivers vs taxi drivers? Is it the required " badges" and meters etc. in a cab that drive up costs? Surely we all want , at minimum, a background check and routine drug testing.
I would hope our " leaders" would get the details of how a business works first. Being informed before they make decisions should be in their job description.

Justice for Oobah said...

We're in a new type of economy:

The world's largest accommodations provider owns no hotels - airbnb
The world's largest taxi company owns no taxis - Uber
The world's largest movie house owns no theaters - Netflix
The world's most valuable retailer owns no inventory - Alibaba

etc., etc., etc.

Cash Me Ousside, How Bou Dah said...

2:39, don't forget:

Netflix didn't kill blockbuster, ridiculous late fees did.

Uber didn't kill the taxi business, limited taxi access and fare control did.

Apple didn't kill the music industry, being forced to buy full-length albums did.

Amazon didn't kill other retailers, bad customer service and experience did.

Airbnb isn't killing the hotel industry, limited avilability and pricing options are.

And technology isn't alone a disruptor, not being customer centric is the biggest threat to any business.

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