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A Driver’s Suicide Reveals the Dark Side of the Gig Economy

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posted on Feb, 8 2018 @ 01:23 PM
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a reply to: Willtell

truly terrible companies are starting these businesses to circumvent laws already on books and to maximise profits by making employees be responsible for paying for everything. its why i will rather walk then use uber or lyft and there has been plenty of times i have walked 15 miles home from work when all i had to do was use one or the other.




posted on Feb, 8 2018 @ 02:44 PM
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originally posted by: eventHorizon
Ride-sharing is a criminal scam.


Same can be said of staying at friends or relatives on your holiday vacation location.

People should stay in hotels, pay the hotel room rates.

All this "sharing" is causing hardship for hardworking people.




posted on Feb, 8 2018 @ 02:49 PM
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originally posted by: AMPTAH

originally posted by: eventHorizon
Ride-sharing is a criminal scam.


Same can be said of staying at friends or relatives on your holiday vacation location.

People should stay in hotels, pay the hotel room rates.

All this "sharing" is causing hardship for hardworking people.




People are selective with their outrage...



posted on Feb, 8 2018 @ 02:49 PM
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a reply to: Willtell

Sorry this guy went like that.

For anyone driving a cab, get your CDL.

High demand, great pay. Cab driving, low demand, bad pay.

You can still be a driver



posted on Feb, 8 2018 @ 07:05 PM
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originally posted by: Willtell
So that’s what they call this devolution into slavery--the Gig Economy!

source

They ruin respectable professions and create modern slaves.

Uber and other modern predatory companies and of course the politicians who take their money will be responsible for the destruction of modern civilization eventually, as they bribe the politicians to ruin and destroy any vestige left of the underclass’s rights, and self respect.

Now my old man drove a cab so perhaps I'm sensitive to this horrible story...



On Monday morning, Doug Schifter, a livery driver in his early 60s, killed himself with a shotgun in front of City Hall in Lower Manhattan, having written a lengthy Facebook post several hours earlier laying out the structural cruelties that had left him in such dire circumstance. He was now sometimes forced to work more than 100 hours a week to survive, he said; when he had started out in the 1980s, a 40-hour week was fairly typical. He blamed politicians — mayors Michael R. Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo — and their acquiescence to the rich for permitting so many cars to flood the streets. He blamed the Taxi Commission for the fines and hassles it imposed.

Of course, most people, the predators justifiers will say, this is progress, and allow the sure steady destruction to proceed.

Indeed, one of the predator mainstays, Amazon, will dis-employ millions eventually with robotics and others will follow, indeed making robots out of human beings to go along with their mechanical AI robots. Capitalism is their God, never what is good for humanity.

They will claim this is progress but the only thing that will be progressing is the bulging of their bank accounts, not any progress of society.

As Uber came along and ruined a respectable industry for thousands of cab and limo drivers, many other industries, such as the IT, will join the funeral pyre of the decent jobs that will end up being minimum wage and bankruptcy traps, like this poor gentlemen who took his life and his other fellow drivers.

I hope this man, may God give him some peace, will be a catalyst for the people to WAKE UP!



He had lost his health insurance and accrued credit card debt and he would no longer work for “chump change,’’ preferring, he said, to die in the hope that his sacrifice would draw attention to what drivers, too often unable to feed their families now, were enduring. He had forecast all of this doom in columns he had written for a trade publication called Black Car News, he wrote, but few had listened to him. Implicit in his testament was the anger he felt over the de-professionalization of his life’s work. Mr. Schifter had driven more than five million miles throughout his tenure, through five hurricanes and 50 snowstorms. He had chauffeured celebrities and worn a suit. He was not driving a car to supplement the income he was getting from his crepe business and he was not trying to make a little extra money for massage. He was not a participant in the gig economy; he was a casualty of it.


I see your point and the story is not only sad but all too common. I havent read through all the responses so I'm sure it's been touched on already but here is my take. Times change. You have to adapt and change with them or you'll be left behind. This man while putting in all those hours week after week to make ends meet had to see the writing on the wall. It was time for change, career or life in general. I don't know all his circumstances but apparently they were dire as he chose suicide to any alternative. What bothers me is there are always alternatives regardless of a situation. I just hate his choice and to me, it's almost survival of the fittest. Those that can't adapt or refuse to do so will fall by the wayside.



posted on Feb, 8 2018 @ 10:42 PM
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Times change. You have to adapt


You're repeating corporate propaganda messages placed to your head by predatory corporate parasites such as Uber. Times indeed change, and this fact has nothing to do with predatory unethical unfair and illegal ways Uber is conducting its so called "business". Software, and apps in particular, are just a TOOL. A tool that should have allowed this very driver be more effective and earn MORE, not less. Instead Uber decided to circumvent existing laws, avoid taxes, drop prices, (hello? they don't pay for anything else anyway!!), and cut a hefty 30% cut into drivers "profits". Instead of paying municipal dues like normal taxi companies do - Uber claimed that it's "not exactly a taxi" and spent saved monies on marketing and endless propaganda while essentially monopolizing the market. As an independent driver you had 2 choices - join gazillion of other Uber "make-no-money" subsidized by Medicare and local state Uber-"partners", or compete on your own against Uber for dwindling customer base. The problem here really are not drivers or passengers - the real problem are greedy unethical lying corporations (especially in the "gig"/"sharing" range) AND corrupt moronic regulators who knew perfectly well that uber is operating an illegal taxi business breaking laws that ALL other were forced followed - and yet allowed it to operate. Times change - lies and greed don't.



posted on Feb, 8 2018 @ 10:49 PM
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The only mistake he really made was failing in the 80s to predict the eventual development of smart phones, apps run on them, and Uber. There was no reason in the 80s to think being a cabbir might be a dying profession. Hell, even in the 50s that would have been a valid concern since in the 50s, by 1999 we were told we would be living in a 100% voice activated world or colony on a faraway planet teleporting to work or having a seat in our automated paceship-cars or expanding the Japanese folding fan-like space jet boards like elroy jetson while our friend slash home-slave robots kept the home and babysat the children. However by 1980 it was pretty clear everyone was imagining something a bit farther off in the future. Maybe 2200.



posted on Feb, 9 2018 @ 02:04 AM
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Oh boy. Where to begin?

First off, taxis aren't done. The market has stabilized, and while ridesharing companies are generally holding a majority share of the markets where they are operating, they are not the entire market. Taxis still have a share of that market, and will likely continue to in areas where the regulatory climate still allows them to compete.

eventHorizon, your assessment of this situation is exactly right. The meteoric market rise of the ridesharing industry owes as much to those multinational corporations sidestepping industry regulations as it does to them being more efficient. They can afford to undercut competitors because they don't have to conform to the regulations that their competitors do.

Municipalities that have attempted to force these corporations to comply with city licensing requirements have had the result of these corporations packing up their official offer and moving along to another willing city(although I'm pretty sure the app still works in an area whether ridesharing is legal in that area or not). See St. Louis as of a few years ago.

To be fair, replacing the dispatcher with a robot is a more efficient model. The customer viewable driver tracking and the corporate billing system do seem to be very attractive to customers...

I've stayed away from the ride sharing corps for various reasons, but I'm not really bitter about these developments in my industry. Markets change, whining about it won't help.

I'll close this initial post by just saying briefly that those posters saying that taxi companies were there own worst problem, you're only partly right. Most municipalities have some sort of regulatory racket, whether intentional or otherwise. There is a regulation or series of regulations that acted as a restricting factor before the ride sharing companies came along. It was hurting the market before the ride sharing corps showed up, and it was devastating to the existing market once that competition appeared on the scene. I'll elaborate more on this later, but I wanted to be sure and broach it in this initial post.



posted on Feb, 9 2018 @ 03:27 AM
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originally posted by: eventHorizon

Times change. You have to adapt


You're repeating corporate propaganda messages placed to your head by predatory corporate parasites such as Uber. Times indeed change, and this fact has nothing to do with predatory unethical unfair and illegal ways Uber is conducting its so called "business". Software, and apps in particular, are just a TOOL. A tool that should have allowed this very driver be more effective and earn MORE, not less. Instead Uber decided to circumvent existing laws, avoid taxes, drop prices, (hello? they don't pay for anything else anyway!!), and cut a hefty 30% cut into drivers "profits". Instead of paying municipal dues like normal taxi companies do - Uber claimed that it's "not exactly a taxi" and spent saved monies on marketing and endless propaganda while essentially monopolizing the market. As an independent driver you had 2 choices - join gazillion of other Uber "make-no-money" subsidized by Medicare and local state Uber-"partners", or compete on your own against Uber for dwindling customer base. The problem here really are not drivers or passengers - the real problem are greedy unethical lying corporations (especially in the "gig"/"sharing" range) AND corrupt moronic regulators who knew perfectly well that uber is operating an illegal taxi business breaking laws that ALL other were forced followed - and yet allowed it to operate. Times change - lies and greed don't.


Yes, it's all propaganda. I guess that's why my isp is two empty cans and a long arse string. I sure wish I had a roof over my head instead of sleeping in this hollow tree stump too. Thank goodness for my eagle scout training or I wouldn't be able to boil the waste water leaking into this creek from the city sewage treatment facility. You're right, no need to adapt at all. It's all propaganda. You can be just like me and live in a hollow stump. All you have to do is specialize in floppy disk repair. Bah, no reason at all to adapt to changing times. Hell, 2 years ago I made $2.87 repairing a man's MS-DOS disks! I'm pretty sure word of mouth advertising is catching on because just the other day, a complete stranger saw me raiding his trash can and yelled "get out of my trash diskhead!" so he must've known my profession.

All jokes aside. Adapting is not corporate propaganda. The man drove a cab around for years and never impressed a single business owner enough to be offered a better paying gig? I think many of us here already had a job when a better one presented itself. Won't speak ill of the dead but he threw his life away over a cabbie job..nuff' said.



posted on Feb, 9 2018 @ 03:36 AM
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originally posted by: Anathros

originally posted by: eventHorizon

Times change. You have to adapt


You're repeating corporate propaganda messages placed to your head by predatory corporate parasites such as Uber. Times indeed change, and this fact has nothing to do with predatory unethical unfair and illegal ways Uber is conducting its so called "business". Software, and apps in particular, are just a TOOL. A tool that should have allowed this very driver be more effective and earn MORE, not less. Instead Uber decided to circumvent existing laws, avoid taxes, drop prices, (hello? they don't pay for anything else anyway!!), and cut a hefty 30% cut into drivers "profits". Instead of paying municipal dues like normal taxi companies do - Uber claimed that it's "not exactly a taxi" and spent saved monies on marketing and endless propaganda while essentially monopolizing the market. As an independent driver you had 2 choices - join gazillion of other Uber "make-no-money" subsidized by Medicare and local state Uber-"partners", or compete on your own against Uber for dwindling customer base. The problem here really are not drivers or passengers - the real problem are greedy unethical lying corporations (especially in the "gig"/"sharing" range) AND corrupt moronic regulators who knew perfectly well that uber is operating an illegal taxi business breaking laws that ALL other were forced followed - and yet allowed it to operate. Times change - lies and greed don't.


Yes, it's all propaganda. I guess that's why my isp is two empty cans and a long arse string. I sure wish I had a roof over my head instead of sleeping in this hollow tree stump too. Thank goodness for my eagle scout training or I wouldn't be able to boil the waste water leaking into this creek from the city sewage treatment facility. You're right, no need to adapt at all. It's all propaganda. You can be just like me and live in a hollow stump. All you have to do is specialize in floppy disk repair. Bah, no reason at all to adapt to changing times. Hell, 2 years ago I made $2.87 repairing a man's MS-DOS disks! I'm pretty sure word of mouth advertising is catching on because just the other day, a complete stranger saw me raiding his trash can and yelled "get out of my trash diskhead!" so he must've known my profession.

All jokes aside. Adapting is not corporate propaganda. The man drove a cab around for years and never impressed a single business owner enough to be offered a better paying gig? I think many of us here already had a job when a better one presented itself. Won't speak ill of the dead but he threw his life away over a cabbie job..nuff' said.







Oh my, well not everyone can kiss ass as well as you may be able to, we're not all cut out to be good slaves, C'est la vie.



posted on Feb, 9 2018 @ 07:50 AM
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I do not have a car so I have to rely on a cab or rideshare service sometime. Fortunately almost everything I need is walking distance.

Here in Key West rideshare services were banned until July. The city at one point did undercover sting operations to arrest Lyft and Uber drivers. The lobbying powers of Lyft and Uber prevailed and Key West has better options than the cab companies.

Here is why the cab companies are failing here:
You call for a cab and get a rude dispatcher and do not know when your cab will arrive...I have had to wait over 30 minutes for a cab before, with Lyft and Uber I have never had to wait nore than 5 minutes and I know exactly where my ride is and what to look for.

Taxi fares are way too expensive and the companies treat there employees bad. The big cab company here charges the employees $200 a day to drive, if you are on the schedule and get sick you still owe the company $200. Many cab drivers have switched to Uber and Lyft and still make about the same.

Cabs are often dirty, while every Uber or Lyft ride I have been in is very clean.

Some cab drivers will intentionally take a longer route for a higher fare, with Lyft and Uber your ride is tracked and drivers who do this will be caught and punished.

No awkward ard cash exchange + tip, everything iscset up on the app and the you a charged via credit card when the ride ends with an option to tip.

There are a handful of cab drivers I will ride with but I almost always choose Lyft. It yis much more convenient, cheaper and more relaiable.

Those who hate Uber and Lyft need to get a grip on the modern world. Taxi companies could improve their services and maybe get there own apps, improve customer service, ect..

A better service than Cabs is now out there, either adapt and improve or go out of business.

One cannot cheer on capitalism then cry foul when a better service puts an outdated service out of business.
edit on 9-2-2018 by jrod because: S

edit on 9-2-2018 by jrod because: Grr



posted on Feb, 9 2018 @ 10:37 AM
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a reply to: Willtell

Is there anything good in the so called gig "economy"? Its the cruelest for of exploitation possible, the same as was done in the 19th century, the same as it is done in the ore mines in africa today.



posted on Feb, 9 2018 @ 12:42 PM
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originally posted by: CrapAsUsual
a reply to: Willtell

Is there anything good in the so called gig "economy"? Its the cruelest for of exploitation possible, the same as was done in the 19th century, the same as it is done in the ore mines in africa today.


Of course there are good things in the gig economy, but that’s a rule of life, that there’s always good and bad and nothing is all bad or all good, but overall whether the bad outweighs the good or vice versa only God knows but generally the bad wins in this world.



posted on Feb, 9 2018 @ 12:50 PM
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a reply to: Anathros




What bothers me is there are always alternatives regardless of a situation. I just hate his choice and to me, it's almost survival of the fittest. Those that can't adapt or refuse to do so will fall by the wayside.


Great response!


And to all out there...in
in similar territory...


Somebody will help you, and many love you and you don’t even know it.

So keep strong and always, as this poster says, look at the alternatives--there are many.

I went from very good money in the auto industry and saw the writing on the wall and went back to school and started from scratch

Imagine making 60 grand to 17!

I had to work two, three jobs but in the end it paid off



posted on Feb, 9 2018 @ 06:55 PM
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originally posted by: Edumakated
Taxi industry has no one to blame but themselves...

Before Uber, when you got a taxi the experience was:

1) Bad body odor
2) Rickety fleet car
3) Credit card machine never worked... i.e., driver really just wanted cash
4) Had to wait like 30-45 minutes to get a cab to come pick you up from somewhere if you weren't in a urban area
5) Cabbies being "out of service" when you tell them you only needed a quick 1 or 2 mile ride
6) Cabbies being "out of service" when you needed to go uptown...i.e., a black neighborhood.
7) Cabbies driving you the long way to boost a fair if they suspect you didn't know your way around town

Wise passengers would find an honest professional to taxi them around and call him instead of the dispatch office. I've transported many of them over the years...

I also think it's important to point out that all of these unpleasant possibilities with taking a taxi are still happening to you with the ride sharing corps. You may not be noticing it, but it's still happening...


8) Cab industry pushed for taxi medallion regulations to keep out competition to the point that some medallions would cost like $1 million just so you can drive a cab! WTF?

I'll address this in a future post.


Uber comes along....

I can get on the app and have a car to wherever I am in like five minutes or less. The app even shows where the car is in relation to me. The car is usually a late model car that is nicely maintained. The driver is usually courteous. I don't have to worry about if the credit car machine is broken if I don't have cash.

It is a far better experience overall.

Except for the guy without a smartphone and/or credit card, I guess he gets left out in the cold. I guess you could say he failed to adapt as well. I guess he can still call a cab though, a fact for which I'm sure he is grateful.


There is literally zero need for the cab industry now. None. Completely disrupted. Consumers are better off for it.

Most of these cabbies will find other work. Maybe driving limos? Doing something entirely different. Many will go work for Uber or Lyft.


This decline in the industry is not instantaneous. Eventually the robots may leave room for nothing else, but that has not happened yet. I think livery will be taken up as a trade as long as it is profitable to do so. I think manned livery will persist well past the point that it could be fully automated, if only as a natural resistance to automation. Some people will want to pay a person to transport them instead of a robot. Kind of like how I never use the automated checkout at the grocery store.



posted on Feb, 9 2018 @ 06:55 PM
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originally posted by: Edumakated

8) Cab industry pushed for taxi medallion regulations to keep out competition to the point that some medallions would cost like $1 million just so you can drive a cab! WTF?

The city I operate in does not have this type of medallion system, so I've little experience of it with which to form an opinion. I do have a passing knowledge of it, and would tentatively agree that it was likely a restricting factor in the markets where it was employed. It always seemed to me like a lame way of doing things, but I've only ever considered it as an outsider.

I can imagine being that driver, though. It's not a pleasant vision. Looking over at that medallion that you paid a million dollars for, a franchise agreement that's essentially worthless now because the city you contracted with has violated the good faith of the contract and allowed a corporation to undercut your business by circumventing the complicated legal framework that you have been required by law to navigate for the last twenty years just to do business. The feeling of utter betrayal and hopelessness. To hell with rule of law, somebody's palm got greased down at city hall, and it's oh so convenient you can see where the driver is right on your phone, I guess that makes it okay! That's horrible! I'd be pretty upset if it happened to me, and I would certainly feel I was owed damages.

My city is a different system. Our racket is a minimum car requirement to operate a taxi company. It seems unintentional, but constitutes a racket nonetheless. It essentially makes starting a cab company in this town a rich man's game. There's really not much profit to be made running a taxi company, in my experience it's usually more of an end unto itself. You're mostly doing it to provide an infrastructure for taxi drivers, so that you can make a slight profit from them. Huge overhead investment, mostly insurance really. It's the type of business that the best way to successfully build it would be from the ground up, one car at a time, and we have a law here that prevents you from building a taxi business from the ground up, one car at a time.

I watched a new company come along, shiny new fleet, throwing cards everywhere, and they're gone in a year. They dropped however much money they dropped, betting that the phones would start ringing quickly enough, that those drivers would stick with their company while the phones didn't ring and nobody's making any money, and they lost. Without being able to just throw money at it until it becomes profitable, you're likely to lose that bet. That could be a lot of money. Quarter million dollars. Half million dollars. Just so you can say: "Yep. I own a successful cab company now!" Which at that point, would likely return only modest profits at best. Why would anyone spend so much money for so little return?

That's why my metro area of a million or so had spotty taxi service before the ride sharing corps came along with our TWO companies, and still wallows along, but just barely. I've tried to have our government change the law, but so far they can't be bothered.
edit on 9-2-2018 by TheBadCabbie because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 9 2018 @ 09:31 PM
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originally posted by: TheBadCabbie

originally posted by: Edumakated

8) Cab industry pushed for taxi medallion regulations to keep out competition to the point that some medallions would cost like $1 million just so you can drive a cab! WTF?

The city I operate in does not have this type of medallion system, so I've little experience of it with which to form an opinion. I do have a passing knowledge of it, and would tentatively agree that it was likely a restricting factor in the markets where it was employed. It always seemed to me like a lame way of doing things, but I've only ever considered it as an outsider.

I can imagine being that driver, though. It's not a pleasant vision. Looking over at that medallion that you paid a million dollars for, a franchise agreement that's essentially worthless now because the city you contracted with has violated the good faith of the contract and allowed a corporation to undercut your business by circumventing the complicated legal framework that you have been required by law to navigate for the last twenty years just to do business. The feeling of utter betrayal and hopelessness. To hell with rule of law, somebody's palm got greased down at city hall, and it's oh so convenient you can see where the driver is right on your phone, I guess that makes it okay! That's horrible! I'd be pretty upset if it happened to me, and I would certainly feel I was owed damages.

My city is a different system. Our racket is a minimum car requirement to operate a taxi company. It seems unintentional, but constitutes a racket nonetheless. It essentially makes starting a cab company in this town a rich man's game. There's really not much profit to be made running a taxi company, in my experience it's usually more of an end unto itself. You're mostly doing it to provide an infrastructure for taxi drivers, so that you can make a slight profit from them. Huge overhead investment, mostly insurance really. It's the type of business that the best way to successfully build it would be from the ground up, one car at a time, and we have a law here that prevents you from building a taxi business from the ground up, one car at a time.

I watched a new company come along, shiny new fleet, throwing cards everywhere, and they're gone in a year. They dropped however much money they dropped, betting that the phones would start ringing quickly enough, that those drivers would stick with their company while the phones didn't ring and nobody's making any money, and they lost. Without being able to just throw money at it until it becomes profitable, you're likely to lose that bet. That could be a lot of money. Quarter million dollars. Half million dollars. Just so you can say: "Yep. I own a successful cab company now!" Which at that point, would likely return only modest profits at best. Why would anyone spend so much money for so little return?

That's why my metro area of a million or so had spotty taxi service before the ride sharing corps came along with our TWO companies, and still wallows along, but just barely. I've tried to have our government change the law, but so far they can't be bothered.


No doubt the purchasers of medallions got screwed. However, this is why government shouldn't be imposing reckless regulations that act as unfair barriers to entry for basic services.

I think the cab industry was just shocked by the speed of which the technology obliterated the established business model. The only other industry I can think of that experienced such as shock was the music industry when Napster and other sharing services came along. They were completely unprepared for not only the change, but how consumers preferred the alternatives.



posted on Feb, 9 2018 @ 10:06 PM
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I guess that's why my isp is two empty cans and a long arse string. I sure wish I had a roof over my head instead of sleeping in this hollow tree stump too.


Uber has NOTHING to do with innovation or technology. Uber's expansion was based on violation of the very laws
taxi companies were forced to follow, and which Uber is side-stepping to this day. You may want to read some of
the first lawsuits Uber settled including some from the very first taxi-hailing apps that pre-dated Uber by years.
Innovation claim, yet another lie.


All jokes aside.


Man committed a suicide because of criminal Uber enterprise, "sharing" scam and corrupt lying regulators.
This is not a laughing matter. Not at all.


Adapting is not corporate propaganda.


Adapting to what??? This is not a fair competition, never was, and still isn't, by far. You don't get it do you?
You refuse to understand that Uber is not a "tech" company but a company operating essentially illegally
in violation of the very laws taxis are forced to follow, the very taxes cabbies are forced to pay - and Uber is left off the hook. Try a boxing match where your opponent carries a handgun and has bribed a referee. Adapt to that. That will show you how fair this situation really is.



posted on Feb, 9 2018 @ 10:20 PM
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To those naive still claiming that medallions were imposed by taxi companies. Please read a little, educate selves.
Medallions and other taxi permits are municipal licenses. Cities sold them at public auctions to raise revenues so that your taxes won't have to go up. Majority of buyers were drivers - regular working-class folks. The very first violation Uber did was to operate without medallions - this cut billions of dollars from cities worldwide, and poured billions into Uber's valuation. Why do you think Uber is valued in billions? Hint: it's not the app, and not the "technology".

PS. Observe how every discussion about huge negative impact these "sharing"-scams have on all of us gets re-directed
into bad-vs-good. We are past that point. People are committing suicides. I heard enough lies in my life but Uber has got to be the most lying ugliest inhuman floating piece of corporate cesspool I have ever seen.



posted on Feb, 9 2018 @ 10:32 PM
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I think the cab industry was just shocked by the speed of which the technology obliterated the established business model.


Again, this has nothing to do with technology. The very first hailing apps were taxi apps. The real problem what the regulators allowed uber to operate in direct violation of the very laws these very regulators forced upon cabbies at the very same time. To understand it better - imagine you paying your taxes and utility bills, and your neighbor next door not paying a dime. You drive an old Ford while your neighbor buys a brand new Porsche right after he got back from his 3rd vacation in the Caribbeans. You decide to do the same, and the very next day tax regulators, utility collectors bang on your door and confiscate whatever you still have. How would that feel? Because that's very similar to how Uber operates. Learn some compassion, I fear your obsession with justifying very questionable "technological" advances by some of the ugliest corporations ever known is highly unwarranted.




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