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Uber and Lyft leave Austin
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puckerman Offline
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Uber and Lyft leave Austin
On Saturday 7 May, voters in Austin voted down a proposition seemingly to deregulate Lyft and Uber. The biggest issue was that the city wanted to require fingerprinting of Lyft and Uber drivers. The proposition would have allowed them to operate without fingerprinting. Uber and Lyft pulled out of Austin almost immediately after the loss.

I fully support the rights of businesses and consumers to engage in such transactions freely. So, I voted for the proposition. I wasn't surprised to see it voted down. I was somewhat surprised to see Uber and Lyft keep their word with regard to leaving Austin.

It actually gives me some hope. Instead of bowing down to non-productive bureaucrats and busybodies, Uber and Lyft got up and left town. It's hurt some people who drove for them, but I also see the big picture. Businesses would like to transact business without interference from third parties.

The reaction from the town's lefty establishment has been predictable. They are screaming like spoiled children that a business has actually left town and not consented to their regulations. It's almost painfully obvious that they wish that they could put a gun to the CEO's of Uber and Lyft. Unfortunately, they can't do that; but it would show the true nature of their attitudes.
05-19-2016 10:59 PM
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RE: Uber and Lyft Shrug
Uber and Lyft have the luxury of having a whole lot of money in the bank. Just like Apple, Google, etc. They can afford to step out, not eat their shirt, and make all the fuss they want. That's "fuck you" money.

I'd love to be there. However, every place I've ever worked has not been able to do such things. They have fixed costs (without a layoff), and are very sensitive to unpredictability of the market. In fact, they never really own their tools, office space, etc. If something happens, they have to pay out the ass until things get better.

Uber and Lyft cars are owned by the drivers. They are responsible for them. Drivers and vehicles are for the most part fungible. So, they can drop out of a small market (like Austin) without having to pay for upkeep of any employees there, as there's no real expense unless they also had offices in that location (I doubt it, however?).

A lot of businesses sold their souls to their creditors so that they can keep their capital goods from being repossessed. They'll do whatever they can to cover their known expenses to keep paying the execs and not incur any additional costs, including unethical shit, because they don't own anything and have learned to be good whores.

I would love to have a business if I had the ability to a) own my own capital goods and b) not have to answer to anyone but the market. Good place to be.

(This post was last modified: 05-19-2016 11:29 PM by philosophical_recovery.)
05-19-2016 11:24 PM
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RE: Uber and Lyft Shrug
Uber and Lyft have already spent the most crucial capital in developing the software and business model. They don't invest in depreciating assets like vehicles or risk too many hr type things with personnel. So the capital invested in any city is minimal. Plus knowledge of such services is already pretty big so it isn't like extensive marketing is required.

So it was no big deal to move. And it wasn't like them leaving prevents them from ever coming back. They know what is expected if they want to operate now. And they don't want to incur the cost or responsibility. But when enough people complain. They can come back on their own terms or never.

I imagine when they set parameters for cities to expand to they had population, taxi rate use etc. and screened. I get the sense there are plenty of cities they can go to still. They can hit Austin later.

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05-20-2016 12:05 AM
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RE: Uber and Lyft Shrug
My son and daughter both go to college in Austin. I hear Uber/Lyft spent 8 million on their anti background check campaign. Uber and Lyft are the ultimate Multi Level Marketing Scam. They have practically no cost and the drivers do all the work and accept all the liability. Any central Texas members with some app know-how could make a killing right now. Some guy is running his own ride-hailing biz off of FB. He was on the news
(This post was last modified: 05-20-2016 12:22 AM by AboveAverageJoe.)
05-20-2016 12:22 AM
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RE: Uber and Lyft Shrug
(05-20-2016 12:22 AM)AboveAverageJoe Wrote:  My son and daughter both go to college in Austin. I hear Uber/Lyft spent 8 million on their anti background check campaign. Uber and Lyft are the ultimate Multi Level Marketing Scam. They have practically no cost and the drivers do all the work and accept all the liability. Any central Texas members with some app know-how could make a killing right now. Some guy is running his own ride-hailing biz off of FB. He was on the news

This. Live by the sword die by the sword. Running an operation like Uber requires little to no capital investment. Good for them? Sure, but it also means there are basically zero barriers to entry.
05-20-2016 05:28 AM
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RE: Uber and Lyft Shrug
Same thing happened in Kansas. Uber was here for about 2 weeks and the legislature swung it's dick and changed a law, which the governor overturned, then they overruled him. Uber packed it in and went away. People lost their shit and fired off at their legislators and within a few weeks they were back. I predict this is temporary.

http://ksn.com/2015/05/05/uber-shuts-dow...back-veto/

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05-20-2016 10:17 AM
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RE: Uber and Lyft Shrug
(05-20-2016 05:28 AM)Fast Eddie Wrote:  
(05-20-2016 12:22 AM)AboveAverageJoe Wrote:  My son and daughter both go to college in Austin. I hear Uber/Lyft spent 8 million on their anti background check campaign. Uber and Lyft are the ultimate Multi Level Marketing Scam. They have practically no cost and the drivers do all the work and accept all the liability. Any central Texas members with some app know-how could make a killing right now. Some guy is running his own ride-hailing biz off of FB. He was on the news

This. Live by the sword die by the sword. Running an operation like Uber requires little to no capital investment. Good for them? Sure, but it also means there are basically zero barriers to entry.

While there may be low barriers to entry, there are such things as first mover advantage, superior execution and brand recognition. It may be an upstart could try and replicate uber in Austin and meet the requirements of the city, it will most likely never have the scale or resources to do what uber does.

Now Texas is unusual in that it once backed Southwest when it was being hammered by a competitor. It got the support of the public even though it was being undercut. But that was in a time when loyalty and doing the perceived right thing mattered more.

So let me continue with this tangent. Let's say an upstart does well in Austin and uber decides to come back in with massive discounting or incentives and steals drivers. Maybe the upstart could appeal to the decency of the people to stay with them. But in this Walmart society where everything needs to be cheap, where new friends are one click away, I have a hard time seeing an upstart surviving the focused assault of an uber.

Now if Lyft went for it now, it might be different because it also has vast resources.

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05-20-2016 10:31 AM
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RE: Uber and Lyft Shrug
(05-20-2016 10:31 AM)samsamsam Wrote:  ...
So let me continue with this tangent. Let's say an upstart does well in Austin and uber decides to come back in with massive discounting or incentives and steals drivers. Maybe the upstart could appeal to the decency of the people to stay with them. But in this Walmart society where everything needs to be cheap, where new friends are one click away, I have a hard time seeing an upstart surviving the focused assault of an uber.

Now if Lyft went for it now, it might be different because it also has vast resources.

Good discussion and analysis. We say Wal Mart society, but consumers still spend more on things they care about.

They just don't care about fingerprinted drivers. Which I get. I don't care either. Women, pussy men, and governments always think you can make things 100% safe. Ya can't.

Background checks and reviews make it really, really safe, let's say 99.99% sure you'll get what you want when you want it at an agreed upon price. No reason to add in a bunch more costs and infringement for an extra 0.001% safety. This isn't Venezuela.

We could set speed limits to 5 mph and have a safer society, probably save thousands of lives per year. But that would be dumb.

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(This post was last modified: 05-20-2016 10:41 AM by heavy.)
05-20-2016 10:39 AM
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RE: Uber and Lyft Shrug
I really don't understand why they would leave over fingerprinting. Seems stupid, there are competitors out there like Fasten who will comply just for the market share.

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05-20-2016 12:04 PM
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RE: Uber and Lyft Shrug
(05-20-2016 10:39 AM)heavy Wrote:  Good discussion and analysis. We say Wal Mart society, but consumers still spend more on things they care about.

Sure, about things they can use to signal to others how special they are. Branded clothes, Whole Foods, Organic, etc. But transportation (aside from first class, business) I think is pretty much a Point A to Point B thing. Unless there is some value signaling like "I am supporting the underdog - look at me!" I think people will just use who is cheaper or more convenient.

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05-20-2016 12:19 PM
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RE: Uber and Lyft Shrug
Fuck Uber, they need to break bread. If they treated the drivers better it could be a great side hustle, networking, gaming platform.
05-20-2016 12:29 PM
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puckerman Offline
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RE: Uber and Lyft Shrug
Can someone tell me exactly how Uber and Lyft mistreat their drivers? The drivers make up their own schedules. And while I know drivers can get royally screwed by their insurance companies if they are in accidents, many drivers benefit from Uber and Lyft. I know lots of actors who were using it, and actors require that kind of flexibility.

Here is a story about a guy who makes jewelry and sells it to his customers. He makes six figures a year:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonyoushaei/...c6c49650fb
05-20-2016 12:48 PM
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RE: Uber and Lyft Shrug
Puckerman, "mistreatment" in this case is a euphemism for "not playing by all the rules". Uber and Lyft are facing increasing scrutiny on two fronts: employee vs independent contractor laws and price fixing. These sound disparate, but are really two sides of the same coin.

Employee vs contractor: Uber and Lyft say their drivers are contractors as the driver owns the car, sets their own hours and assumes liability in an accident. A lawsuit filed by a former driver in San Francisco states she made less than minimum wage and that Uber actually dictated how many rides had to be completed. That would make the driver an employee. This affects tax filings and insurance status of both the company and driver,

Price fixing: In another suit, it is claimed that these companies set pricing, thus restricting earnings of drivers. This creates a catch 22. If the drivers are truly contractors, they would be able to set their own prices through Uber/Lyft. If the companies set prices, that is a strong indication of an employee relationship.

So either drivers are employees and the companies need to pay taxes, insurance, etc while setting prices, or the drivers are contractors who should be free to set their own price.

TL;DR Uber/Lyft are trying to have their cake and eat it too.

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05-20-2016 01:12 PM
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RE: Uber and Lyft Shrug
(05-20-2016 12:48 PM)puckerman Wrote:  Can someone tell me exactly how Uber and Lyft mistreat their drivers? The drivers make up their own schedules. And while I know drivers can get royally screwed by their insurance companies if they are in accidents, many drivers benefit from Uber and Lyft. I know lots of actors who were using it, and actors require that kind of flexibility.

Here is a story about a guy who makes jewelry and sells it to his customers. He makes six figures a year:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonyoushaei/...c6c49650fb

Profit sharing and liability burden?
Obviously market forces ultimately determine these things, but Uber was willing to spend 8 Extra-extra large to support favorable legislation that didnt go their way so they bailed out. Loyal employees be damned. Not cool.

edit: Fuck the Austin City Council for campaign-money, bribe soliciting, over-legislative behavior.
(This post was last modified: 05-20-2016 01:19 PM by AboveAverageJoe.)
05-20-2016 01:16 PM
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RE: Uber and Lyft Shrug
(05-20-2016 01:16 PM)AboveAverageJoe Wrote:  Obviously market forces ultimately determine these things, but Uber was willing to spend 8 Extra-extra large to support favorable legislation that didnt go their way so they bailed out. Loyal employees be damned. Not cool.

Uber and Lyft weren't asking for any favors. They were asking to be left alone.

Twenty years ago, for example, Microsoft employed no lobbyists. They first hired lobbyists as an act of self-defense. This is what the bribes were all about--simply trying to do business with customers who wanted their service.

If you don't like a service, you don't have to use it. But why do you want to take it away from others?

It's like all these people who bitch about open seating on Southwest Airlines. If you don't like open seating, don't fly Southwest. I like their open seating and don't need to hear all the complaints.
05-20-2016 01:28 PM
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RE: Uber and Lyft Shrug
Uber has become absolutely essential overseas. I totally disagree it's a zero investment type business. They go to extraordinary lengths to be able to operate in corrupt 2nd world countries where bureacracy blocks every single little thing which originates from foreign business enterprise and taxis are literally run by mafia organizations. They throw a lot of money around to make that happen.

Without Uber you'd be dealing with shitty taxi scams and even potential robbery 24-7 in places like Manila.

Try taking a normal taxi regularly in Vietnam sometime without knowing the language. You will get ripped off a lot.

The fact that Uber can negotiate their way into developing world markets and operate just fine but can't even find a reasonable middle ground to operate in a city like Austin just proves what a shit show U.S. leftist bureaucracy has become.
(This post was last modified: 05-20-2016 06:06 PM by El Chinito loco.)
05-20-2016 06:06 PM
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RE: Uber and Lyft Shrug
No surprise at all. Businesses get their power by doing. Regulators get their power by stopping. Basic pro-social versus anti-social.

The best additional amendment would've been a "separation of economy and state" amendment.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of business, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;...". Without that, it's the same old same old. Bribe or flee.
(This post was last modified: 05-21-2016 03:34 AM by Phoenix.)
05-21-2016 03:34 AM
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RE: Uber and Lyft Shrug
(05-20-2016 01:28 PM)puckerman Wrote:  Uber and Lyft weren't asking for any favors. They were asking to be left alone.

Twenty years ago, for example, Microsoft employed no lobbyists. They first hired lobbyists as an act of self-defense. This is what the bribes were all about--simply trying to do business with customers who wanted their service.

If you don't like a service, you don't have to use it. But why do you want to take it away from others?

It's like all these people who bitch about open seating on Southwest Airlines. If you don't like open seating, don't fly Southwest. I like their open seating and don't need to hear all the complaints.

(05-20-2016 06:06 PM)El Chinito loco Wrote:  The fact that Uber can negotiate their way into developing world markets and operate just fine but can't even find a reasonable middle ground to operate in a city like Austin just proves what a shit show U.S. leftist bureaucracy has become.

(05-21-2016 03:34 AM)Phoenix Wrote:  No surprise at all. Businesses get their power by doing. Regulators get their power by stopping. Basic pro-social versus anti-social.

The best additional amendment would've been a "separation of economy and state" amendment.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of business, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;...". Without that, it's the same old same old. Bribe or flee.

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05-21-2016 10:31 AM
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RE: Uber and Lyft Shrug
All these existing middle man apps for car service or condo rentals (uber, airbnb, etc..) will eventually face stiff regional competition anyways. The writing is on the wall in some places. In asia in particular uber has competition from grabtaxi (Malaysia app developed by two Malaysian Chinese harvard grads.) which operates in 6 southeast asian countries and has been pretty successful.

Grabtaxi is an interesting business model because it piggybacks off existing taxi service but creates accountability for drivers. Taxis are cheap in asia in particular but honesty is a huge issue. Grabtaxi creates a situation where existing taxi services have an incentive to provide good service at standard rates.

China has its own uber clone called didi.

All this is ultimately good for the consumer.



(05-20-2016 01:12 PM)NilNisiOptimum Wrote:  Price fixing: In another suit, it is claimed that these companies set pricing, thus restricting earnings of drivers. This creates a catch 22. If the drivers are truly contractors, they would be able to set their own prices through Uber/Lyft. If the companies set prices, that is a strong indication of an employee relationship.

It would be interesting if drivers were given the option to fill out an online form which allows them to set their own rates. Then those rates are averaged out from all registered uber driver input in a specific city and fares are calculated on a monthly or maybe even a weekly basis.

It would avoid giving uber too much power to set rates and it would allow drivers more flexibility as a private contractor. If drivers got greedy and set rates too high then the free market would step in and they would end up pricing themselves out of the market. I think if this were explained properly most drivers would end up setting rates that probably wouldn't be too different from what uber sets now to remain competitive.
05-21-2016 01:27 PM
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RE: Uber and Lyft leave Austin
I've noticed a growing movement that views the "sharing economy" apps as less innovation and mostly just a way to take advantage of or get around regulatory loopholes.

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05-21-2016 02:43 PM
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RE: Uber and Lyft leave Austin
(05-21-2016 02:43 PM)RexImperator Wrote:  I've noticed a growing movement that views the "sharing economy" apps as less innovation and mostly just a way to take advantage of or get around regulatory loopholes.

They are just looking to fuck over any and all legit businesses by cutting in on the action. The fly by night MO used for 100s of years. Here today and gone tomorrow.
05-21-2016 06:30 PM
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RE: Uber and Lyft leave Austin
I don't think the uber drivers should complain about price fixing. Uber is providing a service to connect drivers and customers. It has to keep some form of order or else it could create some chaos if people started setting their own prices. Customers would cancel if at the last minute some other uber driver undercut the other driver.

Ultimately, uber drives have the option of going to drive for Lyft or become a real cab driver. No one says you have to work with uber. That is why I don't see the complaint as valid by the drivers. Don't like it work somewhere else. Don't be like a sanders supporter-join and then try to change shit you agreed to when you joined.

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05-21-2016 06:38 PM
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RE: Uber and Lyft leave Austin
Uber and Lyft are investing heavily in self-driving car technology.

They don't care about their drivers because in ten years they won't have drivers.

Pretty crazy when you think about it. Their biz model is to stay in the green till they're a fleet of self-driving robots. Hence, why they'll skip town at the slightest price hike or regulation. Employees are harder to fire, and in ten years no one will drive for uber anyway.
(This post was last modified: 05-21-2016 09:37 PM by Barbarian_Brad.)
05-21-2016 09:36 PM
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RE: Uber and Lyft leave Austin
(05-21-2016 09:36 PM)Barbarian_Brad Wrote:  Uber and Lyft are investing heavily in self-driving car technology.

They don't care about their drivers because in ten years they won't have drivers.

Pretty crazy when you think about it. Their biz model is to stay in the green till they're a fleet of self-driving robots. Hence, why they'll skip town at the slightest price hike or regulation. Employees are harder to fire, and in ten years no one will drive for uber anyway.

We'll see about 10 years. I say it's more like 50. The AI is garbage right now and there isn't exactly a lot of progress being made on this front. The research on AI isn't much better than it was during Turing's time. Self-driving cars in their early form will be very bad, and all it takes is for one accident to scare people and ban self-driving cars.

If Uber and Lyft cannot get around current regulations for fingerprints, you think they'll be able to get self-driving cars operating legally? That's a good one.

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05-22-2016 07:41 PM
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RE: Uber and Lyft leave Austin
(05-22-2016 07:41 PM)Samseau Wrote:  
(05-21-2016 09:36 PM)Barbarian_Brad Wrote:  Uber and Lyft are investing heavily in self-driving car technology.

They don't care about their drivers because in ten years they won't have drivers.

Pretty crazy when you think about it. Their biz model is to stay in the green till they're a fleet of self-driving robots. Hence, why they'll skip town at the slightest price hike or regulation. Employees are harder to fire, and in ten years no one will drive for uber anyway.

We'll see about 10 years. I say it's more like 50. The AI is garbage right now and there isn't exactly a lot of progress being made on this front.


Yes I don't know what the obsession is with sex bots and self driving cars which take autonomy away from people. It's not going to happen anytime soon on any large scale. Maybe in some small hippie town like Asheville, N.C. or a gated community in silicon valley.

The first time the AI wigs out and crashes a family into a wall or a semi scattering their brains across the freeway is when the whole idea of self driving cars for the mainstream goes out the window.
05-22-2016 07:45 PM
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