Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Left Continues to Ramp Up Its Frantic Attacks on Ride Share Companies

And the liberal left continues it's attacks on the Uber and Lyft ride-sharing services. It's amazing to watch how "progressives" defend the status quo, especially when it's their status quo. And wouldn't you know it would be the city of San Francisco leading the charge.

These new ride-sharing services having expanded rapidly, capturing a consumer market long ignored.
It is a market transit has been trying to figure out for a long time. In some parts of the country, especially in rural areas with aging populations, up to 20% of citizens over the age of 16 cannot drive a car or do not have access to one.  It's too expensive to run buses around to pick them up. Most live too far from bus routes for that to be a viable option. What Uber and Lyft have done is create a clever way for regular folk to make a little money hauling their neighbors who cannot drive around on errands they cannot accomplish with fixed public transit systems.

I'm one of those customers Uber was designed for. Without them I'm left with unaffordable, often unpleasant choices for purchasing transportation services. So, of course the left wants to take Uber down. They are hoping to force people to move into town next to bus lines. You think I'm kidding? I've sat in on the meetings and that's precisely the goal. 

Politically, I can see why the left would want that. They keep losing elections to people living in small towns and rural America.  I guess they figure if they can force us to move into human hives, walled up in cities, we'll just naturally become liberals.  It seems to be working for the Democrat party certainly.

"So, why don't you just call a cab?" Uber detractors ask. Okay since you asked:

(1) Cleanliness - I've never ridden in a dirty Uber car. I've seldom ridden in a clean taxicab.

(2) Cost - Taxi rides cost half again as much. I can give the extra to the driver as a tip and it's clear profit for him. Uber doesn't require or even encourage customers to tip, but I usually give 20-25% or more to my driver because the service is really really good. I give it to him in cash and since he doesn't have to report it to Uber, well, the IRS doesn't have to know either. I'm a big fan of the black market. Cab drivers meanwhile demand a tip for rides in unclean vehicles, that take too long and are overpriced.  So I have to tip drivers who often don't earn it AND the cab company and Uncle Sam take a piece of it from the drivers.

(3) Atmosphere - I have never had an unpleasant ride in an Uber. The last two consecutive cab rides we had with the taxi service, our driver yelled at someone on the phone in Farsi all the way to our home. My wife said it felt like being abducted by terrorists. I kept waiting for him to yell "Allahu Akbar!" and drive into a crowd of people. Honestly. It was an unpleasant trip.

(4) Drivers - I've never had a driver who didn't like his job with Uber. And I ask them how they like their jobs. Most are doing it as a second job or using it to make their car note. They choose their hours and pick their customers. Our cab drivers don't seem nearly as happy. Though some cabbies seem to be making the best of it, I don't detect a lot of joy like I do with the Uber guys.

(5) Satisfaction ratings - With Uber you get to rate your driver and the quality of the ride. I've yet to give anyone less than 5 stars with Uber. Also my driver rates me as a passenger. Since my wife and I are already nice people by nature, we seldom have any trouble getting a ride. I suspect I've got a five star rating too. The Uber drivers see that and are more comfortable picking me up than a customer who is nasty to drivers and gets a consistently low rating. With taxis, you take what you get, both driver and customer. That explains why the Uber experience is better I think.

(6) Availability - I've waited for hours for a cab to come and find me. I think with Uber my longest wait was 20 minutes on a busy late Friday afternoon. It's usually under ten minutes.

So the killjoys in San Francisco and other liberal cities want to take Uber down. They are under the mistaken impression that if Uber goes down, customers will accept less attractive transportation options - options that pay a piece of the action to the city. What they miss is that if customers don't have an easy affordable way to get around, they don't patronize shops and restaurants and other businesses in town that DO pay taxes to the city. Transportation done right can feed local business if you don't try to gouge people for a piece of the action. Liberal city leaders remind me a lot of a criminal syndicate in the way they operate. I can imagine the council meeting where they hired Arnold "One Ear" Giovanni to "....make 'em an offer Uber and Lyft can't refuse."  Except they can refuse and have already abandoned more than one unfriendly town, much to the dismay of merchants and consumers, between whom, business has since fallen off.

© 2017 by Tom King