Striking European Taxi Drivers Should Have Known: Letting Your Customers Even Know Uber Exists is Bad for You


Anyone lucky enough to live in a city where e-hailing smartphone apps like Uber or Lyft exist should be aware that they are really great and largely obviate the need to use taxis in any situations besides street hails in busy urban areas where an empty taxi is driving by every 45 seconds.

So arrogant European taxi drivers who decided they wanted to just mess up the use of the public streets for an entire city because they don't like competition should have guessed something like this would happen: as Techdirt reports, the publicity surrounding their planned day-ruining strike:

appears to have completely backfired on the strikers, with Uber signups in London jumping an astounding 850%. Basically, the "protests" have pissed off people at cab drivers and made them more aware of Uber….Uber had been hovering around the 100th most popular app in the UK over the past few weeks, but it has suddenly jumped to number 3.

Reason on Uber and Lyft and their many regulatory difficulties in these here United States of Cartels.

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  1. “Let’s fuck everyone’s day up! That will show get them on our side by showing them what happens when you piss us off.” Best marketing strategy EVER!

    1. Not only that:

      “Let’s protect our monopoly by showing people just how bad us having a monopoly can be for them!”

      1. The irony is their potential clients are forced to try Uber/Lyft and say “Holy fuck this is *way* better than riding in that shitty taxi.”

    2. As far as I can tell that completely works for the French unions.

      1. Not exactly. Any Frenchman who gets sick of that shit leaves the country.


  2. Ah, the Streisand Effect, but in a business rather than personal sense.

    1. I was thinking we should start calling it the Uber effect.

      1. Seconded.

  3. Fucking markets! How do they work?

  4. Shouldn’t they have been striking for fewer costly regulations on themselves?

    1. Stockholm syndrome.

    2. Statists gonna state.

    3. Agreed – and shouldn’t REASON discuss the need to decrease regulations across the board rather than consistently supporting companies who simply dodge the rules?

      1. I think they can, and do, both.

      2. Nice handle. Hope your commentary lives up to that.

        1. I think he failed as pointed out below.

      3. Couple of things.

        1. Reason already does both

        2. Uber and Lyft aren’t *dodging rules* – that’s statist-think. They’re using a business model that operates in the current regulatory gaps. To say they’re ‘dodging’ is to imply that there is some sort of obligation to read and comply with the *intent* of a law. Which there isn’t.

        3. When laws/regulations are stupid and anti-freedom there is (IMO) *no* moral obligation to adhere to them (or any opprobrium due to *not* adhering).

      4. I don’t see anything wrong with dodging rules that are morally and economically evil.

        And, yes, threatening people with arrest, assault, imprisonment, and possibly death simply for being an Uber driver is evil.

      5. I’d bet most Uber drivers would accept some reasonable regulations.

        The most harmful “regulation” is the artificial limit on the number of taxis allowed. It’s an idiotic regulation and should be dodged and ignored with extreme prejudice.

        1. reasonable regulations.

          Who gets to decide what is “reasonable”?

          1. My point is the Uber drivers aren’t driving for Uber because it’s unregulated. They’re driving for Uber because it avoids one very significant regulation.

      6. “I will accept the rules that you feel necessary to your freedom. I am free, no matter what rules surround me.

        If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them.

        I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.”

        I liked you better back then, Bob.

      7. Explicitly NOT breaking the rules is not in any way “dodging” the rules. It’s the exact opposite.

        The rules exist in their current form because the imaginary rules the taxi companies prefer would never have been agreed to by anyone except them.

  5. 2 or 3 weeks ago, I made a prediction that this is exactly what would happen. (However, I was referring to the similar taxi protest in Boston)

  6. I say we go on strike till we get alt-text.

    1. I’m developing a mobile app that provides alt-text for alt-less images.

      1. Where can I donate to your kickstarter?

    2. You know the staff at Reason would rather we all just went away, right? That sort of protest would backfire spectacularly.

      ‘They’ll stay on strike until we put in alt-text for everything? Good, fuck ’em.’

      1. ‘Maybe we’ll get a better class of commenter.’

        Somehow got truncated.

      2. Everybody already avoids The Independents! What more do they want?

  7. I called this yesterday on another thread. Way to fight the Uber threat: publicize Uber, and then give would-be car renters no other option.

  8. Wait, if markets can function like this…..couldn’t they function the same way for everything else?

    Police state got you down? Tired of illegal search and seizure? Tired of your dogs being shot? Didn’t you hate the time the cop shot your rooster for what they said was the bird acting aggressively toward them as they feared for their lives?

    All that could change with Libertarian anarchy. Someone will think twice when their criminal acts will be met with consequences through defensive measures.

    Oh and ROADZ!!!…..We gotcha covered.

  9. Why wouldn’t a taxi driver just drive for Uber on his off time and see which one works out better for him?

    1. Because he makes more as a member of a cartel than he could as a participant in a free market?

      1. Actually – *he* doesn’t (at least not in the states) once you figure in the cost of the license and cab leasing.

        That’s the *real* reason behind these protests (and why these fethers don’t demand the regulations be *lightened*).

        They’ve sunk a lot of money into getting a cab and are pissed that someone else is coming along and doing the same job with lower overhead.

        1. So they’re protesting the fact that they’re suckers?

      2. If driving for the cartel proves to work out better, then there’s nothing to protest since they can obviously coexist and he can stop driving for Uber. If driving for Uber works out better, then just stop driving for the cartel.

        1. Cartels, by definition, don’t “coexist” with competition. That’s the whole point of a cartel: to shut down competition.

          1. I think in IF’s usage, “Cartel” is more a label than a definition. Like “Liberal”.

    2. I’ve met several Uber drivers who used to be cabbies. They’ve told me that they’re making a lot more money, and they love the fact that their “shift” is whenever the want it to be. When they drove for a cab company, they were assigned whatever time the owners wanted to give them.


      1. How much of that increased profit was the result of them pocketing the money that would have been used to buy insurance?

        Not that Uber should be banned, but there’s a lot of Uber customers who are going to be in for a rude suprise when their driver gets in an accident someday.

        1. Well, that’s mainly because, in the current regulatory regime, people expect someone else to pick up the tab for insurance.

          If you’re worried that your Uber driver’s insurance doesn’t cover you (as a passenger) then GET YOUR OWN INSURANCE.

          No reason to require the driver to have that.

          1. And it took only four posts for Stormy’s prediction to come to pass.

            Yeah it’s weird how when I’m paying someone for a job, and instead of doing said job they injure me or destroy my property, I expect them to take responsibility for it.

            Oh, and PS – You can’t GET YOUR OWN INSURANCE. Personal health insurance generally excludes claims resulting from motor vehicle accidents.

  10. And they’re off – Brazil v. Croatia starts at 4.

    Sucks that the first US game isn’t until the 16th.

    1. Nah, 3-4 games a day is awesome even when the US isn’t playing. Thank god for my second monitor.

  11. I was in SFO last week for a conference. The MUNI bus system drivers called a three-day “sickout” to protest their new union contract, which only gave them an 11% raise over the ~$32 per hour they already make, but asked them to contribute an extra 4% of their income to their government-funded pensions. Well, we can’t have that sort of abuse, can we? So there was almost zippo bus, cable car, and streetcar service in SFO for most of last week.

    So I toured the town in style, by using Uber. It was awesome. No worrying about a cabbie taking “scenic routes” just to pad his charges. I knew ahead of time what I’d be paying. I never waited more than 5 minutes for an Uber car. The app invites you to rate and review your drivers immediately after your ride. (PeterGriffin)Freakin’ sweet.(/PeterGriffin)

    One of my Uber drivers told me that they are not allowed to take passengers to/from the airports. Thanks, Taxicab Lobby! If they’re caught dropping off or picking up people at the airport (and I’m not sure how they’re caught, because most of them are not identifiably Uber cars), Uber drivers are fined. Such bullshit.

    1. Don’t know about SFO, but so many ways to avoid that reg in Chicago.

      1. Get dropped off at the parking lot. Take the shuttle from there.

        EZ. PZ.

  12. OT: Lighten up Ardis:


    1. Despite the sexual doggerel, Ardis has said he will not sue Daniel for defamation.

      What could be lighter than *that*?

      Seriously, what a story. One wonders if it will play in Peoria.

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