Uber

Residents in San Francisco, D.C. Increasingly Choosing Ride-Sharing over City-Regulated Taxi Cartels

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Will D.C. cab drivers ever realize everybody hates them?
Credit: {Guerrilla Futures | Jason Tester} / photo on flickr

Today WAMU in Washington, D.C., explored its taxi scene in the wake of the establishment of ridesharing services like UberX and Lyft. Though the district's taxi commission claims they're not seeing any sort of shift, actual taxi companies told WAMU they're seeing customer drops of 20 to 30 percent. Some cab companies are reporting even higher plunges.

This information follows reports out of San Francisco that their taxi industry has seen a 65 percent decline in calls per month compared to 2012.

Per the San Francisco Examiner, their fair city is considering that maybe, possibly their taxi services are overregulated and maybe need to change so it's not so costly to legally be a cab driver there:

In an effort to boost incentives for drivers to join and stay in the taxi industry, the SFMTA waived dispatch renewal, color scheme renewal and driver application fees for fiscal year 2014-15, reduced some medallion-use and renewal fees and eliminated metal-plate fees.

Other possible regulatory actions the transit agency has contemplated to make cab driving more financially attractive to drivers include reducing fees for medallions, which allow holders to operate taxis. Other ideas include reducing the fee to transfer medallions by 20 percent, eliminating the $500 ramp taxi medallion use fee, lowering the medallion renewal for transferrable medallion holders and allowing taxi wrap advertising.

In D.C., drivers still seem to be clinging to the mindset that the customers belong to them and that the problem is that ridesharing services are breaking the rules. They seem to think that the solution is more regulation, oblivious to the fact that the very regulations that drive up their prices are what is causing passengers to seek alternatives:

"I'm not sure the council knows how to regulate them," said [District Cab President Jeff] Schaeffer, who said the District should limit the number of "ridesharing" vehicles allowed on the streets.

Legislation being drafted by D.C. Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) is expected to require either "ridesharing" drivers or their companies to obtain primary commercial liability insurance for at least part of the time they are on the road, and to conduct more stringent background checks, among other measures.

Whatever may come of Cheh's legislation, UberX likely will hold onto its biggest advantage over D.C. cabs: cheaper prices. Even if metered cabs could lower their prices, many drivers may opt to keep their rates at current levels because of their higher overhead costs.

Higher overhead costs, you say? I wonder what could be causing those? We'll see whether San Francisco handles the influx better than D.C. San Francisco looks like they want to make it easier for everybody. D.C. looks like they want to try to make it harder for everybody. When thousands of consumers are willing to violate your city's regulations to stop doing business with you, the problem is clearly not them.

Below, ReasonTV on efforts to break D.C.'s taxi cartel:

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  1. Cab drivers hate us for our freedoms.

    1. Freedumbs to evade taxes and break laws unpunished because an app!

      1. You seem to think that evading taxes and laws against victimless crimes are a negative for people around here.

      2. How dare these peasants not give the king his due!

  2. I have to tell you, for all the talk about safety being the reason why people should only use ‘regulated’ cab companies for rides, I had one hell of an experience earlier this year with one of the airport shuttle services.

    The guy showed up to pick me up half an hour late. He called me and said he couldn’t find the place, and he couldn’t follow my simple directions either. I think he was actually lying to me and was just going to be late and knew it. Then after picking up 2 other people, we headed for the airport. The guy came way too close to getting us in a serious accident 3 different times. The 2 women with me were terrified. I finally told him after the 3rd time to watch his fucking driving before he gets us killed. Then the guy tells us he’s low on gas and has to stop for gas, after all of us already said we are worried about missing our flights because we’re so late. I told him don’t even fucking think about stopping, if you run out of gas it’s your tough shit and I’ll be pissed as hell. I’ll never use that shuttle again. Maybe next time I should use Lyft or Uber, it couldn’t be any worse.

  3. Who in the right mind would choose under-insured unregulated price-capricious ride in a ride-sharing fraudulent cars ??

    Left unsaid is that these fraudsters also refuse to pay city taxes and municipal dues.

    Here is an example: One man’s $814 uber ride…
    http://laist.com/2014/08/21/pa…..harged.php

    1. Who in the right mind would choose under-insured unregulated price-capricious ride in a ride-sharing fraudulent cars ??

      Umm. me?

      Left unsaid is that these fraudsters also refuse to pay city taxes and municipal dues.

      Good for them. Makes me more likely to use them, knowing what I pay won’t be skimmed by the crooks in City Hall.

    2. “Your help is appreciated as now my rent is overdue due [to] this very high charge.”

      I’m thinking that if your income to expense ratio is that tight, then maybe you shouldn’t have take a cab ride out to bumfuck nowhere in the first place.

      1. . . . it wasn’t him but the driver who took his phone and accepted those charges

        More caveat emptor.

    3. Those are pluses to me, I’ll never take a cab again if I can help it.

    4. Probably those who would like to be able to get a ride when the cabbies have decided that its not cost effective to work at the prices they are allowed to charge.

    5. BigMike|9.22.14 @ 5:05PM|#
      “Who in the right mind would choose under-insured unregulated price-capricious ride in a ride-sharing fraudulent cars ??”

      Who would listen to some lying propagandist?

    6. Thousands and thousands of people. I know it’s sad that they don’t all act and think exactly like you do. Uppity fuckers.

    7. What’s a fraudulent car?

    8. What’s a fraudulent car?

  4. More uber-truth…

    Uber is misleading customers with confusing unregulated pricing schemes:

    http://www.freep.com/story/mon…../15848761/

    1. Not to be confused with the bizarre “regulated” zone pricing schemes in, for example, DC.

      Which is also prone to abuse and fraud by taxis.

    2. “Unregulated” but the company is being sued for deceptive practices as authorized by statute?

  5. SF taxis are often terrible. You can call for one and they may not even show up, for anything less than a ride to the airport.

    1. Exactly. Almost worthless to call them if you’re just trying to get around town.

  6. Uber fraudsters are often horrible. You can call for one and they may not even show up, for anything less than a ride to the airport.

    1. Here’s an idea buffy – how about *you* keep using the taxis, and *I’ll* make my own fucking choices and deal with the risks associated?

      1. Competition, how does it work?

    2. BigMike|9.22.14 @ 5:14PM|#
      “Uber fraudsters are often horrible”

      Hey, Mike! Hope you go bust trying to make a living driving a cab.

  7. The nice thing about BigMike’s cab company is that you don’t have to worry if you might get screwed when you finish your ride. You know right up front that you’re going to get screwed.

  8. This information follows reports out of San Francisco that their taxi industry has seen a 65 percent decline in calls per month compared to 2012.

    Seriously? Then why is it STILL a pain in the arse to call a cab to pick you up in that damn city. Competition: you’re doing it wrong.

  9. The most amazing part of this, to me, is the tremendous lengths these statists go to to simulate a market. We all know everything would balance and flourish in the absence of their heavy hands, but they act as if their regulation is the only thing making it work.

    If they ever legalized suicide, they think they had to push people off bridges because gravity couldn’t do it on its own.

  10. They seem to think that the solution is more regulation

    A business that exists only because of government influence wants more government influence. Who could have guessed? (hint: everyone)

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