'There Are Felons Behind the Wheel!' Uber Drivers Respond to the Stupid Politics of Ridesharing.

A taxi tour around Los Angeles.


Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar are all part of the ridesharing economy loved by urban-dwelling millennials and distrusted by Democratic politicians like Hillary Clinton, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), taxi driver associations, and Salon.com headline writers.

A California administrative court recently ruled that Uber must pay a hefty fine and share more of its data with state regulators or shut down. So, Reason TV's Zach Weissmueller spent a day riding around Los Angeles in Ubers, talking to drivers about some of the rumors swirling around the company: That it doesn't pay its drivers well, that it runs shoddy background checks that put riders at risk, and that its drivers fail to pick up people in bad neighborhoods. He also made a stop at Yellow Cab headquarters to talk with William Rouse, the general manager of Yellow Cab Los Angeles and an outspoken critic of Uber. And for his final leg of the journey, Weissmueller jumped into a good old-fashioned yellow taxi.

To find out what happened, watch the video above. 

Approximately 10 minutes. Produced by Zach Weissmueller and Justin Monticello. Camera by Monticello.

Scroll down for downloadable versions of this video and don't forget to subscribe to Reason TV's YouTube channel for daily content like this.

This story was orginally posted at Reason.com on August 10, 2015.

NEXT: It's Easy to Mistake Whole Foods' John Mackey for a Progressive Left-Winger. Nothing Could Be Further From the Truth.

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  1. If Uber and other ridesharing businesses are too cheap to line the pockets of city officials then that’s their own fault.

    1. +1 Pay to Play

  2. Reason TV’s Zach Weissmueller spent a day riding around Los Angeles in Ubers helping put hardworking Americans out of a job

    1. Yeah, just like Ford put hard working buggy whip workers out of a job.

      1. Their one regret… not forming a buggy whip cartel and smothering automobile manufacturing in the crib.

        1. The buggy whip cartel adapted, and found another market that was into smothering and whipping and safe words.

          1. Buggering whips, in other words.

    1. “The quickest way to devalue a currency is to just stop believing in it.” – Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker

      1. He’s a smart motherfucker.

  3. Taxi companies are terrified of Uber and companies like it and are pulling out all the stops to try to defeat them. Once masses of taxi drivers figure out how to break their slavery to medallions (which they rarely own) and instead become ride shade drivers, the incumbents are done.

    1. ^this
      I don’t understand why taxi drivers don’t just switch over to the ride sharing industry. I can’t imagine that being a taxi driver is that much better than being an Uber driver

      1. Inertia.

        1. More than that. In many cities, medallions are artificially limited and hugely expensive, so protecting their investment means defending the cartel.

          1. Right. Protecting the status quo from innovation is very different from “inertia”.

            1. It’s more akin to “nailing someone’s foot to the floor.”

              1. And then having that someone defend the nail on the basis that they’ve gotten quite used to it.

            2. Oh, I read “inertia” as resistance to change. Social conventions have inertia. But special interests aren’t simply dead weight, they actively push back against innovations.

      2. One reason might be because Uber drivers aren’t really making money. They are generating a short term cashflow, but they aren’t making a profit.

        I know two young guys who bougth new cars because they are so excited about Uber driving they went into it full time. They both claim they are making about $15 dollars an hour and both claim they are factoring in depreciation on their cars. Both also finaced their new cars and will soon have cars with 200 thousand miles and owe 3 times more on their auto loan than the car is worth when it is time to buy another car..

        1. You know no such people. Stop lying, commie.

        2. If you know an Uber driver who is putting 200,000 miles on his car in a couple of years, you don’t need to feel sorry for him. He’s fucking rich.

      3. My understanding is that a good many do just that. The work is harder, but the pay is better.

    2. Your an idiot, most cabs in the United states are independently owned and require no medallion.

      Uber is the transportation cartel who follows no laws and pays politicians off with campaign donations.

      You are just a trendy dope that drank what uber sold you.

      Regulations are in pleace to protect the public safety and intrest.

      Is cab fare really that expensive? Your hiring someone for a few minutes at a time, so there’s gonna be some sort of a premium to that. Im sure if you hire them 8 hours a day 40 hours a week your not gonna get the standard meter rate.

      Again, your an idiot…

      1. Pro-tip – Don’t call someone else an idiot when you confuse your and you’re 3 times in one post.

        1. You know you win when all people do is correct grammar.

          1. No, you “win” when you present a coherent argument and persuade the other person that your position is the correct one.

            So far, all you’ve done is demonstrate that you don’t need fancy learning to drive a cab.

      2. Felons infact drive for Uber.

        Reported by the press Uber driver at LAX had the following convictions.

        ?Child Exploitation
        ?Sex Crimes
        ?No Drivers License
        ?No Car Insurance

        Regardless what the uneducated public thinks, the regulatory requirements in place are to protect the safety & intrest of the consumer.

        The reason sometimes/often taxis can lack in customer service is because passengers treat drivers like crap.

        Imagine your boss coming to you every 15 minutes requesting to negotiate a lower wage. Now imagine that 12 hours 6 days a week. That’s what passengers do to drivers.. they under value the service because anyone can drive & passengers do it themselves daily.

        Passengers vomit, people enter & exit taxis hundreds of times a day. Uber drivers are slowly realizing this reality & are becoming jaded.

        Uber driver quality has dropped, cars now date back to Y2K. Drivers are making less and less as the Uber cartel is increasing the cut they receive.

        Uber is realizing the reality that it’s business model is unrealistic. It will be subject to the same hardships the taxi industry has been… it’s just taking time. Cars burn out, people burn out, driver aditude will definitely worsen.

        Cab driver will convert to uber and you will be picked up by the same person you hated. Star rating systems will become low & lower as uber must retain ample numbers of drivers.

        When uber shuts down the majority of cab services the rates will climb.

        1. “When uber shuts down the majority of cab services the rates will climb”

          And no one will do to monopoly uber what uber did to monopoly cabs? Barriers to entry are pretty low, entrepreneurs will seek out the opportunity to undercut the new, higher Uber rates. Might be wise to learn something about economics.

        2. Regardless what the uneducated public thinks, the regulatory requirements in place are to protect the safety & intrest of the consumer.

          Well, maybe for cabbies, they do. Not a very trustworthy lot.

  4. loved by urban-dwelling millennials and distrusted by Democratic politicians like

    One wonders if there’s going to be a reckoning on this…



      1. We don’t need 15 different types of genocide, one will suffice!

        1. Bernie 2016: Making Fascism Disheveled Again!

    2. Yeah, no kidding. Those same urban millennials are lapping up Sanders’s populist shtick…except the anti-uber parts of course.

      1. It even isnt populism. Sanders is a demagogue. Never understood how giving the fed govt, the oligarchy sanders supposedly despises, more power and more money is somehow looking out for the people

  5. What the taxi cartels need to do is to teach those sharing sons of bitches a lesson one more time and to go on strike.

    1. They went on strike this summer while I was in Paris. Virtually no taxi service in the city. In fact, they all blocked the road to De Gaulle airport forcing people to have to walk.

      1. You’re just lucky there wasn’t one of Paris’ periodic public transport strikes at the same time. That would have been even more fun!

        1. I made the mistake of flying through Charles de Gaulle on my way back to the United States. Looking back on my experience, it wasn’t that bad, but it was bad enough that I won’t fly through Charles de Gaulle again. There wasn’t a strike. Instead the airport workers fulfilled every stereotype of lazy French workers.

          My flight arrived in Paris from Vienna on time. I made my way through the airport to passport control for the terminal for my US-bound flight without a problem.

          I am happy I was at the front of the big group of people trying to get through passport control. There was only one person working passport control, and she took her time stamping my passport with a Schengen Zone exit stamp.

          Beyond passport control was an area of shops and restaurants. There was a men’s room. I needed to use it. I walk in, and there is a line. I thought, “A line for the men’s room is odd, but I need to piss, so I’ll wait it out.” Eventually the line moved enough so I could see the urinals and stalls. Every urinal except one is roped off with signs in both English and French (yes, seriously, both languages) which said, “Out of Order”. All stalls were in order. Eventually I get to working urinal, use it, wash my hands, and leave.


          1. I waited in the gate area for my flight back to the US. Before boarding, I decided to use the men’s room closest to the gate. Again, there is a line. Shit. I decided to wait in line. Eventually the line moved enough so that I could see the urinals and stalls. About half the urinals and half the stalls are roped off with “Out of Order” signs in both English and French. Great.

            I got back to the gate before the gate agents started boarding. When they started boarding, they made an announcement in French, followed by an announcement in shitty English that boarding would start now. There were two lines. I know enough French that I puzzled out the French-only signs to figure out which line I needed to be in.

            I was happy to get back to the United States. I will go out of my way in the future to avoid Charles de Gaulle.

        2. I’m living in Asia and recently met a French guy, a dentist, who is a few years away from retiring and is looking to live in Asia after that, so he’s scoping out land/houses, etc.

          This guy absolutely tore his home country a new anus. According to him, absolutely everything about France is an utter failure. We didn’t have time to talk more specific politics, but he’s the first Frenchy I’ve ever met who talked like a libertarian.

  6. OT: Was this story posted here? It’s a bit old but I found out about it today.

    New Zealand man goes on hunger strike because a government insurance agency won’t pay for his gastric bypass surgery.

    In what may appear to be a slightly self-defeating protest, a Rotorua man is going on hunger strike because ACC won’t fund his weight-loss surgery.

    Jason Patterson has been starving himself for five days.

    “The first two to three days are really hard,” he says. “I’m in this 100 percent now.”

    Mr Patterson is 130kg. He says he gained the weight after being put on previous medication.

    He now needs a hernia operation, which ACC has agreed to fund. But before he can have the surgery, he has to lose at least 50kg.

    1. So, he has to lose weight so the gov’t insurance will pay for his hernia surgery but they won’t pay for the gastric bypass he thinks he needs? Hunger strike, that’ll show em.

      1. Some problems solve themselves?

    2. This sounds like something the onion would come up with.

    3. Not even 300 lbs and he wants a gastric bypass? No wonder they won’t pay for it.

  7. Bill Rouse can go fuck himself. Uber exists because Cabs SUCK.


  8. This is not Netflix v.s. blockbuster. Uber got where it is today by breaking laws and greasing palms. Had they followed the laws we would be having these threads.

    Uber gains it’s success my stealing jobs from people who did as the government regulations required… there business models of cab companies also suffer at the same hands of the government who restrict the number of cars allowed to be on the street… making it harder for a cab company to provide higher quality service.

    If you knew anything about economics you’d know a race to the bottom has no real winners.

    It’s much more easy for a consumer to accept a price drop over a price increase. If you win the race to the bottom your gonna need to raise your price eventually.

    Uber is operating at heavy losses according leaked financial documents and still has many battles to fight.

    When Google enters the rideshare game… and they most definitely will you can rest assure Uber will get crushed!

    Google is already pulling out of Uber and taking Google maps with them, one of many hurdles Uber must deal with.

    Enter the self driving cars and Googles Rideshare app and its a slam dunk… meanwhile Ubers left with it’s reckless mess.

    1. You really dont like uber huh? Not sure uber is operating at a loss

    2. Not sure driverless cars will be around for awhile

    3. Uber got where it is today by breaking laws and greasing palms.

      You mean by breaking protectionist laws that made it illegal for consenting adults to engage in mutually beneficial transactions, and by making campaign contributions so as to make local lawmakers more receptive to the idea of legalizing those transactions, and to counterbalance the impact of contributions made by big cab companies to protect their legal cartel? The monsters! They’re as bad as Hank Reardon!

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