Re: Release Notes

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Do all the FPP have insomnia?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 2:58 AM
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When I saw the post title I wondered if it would be about this article.

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Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 7:52 AM
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No, it's not about that article, ok? This post is not getting enough love. These are fabulous release notes. I kind of wonder if the writer still has a job.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:17 AM
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Is "release notes" a genre?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 9:17 AM
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This post is not getting enough love. These are fabulous release notes.

Quite true, and I apologize for not commenting on that.

They're very good.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 9:38 AM
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The release notes are fun.

Speaking of Vox, this article says something that echoes a lot of other things I've been reading lately:

We rented a couple of vans. And since we had the vans, we drove them around town a fair amount. Had Uber existed in Miami at that time, we probably wouldn't have bothered with the vans and would have taken a bunch of Uber rides.

I don't get it. Taxis existed. Why are some people so much more willing to take Uber rides than taxis? As far as I understand, Uber is generally not cheaper. Most people would always have preferred a licensed taxi over a gypsy cab, before Silicon Valley got involved. Why is Uber different?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 9:53 AM
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6: Uber's different 'cause they actually show up. With taxis, either you're stuck trying to hail a cab (and watch a bunch of 'em drive past, already with a fare) or you call the dispatcher and maybe they show up, maybe they don't.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 10:02 AM
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It depends on the city. In some places I've been, it's basically impossible to flag down a taxi if you need a ride during a peak time and you can never get a taxi that will pick you up if you're out in the boonies.

Taxis are cheaper in most cities I've tried them, but where I am now, uber is cheaper than taxis because taxi services are required to keep a fixed size fleet in service at basically all times, so the price of having lots of idle taxis is priced into every ride. It's also impossible to get a taxi during peak times unless you get lucky and manage to hop into one just as someone is getting out.


Posted by: sral | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 10:03 AM
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UberX is now priced sub-taxi.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 10:59 AM
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7: There are approximately two places in Pittsburgh you can reliable get a taxi: the airport, and by one of the fancy downtown hotels. That's it. Lyft is a godsend. The local taxi companies are simultaneously trying to crush it and get the state regulatory commission to institute a new category of car share business so basically they can make their own equivalent. Yellow Cab can DIAF. Never had a problem with their drivers, but the company has done an excellent job to make it inconvenient for people to get direct rides. They've abused their monopoly (or semi-duopoly with Classy Cab) for years.

So, yeah, uppity SF tech nerds, please continue disrupting this shit. It'll be more convenient and cut down on drunk driving.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 11:01 AM
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I guess that was really to 6, not 7. Counting's hard.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 11:02 AM
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It depends on the city. In some places I've been, it's basically impossible to flag down a taxi if you need a ride during a peak time and you can never get a taxi that will pick you up if you're out in the boonies.

It's very hard to get a taxi anywhere but to or from the airport here. The drivers are contractors and thus can decline a run if it isn't profitable for them. And the driver's expenses include a big payment to the company with the license to drive the cabs. Even before Lyft and Uber, illegal jitneys were tolerated as long as they mostly stayed in the areas where the licensed cabs wouldn't go. That is, the minority neighborhoods. I've seen a great number of people trying to get a ride home from a bar and the taxi can take more than an hour to show. And that's if the bartender calls for you. Otherwise, there's a good chance one won't show at all. I think the drivers try not to piss off the bartenders because of the repeat business opportunity.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 11:06 AM
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What dalriata said, basically.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 11:07 AM
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Plus, it's more than $60 from house to the airport (with tip). Granted, they put the airport stupidly far out the middle of nowhere, but pricing is just absurd.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 11:15 AM
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Yeah, in ten years in Pittsburgh I took a taxi three times. The only places they exist are the places where the buses all converge anyway, so the only reason to take one was if it was too late to catch a bus.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 11:40 AM
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Uber may have started out as a typical Silicon Valley startup striving to make life slightly easier for people with no real problems, but it is unintentionally also branching out to benefit the average person.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 11:45 AM
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Interesting. I've only ever had taxis fail to show up a few times out of hundreds of times using them, including in far-flung Chicago suburbs. And I saw an article saying that taxi use in the Boston area has dropped 30% because of Uber, which puzzles me because cabs around Boston seem pretty reliable. I guess it sounds more necessary to change something in Pittsburgh.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 11:45 AM
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Were you mostly going from far-flung Chicago suburbs to an airport?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 11:48 AM
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14: Yeah. If you have a car, it's cheaper and more convenient just to pay for parking ($8/day) for anything but a very long trip. Of course, 28X roundtrip is like $4.50, so if I'm doing a business trip I'll just take the 28X to CMU and then a 61 home.

17: Yeah, we just have horrific regulatory capture at both the local and state levels. This might not be a problem in real cities, especially those like yours with better public transit.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 11:51 AM
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18: no. Things like Naperville hotels to Fermilab.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 11:51 AM
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The 28X is free to me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 11:53 AM
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And my girlfriend takes taxis between her home and suburban shopping centers in Syr/ac/use pretty often. It's not a city I would have thought would be especially well served by taxis, but it seems to work.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 11:54 AM
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20: A big hotel (or cluster of hotels) here wouldn't have trouble getting a taxi to show for a fifteen mile trip either.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 11:55 AM
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IM limited E here, cabs show up but Uber is faster enough (5-10 mins vs 20-30) to be a game changer, plus you have a much more accurate sense of when they are going to show up. I kind of despise their business model but the world of taxis was sufficiently fucked to make them really useful.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 12:00 PM
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I sort of despite the Uber/Lyft business model also, but the current taxi commission model is worse.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 12:02 PM
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The thing that got me using Uber was the way they handle payment - via your already-registered credit card, with no interaction required in the vehicle. Of the many things I dislike about taxis, having correct change and/or fiddling the amount of the tip in response to what bills I have is well up there, and your odds of getting a taxi with a working credit card system in this city is below 50%, even in Boston where they're mandatory.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 12:06 PM
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I think I waited almost an hour the one time I called a cab in Cambridge, though it was midnight or so.

I hate cabs, but mostly for motion sickness reasons (sitting in the back seat with a crazy driver), so Uber's not likely to be better.

How are the new Boro Cabs? Is there a Boro Cab stand at the 125th st Metro North station?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 12:07 PM
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This reminds me that I should sign up for Zipcar. Our old car died a couple of weeks ago and we're not replacing it for a while.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 12:15 PM
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21: Even to us regular proles, it's a good deal. Although its eastern terminus always seemed a bit too on the nose to me.

Even if the model is bad, doesn't this open the system up for other players to come in that are less horrible? Competition and free markets and especially David Brooks and all that?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 12:15 PM
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29.2 -- I wouldn't expect it to. Uber largely works because its ubiquitous. I'd expect the only hope to come from a more sanely-regulated Uber, but I also expect Uber to use regulatory capture just as much as its old school taxi cab rivals did (in California, it's main success was political).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 12:22 PM
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Although I haven't used it, every day or two I'll pull up the Lyft app to see what the coverage is. There might be five available cars in the East End at any given time, which seems like it's enough for demand. It wouldn't be hard to quadruple that between four different Uber-eqsue services. But if you're already seeing absolute market dominance by Uber in California, that's really disappointing.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 12:28 PM
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I also get a university discount for joining Zipcar. Thank you Big Education.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 12:28 PM
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Stupid university I work for not being a real university.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 12:33 PM
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(OPINIONS ARE MY OWN NOT MY EMPLOYERS, COMMENT != ENDORSEMENT)


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 12:33 PM
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LAST ONE WAS FROM ME


Posted by: OPINIONATED DALRIATA ON TWITTER | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 12:34 PM
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Even if the model is bad, doesn't this open the system up for other players to come in that are less horrible? Competition and free markets and especially David Brooks and all that?

Somehow I don't see David Brooks becoming a cab driver in Pittsburgh no matter how attractive a business opportunity it becomes.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 2:49 PM
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It's interesting to hear how terrible taxi service is in some cities, and it certainly clarifies the appeal of Uber and Lyft. I've mostly used taxis in Alaska, where service is generally quite good.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 2:51 PM
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Sigh, I meant Thomas Friedman.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 2:55 PM
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Ah, that makes more sense.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 2:57 PM
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I wonder if Pittsburgh actually has the worst taxi service of anywhere in the world.

Even in places like Harrisburg and Scranton you can at least get a cab if you call for one. Possibly because so few people even contemplate that taking a cab is possible, so there is little demand.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 2:59 PM
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What's so bad about Uber's model? (I'm not saying it's good, I'm just totally uninformed about Uber.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 3:07 PM
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41: for one, there are the safety issues, like that article that was floating around by a woman who was stalked by her Uber driver based on the info about her that Uber gave him.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 3:14 PM
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It's the problems with the "sharing economy" generally -- it relies on people's jobs paying them too little to live on so they privatize some portion of their private lives, e.g. their homes (AirBnB) or their cars (Uber, Lyft) or their non-work time (TaskRabbit). On the other end, the idea (ideology) that this isn't their job but it's "extra money" from "sharing" allows the venture capitalists behind it all to drive wages down in the sector (taxicabs, hotels, everything, respectively). Because taxis are so fucked already, it's hard to shed tears for them, but the medallion system does exist to restrict supply and allow drivers to earn a living, which the sharing services are whittling away.

Car sharing is not a fucked idea everywhere--zip car is great and in France BlaBlaCar does have more of a ridesharing quality in operation than the American versions. And there is an attractive idea at the root of it. But the effect, as with disruption generally, is to create a shittier product with more externalities. Again, hard to shed tears for the taxi system being disrupted.


Posted by: K-sky | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 3:37 PM
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42 speaks to the general issue that these are entrants coming into a regulated sector with the express intention of avoiding that regulation, indeed, valorizing the avoidance of regulation. So not every uber driver is a stalker and not every AirBnB user is hosting a BBW orgy but they aren't random incidents either.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 3:38 PM
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As near as I can tell, the current taxi system was constructed to boost private car ownership and drunk driving while transferring money to the private sector benefactors of government-enforced monopolies.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 3:42 PM
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44: Thin-people orgies ruin apartments just as easily.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 3:46 PM
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Tom Slee is a very good and well-researched scourge of the sharing economy. I recommend. An intro by a friend: http://www.laane.org/capitalandmain/couch-surfers-and-billionaires-on-the-sharing-economy/


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 3:47 PM
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A normal cab driver who picks someone up by her house is also able to stalk her later. I'm guessing the difference is that in that scenario the stalkee would have some recourse to complain to a superior in the organization, whereas at Uber which probably has three total employees other than "coders" and "drivers", the recourse is to send emails into the void.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 3:53 PM
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the medallion system does exist to restrict supply and allow drivers medallion owners to earn a living

Everything I've heard about the taxi system makes it sound like an actual clusterfuck; this article says that even one of the top-earning cabbies in Boston, supposedly making ~$50K/year, had to work 80 hours/week to make that. The medallion system may have been *intended* to allow drivers to earn a living, but it doesn't seem to be working out that way in practice.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 3:57 PM
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I think it makes sense to valorise the avoidance of regulation in those particular sectors/localities where regulation has failed and been fully captured by the incumbent. But divorcing that from the general case is difficult.

exist to restrict supply and allow drivers to earn a living

The general case of this is a conceptual hurdle I have with the labor movement: restricting the supply of labor tends to help the incumbent labourers, as it usually involves defining a class of labor that's protected (members of the guild/union/whatever). But I'm probably just being silly as there's probably no way around it.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 4:03 PM
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Somewhat pwned by 49. Medallions are worse since they're essentially a form of capital tied up in the production of cab rides, and anyway aren't the medallions generally not owned by the cabbies?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 4:05 PM
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Ah, the main problem with the model is that Uber's drivers aren't their employees?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 4:40 PM
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43 is correct. In the future, we are all sharecroppers.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 4:41 PM
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Cabbies I've known around here definitely got the shit end of things.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 4:56 PM
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Medallion systems also exist to give someone financial incentive to oppose the issuance of new medallions. If ever there was a sector that needed disruption, its taxis.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 4:56 PM
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When I was weirded out by cabbies, I asked them to drop me at a near corner, where I could feel fairly safe that they wouldn't know exactly where I lived. (Generally, with cabbies, you give them an approximate address until you're nearby anyway.) With Uber, your billing address is built into the ride.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 5:16 PM
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56.last:That doesn't seem like it needs to be a fundamental part of an Uber-like system. There's no reason why the driver should have to know that, even though the company does.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 5:19 PM
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It may be a culture problem. A lot of the Über and Lyft advertising is about "making friends with this cool person who is doing this part time." if I've called a car, I want a car-driver, not a new friend. But then I live in a place with a fairly functional taxi system.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 5:34 PM
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That's even more true if you're calling it in a place that has a dysfunctional taxi system. But I do know somebody who used Lyft and told me how cool his driver was because he was a PhD student in medieval German studies and wanted to talk about his thesis.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 5:42 PM
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"making friends with this cool person who is doing this part time."

There's probably a bad joke about "mustache rides" to be made by somebody who can remember which if them uses mustaches on the grills of cars.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 5:48 PM
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58: Which is a major change from Über's original business, which was taking advantage of the downtime a lot of livery drivers had to let them book fares. (I guess they still do that, but since Lyft showed up their lower-end, non-professional-driver business has gotten a lot more attention.) The original business had none of the downsides of the "ride-sharing" one.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 5:50 PM
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61 -- no, but it did have a lot of the downsides of the "unsustainable income" model. Or what K sky said. No doubt that the taxi medallion model sucked and still sucks it, but it's the difference between, on the one hand, a sustainable but crappy low income job for drivers that benefitted local monopolists, and on the other hand a giant funnel of money to San Francisco VC near monopolists that doesn't pay anyone but them sustainably. But is much more convenient and useful. Probably still makes Uber a net benefit in the particular world of taxi cabs but it'd be nice if we didn't have to choose between these two shitty options.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 6:02 PM
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The problem with [startup] is that it disrupts existing industries by [predatory pricing that it alone can afford thanks to VC / not having employees / not abiding by regulations].


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 6:09 PM
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So...ride-sharing service operation should be run by the local government, allowing a larger share of the income to go to drivers (which might still not be enough to be sustainable) as well as providing an actually responsible party for liability.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 6:13 PM
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it'd be nice if we didn't have to choose between these two shitty options.

Sure. Can I have a pony too?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 6:13 PM
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64 sounds reasonable to me.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 6:15 PM
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Or Blablacar in Europe which (according to Tom Slee, I have no independent knowledge) is something much closer to a pure ride-sharing system, and less just another opportunity to pay people nothing while sending all money to a few disrupters/people with money in the first place.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 6:20 PM
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I'm confused, I thought Über drivers get paid better than cabbies.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 6:26 PM
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So...ride-sharing service operation should be run by the local government, allowing a larger share of the income to go to drivers (which might still not be enough to be sustainable) as well as providing an actually responsible party for liability.

Going a step further, local governments could even buy their own fleets of vehicles, hire their own drivers at actually reasonable wages, run them along established routes frequently and reliably enough that people could depend on them, and subsidize operating costs out of other revenues so the cost to the riders would be reasonable as well. Now that's disruptive!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 6:32 PM
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49 Matches what I've read about the system in NYC: most of the money going to big fleet owners with the cabbies typically netting little more than minimum wage. The primary 'victims' here aren't working class folks, they're wealthy exploitative local capitalists whose income is being diverted to wealthy exploitative out of town capitalists. And maybe the gypsy cab drivers - ten or twenty years ago most parts of New York you couldn't hail a yellow cab, but if you stuck your hand out a car would pull up and take you where you wanted for a price. These were generally moonlighting 'limo' drivers or personal chauffeurs (I remember that Gulf diplomats have some pretty damn comfy cars).


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 6:44 PM
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My understanding is that Uber cut+insurance+depreciation makes it pretty unsustainable, plus the whole business model of advantage over cabs requires that there be sufficient Uber cars to swamp the number of cabs. The whole idea is that people will do this part time and Uber can shift fleet maintenance depreciation and insurance and regulatory costs onto them. I think the old cab model was that you worked for a while for a big company and got paid poorly while saving up to buy your own medallion and work as an "independent" (where you also paid your own costs but were basically guaranteed fares because monopoly. A basically shitty system but Uber's not a peach either.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 6:52 PM
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Can we just agree that the basic problem here is that cars suck and that cities built for cars suck even more? I mean, really, everything else is just quibbling.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 6:57 PM
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No, we can't.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 6:58 PM
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But why on earth would someone rich enough to afford a medallion ever want to drive a cab for a living?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 6:59 PM
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Having googled it, it seems the average NYC yellow cabbie nets about 10-16/hr. (sources vary) That's a bit better than I thought, but still difficult to save up enough for the roughly one million dollars you need for a medallion of your own.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 7:01 PM
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74 To save the money they pay to rent the medallion and to make money renting it out when they're not working. The corporate fleets have to pay twice as much and clearly there's enough demand for it not to be a bad investment, catch is that if you're making thirty grand a year in NYC it's not going to be easy to save up that money even for a loan, and if you do get a loan you're going to be putting a lot of money into interest payments.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 7:06 PM
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Yeah, it varies based on the city, but in NY the medallion is a transferable asset with a set-aside for individual cabbies and an active medallion finance market, so you just have to save enough for the down payment on the loan for a medallion. Again this is a pretty crappy system but there it is.

In LA I've always assumed probably wrongly that the cab system is run by the Russian mob.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 7:12 PM
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I always assumed the cable system was run by some mob or another. Nothing else explains Comcast.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 7:22 PM
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I mean to be clear the old taxi industry definitely sucked it for workers, but at least it was a full time job. Probably some kind of local-subsidized insurance plus maintenance plus booking system would be the way to go, as others have said, or just full public service. Socialism or barbarism.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 7:22 PM
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I use the Hailo app a lot which is for proper taxis. There's no shortage of them in Dublin after deregulation did away with the restriction of taxi "plates" which were once highly valuable (tho not so much as NY's medallions). In the old days no way could I get a cab on a busy night.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 7:27 PM
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Speaking of reasons NY sucks, this white person's sport on ice is exciting. Overtime!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 7:32 PM
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There's now an app for hailing proper taxis here. Apparently, nobody told them it was possible to do so until after Uber started in town.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 7:35 PM
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I haven't used Uber and Lyft, partly because I hate their obnoxious marketing/ideology but mostly because I'm fortunate enough to spend most of my time in places with decent public transit and/or taxis.

I think I linked this blog post here before. St. Louis cabbie arguing that Uber and Lyft, by "creaming" the more lucrative fares, are hurting poor and working class people's ability to get a cab for less-profitable trips.

Conversely, I've also seen (and probably linked here) blog posts by self-identified people of color saying they *liked* Uber and Lyft because it was a guaranteed ride, much better than trying to hail a cab.

When I was weirded out by cabbies, I asked them to drop me at a near corner, where I could feel fairly safe that they wouldn't know exactly where I lived. (Generally, with cabbies, you give them an approximate address until you're nearby anyway.) With Uber, your billing address is built into the ride.

This x10. If I had a dollar for every time I've been relieved I could pay in cash and get out of the car without the the driver knowing anything more about me -- whew.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 7:40 PM
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Whoever this NBC hockey announcer is can really call a game, and it's nice to hear a game genuinely called. It's like listening to Chick Hearn.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 7:41 PM
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The article in 83.2 indicates that St. Louis is very different from Pittsburgh. Those trips he mentions for the working poor are pretty much handled by illegal cabs or not done at all.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 7:59 PM
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Or the bus, of course. Really, mostly the bus.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:02 PM
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But I suspect it's mostly the bus in St. Louis also.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:02 PM
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87: Yeah, I don't know. In Philadelphia, hack cabs handle a lot of that kind of traffic, but I'm not sure they really overlap with buses.

I think it's because there are so many elderly people in Philadelphia. For a surprising number of people it's actually a big deal whether the bus stops before or after the intersection. If you're really not very mobile at all, a hack cab is better than the bus. Also if you are trying to carry multiple bags of groceries.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:05 PM
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Clearly the solution is that Uber drivers should be paid in Uber stock.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:07 PM
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So many old people on the bus during daylight hours but after rush hour. It's kind of sad.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:07 PM
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Riding the bus is a reminder of how quickly death stalks us all.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:08 PM
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82: I thought that was done in response to Uber? I know Yellow Cab (possibly w/ the other cab agencies) is petitioning the state to introduce a category of service that would be similar to Uber/Lft, except it's done by them (and possibly written in a way to exclude Uber/Lyft, but that's speculation on my part).

On Uber drivers' salaries: this article claims that the median full time driver (probably not a reasonable premise) makes $74k in San Francisco and $90k in NYC before insurance/depreciation (but after Uber's cut?).

83.2: He really makes the existence of Uber sound like middle-class-on-poor class warfare (Ctrl+F hipster: 25 matches) , but 83.3 seems like a strong argument against his main point on how Uber will hurt non-cabbie working poor. Admittedly, smart phones are not yet a universal commodity, but that doesn't seem very far away.

And on preview, yeah, this really doesn't line up with what I know about how things work around here.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:10 PM
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At least we didn't cheapen ourselves with a fucking arch.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:11 PM
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92.1: That's what I thought I said, but sarcastically. They did actually try a web service years before Uber, but it was so half-assed.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:12 PM
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93: It doesn't even go across the river! Realising that was a huge disappointment for small-child-me.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:13 PM
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94: Err, my bad, misread, as I am wont to do.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:14 PM
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I used to be impressed, when I thought the arch was some old thing like the Washington Monument. It was built in the 60s. There are older Burger King franchises.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:21 PM
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83.3 seems like a strong argument against his main point on how Uber will hurt non-cabbie working poor. Admittedly, smart phones are not yet a universal commodity, but that doesn't seem very far away.

But you have to pay by credit card for Uber and Lyft, right? Poor and working class people overwhelmingly already have cell phones, and many have smart phones, but access to credit is a huge deal.

One reason why prepaid cell phones are hugely popular in poor neighborhoods is that so many people have bad credit or no credit, and can't get credit cards or get approved for a cell-phone contract.

Also, I haven't seen anything (pro or con) about Uber/Lyft drivers' willingness to come into poor neighborhoods. Be very curious about it. Surely some techie has crunched their ride data by now?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:21 PM
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98.2: Couldn't you use a prepaid card? I know, loaded with fees and all.

98.last: DailyKos has an article that has negative anecdata but I haven't read it all yet.

I just pulled up the Lyft app and there's a car in furthest out Wilkinsburg, which isn't a great neighborhood but by no means the worst in/near the city. I'll watch it a bit. Most seem cars are either in the South Side (drinking district) or near the universities. It is a Saturday night; maybe I should check it out tomorrow morning.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:28 PM
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Aha.

Maps of where Uber takes people. Pittsburgh is included.

Blunt talk from an Uber driver about why he should be allowed to "redline" passengers. More to the point, the blog post shows that there is apparently corporate policy that drivers are allowed to reject passengers.

Hard for companies that hype their data to hide behind ignorance.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:30 PM
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It's not pwnage if you add value.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:33 PM
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100.1: That's pretty clearly avoiding all the poor areas. Also, most of the middle class suburbs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:33 PM
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Or at least many of them. I assume because they drive everywhere.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:35 PM
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100: Ah, yeah, I saw that before but forgot about it. There are definitely poorer neighbourhoods on there, but they aren't well represented. The Hill District and Garfield are on there, a little bit of what I think is Beltzhoover, and the main roads of Homewood, but Lincoln-Lemington-Belmar doesn't show up at all.

So in Pittsburgh, drivers will go on the main roads rarely but never the side-streets of poor neighborhoods, while in nicer neighbourhoods they'll go everywhere (the tiny dead-end I used to live on is bright out of proportion to its importance; it had a lot of students renting).


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:36 PM
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I think the main roads of the poorer areas on there because they traveling through, not picking up fares. The parkways are light up, so it's got to be showing travel, not pick-up/drop-off.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:39 PM
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(Uptown, too, but that can be explained by just trying to get between Downtown and the well-off parts of the East End. Uptown's side streets are pretty bright, which can probably be explained by drivers getting stuck in traffic and switching between Fifth and Boulevard.)

105: But what are the points A and B that Homewood is in between? Or Garfield? Maybe the Hill, but even then you could just as easily take Bigelow--and in fact it'd be faster.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:43 PM
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WHOOOO SUCK IT NY I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED HOCKEY


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:43 PM
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The arch rules. One of my favorite national monuments. Just sheer, kickass engineering.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:47 PM
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106.2: Lots of people live in Penn Hills and come into the city down Frankstown or otherwise through Homewood. Garfield is between Highland Park and Stanton Heights and various places. Plus, there's some development there that attracts money to Penn now. And Bigelow isn't faster than Fifth or Forbes to much of downtown from the west side of Oakland.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:50 PM
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The map reflects more routes through Homewood than just Frankstown, but fair enough. (I have a blind spot for the existence of Penn Hills. No clue why besides city person privilege, but as a geography nerd it bothers me.) Garfield isn't between Highland Park and Stanton heights--just take Stanton Ave. Even if you're taking Mossfield, you only touch a corner of Garfield. Due to the cemetery and Pittsburgh geography (and racism!), it's a really easy neighbourhood to completely ignore for how central it is. Fifth/Forbes can be faster, but you're still not taking Center through the Hill, which was the comparison I was making. It has a lot of lights and they aren't particularly well timed like Fifth's.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 8:57 PM
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I was thinking if they were taking Aiken or something through Garfield. I've never done it, but everybody I know can get to Highland Park faster than me, so I assume they must know a way. But I hadn't noticed the traffic on Centre and don't know why people would take it. Maybe it's a way to slip out more quickly after a hockey game.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 9:02 PM
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But anyway, I don't mean to defend this: there should be some regulation that requires rideshare operators to not redline.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 9:04 PM
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Too late. I'm trying to figure out what I know about Centre Ave. in that area. Mostly, I just remember a bunch of hills and curves.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 9:06 PM
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It's not just Centre: there's also Bedford (no reason to take as through traffic, lots of stop signs) and some roads to get into/out of the hill from Uptown--Kirkpatrick and Dinwiddle, I think. Either those drivers are very confused or they really are going to/from the Hill.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 9:08 PM
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I just see that it gets bigger if you click on it. I see that you mean about Kirkpatrick. That's a lot of traffic and there no other reason for it to be there except serving residents in the area.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 9:12 PM
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But I don't see much going through Garfield except Aiken. Mossfield skirts the area, but I still suspect that is being used as a "shortcut".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 9:17 PM
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That's probably enough of the Pittsburgh traffic report. Plus, sleepy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 9:19 PM
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Mossfield, Mathilda/Schenley, and a set of blocks north of Penn. I'm surprised that Mossfield would be a shortcut since Penn to Negley doesn't take that long, but then again I don't drive much.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 9:21 PM
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Ha, fair enough. Once again we show that we're incapable of dealing with general trends without changing the discourse to apply to our provincial city.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 9:22 PM
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Once again we show that we're incapable of dealing with general trends without changing the discourse to apply to our provincial city.

Mouseover!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06- 7-14 9:31 PM
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We don't have mouseovers in my city.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06- 8-14 12:02 AM
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Sucks to be you, then.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06- 8-14 12:05 AM
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We don't have sucks in my city. We're very prudish.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06- 8-14 12:23 AM
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122 to 123.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06- 8-14 12:47 AM
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123 to 122. Thread complete.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06- 8-14 12:49 AM
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Always already, the eternal return.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06- 8-14 1:10 AM
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I'm not in love with the argument-by-anecdata in this piece about sexual harassment and Uber, but if she's right that passengers' full names and phone numbers are revealed to drivers, that's a big deal.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 8-14 4:12 PM
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I'd guess that Uber could tweak its service to provide more privacy (say, by using anonymous account numbers to set up rides). But I think it would be a lot more interesting if people had more tools that they themselves could use to ensure their privacy... for instance, pseudonymous credentials. Maybe one can use Uber with a pseudonym?


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 06- 8-14 7:37 PM
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And no-one was killed or seriously injured in building the Arch, either.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06- 9-14 4:28 PM
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I know you're all interested in the state of ride-sharing in Pittsburgh.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:50 AM
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We are. Thanks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:55 AM
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