By Don McCurdy
Medallion prices across the fruited plain have dropped further than Hillary’s lip on November 9th. Not only have New York City’s formerly coveted taxicab medallions taken a beating but the former taxi king is now Uber roadkill and three New York based credit unions are reported in receivership.
Taxicab drivers in Kenner, Louisiana are asking courts to intervene and force the city to regulate Uber and Lyft the same astaxicabs.
Miami medallion owners are calling it criminal. There are countless other stories of taxicab drivers, companies and medallion holders failing to compete with the Uber/Lyft phenomenon.
So, what is at the root of this plundering of the industry? Stagnation and protection, not necessarily in that order. Years of protection from competition by government regulations to entry into the market left taxicab companies the only game in town. Companies disconnected from riders by declaring drivers independent contractors and not demanding they provide quality service.
The companies no longer had a stake in the financial transaction between the driver and the rider so it was easy in their minds to view the driver as the customer. The idea that if “he pays he stays” was very common regardless of the driver’s quality of service to the customer.
Regulators did little to improve the industry. Company owners lobbied for rules to protect them from independent contractor drivers being ruled employees. They looked to the regulators to protect their turf with convenience and necessity rules.
Now, along comes Uber and the like with little or no regulation offering driver ratings, cheaper prices and regular people driving, at least in some areas.
The taxi companies and medallion holders are crying out to the courts, the cities, the states and whoever will listen for salvation, but there just doesn’t seem to be an easy answer. Time will tell what version of the taxicab industry remains alive.
Kalanick is reported to be out as CEO of Uber. While he will remain on the board of Uber directors his duties as CEO are done. Investors demanded Kalanick resign after a series of scandals rocked the company.
The articles didn’t mention who will take over for Kalanick, but apparently the new management is going to allow tipping on the app instead of compelling customers to give cash tips if they so choose.
Regardless of his personal fate, which will no doubt be a very rich one, Kalanick’s vision of Uber has set the taxicab industry on its ear. The comments attributed to Kalanick regarding the need for the ground transportation industry to “fundamentally change and grow up” made me doubt that we have seen the last of Travis Kalanick and the Uber empire he’s built.
It’s hard to not want to handle every minor issue when you’ve birthed something the size of Uber. I would imagine that it is equally as hard to walk away from the helm.
If you’ve ever driven passengers for hire you’ve had some bad trips. I’ve heard millions and told my own, but a recent Uber trip in Seattle has to take the cake.
While driving his customers to their destination an Uber passenger pulled out a pistol and shot his wife “execution style.” The driver is reported to have driven on until the male passenger told him to pull over and let him out. The driver then called the police and reported the incident. That has to top the list of bad trips.
Reports are that an Uber driver in Miami has been charged with not speaking English. While census figures indicate that two out of three Miami households speak Spanish, the county requires Uber drivers to be able to “communicate” in English.
Uber is reported to have said that their app allows drivers to “communicate” with passengers in English so it’s not necessary for the driver to actually speak English to “communicate.”
Very interesting concept that. So how do you go about telling the driver they just passed the place you were headed to without speaking to him or her.
In looking at the world in which we live I’ve noted some serious issues our country must deal with:
North Korea, ISIS, illegal immigration, out of control debt and a host of other systemic issues threaten the very existence of this republic. Yet our media and a sizable portion of one of the major political parties are stuck in November 2016.
Their “Russia did it” is the latest embarrassment our country is suffering at their hands. Does anyone besides me recall the entire world knowing Benghazi was a terrorist attack before our “leaders” admitted it to us? Was I the only one who felt embarrassed about how stupid the American people looked?
Well, we are apparently not that stupid since we’ve rejected our plunge into socialist poverty and elected someone who gave us hope.
Our major news outlets have exposed themselves as the propaganda machine of the socialist left and left us with a true dilemma: where do we get real news?
Is there anyone interested in simply reporting the facts as they exist without the negative spin on everyday occurrences. Where does the good of the country fit in?
The ideologues may get excited about talks of impeachment. However, there will have to be more than unsubstantiated rantings from anonymous sources before this can ever happen. The American people are not going to stand by and let the result of their election be cast aside by a group of apparent lunatics with acceptance problems.
The election has passed. You lost. Deal with it. If you can’t see the good of country through the fog of your dogma... resign! If crazy aunt Maxine is a leader in your party you have issues way beyond last years election.
If you have any comments regarding this or any of my articles please feel free to contact me at: email@example.com. - dmc