Rideshare services - Uber, Lyft, Hailo, etc.

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This is the thread for talking about your experiences with rideshare services/apps. Which ones you like, which ones you don't. The peculiar legal ramifications and restrictions in some cities (e.g. did you know that rideshare services need a taxi license to operate in Minneapolis but not in St. Paul? http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2014/04/twin-cities-are-taking-very-different-approaches-lyft-and-uberx/8830/).

Immediate Follower (NA), Wednesday, 23 April 2014 15:30 (five years ago) link

i use uber all the time

seems like a shitty company but i also pay james dolan money for cable so \(o_O)/

le goon (J0rdan S.), Wednesday, 23 April 2014 15:31 (five years ago) link

Lyft seems embarrassing.

Immediate Follower (NA), Wednesday, 23 April 2014 15:39 (five years ago) link

I like how all of those giant pink mustaches lasted like a month on the front end of cars in Chicago weather before being demoted to the dashboards.

djenter the dragon? (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Wednesday, 23 April 2014 16:12 (five years ago) link

whats wrong with a taxi

idontknowanythingabouttechnlolgeez (waterface), Wednesday, 23 April 2014 16:15 (five years ago) link

My one experience with Uber was a mixed bag; basically, don't use them for transportation away from big events unless you are made out of money.

Wahaca Flocka Flame (DJP), Wednesday, 23 April 2014 16:21 (five years ago) link

Uber and Lyft just launched in Cleveland this month. Haven't tried them, and can't imagine any circumstance where I would.

bi-polar uncle (its OK-he's dead) (Phil D.), Wednesday, 23 April 2014 16:26 (five years ago) link

hey, taxi

idontknowanythingabouttechnlolgeez (waterface), Wednesday, 23 April 2014 16:29 (five years ago) link

TAXI!!!!

idontknowanythingabouttechnlolgeez (waterface), Wednesday, 23 April 2014 16:29 (five years ago) link

it amazes me that nouveau tech people are so credulous as to willingly throw away decades of accumulated consumer protections and regulations for the novelty of calling an unlicensed cab with an iphone app.

adam, Wednesday, 23 April 2014 16:33 (five years ago) link

yeah but you can do it with your phone

idontknowanythingabouttechnlolgeez (waterface), Wednesday, 23 April 2014 16:36 (five years ago) link

And you don't have to accidentally touch some peon by handing them money.

bi-polar uncle (its OK-he's dead) (Phil D.), Wednesday, 23 April 2014 16:37 (five years ago) link

everyone who drives for lyft looks like they're pomplamoose roadies

christmas candy bar (al leong), Wednesday, 23 April 2014 16:38 (five years ago) link

let's all move to our own islands and have no government

idontknowanythingabouttechnlolgeez (waterface), Wednesday, 23 April 2014 16:38 (five years ago) link

whats wrong with a taxi

taxis are great if you can get one

ugh (lukas), Wednesday, 23 April 2014 16:46 (five years ago) link

you can say the same about Uber tho, and depending on where/when you contact them it can end up being ten times more expensive

Wahaca Flocka Flame (DJP), Wednesday, 23 April 2014 16:48 (five years ago) link

I know some people who drive for Lyft, I would never set foot in a car with them behind the wheel.

dan m, Wednesday, 23 April 2014 16:51 (five years ago) link

ny doesn't have $1m taxi medallions because consumer protections just cost so much - so it's great that the pretty terrible industry (which just did its best to prevent people from the outer boroughs from getting *regulated* taxis) is getting ""disrupted""

otoh I generally don't have trouble finding a taxi the rare times that I do need to get one (even more true thanks to the green cabs) so I have no desire to dl an app so I can pay more money for the privilege.

iatee, Wednesday, 23 April 2014 16:52 (five years ago) link

My one experience with Uber (after a wedding on St. Patrick's Day), the poor guy got pulled over by a cop as he was pulling up to the bar to pick us up.

Kiarostami bag (milo z), Wednesday, 23 April 2014 16:55 (five years ago) link

I'm going to be irritatingly pedantic for a minute. This is at least how it works in Chicago. Taxi regulations are very locally specific:

Hailo isn't a ride share service. It's basically a decentralized, app-based dispatching service for legal, licensed taxicabs. It's another way to call a cab that isn't cab company-specific and leaves out the middle-person dispatcher. It's also a convenient, hassle-free way to pay for a cab with a credit card. Also safer to use a credit card this way since taxi CC machines are sketchy as heck.

Uber has three components - a decentralized, app-based dispatching service through which you can call licensed taxis; a private car service, like a chauffer service; and a private car ride share service called Uber X.

Lyft is just a private ride share service.

So I like the Hailo and Uber taxi-hailing apps a lot. It's not impossible to hail a cab on the street where we live, but you could end up standing around for ten minutes or so or fighting with people on other corners so it's really nice to be able to get a guaranteed taxi. I have had problems with availability of cabs through both apps, and I've had drivers cancel on me for no reason, which is frustrating.

I've never used Uber's black car service because that shit's expensive and I'm not a rock star.

I used Uber X twice - once by accident because I had a credit and thought it was for the cab hailing part, and once with Jeff on purpose because he had the same credit. I never would have used it by myself if I'd realized what was going on. Call me paranoid, but fuck getting into some stranger's unregulated, unlicensed personal car for a god damn ride somewhere. I feel the same way about Lyft. I think there are also some major labor issues to consider with Uber X and Lyft as far as the drivers being classified as independent contractors and not having workers' comp coverage or being covered by wage and hour or overtime laws. Basically they can be paid exploitation rates of pay for what they do, and would have to drive A LOT to make a living.

carl agatha, Wednesday, 23 April 2014 16:56 (five years ago) link

iatee, in NYC you can only hail yellow cabs on the street, right? And if you want to call for a ride you've got to call a chauffeur service like Uber's black car?

carl agatha, Wednesday, 23 April 2014 16:58 (five years ago) link

The one person I know who drives for Lyft only does it for a few hours a night a couple nights a week and on one weekend night—purely for supplemental income.

Johnny Fever, Wednesday, 23 April 2014 16:58 (five years ago) link

There's also potentially massive liability issues with Lyft and Uber X drivers, just because of the unlicensed and unregulated nature of the services.

There are big problems with the way cabs are licensed and regulated (Chicago fares are some of the lowest urban fares in the nation and drivers don't get paid shit, making it really difficult for them to make a living as well, plus there has been reams of litigation about whether drivers are independent contractors or employees and thus afforded certain legal protections) so I get the appeal of something like Lyft or Uber X disrupting all of that (and again, I'm looking at this from a Chicago perspective, which is a different taxi setup than in other cities) but the whole thing is just too potentially sketchy and fraught for me to trust it.

carl agatha, Wednesday, 23 April 2014 17:02 (five years ago) link

the idea of being an occasional Lyft driver crossed my mind solely because the idea of putting that horrific mustache on the front of my car cracked me up

Wahaca Flocka Flame (DJP), Wednesday, 23 April 2014 17:05 (five years ago) link

legally yeah but in the outer boroughs the lack of yellow cabs meant that hailing black cabs was the norm not the exception. bloomberg created green cabs (which can only be hailed in the outer boroughs / upper manhattan) to legalize/regulate what was already happening and the taxi industry fought it in courts, but eventually lost.

black cabs still exist and still get hailed tho, both in the boroughs and in manhattan.

xp

iatee, Wednesday, 23 April 2014 17:06 (five years ago) link

and while some drivers might make more money w/ uber atm than they do in places w/ fucked up regulations, in the long term the price/wages are gonna be driven down...though I guess soon enough they'll be replaced by google car so

iatee, Wednesday, 23 April 2014 17:13 (five years ago) link

if you mean the driverless car that will never happen

idontknowanythingabouttechnlolgeez (waterface), Wednesday, 23 April 2014 18:02 (five years ago) link

The one person I know who drives for Lyft only does it for a few hours a night a couple nights a week and on one weekend night—purely for supplemental income.

― Johnny Fever, Wednesday, April 23, 2014 11:58 AM (1 hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

This is what the people I know do. They also use it to drive drunk people around and find out where the party is, then park their cars and get fucked up until the morning comes.

dan m, Wednesday, 23 April 2014 18:05 (five years ago) link

whats wrong with a taxi

taxis are great if you can get one

Flywheel

the day upworthy breaks the story of the lyft murderer who drove his victims to an airbnb death dungeon is the day u know ur paradigm has truly been disrupted

adam, Wednesday, 23 April 2014 18:19 (five years ago) link

"Please rate your driver"

Echoing that taxis are fine if you can get them -- in SF, depending on where you are and what time it is, sometimes you might as well walk. Lyft has the app and the ease of taking care of everything that way. However, the drivers don't generally know the city as well as taxi cab drivers (though they also don't typically drive as recklessly).

Dominique, Wednesday, 23 April 2014 18:22 (five years ago) link

two months pass...

1. there was a big taxi protest in DC today:

Drivers in and around downtown D.C. were gridlocked in traffic Wednesday as a caravan of angry taxi drivers made its way from East Potomac Park to Freedom Plaza — in a protest against app-based ride sharing services such as UberX.

the taxis all honked constantly for about 2-3 hours outside of my work. they weren't little short honks but rather of the HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONK, HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONK, HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONK variety. one one hand, the drivers achieved their goal of getting people to think about the Uber/Lyft/Sidecar issue and to talk about it. on the other hand, the most common thing i heard among pedestrians and workers in the area was "SHUT THE FUCK UP! GODDAMIT, SHUT THE FUCK UP!!"

i want to be sympathetic toward the taxi drivers. but even though i've never used Uber-like services as i don't use taxis very often at all, they clearly seem to be better on a technological level. when a rottweiler munched on my shin and calf a few weeks ago, it took calls to 3 different taxi companies before someone was able to pick up the phone and then agree to send someone to my house. 40 minutes passed before it finally arrived, and i live in DC proper, not way out in the suburbs or something. when the driver showed up, he refused to shut the fuck up even though i made it clear that i was bleeding and in a great deal of pain. he was physically unable to shut the fuck up. then he refused to take me to the nearest hospital (howard university) because "that's not a good hospital". instead he took me to a hospital across town, during rush hour, so the ride took forever. the entire time he talked about how much he loved money and also gave me advice about dog bites. he also, of course, spent a good chunk of time complaining about Uber.

anywhere, clearly an anecdote about a terrible taxi ride doesn't build a very strong case against taxi drivers, but pretty much every time i take a taxi i end up with the most terrible human beings of all time. i haven't used Uber but i've heard that they actually show up, you can tell when they'll arrive using an app, and that they don't talk much. sounds heavenly.

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 25 June 2014 20:13 (five years ago) link

My god, Karl, I hope you called to complain about that driver! The delay is absurd and part of why I am in favor of the decentralized dispatch services provided by Uber and Hailo, but him not taking you to your requested destination is not only straight up awful but must violate some kind of DC consumer services regulation. Is there a complaint number to call? That guy is a god damn menace.

carl agatha, Wednesday, 25 June 2014 20:18 (five years ago) link

when a rottweiler munched on my shin and calf a few weeks ago, it took calls to 3 different taxi companies before someone was able to pick up the phone and then agree to send someone to my house. 40 minutes passed before it finally arrived, and i live in DC proper, not way out in the suburbs or something. when the driver showed up, he refused to shut the fuck up even though i made it clear that i was bleeding and in a great deal of pain.

sounds like a shitty situation and i feel for you karl malone but you didn't want to call an ambulance?

marcos, Wednesday, 25 June 2014 20:24 (five years ago) link

i was more concerned about the pulsing pain and shooting blood from my leg then taking his taxi ID number or whatever. i kept saying "yeah i'm in a lot of pain right now" as my response to his running monologue about how much he loved money that was occasionally sprinkled with questions to confirm that i agreed that money was awesome as well.

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 25 June 2014 20:26 (five years ago) link

xpost
hard to explain, but i was in enough pain and bleeding enough to need to go to the hospital, but not enough to feel the need to pay several hundred dollars for an ambulance ride.

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 25 June 2014 20:28 (five years ago) link

i (as well as several friends) have been using Uber X and Lyft fairly regularly for months now and they are a thousand times better than your typical taxi service in nearly every conceivable way.

circa1916, Wednesday, 25 June 2014 20:29 (five years ago) link

i want to be sympathetic toward the taxi drivers. but even though i've never used Uber-like services as i don't use taxis very often at all, they clearly seem to be better on a technological level. when a rottweiler munched on my shin and calf a few weeks ago, it took calls to 3 different taxi companies before someone was able to pick up the phone and then agree to send someone to my house. 40 minutes passed before it finally arrived, and i live in DC proper, not way out in the suburbs or something.

it took me a while to understand this in my area, being a very infrequent taxi user who never had any of them around growing up, but i think basically taxi companies have a lot of unspoken ways of doing things that they require you to deal with if you want their convenience. factor in having to deal with a lot of demanding erratic customers who don't understand these things and i guess i can understand why they can get kind of fuck-you sometimes.

i'm thinking things like expectations about when people travel, under what circumstances it's reasonable to expect a fast pickup, where they expect you to go (wrt taxis being around you and finding fares wherever they end up).

recently i had an injury and had to take more taxis than i could afford because i didn't have any other way, and i got quite a range of service. some drivers had very slick smartphone apps, a square thingy. some knew where they were going. some couldn't find me standing at the opposite corner from where they expected. one guy had to fill out a card charge on fuckin carbon-copied slips by hand, but when i saw the phone he was working with, and figured what he must be making driving the cab, i really couldn't be irritated at him - anyone who could afford it would leap at the conveniences that would probably help them pull down more tips and other desirables. once i got picked up on a street corner by a passing cabbie i flagged down (apparently this does not really work much) who was ok with dumping me in the front seat with another fare in the back, only to have the actual cab i had called (there were a LOT driving past that night) swoop in and get irritated at the other one, and at me, for taking the fare he had oked. but how was i to know?? i was just standing in a snowstorm with a bum foot miles from home! etc.

j., Wednesday, 25 June 2014 22:00 (five years ago) link

i was more concerned about the pulsing pain and shooting blood from my leg then taking his taxi ID number or whatever. i kept saying "yeah i'm in a lot of pain right now" as my response to his running monologue about how much he loved money that was occasionally sprinkled with questions to confirm that i agreed that money was awesome as well.

I'm sorry. I didn't mean to imply that you had any sort of responsibility to report this guy. It was more of a "Justice for Karl Malone!" kind of thing. I get that way when I get angry at something on someone's behalf.

carl agatha, Wednesday, 25 June 2014 23:23 (five years ago) link

Oh no, it's cool! Believe me, as I sat I sat in the backseat I thought "what would a more direct person do here? Most people wouldn't stand for this." It's totally reasonable. People's thresholds for bullshit change over time, and I hope that when I'm an older man I'll have the courage to call out bullshit like that.

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 25 June 2014 23:50 (five years ago) link

three weeks pass...

anyone used relayrides? looks pretty sweet.

this is probably a dumb question but if you get pulled over what are you supposed to show for insurance?

mattresslessness, Monday, 21 July 2014 20:09 (five years ago) link

I use Uber and Hailo for calling real cabs. I don't use the ride sharing services, probably because I just use the real cabs, they always seem more plentiful. But I like the idea of them and fully support them.

Jeff, Monday, 21 July 2014 20:32 (five years ago) link

relayrides = car rental

mattresslessness, Monday, 21 July 2014 20:33 (five years ago) link

cab drivers i'm sentimental about but i truly hope car rental companies get disrupted out of existence by this thing

mattresslessness, Monday, 21 July 2014 20:36 (five years ago) link

three months pass...

what exactly did this guy say? I can't track it down anywhere, just reactions to it.

akm, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 19:18 (four years ago) link

fuck these services

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 19:21 (four years ago) link

no way in hell am I entrusting the lives of my children with some unlicensed uninsured asshole with a handlebar mustache

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 19:24 (four years ago) link

A pink handlebar mustache pasted to the front of his car, even.

carl agatha, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 19:30 (four years ago) link

Sigh. I got in a yellow cab the other day and it was in poor condition inside, old, everything was plastic, and the passenger divider with sliding window made the back seat so small I could barely sit down and had to put my legs sideways.

I was also remembering the "old" days of calling livery cars and being on hold for infinite minutes, cars that were supposed to be on the way coming 15-30 mins late, speaking to rude dispatchers who might not understand me and I might not understand them, never knowing what the car looked like so finding it at the airport was 100% anxiety, drivers trying to rip you off if you didn't agree to the price ahead of time, and so many other shitty things.

Whereas I can call a car with Juno (I only use June on the basis that afaict they pay the drivers more?) that arrives in 1 min and it's a nice passenger vehicle and I know the driver's name/license plate. There's no downside, if you're a passenger. But are drivers surviving? Idk. :(

There's more Italy than necessary. (in orbit), Thursday, 31 January 2019 16:55 (eight months ago) link

Barcelona to outlaw Uber in the most obnoxious way possible

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/31/uber-cabify-suspended-operations-barcelona

Andrew Farrell, Monday, 4 February 2019 21:07 (eight months ago) link

I had an experience a few months ago that left me really sour on both rideshare services and cabs, tbh. I was at a concert at a big arena in a different suburb from the one I live in, roughly 10-11 miles from my house. Not really conveniently served by public transportation, the train line is within a walkable (if a long walk) distance, but there are almost no sidewalks and tons of major intersections to try and get through.

Short version - Lyft server issues, couldn't get a driver to accept my request over 2+ hours of trying. Uber (which I always try to avoid using, had to reinstall the app) was going to cost over $110 for whatever reason... so, no. Called a few cab companies, first one laughed at me when I said where I was and hung up on me; second one told me it'd be a 3-4 hour wait for a ride; third told me they don't serve that arena since the arena signed a deal with Lyft for a dedicated waiting area. End up having to call my wife and wake her up at 2:00 a.m. to come pick me up. Just frustrating on all sides.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 4 February 2019 21:28 (eight months ago) link

fuck all of these companies, they should be outlawed imo. they put more cars on the road, treat their employees like shit, and provide a service already readily available from other providers

Οὖτις, Monday, 4 February 2019 21:31 (eight months ago) link

fwiw, don't disagree with that. Usually use cabs when I'm doing an airport trip or short trips within the city, but outside of Chicago city limits the cab services are so terrible that they aren't much better. Refusing to accept credit cards, refusing to cross certain arbitrary lines, etc etc.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 4 February 2019 21:35 (eight months ago) link

oh that wasn't directed at you, that was just my general feeling

Οὖτις, Monday, 4 February 2019 21:40 (eight months ago) link

jon it sounds like all the Lyft drivers might have been at the dedicated Lyft waiting area?

sciatica, Monday, 4 February 2019 21:46 (eight months ago) link

That's where I was, but it was just a pickup zone, you still had to request the ride through the app. There were a couple of Lyft "helpers" in the waiting area, one of them confirmed when I asked him for help that the servers were having issues and that he didn't know when it was going to be resolved. He tried requesting a ride for me as well with no luck. That's when I turned to the other options.

I mean it was probably just a perfect storm of issues but it was frustrating to have so many options theoretically available but still have no luck.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 4 February 2019 21:53 (eight months ago) link

-they put more cars on the road-

i once asked a driver if he thought it was better to wait for rides in a static place or drive around, and he said lyft encourages them to drive around. gas alone...

alomar lines, Tuesday, 5 February 2019 06:21 (eight months ago) link

two weeks pass...

A more serious proposal might start with the possibility that Uber is opposed to public transit by design—every ride taken on a subway or bus is competition for its growing supply of cars.

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/dept-of-design/uber-and-the-ongoing-erasure-of-public-life

sold out in presale (sleeve), Friday, 22 February 2019 23:56 (eight months ago) link

five months pass...

$5.24 billion loss in the second quarter for uber

mookieproof, Thursday, 8 August 2019 21:56 (two months ago) link

expecting a hard-hitting speech from the coach at halftime

mookieproof, Thursday, 8 August 2019 21:57 (two months ago) link

Ouch
With a service that’s indistinguishable from its competitors and no physical product, I think it’s going to be hard for Uber to turn around these losses

calstars, Thursday, 8 August 2019 23:52 (two months ago) link

imagine if Uber's investors put that much into public transport infrastructure in their cities

quelle sprocket damage (sic), Friday, 9 August 2019 00:39 (two months ago) link

It's a long J'accuse, but the tl;dr is that Uber will never, ever recover and the sooner it crashes/burns, the better:
https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2019/05/ubers-path-of-destruction/

These beliefs about Uber’s corporate value were created entirely out of thin air. This is not a case of a company with a reasonably sound operating business that has managed to inflate stock market expectations a bit. This is a case of a massive valuation that has no relationship to any economic fundamentals. Uber has no competitive efficiency advantages, operates in an industry with few barriers to entry, and has lost more than $14 billion in the previous four years. But its narratives convinced most people in the media, invest­ment, and tech worlds that it is the most valuable transportation company on the planet and the second most valuable start-up IPO in U.S. history (after Facebook).

Uber is the breakthrough case where the public perception of a large new company was entirely created using the types of manufactured narratives typically employed in partisan political campaigns. Narrative construction is perhaps Uber’s greatest competitive strength. The company used these techniques to completely divert attention away from the massive subsidies that were the actual drivers of its popularity and growth. It successfully framed the entire public discussion around an emotive, “us-versus-them” battle between heroic innovators and corrupt regulators who were falsely blamed for all of the industry’s historic service problems. Uber’s desired framing—that it was fighting a moral battle on behalf of technological progress and economic freedom—was uncritically ac­cepted by the mainstream business and tech industry press, who then never bothered to analyze the firm’s actual economics or its anticompetitive behavior.

In reality, Uber’s platform does not include any technological breakthroughs, and Uber has done nothing to “disrupt” the eco­nomics of providing urban car services. What Uber has disrupted is the idea that competitive consumer and capital markets will maximize overall economic welfare by rewarding companies with superior efficiency. Its multibillion dollar subsidies completely distorted marketplace price and service signals, leading to a massive misallocation of resources. Uber’s most important innovation has been to produce staggering levels of private wealth without creating any sustainable benefits for consumers, workers, the cities they serve, or anyone else.

Prior to its IPO, Uber publicly released limited P&L results. These showed GAAP net losses of $2.6 billion in 2015, $3.8 billion in 2016, $4.5 billion in 2017, and $3.9 billion in 2018.1

In its April IPO S-1 prospectus, Uber recast all its historical P&L results, allegedly to isolate the terrible results in three major markets (China, Russia, and Southeast Asia) that Uber has abandoned from the results of its ongoing operations (which are the primary concern of potential investors).2 But Uber’s S-1 included $5 billion—roughly $3 billion in divestiture gains and $2 billion representing Uber’s valuation of its untradeable equity/debt positions in the companies that took over its failed operations—as part of net income from its ongoing operations. This deliberate misstatement was designed to give potential investors the impression that the profitability of Uber’s current marketplace services had improved by $5 billion, and that Uber actually made a billion dollar net profit in 2018. If one correctly segregates ongoing and discontinued results, however, Uber’s actual 2018 profit improvement was zero. Its ongoing operations lost $3.5 billion in 2017, and lost $3.5 billion again in 2018. The company’s losses over the last four years from still ongoing operations were roughly $14 billion.

Elvis Telecom, Monday, 12 August 2019 22:06 (two months ago) link

Like so much journalism about @uber, this piece is long on drama but never quite says the most important thing: You always need one driver hour per customer hour. So growth is irrelevant to profitability. The model will never scale. (1/) https://t.co/cY9e4Hl3e0

— Jarrett Walker (@humantransit) August 26, 2019

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Monday, 26 August 2019 18:26 (one month ago) link

"You always need one driver hour per customer hour. So growth is irrelevant to profitability. The model will never scale." I mean, that's not counting the costs of developing, improving and maintaining the app/network, which of course do scale.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Monday, 26 August 2019 19:25 (one month ago) link

here we go

BREAKING: Former Google and Uber Star Engineer Anthony Levandowski Indicted on Federal Charges — 33 Counts of Theft or Attempted Theft of Trade Secretshttps://t.co/P3gYub1ecz

— rat king (@MikeIsaac) August 27, 2019

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Tuesday, 27 August 2019 17:33 (one month ago) link

unrelatedly

An investor who put money into an index that tracks the Nasdaq in December 2014 would be up ~65%

An investor who put money into Uber--the most hyped unicorn of the decade--in December 2014 would be up ~0.6% pic.twitter.com/zs07GZ8wSt

— Eliot Brown (@eliotwb) August 27, 2019

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Tuesday, 27 August 2019 17:33 (one month ago) link

What's his source for the valuation of non-public Uber shares in December 2014?

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 27 August 2019 21:59 (one month ago) link

https://venturebeat.com/2015/05/10/timeline-how-ubers-valuation-went-from-60m-in-2011-to-a-rumored-50b-this-month/

This has Uber's valuation at $17B in June 2014, and the market cap today is $56B. While it's hard to know exactly what the terms of the private investment were, wouldn't that imply that if you had invested in Uber in June 2014 , you'd have earned nearly a 300% return? I can't really fathom what that tweet is supposed to mean -- the screenshot is just the percent change from the prior day's close so I don't know what the hell he's talking about. Am I missing something here?

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 27 August 2019 22:04 (one month ago) link

Also kind of irrelevant, since an ordinary layperson COULDN'T have invested in Uber in 2014.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 27 August 2019 22:04 (one month ago) link

oh sorry he said December 2014, so I guess that means the valuation was more like $40B. Still, that gives you something in the range of a 40% return, not .6%.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 27 August 2019 22:06 (one month ago) link

Also kind of irrelevant, since an ordinary layperson COULDN'T have invested in Uber in 2014.

― longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, August 27, 2019 6:04 PM (seven minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

i don't see why this makes the point irrelevant. he's not talking about the implications of this observation for a random person's 401k:

What's amazing is how little chilling effect its performance seems to have had on Silicon Valley

VCs so often pour money into a sector based on the apparent success of a single company. But the poor public markets reception to the most-anticipated unicorn barely registers

— Eliot Brown (@eliotwb) August 27, 2019

(although it was actually relatively easy to invest in uber as a random person back then. it famously had a very active pre-ipo secondary market.)

as for the numbers, i'm not actually sure what he's talking about either. agree that the screenshot is a red herring. he wrote this longer piece but it's firewalled.

for the companies that raised the most money, the return was lower https://t.co/8A0puufhVH pic.twitter.com/c7OgFiHaMg

— Eliot Brown (@eliotwb) August 27, 2019

(fun fact, my employer is on this list and not in one of the good places)

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Tuesday, 27 August 2019 22:19 (one month ago) link

it's not just VCs. superstar fund managers get zillions for steering funds that routinely underperform standard indexes.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 28 August 2019 07:01 (one month ago) link

One thing I often wonder about Uber -- if they weren't plowing so much money into trying to become the first all-self-driving taxi network by actually developing self-driving taxis, would their main existing business be profitable? Maybe that's something I could figure out reading their SEC filings. Like it seems to me like if you can be profitable as a regular brick-and-mortar car service where you have to actually own a fleet of cars, medallions, a dispatch, etc., then in theory you should be even more profitable if all you do is build an app and make your drivers carry all the expense and risk. Like could a ride-sharing/ride-hailing app business be profitable today if that's all it focused on (e.g. something like Juno).

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Wednesday, 28 August 2019 14:06 (one month ago) link

The article posted by Elvis Telecom spoke a lot about that: https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2019/05/ubers-path-of-destruction/

Short answer: No, Uber would not be profitable, because the reason it was good - and it really was, I used it myself on Sundays when I was too hungover to bike to church - was not the app, it was the 20 billion dollars they spent sending more riders on the street, and keeping prices lower, than the fundamental economics of taxi companies allow for.

Frederik B, Wednesday, 28 August 2019 14:24 (one month ago) link

Yeah that makes sense. I would ultimately pay at least the same price as a taxi to use an Uber-type service, fwiw, because taxis have just never been easy to get where I live. Plus they have the child seat option, which taxis do not have. So maybe there is an opening for that. I typically use Juno now (which I think is only available in NYC and maybe a few other cities) instead of Uber, because drivers prefer it (it pays them better). Consequently there are also more drivers for Juno available at any given time--they all drive for multiple services but tend to prefer a Juno ride to an Uber or Lyft ride. No idea if the company is profitable though.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Wednesday, 28 August 2019 14:37 (one month ago) link

Well, apparently Juno is not profitable, and is up for sale:

https://qz.com/1574399/ride-hail-service-juno-is-up-for-sale/

It's funny how the company that makes out ok while paying a living wage is Via, which focuses solely on shared rides -- it's basically like one of those airport shuttles that does a bunch of pickups and dropoffs. I.e. it's a shittier version of...PUBLIC TRANSIT.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Wednesday, 28 August 2019 14:40 (one month ago) link

Also didn't realize that Gett owned Juno now. In Tel Aviv, Gett is the only app you can use and it works only with regulated taxis that are also street-hail taxis.

As a funny aside "Gett" is also the hebrew word for a religious grant of divorce.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Wednesday, 28 August 2019 14:53 (one month ago) link

the median cost of salary, benefits and overhead for an engineering/product employee at uber has to be half a million dollars. this is a big cut https://techcrunch.com/2019/09/10/uber-lays-off-435-people-across-engineering-and-product-teams/amp/.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Wednesday, 11 September 2019 01:21 (one month ago) link

Not enough to cover 20bn a year in losses of course.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Wednesday, 11 September 2019 01:24 (one month ago) link

My wife's friend's husband is a director of engineering at Uber (maybe not anymore lol?)... and I'd guess he doesn't make that much, maybe half of your estimate?

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Wednesday, 11 September 2019 02:17 (one month ago) link

if you're a director of engineering at uber in the bay area then you are making an absolute *minimum* total comp (cash, bonus, stock grant) of $300k. i'd be surprised if it wasn't significantly more than that, likely over $500k. i think you've seriously underestimated this guy's income. here's a link to crowdsourced data which matches what i know from working in the industry https://www.levels.fyi/?compare=Uber,Google,Facebook&track=Software%20Engineering%20Manager.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Wednesday, 11 September 2019 03:19 (one month ago) link

also like i said: salary, benefits and overhead. if you fire someone you pay $100k/year you save a lot more than $100k/year.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Wednesday, 11 September 2019 03:20 (one month ago) link

to be clear my point is not that this is going to save them a significant amount of money relative to their losses (although it's probably more money than people outside tech would guess). it's more: this is a messed up company and seems like it was very badly run for a long time (and possibly still is). some gossip on this https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20931644

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Wednesday, 11 September 2019 03:29 (one month ago) link

yeah no i'm just talking salary, although they did just buy a house (modest 2BR) with exercised stock options once the embargo ended. as an aside, he has NEVER has mentioned where he works.

i just asked my wife if she knows if he was affected and shes not sure yet.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Wednesday, 11 September 2019 04:33 (one month ago) link

Uber pushed back on Wednesday against a newly passed California bill that effectively requires companies to reclassify their contract workers as employees, in a sign of the emerging resistance that the measure is prompting across the gig economy.

Tony West, Uber’s chief legal officer, said in a news conference that the ride-hailing company would not treat its drivers, who are independent contractors, as employees under the California bill. He said that drivers were not a core part of Uber’s business and could maintain their independent status when the measure goes into effect as state law on Jan. 1.

Uber’s business, Mr. West said, is not providing rides but “serving as a technology platform for several different types of digital marketplaces.” He added that the company was “no stranger to legal battles.”

mookieproof, Wednesday, 11 September 2019 20:41 (one month ago) link

FWIW I sometimes think it would be better to improve regulation of "gig economy" jobs and companies rather than try to shoehorn them into the existing employer/employee framework. Like maybe another category is needed btw employee and independent contractor.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Wednesday, 11 September 2019 21:40 (one month ago) link

looking forward to Uber collapsing/being litigated out of business tbh

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 11 September 2019 21:45 (one month ago) link

We don't need another category.

Simon H., Wednesday, 11 September 2019 21:52 (one month ago) link

how about masters and slaves

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 11 September 2019 21:55 (one month ago) link

the thing is they are employers

Seany's too Dyche to mention (jim in vancouver), Wednesday, 11 September 2019 21:58 (one month ago) link

suck it, shitty companies:
https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/California-governor-signs-labor-law-setting-up-14450116.php

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 18 September 2019 19:59 (one month ago) link

This is huge not only for the obvious, but also because Uber will have to argue the *exact opposite* legal framework as it does in opposing AB5. The legal walls are closing in. https://t.co/RxnILrYb3t

— Aaron W. Gordon (@A_W_Gordon) September 19, 2019



You can’t simultaneously argue that the drivers are independent business and also that you’re not the nexus of a massive and illegal pricing collusion scam.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Friday, 20 September 2019 00:45 (one month ago) link

'130-year-old laws don't count'

mookieproof, Friday, 20 September 2019 01:07 (one month ago) link

one month passes...

https://qz.com/1683778/lyft-sees-raising-ride-prices-as-its-path-to-profitability/

“We believe we have a clear path to profitability,” Roberts said. “We began to adjust prices on select routes and in select cities based on costs and demand elasticities. We expect that these changes will accelerate Lyft’s path to profitability, and further, we believe these price adjustments reflect an industry trend.”

So they plan to fix prices (in collusion with their competitors) and then expect not to suffer any reduction in demand...

lollllll

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Wednesday, 23 October 2019 00:04 (eight hours ago) link

cost and demand elasticities! impress man use big words!

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 23 October 2019 00:07 (eight hours ago) link

If humanity is still around in 10 years, someone please revive this post in 10 years for the lols.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Wednesday, 23 October 2019 00:09 (eight hours ago) link


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