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Comment: Protecting investors? (Score 1) 198

by Firethorn (#49785027) Attached to: Court Orders UberPop Use To Be Banned In All of Italy

Well, I was just correcting what I saw as mistakes in the AC's posting. There's a reason why I said 'kind of sucks.' It's my expression for 'well, that didn't work out, but there's really nothing that can be done to recover from it'.

As for benefiting the drivers - not really. You have to remember that they're also losing fairs to the cheaper and more lushly equipped Uber drivers who, not having to pay for the medallion or follow the cumbersome NYC taxi rules, can afford to run a nicer vehicle than the cabbies.

Note on following NYC taxi rules - Uber is, to my knowledge, operating perfectly legally in NYC. NYC has several categories of 'hired vehicle'. There's two categories of taxi and several for non-taxi private car. Uber is NOT operating as a taxi service per NYC rules, but as a 'black car' service. It's drivers hold a chauffeur license, do not respond to street hails(IE putting out a hand and yelling as opposed to the app), have certain destination and pickup restrictions, etc... Matter of fact, Uber would likely fire any drivers found responding to street hails in NYC.

That being said, I have the feeling(not confirmed) that due to Uber's rating system and having superior pay, that cabbies that can do customer service better are being lured away by Uber. I remember reading somewhere that Uber effectively fires any driver whose rating drops below a 4.4 out of 5 stars.

So a guy who's friendly and shows up with a Tesla model S* will retain his position in Uber while the grouch with an old smelly Crown Vic might as well stick to the cab side.

Comment: Re:Well there's the problem... (Score 1) 198

by Firethorn (#49778189) Attached to: Court Orders UberPop Use To Be Banned In All of Italy

You're assuming that 'proper public transport' would be efficient. That's not a guarantee, seeing as how these micro-buses can fulfill numerous transport needs in flexible fashions.

Of course, perhaps you have a different picture in mind than a typical system operating large buses on fixed routes and schedules.

I'll also note that I know it's not about the USA, but the USA is most of my experience, which is why I said so.

Comment: Re:Well there's the problem... (Score 1) 198

by Firethorn (#49778141) Attached to: Court Orders UberPop Use To Be Banned In All of Italy

That's the thing. It's not a proper 'bubble'. It's 'artificial property'. You literally hold 'nothing' real by owning a Taxi Medallion. One stroke of a pen by the government - whether by the regulatory body, legislature, or court, and your property is gone. *poof*. Worthless.

Which is why I mentioned that taxi companies are extremely protective of them.

Comment: Re:Well there's the problem... (Score 1) 198

by Firethorn (#49776523) Attached to: Court Orders UberPop Use To Be Banned In All of Italy

1. A smaller bus has better gas mileage.
2. A smaller bus can reach more areas
3. Unregulated driver is probably paid less(being paid more isn't a guarantee of improved quality)
4. A smaller bus is still efficient even with smaller loads.

We have a real problem in the USA that due to low ridership, many bus systems INCREASE the pollution on the roads, rather than decreasing it. Unless you have somewhere around 12-20 riders on a bus, it's not actually more efficient/less polluting than private autos.

Comment: Re:Well there's the problem... (Score 1) 198

by Firethorn (#49776461) Attached to: Court Orders UberPop Use To Be Banned In All of Italy

The laws aren't there to create artificial scarcity and drive up prices. You'd have to be an idiot to think that.

The moment you create a medallion system where, by law or regulation, only a limited number of licenses are created you're deliberately creating artificial scarcity. Basic economics translates to that driving up prices.

The Taxi industry is a classic case of 'regulatory capture', where the regulations become less about protecting the consumer than favoring the existing players through a system of waivers and them just being able to adopt to the regulations gradually, while a new player has to go through a phone book of regulations, making trivial but still business killing violations extremely likely simply due to complexity.

NYC Taxi rules went far beyond basic safety.

Comment: Re:Well there's the problem... (Score 1) 198

by Firethorn (#49776437) Attached to: Court Orders UberPop Use To Be Banned In All of Italy

Some areas are this way.

However, consider that the book value of NYC's medallions is well over ten billion dollars. You propose taking that artificial property away from them, or even significantly decreasing it's value, and you'll see hell.

The Taxi companies are very careful to court the local politicians to prevent that very occurrence.

Comment: Re:Well there's the problem... (Score 1) 198

by Firethorn (#49776409) Attached to: Court Orders UberPop Use To Be Banned In All of Italy

That's the original argument behind places like NYC putting medallion systems in place. The idea is that by restricting the number of taxis, you get the following benefits:
1. People use taxis less, because there's just not enough supply. It means that they walk a little further, take the bus, or ride the subway.
2. Because there's not so much competition, Taxi drivers are guaranteed to make decent money and are able to afford all the regulation - things like car safety, age, equipment, etc...

That being said, I do believe that the system has degenerated too far into a protectionist system, where the idea is to protect the current players in the cab business, not customers.

Comment: Re:Holy hell (Score 3, Informative) 198

by Firethorn (#49776305) Attached to: Court Orders UberPop Use To Be Banned In All of Italy

When a driver wants to get out of the business they have to sell the medallion to someone else and hope they've paid off enough on it to break even.

First, most cab drivers in NYC don't own a medallion. The cab company they're working for owns it and essentially rents it out to it's drivers. They also rent out the cab itself, but the cab is actually cheaper(rent wise) than the medallion. There's a limited number of 'owner-operator' medallions where one of the requirements is that the owner drive the cab for X hours/day on average, and they tend to be cheaper than the unrestricted ones.

Second, medallions, especially owner-operator ones, have generally appreciated in value sufficient that they're more often treated as part of the owner's retirement plan/investment than 'hope to break even'.

That's crashing right now, which kind of sucks for those that invested under the assumptions of the 'old system'.

Comment: Re:Signals, zoning, and subsidizing transit (Score 1) 826

by Firethorn (#49753287) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

There is no way to differentiate since the end results are the same.

No, they really aren't. Well, even a completely sign-less intersection should have people 'assume' yield signs, but you should never just blow through an intersection.

As for signalling, well, last night I had a bit of an issue with people in cars not signalling, so it's definitely not restricted to bicycle riders.

Oh, please. You can't imagine how a bicyclist who runs down a pedestrian could do significant physical harm to them? A twenty MPH piece of steel/carbon fiber/whatever with an attached human mass would just what, bounce off a pedestrian?

Sure, it could cause injury. But a car causes death at the same speeds, having orders of magnitude more mass. Personally, I just go for real-world statistics. The number of pedestrians injured in bicycle accidents are insignificant compared to the number and magnitude of car strikes.

You keep ignoring the fact that vehicle law is not created just to protect the automobile driver from death by bike accident. It's there to protect YOU, too. And the pedestrians who you are a serious threat to.

Actually, you're simply assuming that, I suggest you stop with that assumption. Also, talk about blowing it out of proportion. I'd be insane to assume that. Yes - vehicle laws are made, for the most part, to try to keep everybody safe. What you're ignoring is that the law can always be adjusted to increase safety, efficiency, or whatever. So I'm free to talk about a hypothetical law that allows bicyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign.

Also, 'almost ran over' isn't 'run over'. I'm starting to wonder if you have an excessively wide definition of 'almost' given how often you use it.

You question the fact that when vehicle laws are obeyed the people involved are safer?

No, I question the effectiveness of a law that nobody obeys. Whether following it or not would be safer is irrelevant when it's not obeyed by default. That's where you have to go back and assess what the law was trying to do, consider human nature, and try something different.

Other than that, it seems you're determined to read everything I write in the stupidest way possible. When I talk about cops 'enforce not being stupid', that roughly meant 'hand out tickets for particularly stupid/dangerous acts(that are also illegal for good reason)'. That means handing out tickets for violating the stop sign, but concentrating on those that violate the stop sign in a dangerous manner. By doing so you avoid pissing off the community too much.

So I suggest going back, rolling back your conclusions that lead to anger and such, reread my posts in a reasonable light, then come back.

You can stop arguing that the existing laws shouldn't apply to them. That's a start. I remember the idiots because they are both so common and do memorably stupid things.

Such as this. I proposed a change to the law, not that existing law shouldn't apply. For that matter, I even explained why the change would be irrelevant to the idiots, because they'd still be violating even my proposed changed law. It's all a balancing act anyways. Hell, maybe the law change combined with a media campaign advertising it would catch a the attentions of a few of them and get them to change their behavior.

Comment: Re:Signals, zoning, and subsidizing transit (Score 1) 826

by Firethorn (#49747403) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

Actually, you were arguing that all bicyclists should get special treatment under vehicle law by making stop signs into yields for you, based on your personal manner of riding. Turning stops into yields does NOT minimize the hassle for everyone, as I've already explained.

Actually, the problem as you describe is that bicyclists are treating the signs as though they don't exist. They're not treating them as yield signs, they're ignoring them. Changing the law to allow riders to treat stop signs as yield signs would STILL have the described behavior be a violation.

That's a lie. If I ran over you because you blew the stop sign and failed to make the turn you could have easily made at a slower speed, it would go on my driving record, it would impact my insurance rates, and the trial would cost me a lot of money and time. I might even feel a bit of remorse over the accident, but that depends on how many bikers who want special privileges I've talked to recently.

*sigh* That's still nothing compared to being, you know, dead. I'm not much of a physical threat to you.

Also, I was taught when I was growing up that the laws of physics trump the laws of man - IE it's not a good idea to engage in behavior where I'm likely to be run over by a non-careful driver, even if I'd be technically in the correct(and them liable) by the law. I'd rather not be run over, thank you very much. ;)

Second, the traffic laws aren't there just so you aren't a danger to drivers. Pedestrians are involved, and you are a significant danger to them.

... How? Of course, I don't live in an area with significant numbers of them. I avoid them just like I avoid cars. I'm continuously scanning for things to avoid, pedestrians are easy. Well, unless the crowd is too thick, but again, at that point I'm either riding elsewhere or walking.

On the generic tact, I'd think we'd see a lot more injury reports if cyclists were indeed a significant danger to pedestrians.

If you want to argue for a change, you need to admit and accept that your personal habits are irrelevant, just as my personal driving habits are when talking about changed to motor vehicle laws.

Well, you'll actually need to prove that the law is effective then, I guess. Because as you've mentioned, it's being completely non-followed right now. Having the cops enforce being not stupid for a bit might be more effective than trying to keep pushing 'stop means stop! Because bicyclists are ignoring stop signs and risking me run over them!'. I've already told you I'm not going into the intersection if I'm at risk of you running me over. I know quite a few riders that way. I'm sorry that you only remember the idiots, but I can't do anything about them.

Comment: Re:Signals, zoning, and subsidizing transit (Score 1) 826

by Firethorn (#49744651) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

As a driver, I just LOVE it when I'm traveling on the through-street and a high-speed biker comes to the stop sign on an intersecting road. Stop? Of course not. Blow through the stop sign at full speed, get halfway into the intersection, and then lay the bike over to the right and turn onto the street I'm on.

Well, first I'm never 'high speed', second, well, there's a reason I said non-idiot bikers. I also signal, though I hope you know how to recognize those.

Roughly speaking, I take my turn in the queue like everybody else, which means that if you're stopping for me(assuming you're not overly paranoid), you would have had to stop anyways. Making me stop first only forces you to stop longer.

And then there's the ones who are actually crossing the street I'm on, and instead of stopping at the stop sign until the through-traffic clears, they jog over into the crosswalk and pretend they are pedestrians -- forcing everyone on the through street to slam on the brakes to stop for them.

You have pedestrian crossings at stop signs? Strange. I've used pedestrian crossings at stop lights before - I'm just too small and light to trip the automatics, and sometimes it's safer for me to walk my bike across, so yeah, I'll use the button.

Sharing the road means both sides have to share. You have to do things you don't want to do for the safety of everyone, just like I have to.

And you're engaging on a rant, basically saying that bicyclists do things that I don't do. Well, there's a reason I mentioned 'idiots'. I know they're out there. I was just saying how I worth things to keep myself safe* while minimizing the hassle for everyone. Remember how I mentioned 'opening'. That means that you aren't about to go through the intersection, because if you are, that means I'm slowing down a touch to go behind you.

*Let's face it, I'm not much of a threat to anybody in a car.

Comment: Re:Signals, zoning, and subsidizing transit (Score 1) 826

by Firethorn (#49739343) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

But why should bikers treat stop signs as yields? That seems dangerous and unnecessary.

The important part is 'seems'. When I'm bicycling, it's important to realize that my maximum speed is much lower, so I'm approaching the stop at a lower speed, giving me more time to assess the intersection(not to mention relatively short stopping distance). Even my acceleration is effectively less, so it takes longer to get through the intersection from a stop.

The net effect is that a non-idiot bicyclist will assess an intersection even as he approaches it. Assuming that it's not a blind intersection where you don't have sight lines for on-coming traffic(in which case stopping is a smart idea anyways), allowing me to treat it as a yield sign allows me to 'time' my speed and approach to maximize my velocity through the intersection through an opening, while still maintaining full safety. If the intersection is busy, well, then I stop, just like you stop at a yield sign if it's not clear.

Plus, well, not making me stop all the time encourages me to bicycle more, which is good for the environment, health, and various other things.

It's not so hard to lift yourself by your bootstraps once you're off the ground. -- Daniel B. Luten