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Comment: Re:Translation : (Score 1) 314

by ColdSam (#47249111) Attached to: California Regulators Tell Ride-Shares No Airport Runs

What is the benefit of having an airport trip be a lottery? Why not just charge people based on the actual cost of their ride?

There's no benefit to the lottery, it was just a half way decent system that worked when they had limited technology (and not much ingenuity). People should pay the fair cost of their ride, but part of that cost is from the driver waiting in the queue or having to drive back to the airport empty. This cost should be borne fairly across all drivers.

Having a system where cabs must compensate for their losses on short hauls with disproportionate profits on long hauls, not only creates volatility (i.e. a driver can have really good days and really bad days), it means that long haul passengers are subsidizing the cost of short haul passengers.

That's bad, but the solution is not trivial.

It also means that considerate people will feel guilty about going on short hauls as they are depriving a driver of his livelihood, and price conscious passengers are turned off from going on long hauls as they know they are being ripped off.

Considerate people may feel this way, but they shouldn't. Short term trips are a necessary part of the system; it may not be good for the one driver who takes you (on that day), but it is better for every other driver behind him in the queue, so it is better for everyone.

At one point it may have been inefficient to exhaustively analyze the fair price for a cab fair or time consuming to bargain with each cab, and the benefit of having simple pricing schemes, outweighed the disadvantages of volatility and a distorted market. Now we have computers that can make price calculations fairly and quickly. Why not take advantage of them?

We're not quite there yet, actually. The problem is that we're in a transition period where traditional taxi companies need to coexist with services like Uber and the traditional companies need to serve people who aren't using smart phones. So there needs to be at least some temporary solution to keep things fair. E.g. an airport could have a short haul queue and a long haul queue. Or they could have the passengers line up at a kiosk where they are matched up with the best driver.

Comment: Re:Translation : (Score 1) 314

by ColdSam (#47248939) Attached to: California Regulators Tell Ride-Shares No Airport Runs

Going to the airport as a taxi driver is like participating in a lottery with a positive expected value.

Absolutely. That was meant to be a rhetorical question. The point being that we could still give them a positive EV without the lottery effect which, IMO, makes everyone less happy.

If you, as a taxi driver, didn't have to take short hauls, your EV increases if you just tell the short haul to pound sand and you go get back in line... Letting drivers cherry-pick fares and ignore short-hauls from any place with a taxi line and then setting a floor on taxi prices or assessing airport/resort fees probably works in a place like Phoenix or Dallas or even LA, but it doesn't work in cities where taxis are a major part of the transportation business

Your EV increases, but it decreases for all the other drivers. Given the hassle to the drivers and passengers from the rejection process this is actually an overall negative. Therefore there has to be some system in place to correct this; I don't see how letting drivers cherry-pick would work well in any market.

Taxi companies have fought hard to get the flag drop and first mile rates they already have. Good luck getting them to raise them further to implement your fix to the system.

The system is broken and disruptive companies like Uber will force some sort of correction. The taxi companies can work with us (the customers) or let someone else come up with a better solution which puts them out of business.

Comment: Re:Disruptive technology (Score 1) 507

by ColdSam (#47237033) Attached to: Uber Demonstrations Snarl Traffic In London, Madrid, Berlin
You have some unique views about the job description and special duties of cab drivers that seem to put you at odds with the rest of the world. Perhaps this view is shared by most Londoners in which case companies like Uber will never be successful there. However, I expect that in twenty years when Londoners travel to other cities they will be pleasantly surprised by the cheap and convenient transportation options that are available compared to their own which have remained expensive and inefficient.

Comment: Re:Disruptive technology (Score 1) 507

by ColdSam (#47237015) Attached to: Uber Demonstrations Snarl Traffic In London, Madrid, Berlin
I suggest you review the thread and/or have someone explain the basics of logic to you. If I ask you why a dog is required to be on a leash outdoors, but not a cat and you say that it's because a dog has four legs, then I am not going out on a limb by suggesting that you think a cat does not have four legs.

Comment: Re:Translation : (Score 1) 314

by ColdSam (#47232969) Attached to: California Regulators Tell Ride-Shares No Airport Runs

Why are taxi drivers going to the airport and waiting an hour if it is not profitable for them to do so? That there is such a glut of taxis at the airport implies that the price should actually be much lower as that will create more demand (lessen the queue) and reduce the incentive for drivers to go to the airport to pick up a fare. Balancing out the drop-offs and pickups at the airport so that there is quick turnaround should make everyone happier.

Similarly the requirement that taxis pick up every fare is primarily a benefit to the taxi drivers themselves. It may suck if you get the bad luck to get a short ride, but it reduces the queue for everyone else and evens out in the long run. All drivers waiting for the long trips would be bad for everyone.

The tragedy of the commons doesn't happen if people and businesses are forced to pay for the external costs of their activities/commerce.

Comment: Re:Disruptive technology (Score 1) 507

by ColdSam (#47231961) Attached to: Uber Demonstrations Snarl Traffic In London, Madrid, Berlin

Except you don't answer the questions, so I'm forced to figure out the answer from your evasive responses. Give a full answer that actually addresses the inconsistency I point out in your stated philosophy and I wouldn't have to take shortcuts.

WHY are taxi/Uber drivers special? You can't or won't address that properly. If you say that it is because of X (e.g. "it's the law" or "it's their duty") then that means that X doesn't apply to the OTHER cases (e.g. pizza delivery boys et al.) This is just simple logic.

Comment: Re:Unfair Competition Sucks (Score 1) 507

by ColdSam (#47231765) Attached to: Uber Demonstrations Snarl Traffic In London, Madrid, Berlin

The philosophy you have written down in this thread is inconsistent and hypocritical. You are correct that I have no idea what you really think, but I do know what you have actually committed to paper. You are certainly under no obligation to address those problems with what you have written, to point out the nuance in your thinking that we have overlooked, but don't begrudge me the right to point out those issues.

You say X should be banned because Z. I say that Y is also Z. It's not a great leap for me to assume that you think Y should also be banned. If you want to point out that you really meant that X is Z' (a subtle subset of Z that does not apply to Y) then go ahead or just leave your inconsistent philosophy out there. Up to you.

Comment: Re:Disruptive technology (Score 1) 507

by ColdSam (#47231631) Attached to: Uber Demonstrations Snarl Traffic In London, Madrid, Berlin

The bleakness of your world view is depressing.

Really? Your ideal world is a nanny state that prevents anyone from doing any activity the state (i.e. you) decides is not in their long term best interest. It requires laws for people to be considerate and civil to their neighbors, customers and passersby. I like my world much better, thank you.

Why? It's the law. And it's the law because it's a good thing. It's also a moral duty.

You have a law in London that says "Taxi drivers must take responsibility for the old and disabled. Everybody else, just ignore them?" I think your law is terrible and the time of blindly following stupid laws is long past.

I don't. Your questions are becoming child like.

The questions are simple, not childlike, and are necessary to point out that your philosophy is inconsistent and impossible. Where you get this romantic idea that taxi drivers are special guardians of society is beyond me, perhaps that's part of London cab lore, but it applies nowhere else in the world. In my bleak world view, taxi drivers, pizza delivery boys, fedex delivery men ALL drive safely and take on a shared responsibility for the weaker members of society just like everyone else.

Comment: Re:Unfair Competition Sucks (Score 1) 507

by ColdSam (#47231499) Attached to: Uber Demonstrations Snarl Traffic In London, Madrid, Berlin

That's not quite full thought through and so you've been unfair. It's certainly not hypocritical if I am happy to accept the same ban (or tax or whatever) on the activity, the same as everyone else.

It's hypocritical if you don't call for a ban on every activity that is known to be "bad" for society, that you only want to ban things you personally find "bad."

For example I'm not a smoker now, but I was for many years, and tried many times to give up. I accepted the escalating punitive tax (in the UK) as a good incentive to cut down or give up.

That is not a fair example as that is something you wanted to give up anyway. Your philosophy would ban every recreational drug (including alcohol), non-educational TV, movies, video games and entertainment. It would ban pornography, cosmetic surgery, probably cosmetics themselves, on and on down the line. That would make you consistent and not a hypocrite.

It's a fact that smoking's not good for anyone. It's an addiction that people almost universally get into when they are young and impressionable.

That is absolutely not a fact. Smoking has long term negative health consequences, but it is for the individual to decide if the good they get out of smoking - the pleasure, stress relief, camaraderie, et al. outweigh those long term risks. Your philosophy does not account for the benefits from "bad" habits or activities. I smoke about twice a year and the value I get from those experiences is enormous vs. the added health risk I'm subjecting myself to. Your philosophy would prevent me from making that individual choice, simply because YOU have an addictive personality (at least to cigarettes) and I don't.

And so society helping to discourage it is good for everyone.

It's good for society, in general, certainly not for everyone. Discouragement is fine, within limits, as shutdown (and I) have discussed, but you are talking about absolutes. Like no smoking in "public" spaces, for example.

The other poster mentions cannabis ...

There is almost no doubt that cannabis has negative health effects and many short term costs, therefore by your philosophy it should be banned. If you open the door to weighing the good an individual gets vs. the long term risk (and external costs) in this case you have to allow it in all cases (see "hypocrite" above).

Your point about eternal costs is a good one, and also covers regulation on the environment. Those costs are not only monetary ones.

Absolutely. Those who enjoy the benefits of a "bad" habit should pay for ALL external costs.

Comment: Re:Unfair Competition Sucks (Score 1) 507

by ColdSam (#47226599) Attached to: Uber Demonstrations Snarl Traffic In London, Madrid, Berlin
You're right on that. Banning is only equivalent as a deterrent, but it doesn't have the extra benefit of mitigating the external costs that would otherwise be passed on to society. I prefer the taxing approach, but will settle for the "ban" where people have philosophical issues with new taxes. There is nothing wrong with government influencing behavior as long as they do it openly and with the right long term goals in mind - one of many examples is putting disgusting photos on cigarette packages.

Comment: Re:Unfair Competition Sucks (Score 1) 507

by ColdSam (#47226301) Attached to: Uber Demonstrations Snarl Traffic In London, Madrid, Berlin

We don't deny them treatment even IF they can't cover their fair share of the bill, which is why seat belt laws are a practical necessity. I'm okay with people making (what I believe are) poor choices, but I generally don't want to pay for it.

Banning large soda sizes is basically equivalent to a tax. There is no suggestion for a law that says someone can't buy two 32oz sodas if they really want them, but it will almost certainly be more than the current price of 64oz. The ban is a simple psychological trick merely to counter the psychological trick vendors make by offering you a huge discount on the much larger size you don't need and often don't even want. The same could be done for cigarettes or marijuana, e.g. requiring stores to sell individual packs and not offering bulk discounts.

Comment: Re:Disruptive technology (Score 1) 507

by ColdSam (#47225555) Attached to: Uber Demonstrations Snarl Traffic In London, Madrid, Berlin

Why is the duty of a paid driver to care for the old, disabled or children? Their responsibility is simply to transport an individual safely from point A to point B. Any extra services are optional and a company that wants to provide those can, even charging an extra fee if that makes sense for their business model.

Your pizza boy example shows the hypocrisy of your viewpoint. If they are so dangerous to the public then shouldn't they be equally regulated, if not more so? Why do you think it's okay for incompetent drivers to fill the streets of London as long as they don't do it with a willing passenger?

Comment: Re:Unfair Competition Sucks (Score 1) 507

by ColdSam (#47225513) Attached to: Uber Demonstrations Snarl Traffic In London, Madrid, Berlin

You have a fundamental difference with Basil that will never be resolved, this is crystal clear when he says that smoking is never good for anyone. His philosophy is not only impractical, but hypocritical as almost everyone who espouses such a view takes part in some activity that is not for his own long term best interest or that of society.

However, what you have to acknowledge is the external costs imposed by individual actions. If individuals truly had informed consent and took responsibility for their actions then there would be no issue. But they don't. Take the so called ban on large sodas, for example. It is an imperfect solution, but a reasonable one. If someone really wants 64oz of soda they can still buy two 32oz sodas, it is just slightly more expensive. More importantly it adjusts their behavior to a typically more healthy and sane direction, one that won't cause them long term health costs (which are often subsidized by the rest of us who make better choices).

Likewise, I'd be totally okay with someone who opted out of wearing a seatbelt if they guaranteed the costs of their medical care and were okay with us leaving them dying by the side of the road if their coverage wasn't good enough. Until we're willing to make those hard choices (i.e. never) we do have to put in some limits, simply as a practical alternative.

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