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Comment: Re:yet if we did it (Score 3, Interesting) 385

I too am not a big fan of the police, but that's a hateful slander of the majority police who work hard and are good people.

Nah dude, that's just a bigmedia bullshit line. In my first-hand experience, and in the experience of many other people with whom I've spoken, the vast majority of police are scum sucking bullies who prefer harassing decent citizens over confronting real criminals. That's my experience as a middle class white guy, and most people say the police abuse is even worse if one is poor and/or brown.

Comment: Re:To be fair.... (Score 1) 273

by jmcvetta (#47370995) Attached to: Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

It's not really a big deal as a one off thing, because any damned fool who will open his eyes can see no special skills are required to drive passengers in an ordinary car. The function of the professional license in this case is to restrict employment mobility, nothing else.

FWIW, I don't plan on asking my local DMV. There's a 4-hour line to do anything there... and I'm 99% sure after waiting in that line, they'd tell me they don't know or care why a professional license is required. Either that, or they'd tell me there is another 2-hour line to wait in if I want someone to tell me they don't know/care. SF DMV is a texbook example of government inefficiency, sloth, and intransigence.

Comment: Re:To be fair.... (Score 1) 273

Actually I don't really see it as a money grab. The big effect of most professional license regimes is to restrict an individual's freedom to earn a living. It's not enough just to be a person who is good enough at driving to freely attract willing passengers. No - one must be a cabbie - it's more than work, it's caste. This is a small part of a vast cultural trend moving toward neofeudal servility.

Comment: Re:To be fair.... (Score 1) 273

Why should they need a special license? What kind of special skill is required when driving with a passenger, that is not required when driving solo?

I suspect that our onerous licensing requirements lower the quality of taxi drivers, by reducing the pool of candidates to those willing to jump thru obnoxious hoops.

Comment: Re:I'll take a regular cab, thank you. (Score 1) 273

I don't know why anyone would want to hop in a car with someone of dubious character, who may or may not have proper insurance, who may or may not have a proper driver's licence, who might be driving a jalopy in any sort of condition

Wait I'm confused. Are you talking about the city taxi system or Uber/Lyft? The average licensed cabbie 'round here is way more dubious of character than the average Uber driver. Cabbies are also way crazier drivers, again on average. That said, because they drive crazy/aggressive/fast/dangerous, the cabbies usually get there just a bit quicker.

Comment: Re:Taxi Medallions (Score 1) 273

Here's a fun exercise: Go to your nearest big city. (I'm gonna guess you're not somewhere that you actually ever ride in a cab.) Do a little research, and find a neighborhood that is both A) reputed to be poor and violent, and B) a long way from downtown, the airport, or anything else interesting. Then hail a cab, and before you even hop in, tell the driver where you're headed. See how well that works out for you.

Comment: Re:I love getting into strangers' cars (Score 1) 273

I gave an Uber driver a bad rating because he didn't know where he was going and took a long route. Uber refunded the the difference between a reasonable route's fare and what I had been charged. I thought it was pretty good service. Not sure if that's what you mean by "ripped off" since there's no driver-passenger money transaction.

I bet if the driver had mugged me (while on the clock working?!) Uber would have cooperated with the cops to catch him. Not that SF cops would have given a shit or made the slightest attempt to solve the crime, but I digress...

Now if Uber itself started ripping people off... well there's a big fat $17B target for the class action lawyers.

Comment: Re:Good? (Score 1) 273

Yet, it's the self-employed, unskilled labor in the cottage industry of driving taxis that "enjoys regulatory capture". Yeeeeah, right.

It's not the drivers. It's the taxi companies, often said to be affiliated with organized crime, who own the monopoly (taxi medallions) and make the big money. The drivers get shafted, like all workers who do not control the means of production. There are a few independent cabbies who own their own medallions, but they're exceedingly rare.

Not only does an independent driver need to buy a fabulously expensive medallion (probably from the mob), but he also needs to buy a city-spec taxi. Around here taxis are required to have all kinds of expensively-proprietary looking hardware attached. Uber/Lyft/etc use ordinary cars owned by their drivers. So already their workers own an important part of the means of production. They still don't own the dispatch system, but when there are several competitors they must compete for drivers as well as passengers.

I recently spoke with a taxi driver who was taking me to the airport (in a yellow city cab). He said he also drives for both Uber and Lyft. In his opinion he preferred Lyft, because he made the most money. To him it was all the same work, just different employers and different pay.

One good thing the current taxi medallion regime in SF does provide is a sort of indirect retirement system for the drivers. Don't recall the exact details - heard about it from another cabbie. Apparently after working a long career, a driver is given the opportunity to buy a taxi medallion from the city for rather less than its market price. The driver can then sell it or rent it out. So in effect it is their retirement plan.

You have a tendency to feel you are superior to most computers.

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