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Monday, June 16, 2014

Unions overreach in Uber strike

  If you haven't heard of Lyft, Uber or Sidecare, you're behind the times. These ride-sharing services are conducted through an app or Facebook. I have used Lyft myself in Chicago.
  With payment through Paypal, a rider places a request for a ride for the nearest car, guided by GPS. Drivers' cars are clean and personally owned; drivers take courses and are in contact with the company during rides.
  A few minutes after the request, the car arrives at your door, sometimes with a pink mustache on the dashboard. You hop in, introduce yourselves and you're off. Both drivers and passengers get to rate each other.
  Convenient. Reasonably priced. Prompt.
  What could go wrong?
  I happened to be in Paris last Wednesday when the taxi drivers went on strike over these ride sharing services. Our hotel concierge was particularly contemptuous of the striking taxi drivers, complaining that they were the lowest "cockroaches" of a violent nature who treated their customers abominably. The concierge said that two independent driver cars had been completely destroyed at Charles DeGaulle airport by the drivers, who also demanded the passengers get out of the car and walk. If you've been to CDG, you know that can be quite a distance.
  So last Wednesday was international protest day; our concierge assured us that protest strikes in Paris usually only lasted 24 hours but nothing was guaranteed through traditional taxi services since they weren't answering phones or scheduling rides. As it turned out for us, we hired an independent and everything was fine.
  In the US, unions have been protesting ride sharing apps for quite some time, hand in hand with Leftist mayors and governors in Chicago, DC, NYC, Seattle...who naturally oblige by handing out restrictions, lawsuits, taxes, fees, fines, limitations.
  Taxi unions are a racket. To drive a yellow taxi in New York City requires a medallion, which costs $1 million.
  So the people who supposedly are champions of the little guy support those costs. What's an immigrant to do?
  Interestingly, the strike had the opposite effect on Londoners, many of whom apparently had no idea such services exist.
  Why do I say this?
  Because Uber reported an 850% increase in business.
  Unions and Leftists don't appear to like entrepreneurs or the little guy.


  1. Yes for someone in my circumstance it might be fun to drive around town for pay instead of doing it for free. Immigrants do almost all the driving in NYC both cab and limo. Many medallion owners work out arrangements with the drivers. There are a few dedicated drivers, at least there were in the 70's when I lived in NYC, who will buy the medallion and pay for it by driving 12 hour days and renting their cabs out on their day off. It's a rough deal but there have always been some who will do it. There is a entire industry of medallion brokers who traffic in them. They arrange the sales and the financing. Most NYC cabbies are not unionized. They are at the bottom rung of the self employed. I suppose they are all thrilled now that they have access to affordable healthcare.

  2. I thought we agreed to call it what it is: UNaffordable healthcare.