It was clearly a form letter, but I’m kind of wondering why. I mean, I’ve used the service and I like it – but that’s the thing, right? If I had a car, why would I be using Uber? I mean, the only times that I have used Uber is when I dropped off my car at the shop and I needed to get back home. Which is arguably itself a reason why I shouldn’t drive a car for Uber: all of the ones that I’ve seen have been in pretty dang good condition.
As I said: kind of weird. Great service, though. I recommend it for anybody who doesn’t like paying through the nose for a regular cab.
…in Seattle, new legislation the City Council will vote on today [*] could give these drivers a way to collectively bargain regardless of how they’re classified. Some call it the Voice for Drivers legislation, others the Uber unionization bill (not technically correct, since it applies to all of Seattle’s for-hire drivers, including taxis). Either way, the proposed bill appears to be the first of its kind in the nation: a clever workaround to a federal law that has so far prevented Uber and Lyft drivers from organizing and jointly negotiating on pay and working conditions. It’s Seattle’s bold plan to let its drivers form what would essentially be their own union.
The new MAD MAX video game is coming out on September 1st and we’re working with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment to give you an adventure like no other! Buckle up, hunker down, and prepare to live life as a Wasteland Warrior.
WHEN AND WHERE
Friday, August 28th through Monday, August 31st from 10am-6pm in downtown Seattle
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul opened a campaign office at a San Francisco tech incubator that hosted a 24-hour “hack-a-thon” last month. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio won the backing of Oracle founder Larry Ellison. He held a fundraiser for the senator, whose new book has a chapter with this title: “Making America Safe for Uber.”
“There’s a lot of folks out here who naturally fall into a libertarian place and in the past they were not feeling the love from the GOP,” said Scott Banister, an investor who is raising money for Paul. “Obviously, if the Democratic Party is going to come down on the side of ‘let’s shut down these businesses,’ that’s going to force the issue.”
This particular combination of money, votes, and buzz should naturally attract either of the political parties. That it only attracts one of them is perhaps not optimal for the Republic, but it could be worse. At any rate: I look forward with some interest to Hillary Clinton explaining to young voters next year why they should wait twice as long for a more expensive taxi that doesn’t give them as good service. It should be a hoot.
Don’t let that last sentence get in the way of enjoying this looming confrontation. After all, David Plouffe is merely a mercenary: Uber bought him fair and square, which was of course their privilege. Heck, for enough money the Republican nominee could buy Plouffe next year…
[NYC Mayor Bill] de Blasio is about to cap the number of drivers of Ubers and other for-hire car companies, a move that will in turn place limits on a service that is popular among its users, and which has no organized opposition. He is walking into a political buzzsaw: Uber has endless cash, real panic about getting capped in its biggest market, and every incentive to make an example of the high-profile New York mayor. The campaign is being run by David Plouffe, who once pulled off the rather impressive feat of persuading Democrats to hate the Clintons, and who immediately made it personal.
So, let’s be dispassionate about this. If Uber wins, then Mayor de Blasio gets metaphorically kicked in the testicles. This is, of course, a good thing. But if de Blasio wins, then the Democratic nominee next year is going to keep being stuck in a position where s/he has to keep defending attacks on a cab service that a critical part of his/her base – young people – kind of love. Plus, attacking Uber just makes the attacker look old. …Which the Democratic nominee will be, of course.
PS: I don’t know if anybody’s mentioned this to Buzzfeed yet, but the problem for the Left with de Blasio turning Uber into the NRA is that the NRA keeps winning. Although I have to give them credit for accurately describing Governor Andrew Cuomo as somebody whose ‘favorite hobby is humiliating the mayor.’
Short version: it’s an app that matches people who need a taxi to somewhere with a local driver willing to sell them a ride. The taxi companies hate it with the white-hot fury of a billion exploding suns, because it’s: cheaper; more reliable; more transparent (you can look up the drivers and leave feedback on rides); and threatens to make a taxi medallion pretty much worthless. Which is why some urban areas – Democratic controlled, naturally – are starting to protect the taxi companies by effectively banning cheaper cab rides.
But that’s fine: that means that the GOP can weigh in on the side of free markets and cheaper cab rides. I am so totally happy to encourage them to do that:
The RNC last week launched a pro-free market, anti-government regulations petition to show support for the Uber – building their own lists and raising money in the process.
“Government has a role to play, but that role isn’t to protect the status quo. It should be consumers, not government bureaucrats or legislators, that decide what companies get our business,” Priebus said.
Priebus echoed that sentiment with an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune, coordinated with the RNC’s annual summer meeting in that city, that lauded Uber-friendly Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner over Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.
Just when you thought you couldn’t despise the Department of Motor Vehicles any more, Virginia’s DMV decided to wage war against popular passenger carrier companies Uber and Lyft, sending cease and desist letters urging them to stop doing business in the commonwealth.
The Virginia DMV, which has already fined Uber and Lyft $26,000 and $9,000, respectively, says Virginia law “requires for-hire passenger carriers to have proper operating authority,” and their business model—a model which allows passengers to conveniently look up driver ratings and connect with one such part-time driver of their choice via smart phone mobile apps—doesn’t fit the bill.