March 24, 2015

"In at least 20 incidents, taxi drivers blocked Uber cars as they attempted to pick up passengers, threw eggs and in some cases dragged passengers onto the street..."

"... Filip Nuytemans, Uber’s general manager in Belgium, said Monday."

40 comments:

Brando said...

Shorter version--"Entrenched Cartel Uses Violence to Intimidate Newcomers on their Turf".

bbkingfish said...

Miserable, fat, Belgian bastards.

rhhardin said...

Government favors have that effect.

The taxi drivers paid a lot of money for their medallions, and they're becoming worthless, which is a huge capital hit.

So they've been screwed by the government requiring a medallion, and need to protect the exclusivity.

I'd suggest violence and payoffs.

The fix is always worse than the original mistake.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Can't they just eat their waffles?

The Drill SGT said...



Miserable, fat, Belgian bastards.

Can't they just eat their waffles?


You are assuming that unlike the US, these are actual locals as opposed to immigrants?

Sigivald said...

Unionized labor?

Violent?

No way.

(Yes, I checked - there are several tax unions involved in the market in Brussels, and no indication that any significant operation is outside of them.

And the joining taxis from other countries, mentioned in other reports of the initial protests, were without any reasonable doubt all union jobbers.

Because independents are working for a living and don't have time for that.)

Franklin said...

It's interesting how hating Uber has become such a fashionable thing for the Left to do. Every Gawker property is fully mobilized against Uber (though Ted Cruz may take some of that heat for the next few weeks).

Uber is awesome and has made transportation much, much nicer and easier. No wonder the Left HATES it.

Fernandinande said...

Muslims at play

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Is it wrong for Cabbies to treat Uber drivers as unlawful combatants? You are reasonably safe from rape or robbery in a licensed taxicab. The same is not necessarily true for an Uber car.

I have seen Cambridge cabbies do that sort of thing to Boston cabbies picking up fares in our fair city. Well, maybe not going so far as dragging passengers out of cars.

There's a great scene in the movie Top Five where Chris Rock tries to demonstrate to Rosario Dawson that he can't get a NYC cab to pick him up. The first cab goes by and he goes into I-told-you-so mode only to be completely undercut when the second cab stops.

Anonymous said...

Belgians already have a problem with being mistaken for the French. Why would they want to exacerbate it?

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Sorry, but I can't feel sorry for the taxi drivers if they're so rich they can afford to throw away perfectly good eggs.

BarrySanders20 said...

The government heavily regulates, creates scarcity of supply, deals exclusively with the unionized cartels in doling out the expensive permits, and cannot react quickly enough to counter natural market forces that serve actual market demand.

Same thing just happened in Milwaukee, but there was no reported violence from cabbies, so it is not a given that violence will follow.

The Belgians who got violent must assume that they wont be punished.

Michael K said...

"Last week, a district court in Frankfurt ruled that Uber could no longer offer the Uberpop service anywhere in the country, because drivers lack professional licenses required under German law. The ruling came just days after French police raided Uber’s Paris office as part of a criminal investigation that could likewise shut down Uberpop in France.

Mark MacGann, Uber’s head of public policy for EMEA, said last week that the company believes “France, Germany and a few other member states are in violation of European treaties in how their laws are written and how courts interpret those laws.”

France certainly has no free economy. Germany is a bit of a surprise but unions are very strong there.

David said...

Just a small example of why Europe has stopped being a center of innovation.

MadisonMan said...

Just a small example of why Europe has stopped being a center of innovation.

I'm guessing every unionized Hack driver in the US is taking careful notes.

TreeJoe said...

I'm sorry but if someone drags me out of a cab it's going to be a much bigger story because I'm going to defend myself, vigorously.

Known Unknown said...

Union Uber Alles!

sinz52 said...

Hey, Left Bank of the Charles:

I very much doubt that these Belgian cabdrivers are trying to protect those passengers they dragged out of Uber cars from being attacked by their drivers. It sounds more that they're trying to protect their own turf.

A lot of left-wingers seem to have slept through the revolution in reviewing that we now have on the Internet. You can find reviews of services on Google, on Angie's List, and elsewhere.

A service that alienates its customers will be quickly downrated. And other potential customers will see those bad reviews and get scared away.

Why do we need government regulators when Angie's List does the same job, but by interested consumers rather than by indifferent bureaucrats?

gerry said...

Miserable, fat, Belgian bastards.

Wasn't that from a Monty Python skit?

MadisonMan said...

Why do we need government regulators

You expect bureaucrats to accept losing their own jobs?

I agree they're not needed...but they're all related to some politician who has secured their sinecure. Combing them out of the public payroll beard requires something a lot finer than a lice nitcomb.

jr565 said...

R harden wrote:
Government favors have that effect.

The taxi drivers paid a lot of money for their medallions, and they're becoming worthless, which is a huge capital hit.

So they've been screwed by the government requiring a medallion, and need to protect the exclusivity.

I'd suggest violence and payoffs.

The fix is always worse than the original mistake.


I can see why they'd be bad. Govt made them do,business by buying medallions. Suddenly another company moves in and completely avoids the costly and prohibitive regulation. Some might suggest Un fair competition.

jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jr565 said...

Not sure about Belgium, but in NY there are now more Uber cabs than NY cabs (even though I've never actually seen one). But let's remember that there aren't more cabs on the street because govt capped the number of cabs that could be in play.
So now,Uber is on the street with more cars. That then sounds like govt picking winners and losers. Or govt applying regulations on one company but not another.
We can all say companies are more innovative if they don't have to abide by regulations that bind other companies. But is that fair? Or even more innovative?

Mountain Maven said...

Funny how the left picks out companies to hate. Always the Union angle. Uber, Walmart, others?

In Berkeley they hate Trader Joe's because??

bbkingfish said...

To Gerry:

Yes.

Balfegor said...

Re: Left Bank of the Charles:

Is it wrong for Cabbies to treat Uber drivers as unlawful combatants? You are reasonably safe from rape or robbery in a licensed taxicab. The same is not necessarily true for an Uber car.

I'm not sure why anyone would think this. Could you explain your reasoning further?

As background, let me note that I live in DC, where you'd have to be a fool to think you're safe in a licensed cab. Back in 2012, seven different cabbies were arrested around the same time for assaulting passengers. And the comments from the DC Cab Commission reveal that these weren't isolated incidents that all happened at the same time, but part of an overall trend.

"What we're seeing is an increase in physically manhandling their fares," Linton says. "Striking them. Pulling them out of their cabs. One woman was pulled out by her ankles. That driver is under arrest."

Yes, that driver is under arrest. Okay. And what about the others?

Importantly, there's also no assurance that the driver of a cab you hail from the street is actually a licensed cab driver. Recently in DC, a fake cabbie was convicted of raping three women in his cab. In that case he was apparently unlicensed, but I don't think there's any particular reason to think you're safe just because you've got a real cabbie (but who knows? Maybe this other guy just stole the cab).

And that's not even getting into how horrible DC cab drivers have historically been about obeying traffic laws and basic driving safety. I say "historically" because my casual impression is that DC Cabs' adherence to traffic laws has improved dramatically since Uber and Lyft entered the market -- the cabs also mostly don't look like they're on the verge of falling apart in the middle of traffic anymore.

That's the background safety level we're talking about -- it's simply not true that you are "reasonably safe from rape or robbery" in a licensed taxicab. That's their goal sure, but the feedback mechanism is lossy and slow. Among other things, suppose a cabbie tries to rape you and you successfully flee -- did you get his cab number while you were fleeing? His license plate? How are the authorities going to track him down? Cabs are basically anonymous.

With Uber, in contrast, if you verify the license plate and driver photo before getting in a car, there's a copious electronic paper trail placing you in a specific cab, at a specific time, in a specific place, that is tracked by GPS. There's things the driver can do to muddy that record (e.g. by cancelling the trip from his end after he's picked you up), but you can see when that happens, since it shows up on your end. Uber's not perfect -- they're apparently rolling out panic buttons in the app in some locations, and I don't know why they wouldn't do that everywhere -- but I feel significantly safer in them than cabs. At least in DC.

Brando said...

"Is it wrong for Cabbies to treat Uber drivers as unlawful combatants? You are reasonably safe from rape or robbery in a licensed taxicab. The same is not necessarily true for an Uber car."

How is that the case? Usually when you hail a cab customers don't immediately notice or remember the cabbie's name or license number, and aren't likely to recall that info if they are attacked. But with Uber, there is an electronic record so they know exactly who picked you up and whether you were dropped off--and since Uber customers pay in advance via credit card there's no farejacking once they're in the car (unlike in a cab, you don't agree to accept the ride until you konw what the fare will be). There's also no reason to believe that various cab licensing boards do better background checks than Uber.

This really comes down to entrenched interests who get a state monopoly fighting to not lose it. I can't blame them--their whole business model is based on that shield from competition, and they invested in their licenses, so naturally they're upset when competition moves in. But it's the state that is to blame, and it shouldn't be carving out monopolies like this.

Balfegor said...

Re: jr565:

The difference between Uber and a cab is that a cab you're hailing some anonymous person from the street -- Uber drivers can't just pick up fares from the street: they have to be hailed through their app. Theoretically, Uber is just like a black car service in that it can only pick up the people who have specifically ordered a car; it can't trawl for fares on the street. That remains, properly, the exclusive right of licensed cabbies. It's just that people fine Uber/Lyft more pleasant and more reliable and their app makes it much more convenient than it had been before.

From a safety perspective, I think Uber and Lyft are safer than ordinary cabs, which are not all that safe, but ordinary cabs are also definitely safer than just hitchhiking in a random car on the street.

Lyle said...

imprison the guilty and this nonsense will stop

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Bryan C said...

"We can all say companies are more innovative if they don't have to abide by regulations that bind other companies. But is that fair? Or even more innovative?"

The taxi monopolies bribe the government into outlawing competition and maintaining an artificial scarcity. This allows the monopoly to keep their prices high despite the lack of any useful innovation or additional value-added on their part.

Now innovation has outpaced the willingness of the government to do the monopoly's bidding. As a result the government is basically being asked to criminalize who can be passengers in private vehicles. The taxi cartels apparently wouldn't pay them enough to make that worthwhile.

Taxi drivers are suckers if they keep paying for medallions. If they want to be angry, be angry at the government parasites who've been ripping them off all these years. Then they should cut their losses and sign up with Uber.

Quaestor said...

Is it wrong for Cabbies to treat Uber drivers as unlawful combatants?

Obviously the left bank of the Charles is where they keep the loonies.

What's with the Althouse blog lately? First it's jimbino advocating lynching, now The Left Bank is wondering whether assault, and kidnapping are wrong.

Looking back I shouldn't wonder. The Left has been fresh out of ideas since 1917, so a violent response to peer-to-peer capitalism, and attendant cheerleading from the sidelines, is to be expected, alas.

RecChief said...

well said Brando, well said

Known Unknown said...

Ubered last week in DC. Guy was from Morocco who had been in the U.S. for seven years. Brand new Cadillac. Even had little bottled waters for us to drink in the cupholders in the back.

Had a wonderful experience discussing his life and how Morocco has been able to maintain a relatively peaceful and safe state amidst the other turmoil in Northern Africa. Talked also about how conveniently located to Spain it was, and how his brothers live in Norway, Spain and France.

We may have paid more. But we received comparable value to that in return.


MAJMike said...

Another case of union thugs protecting their rice bowls.

Michael K said...

When I was in Rome 30 years ago, we hired a driver name Mario. He was great. He drove a Mercedes and one of his sons drove another. A third son was a bureaucrat but would call in sick if they got really busy. Mario was from Sicily and owned a couple of apartment houses after 20 years of driving tourists around. A friend had given his name and number and he was really startled when I called him. He drove us all over and waited for us. Once we ate lunch at his cousin's and invited him to join us. It was the highlight of the trip. He insisted on taking us to the airport when we left.

The Uber drivers in LA are mostly on the West Side. I would be too.

n.n said...

No one crosses the picket line. Fortunately, Obamacare is nearly universal. Now we're mostly covered.

Michael said...

Michael K

Cab from LAX to the Miramar in Santa Monica was 60 bucks. Uber X from Miramar to LA Live downtown was 28 including tip. Cab driver would not shut up. Cab was vile. Uber X was a clean Prius. Quiet. New. No talking. No calculating fare, tip, etc.

Uber rules. Lefties hate it. Call it dangerous. Lefties are hilarious.

Michael K said...

Oh, I agree but west side tips are better, I'm told.

Michael said...

Michael K

Uber automatically charges a tip. Tell the driver where you want to go and never have to utter another word. Walk out of car and a moment later the receipt is on your phone. No worry about the tip. All agreed in advance.

The West side is the safe side. An Uber driver does not have to pick up someone in Compton or East LA. In some, but not all, cases the driver knows the destination before he accepts the ride. So you don't have to pick someone up at the Bel Aire if they are going to the hood.