December 20, 2016

The downside of Uber.

1. "A 23-year-old Uber driver has been charged after he allegedly stabbed a passenger multiple times because he felt the man showed disrespect for his vehicle." The passenger had merely tapped on the window before getting into the car, we're told. That's at USA Today, where the top-rated comment is: "What a fine, upstanding member of society. From the looks of him, he's probably got a couple swastika tattoos & a tRump bumper sticker. Uber-wacko."

2. Uber drivers pushing drugs. "Dozens of people have reported the dodgy dealings, with many taking to social media to recount the drug offers." "Dodgy"... yeah, it's the UK. Maybe it's not happening here. And anyway, the tweets could be lies.

3. Uber, the corporation, has apparently lost over $3 billion this year. "Uber, a closely held company based in San Francisco, has stayed mum about its financial performance even as its valuation has soared to $69 billion, making it more valuable on paper than General Motors Co. and Twitter Inc. combined." Long term, though, it should work, right? (Like Amazon?)

4. [ADDED, related to #1.] "You guys know how to not let pax slam your doors when they exit from your car? give me your advice please."/"Stay home and only travel with your family and friends."/"Door and trunk slammers are an automatic one star. With Lyft you will never see those people again. You can stop most of it by getting out and opening those doors and the trunk yourself."/"Shoot them in the head before they exit your vehicle. I keep a pair of gloves, couple of blankets and cleaner sprayer just for those cases in the trunk."


tim maguire said...

How did Uber the corporation lose 3 billion? What does Uber the corporation do that requires more than a few million? If I were a shareholder, I'd want to take a look at salaries.

Expat(ish) said...

@Tim -

Uber is a relatively small company and nobody is making huge coin - the massive losses are
1> Marketing / customer acquisition costs
2> Subsidies to drivers b/c the good (rides) is priced below cost <<-- this is huge
2.1> This includes subsidies to partners to provide drivers with cars, insurance, etc below actual cost
3> Moonshot research - self driving cars, self driving trucks

Me, personally, I think Warren must roll his eyes at these guys every day.


Brando said...

Don't blame Uber for a stabby driver unless Uber had reason to know he was stabby. Are we to believe among all the cab drivers worldwide none of them get a little stabby from time to time? As for whether the stabbing was justified, let's wait until the facts come out before we assume all the guy did to provoke it was tap on the window. Sure, maybe tapping made the driver snap, but odds are there's more to it.

Ann Althouse said...

"As for whether the stabbing was justified, let's wait until the facts come out before we assume all the guy did to provoke it was tap on the window."

I agree, and that's why I appended "we're told."

Steve said...

I will assume that a PR flack for a taxi cab organization is behind this articel. If you are from out of own and need weed or a hooker, the place to start is in a cab. And I will guess that the number of people assaulted by cab drivers over the last few years is 10X what it is in an Uber.

My first Uber ride was driven by an Ethiopian immigrant who referred to Uber as his "Freedom Job." I haven't been in a cab since.

tim in vermont said...

Looks like a Hillary voter to me. See how easy that was. Didn't that escaped prisoner who killed and dismembered his boss sure draw pretty pictures of Hillary?

Michael said...

I haven't ridden in a taxi in an Uber town in quite a while. OK, sometimes from LGA to midtown because finding the Uber driver at LGA is not particularly easy. But other than that Uber is the way to go. Uber X is way cheaper than cabs but you risk a car that is not up to snuff: might be dirty, might be older than it is supposed to be. Uber Black is the same cost, perhaps a little more, than a cab but more often than not it turns out to be a Tahoe or Suburban.

I am sure there is not a stab culture or a rape culture within Uber. Not even a rob culture.

It is just a bunch of men and women earning extra money driving people around. A great service

Jupiter said...

"Long term, though, it should work, right? (Like Amazon?)"

They'll make it up on volume.

Beta Rube said...

I drove Friday and Saturday night through five or six inches of unplowed snow. I didn't enjoy the treacherous conditions, but I had good rapport with all my customers and delivered them all safely. I have around 4,000 rides under my belt and no nightmares to recount.

I enjoy reading about the Uber horror stories as much as anyone, but I have nothing to compare with them.

And riders who are drunk at two in the morning are mostly sleepy (and cold now)and want a quiet ride home which I'm happy to provide.

rehajm said...

Uber has a great driver/passenger star based rating system. I presume it helps to weed out the rapey and stabby people fairly quickly.

rehajm said...

What does Uber the corporation do that requires more than a few million?

In addition to what others mentioned: legal fees. The war chest to fight the taxi lobby in the US and the statists internationally.

Wilbur said...

I just heard on the local news (Miami) this morning that an Uber or Lyft driver shot and killed a thug who was trying to rob him and his passengers at gunpoint. The police had cleared the driver already.

The report did append that the driver may lose his job because the company does not allow its drivers to be armed.

mtp said...

People slam Uber doors because the doors are lighter than those on their own cars. There is no way to prevent this. No one consciously judges the weight of a car door before closing it. This is pure muscle memory.

Paul Snively said...

I have no idea what Über's path to profitability is, either, but then, I did say exactly the same thing about Amazon several years back. I didn't particularly need the evidence that I'm not Jeff Bezos, but I was reminded anyway.

As for the experience: night and day, I'll take an Über over a taxi. My drivers have, with only one exception (who was merely quiet), been outgoing, pleasant and polite (one young man tuned his radio to a hard rock station, and apologized a few minutes later for the inadvertent profanity; I assured him that I'd heard more vile things come from my own mouth), charming (one San Francisco driver roughly in his mid-50s explained that he likes his car and likes to show off the city; a driver in Boulder, CO suggested I move there because I was "cool" and would obviously "fit right in"), and apparently feel safe (I've now been a complete stranger in the cars of several female drivers).

My hope is that Über and Lyft are wildly successful and become the Coke and Pepsi of the field. But I do still worry that they may become the Segways of the field.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Amazing, innit, that there was no violence between cabbies and passengers in all the decades before Uber and Lyft started.
Or so the implicit statement of the MSM goes...

JaimeRoberto said...

I wonder if Uber would get better publicity if they had chosen a less obnoxious name.

mikee said...

May we have next a post on the deranged violence by a few members of, oh, say, randomly picking a large group, high-rise condominium occupants? Or maybe, those who live in rented housing?

As I recall, Kellerman's famous 1993 Journal of the American Medical Association article on American firearm violence noted that those who rented their housing were about 6 times more likely to suffer from criminal gun violence than those who kept firearms in their domiciles. Ban apartments!

So it should be interesting. More interesting than what these very, very few Uber drivers got up to on these very, very rare occasions.