Now that I think about it, a friend wrote a short story based on the Croydon atmospheric railway, for a local newspaper.
I think Uber has done a good job on distracting everyone from the current situation of being non compliant to local laws (all over the world) with all this driverless car crap. Certainly has moved the spot light off their negative moves, like getting their arses kicked in China and being forced to some countries including USA to comply to some basic regulations.
By the news article today we see the reason for the distraction, Uber is still losing money and of course blaming the fact drivers are the problem. After 7 years operating in the USA where in some cities Uber is in great demand it still cannot turn a profit. Makes one think if as of when most of the assetes are owned by the drivers in way of the drivers vehicles who in the hell is going to own the driverless cars, I bet there no way Uber can just buy them and the auto companies will not just give them to Uber. The Uber tactic of undercutting the opersition is not a wise tactic unless one can take over the market fully and that never going to happen.
They're pretty much a go-for-broke outfit. It would seem they're throwing all their eggs into two baskets - buying market share, and buying driverless car technology in the hope that they can join the two at some future point. It's an incredibly risky strategy, since it relies on technological break throughs, and law changes, and a future in which the market share they bought actually even wants that technology (not guaranteed!). I presume you won't be able to downrate your driverless car, so one of the most powerful things about their whole service, the ability of customers to arbitrarily wield the fear of losing your job over the drivers, will be gone. That's even if they can get it to work, something that has huge barriers, both practical, ethical, legal, and financial.
It could pay off. Or shit itself and flop, leaving investors with jack. The ride-sourcing business will continue, though. Already a great many competitors all around the world are cutting in. Including here.
I'd like to think it's not too late for them to pull back from the brink. But I think hubris has a very strong hold on them, that their entire corporate culture has systematically made itself invulnerable to common sense and criticism. It is thus extremely brittle. The bluster and bravado that one sees in public statements is in stark contrasts to outright atmosphere of fear in their front offices. I don't really see any organization lasting in which the actual owners are deliberately unavailable and responsible staff literally hide and run away from anyone trying to confront them.
Tell me any corporate sign up office you've ever seen in this country, in which they pay a doorman to push a button just to let you in to a room that only has two staff members, and all they do is sign up drivers? Not a secretary, to screen meetings and handle minor functions. This guy is literally doing nothing except making sure that people they don't want can't get in. The staff in there, when questioned, claim not to actually work for Uber.
It's literally like a shell organization. It's the kind of thing you'd expect from a Ponzi scheme.
When it comes to hubris, I heard a story that Travis Robotnik, or whatever his name is that runs the whole outfit, lost the deal to have BMW supply them with their driverless car technology because the executive team from BMW came all the way from Germany to the USA to meet him to discuss it, and he didn't show up because he was too hungover, and didn't even hide it. They decided to dump Uber there and then. We're seriously talking about someone who is riding on hubris and it will not be long before his visions crumble before his eyes...IMHO.
Hi Ben, very well said, whats happening is fairly close to what I have said will happen. I see his lady friend has packed it in due to the pressures the Uber clown has come under, thats usually a good indicator on things.
His lack of respect to his main resource the drivers or dudes as he now calls them is a real insult to the drivers.
Why Uber's approach didn't work in Japan.
I did read that several weeks ago and thought there goes the world take over by Uber, since reading it Uber pulls out of China and other clinks in the armour are opening up.
Hi Ben, have you heard that last friday night several Uber drivers received offence notices with fines of $10,000.00 for PSL offences from the CVIU.
Yes, I did. They're going hard again, which is good. I'm still somewhat in the dark about where these prosecutions actually go in the end, though. The claim that Uber defends them is something I'd like answers to.
I also understand that the CVIU is following up with the people who are leasing out their PSLs, with mixed success. Some operators have heeded it and stopped immediately, others are playing hide and go seek with the CVIU, something I can't see working out for them in the long run. Depends on what Uber does, really.
If any driver is holding thir breath waiting for Uber to help them out they are in trouble.
I'd love to be able to answer whether that is true. Hopefully I might soon be able to. But I do know this much: They certainly undertake directly with the drivers who have been fined to help them. Not in writing, of course. It's always a verbal promise made down at the office by the staff who literally claim not to work for Uber when actually pressed on the matter by someone holding anything looking vaguely like an official communication.
Guess Ubers support is called deactivation. I also have heard that several Uber drivers from your group saying they been deactivated without any reason given. Looks like things are heating up at long last. Hope they have left you alone.
I'm not deactivated, and have helped a few drivers in that circumstance get reactivated. But these deactivations were not for fines at all. The arbitrary deactivations have been for ratings falling below an arbitrary threshold set by Uber. I'm not aware of any driver being deactivated because they incurred a fine, or a cease and desist order, due to lack of compliance. Quite the opposite, Uber encourages these drivers to continue as if it never happened, and let them (Uber) deal with the tickets.
So separate issue, one that I'm far more keen to pursue. I think I've given enough on compliance now, considering that there are hundreds of people who get paid good wages to make that their actual job. I'm actually more concerned about the people being tricked into a shitty low pay illegal job, who are receiving huge fines and blots on their record whilst the instigator continues to hold the pay down, fire the staff arbitrarily, break the law at will and gets held up as a poster child in the war against the supposed evil taxi empire.
I do think that busting the drivers probably has some effect in the long run. But it seems like a very, very ineffective and expensive alternative to simply directly challenging this company in court with the legal powers of an entire government. Priorities here are very much broken.
Have you heard what will happen when companies supplying services online into NZ are expected to collect GST from October 31st?
I’m actually more concerned about the people being tricked into a shitty low pay illegal job, who are receiving huge fines and blots on their record whilst the instigator continues to hold the pay down, fire the staff arbitrarily, break the law at will and gets held up as a poster child in the war against the supposed evil taxi empire.
From the evil but compliant taxi empire Uber may be the driving force behind their driver;s problems with compliancy but the drivers know they are non compliant and working outside the law. We may not agree with all the regs in the transport and other acts but that dosn't give any company or person the right to just ignore the regs.
I just hope the new proposed regs are made law soon as so we can all get on with our industry instead of just hanging in limbo as we watch these non compliant drivers and the non compiant Uber organisation stuff it up for everyone.
We may not agree with all the regs in the transport and other acts but that dosn’t give any company or person the right to just ignore the regs.
I agree with this, for the most part. Always in law, there are rules that linger on well past their use-by. Often the will to even enforce them disappears in all but the biggest sticklers, and even then one wonders whether they are enforced arbitrarily, a thin veneer to cover an underlying use of prejudice.
Other laws make good sense, even if they are less than perfect, they catch the main purposes they are for. And there is a continuum in between.
During this period, it is pretty much only by the policy given to enforcement that the spirit of the law, and it's connection through to the spirit of the people whom the law is designed to protect, is maintained.
This is exactly where we are with app based ride sourcing.
The law at the extremely outdated end of this continuum are the laws regarding metering of rides. Technological changes have simply made this into a relic of a time when the only really practical and accurate way to measure the distance of a trip was from the turn of wheels. Now, the app measuring such things is mostly more reliable, especially since there are multiple sources - the driver's GPS, the rider's GPS, and the algorithmic measurement made along the route by a service like Google. A lot of people can see that it's a significant improvement on a taxi meter, since the main purpose of the metering law is to protect the customer, not the driver. There are ways to fiddle meters. But when that is not even really in the driver's hands any more, the customer is probably better protected. Clearly the customers of Uber feel this way about it.
At the other end of the spectrum are the sensible laws: The P Endorsement, the COF, the driving time laws and log books for enforcement of them.
In the middle are the TSL laws, which do not serve a clear purpose when it comes to taxis. There is some sense to the idea of licensing organizations to deliver taxi services, but having gone through the certifications, I know for sure that it delivered nothing more than what the P Endorsement already did. I was able to pass the exam for it off an hour of reading the reference material. I can say that this was actually unnecessary, in hindsight - I would have passed even if I'd gone in raw, because I finished the exam fully an hour before time.
They probably make sense for other kinds of operations, but for taxis a situation of genuine employment under a TSL is vanishingly rare, and almost every single driver is effectively required to get one, to set up their own organization for only themselves to be in it. It's a big waste of time and money. About $600 and about 8 weeks end to end. But it's the law, so I have to grudgingly advise all drivers to go through with it.
Very true most of what you say, the PSL (TSL) are going under the proposed changes to the act but then you are at the whim if the ATO you work under, unless you hold an ATO yourself.
The metering side is no argument, under the new proposed regs even taxis can do the same sort of metering as Uber so its going to get very interesting, be so good when we can vary our rates to demand.
I do think that you do set a good example with your thoughts of the future of the industry but unfortunely most drivers and that includes both Uber and taxi don't think of the future but the here and now.
Thanks. The biggest problem with the proposed regs is that there is no time frame at all on it. The Minister hints at this year. But that's slipping away. More clarity on this is certainly needed. It will make my job of convincing drivers to get TSLs so much easier if the Minister wasn't hinting they could disappear some time in the next 3 months!!
ETA: For starters I would not have to fight all the little hints that I know Uber give to drivers signing up that this is all going to change soon, so they "may want to hold off on getting the PSL" (which I what I personally got told). They could just be bullshitting, but I got the impression, for once, of genuine honesty from the staff - that they truly believe that they've got a pet Minister who is going to do their bidding this year.
They may think they got a pet minister but I think that minister is playing both sides. I think by now the minister must realise that we are all watching his moves and he now between the rock and hard place. Our advice to the drivers who are coming to use both from Uber and the taxi industry is "this is the current act and this is the law so be compliant".
The Herald has some details of the Police operation at Queens Wharf on August 25-27 which netted a few Uber drivers. As the breakdown includes taxis and other drivers -- 129 infringement notices, 18 drivers forbidden from driving -- it's hard to know how many Uberers were actually nabbed, although the type of offenses probably provide clues.
NZTA say they've sent out 2407 warning letters to Uber drivers.
NZTA say they’ve sent out 2407 warning letters to Uber drivers.
Yes, this has been excellent. Since Uber does not share details on who their drivers are, this list can only have been compiled since Uber started doing their own background checks, which started in April, triggering alerts on who should be sent a warning.
So this means that in 4 months, Uber has signed up 2407 odd drivers under their completely-non-compliant system. So when it comes to who is teaching who a lesson, I'm not sure where the balance currently lies. Our enforcement agencies have managed in their blitzes to issue a few hundred notices. This has involved at least a dozen officers on multiple occasions staking out locations for lengthy periods. Good on them, but it looks like people holding back the tide with their hands.
Makes me wonder if it really is actually too expensive to go after the source, by comparison. It's quite possible a single injunction could net the entire lot. I'd love to hear what options on that have been considered. Sure, their lawyers would fight. But it's not like our government doesn't have lawyers, or that our regulatory agencies don't have strong powers written into our laws.
This whole we-can-hide-offshore-nya-nya thing has to stop. If we can't stop it for something like this, what's to stop seriously criminal activity working through such a front? I simply do not believe our government does not have the powers to force Uber to comply in very short order.
Then it wouldn't be on the poor enforcement officers to carry the whole can for letting an organization that has flooded the market with over two thousand potentially non-compliant drivers in only 4 months.
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm makes one think, in the years gone by and not to distanced this was the sort of enforcement faced by the taxi industry. I can recall when approximately up to 50 tickets would be issued on a regular basis and this brought the taxi industry under control but wow nearly 2 and a half thousand possible non-compliant drivers in 4 months no wonder the taxi industry is at a stand still. Hope the authorites keep the kid gloves off and clean up the industry before it completely breaks down due to lack of any control. This is why there is a Transport Act, the Transport Act was put in place approximately 100 years ago for the very reason we see now.
A quick add up on the value of the offences is well over $100,000.00 more than enougth to cover the costs of enforcement.
Not if the fines are not collected in the end. I'm currently pursuing a line of inquiry into the status of how many fines and notices that have been issued have been paid or honored, vs how many frustrated in court or dropped beforehand. Then the huge question, the one on every journalist's lips: Are Uber paying the fines on the drivers' behalf?
This is very important because clearly we have here an organization that is not in the least bit swayed by the moves made by enforcement here. The moves that have been made by the authorities concerned are simply not working.
We have had months of this now. Uber is simply outpacing the ability of enforcement to keep drivers off the road with newly signed up drivers. I've received very credible information recently that they are making no efforts whatsoever to check the rights of the drivers to work in NZ at all. Lots of people on visas that specifically prohibit them working are signing up. These drivers are certainly flying under the IRD radar.
Naturally these drivers are beyond even an organized labour organization like the drivers association to do anything with. They avoid it like the plague. They are happy with earning extremely low pay because it's better for them than the no-pay that they are officially allowed to have.
Since Uber does not share details on who their drivers are
Though Uber has an API which you can enter arbitrary altitude and longitudes into and find out what "uber products" (available cars) are nearby- Not the registration, but a general description.
Despite Ben's data skills, I'm going to suggest he keep away from this as there are probably some kinds of Terms and Conditions about not using it for anything Uber doesn't want it used for that Uber might leverage about blocking other use of the service, and it is actually not that critical to know how many uber drivers are active in an area when the problem is with the regulators.