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Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver III: How do I rate?

278 Responses

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  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    If it was chess I'd say it's the mid-game.

    Was just on Breakfast too. It was a bit of a blindside to just be focusing on safety issues, given the pre-interview. But that's mass media format, unfortunately. Focus on a single issue.

    I certainly didn't form the Association entirely for the fucking public safety. That's not actually my job to enforce, it's the Government's, and the various arms it has for exactly this purpose. They then make rules which they enforce on drivers, which Uber dropped for 2 reasons:

    1. They couldn't get enough drivers to sign up to get paid so little when the compliance cost (tiny though it is by international standards) involves a cash outlay
    2. They wanted to pay drivers LESS, which they did AT THE SAME TIME. Because it is extremely hard to fight for any of your rights to fair pay and any other conditions of employment when your basic employment is seen as completely illegal by the authorities. When your employment is thrown into the same basket as some random unchecked person without the right to work who doesn't pay their taxes or even know the law.

    So the battle over compliance is actually a battle over having a legal bloody job. It is actually about the money, at the end of it. It's about the basic employment proposition: That it should be Safe, Legal, and Profitable. Uber attacked all three of these things at the same time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to BenWilson,

    That’s not actually my job to enforce, it’s the Government’s, and the various arms it has for exactly this purpose.

    Here's a perfect example of one of those government departments taking proactive action against illegal drivers. NZTA's seeming reluctance to enforce NZ law against infringing Uber drivers suggests that they may have received some sort of go softly directive from upstairs.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1434 posts Report Reply

  • goforit, in reply to Alfie,

    Makes one ponder on it all. Every regulation from transport, taxation, health and safety, imergration, work and income just to name a frew has come under attack from Uber. The future of the welfare and income of the persons involved in passenger transport has taken a 100 year step backwards.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    That's how it looks. I'm fighting this for a reason. It's an important cause, no matter how little people give a crap about the drivers. Under a decent compliance framework with a genuine enforceable contract they're a positive force in the industry. The way it is at the moment it's everything you say, and more. I feel that the political inaction is symptomatic of a particularly scary emerging pattern that reaches well beyond the passenger transport industry. It's a breakdown of the rule of law in this country, and the political will to enforce it. It's a breakdown of the government's willingness to even be involved in setting the rules of employment.

    It has to end. I also predict, strongly, that it will end. The UK ruling is a huge victory, extremely heartening around the whole planet to drivers in the same position. As James Farrar (one of the complainants) has repeatedly said, the systems are in place to deal with this, and it's just a matter of having the bottle to use them. They did have that bottle and they struck a massive blow for Uber drivers against their employers. That ruling is, IMHO, D Day against Uber.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • goforit, in reply to BenWilson,

    bit of a joke this Uberisation of the taxi industry, Uber lowers it prices to below a reasonable profit level to push out the existing taxi industry then the drivers of uber complain about it all, basicly there is so much cake to be shared around, if one overloads the vehicles and reduces prices to gain market share every one in the long run loses out even the passengers. Look at London what a joke.
    The real silly thing is my taxi now works the private hire side of the industry and I now have full control over my prices and costs and only work to a forward demand of my services based on my pricing.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    Uber's losses show the unsustainability of the model. They took a good idea, the app they built for streamlining booking, delivery and payment, and fucked it up with a business model based on exploitation. It didn't have to be this way, and it won't continue to be forever. I suggested that we passed D-Day before. If this is an accurate analogy then there is a long, bitter, struggle ahead that can only go one way. No one can take on the whole world and expect to win, but for some reason hubris so often takes hold of people who have high initial success and leads them down crazy pathways.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    Yes, even I think the app is good, its application to the industry that is all stuffed up.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to goforit,

    Yep, sure can't rely on our lazy, ignorant MPs to do anything about holding Uber accountable.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    Here's Eric Crampton's opinion of the select committee.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 615 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1611/S00483/mps-should-lighten-up-on-uber-as-they-may-soon-need-new-jobs.htm

    Look at what this clown has to say, go to show how been taken in by the Uber bull s**t.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Brent Jackson,

    Economists can be daft, especially libertarian ones. As if there's a free market equivalent for police background checks, vehicle standards, etc.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Yes. Also the media* still has not cottoned on to the existence of legal Uber drivers. Somehow, they have still completely missed the fact that it is possible to legally drive, and the only thing stopping Uber from signing up drivers that way is that they are unwilling to comply with sovereign law, that their purpose was to flood the market and exercise control over drivers by tricking them into a form of illegal employment.

    Also, the fact that no direct action against Uber has yet been undertaken despite all of this being common knowledge since April needs a bit more highlighting. I’m pretty sure that under the Crimes Act, paying people to commit crime counts as inciting them to do that, no matter how many weasel words and corporate jargon, and “twisted language” and “legal fictions” (to quote from the UK ruling) are employed in that induction.

    Here’s a good interview I had 2 days ago, on ABC in Australia. I’m from 24 mins to the end, but the whole thing is really quite interesting about the gig economy in Ozzie.

    Jesus, Deliveroo sounds like a dangerous job.

    *ETA: Actually I will retract that accusation against "the media". The author of that article is not representative generally of the entire media, and my dealings with journalists recently has led me to understand that a growing number of them do get it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    Saw this reporting about the uber/juno struggle in New York:

    http://www.recode.net/2016/11/28/13768756/uber-driver-deactivation-juno-advertising-new-york

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to David Hood,

    This is highly likely to play out in Auckland soon, with Zoomy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • goforit, in reply to BenWilson,

    Uber already applies pressure to there drivers here who use the use of other taxi type apps which is bit of a cheek as the taxi typeapps are the only fully compliant apps to the current transport act.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    Yeah, if you include complying with the Operator Licensing Rules. I think they could have significantly pushed back if their apps were not actually quite shit, though. Dispatching is based on who got to the general area first rather than who is actually closest and wants the job. Then there's no tracking of the vehicle for the passenger so the whole thing of the driver dicking them around and taking ages to come gets traction in the mindset of the app savvy public.

    These are the parts that I agree with in saying Uber was "innovating".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    But this is not to detract from your point of the higher moral ground that those apps sit on, the unlevel playing field that they are operating in. It reeks of partiality that NZ transport operations, illegal or otherwise can and have suffered harsh penalties for violations of the exact same transport laws that Uber is breaking on a grand scale, openly, brazenly, in the full sight and knowledge of the public and regulators and enforcement. It's pretty unsettling when the Minister starts using the language of Uber, referring to "ridesharing", as if that is an actual thing, and as if Uber actually does that here, whatever he thinks it is. I have to think that his reason for giving a free pass to the incompetence of all those MPs in the transport committee is because he also doesn't actually know what is really going on either. The cognitive dissonance that comes from maintaining fictions is perhaps starting to take its toll. One tolerates the incompetence of others under those circumstances, in the hope that one won't get caught out for not knowing one's shit too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • goforit, in reply to BenWilson,

    All sectors of the passenger transport service are ride share, in other words the passengers share a ride with the driver. Always remember Uber started off as Ubercab, then when told they could not operate as a taxi changed the descripton to private hire service and when questioned on that changed the desscriptopn to rideshare. In NZ Uber is an unlicenced and non approved taxi service. Its the so computor/internet clowns just thinking they because they are mainly only thinking of themselves justiflying there npncompliance to the laws of the country as they fuck up the whole world around them.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    In NZ Uber is an unlicenced and non approved taxi service.

    That's probably the closest charge that could stick to them. But whether we split hairs over it being a taxi service or a private hire service, neither option makes it some mystical new form of economic model for the driver, in which the "sharing" of their car somehow magically compensates them for the poor pay. It's driving for hire or reward, that much is clearly obvious to absolutely anyone who knows more than nothing about it. Which is unfortunately about as much as it would seem a lot of quite high up people do know about it. Nothing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • goforit, in reply to BenWilson,

    we split hairs over it being a taxi service or a private hire service

    This is the reason why your group is not taken seriously, when your members operate outside the act it is spitting hairs but when your parent company operates outside the act they are naughty as. Its a bit like the kettle calling the pot black.
    Under the current and only act private hire has to be prebooked and a the fare agreed upon at time of booking and no form of metering can be used, if a meter of any sort is used its a taxi service and the taxi service regulations apply. This is what differates the services, Uber incorrectly went down this path as well as pushing the dodgy PSLs. There is no spitting of hairs within the act. If you want to operate as a taxi there is nothing stopping Uber or its drivers from doing so and as a taxi operation Uber would be welcome as any other ATO.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    No what I meant was that you could split hairs over what charge would stick to the parent corporation. The charges that can and have stuck to many drivers are ones defined in the act. Metering like a taxi probably could stick too, if any officer was prepared to slot a driver for it. But they don't seem to be doing that. It was dropped before reaching court, IIRC, when that was tried in the past. I don't know why.

    But sure, I've never denied that this aspect of the service is not following the law, although I'm not sure if its in an Act. That's the Operator Licensing Rule, right?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • goforit, in reply to BenWilson,

    All parts of the act needs to be read to have the overall picture. The proposed chages to the act will take care of the issues mentioned by having only one form of small passenger service. Uber wants all the regulations dropped even though they where the one that asked for these changes in the first place without realising what the changes actually meant. once they realised they backed away from what they had requested. If Uber had fares that made there service profitable to the operators instead of funding drivers out of shareholders money, occassionly charging excessive prices in the form of surge pricing, insurance fraud and avoidance of taxes etc I wonder if the Uber model would have expanded rapidly and been accepted by the public as a cheap option as it has.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    I wonder if the Uber model would have expanded rapidly and been accepted by the public as a cheap option as it has.

    I'll go out on a limb and say absolutely no way. Its business model is buying market share using speculative capital and then pretending to be a sound business by using 19th century labour practices, and an innovative business by inventing their own laws.

    There's desperation in their latest moves here. The huge commissions for new drivers ($750 if you sign up under my code!), the offer of guaranteed $45/hour for people who have not been driving much (not offered to all drivers, probably because it's completely unaffordable), and the repeated attempts and entreaties to get even people who have been prohibited from driving and have faced charges in court over this back on the road for their exploitative job, and the fact that drive times to rides is pushing as high as 30 mins now.

    They can't find drivers. Of course they can get riders, the elasticity of demand makes that a no-brainer. Keep buying riders and you'll get them. But they don't seem to have realized that to get the other side of the business really cranking you actually have to pay the workers well too. And if the payments coming in are less than those going out, you're actually losing money. Some kind of basic math fail....

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

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