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Virginia DMV Cracks Down On Uber, Lyft 260

Posted by Soulskill
from the markets-solve-many-things dept.
An anonymous reader writes 'Talk about regulatory capture! As radio station WTOP reports, "The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles says that ride services Lyft and Uber are violating state law and must stop operating immediately. The DMV sent cease and desist orders to both companies Thursday." Who benefits most? It's not the people who are voting with their dollars and feet — seems more like the current stable of taxi drivers and others blessed by the state of Virginia. Good thing there's no call for or benefit from greater per-car occupancy, or experimentation more generally with disruptive disintermediation. Given enough bribe money down the road, I'm sure a deal can be struck, though.'
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Virginia DMV Cracks Down On Uber, Lyft

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  • by rwa2 (4391) * on Friday June 06, 2014 @06:58PM (#47183809) Homepage Journal

    Puerto Rico has these "third world" jitney services.

    They're actually pretty cool, when I was there all the drivers of the vans knew each other, and had their own cellphone social network going on, so if you called one for a pickup, and they weren't close to you, they would call another driver who was available to come pick you up.

    Even better, they would do their own vanpooling of passengers, kinda like the airport shuttles work here in the US, but coordinated over their social network. So you might be going from town to town, and stop somewhere briefly to pick up and drop off some other paying passengers who called in and just happened to be along the way.

    So much efficiency could be achieved...
    Disclaimer: I essentially wrote my master's thesis on running mass transit networks more like a jitney service, with smaller, more flexible vehicles:
    http://hairball.mine.nu/~rwa2/... [hairball.mine.nu]

    Of course, Virginia still gets some points for tolerating "Slug lines"... the instant carpools where people headed in or out of DC could pick up strangers lined up at bus/train stations so they both could ride the HOV lanes in.

  • by MickLinux (579158) on Friday June 06, 2014 @07:58PM (#47184197) Journal

    It is not the same in EVERY Virginia city, but in Norfolk whenI was a taxi driver, the city licensed a cetin number of cabs to operate. Like the commercial fisherman's license, if you had a license, you had every incentive NOT to operate a vehicle, but to rent it out to a licensed cabdriver for a rental fee of more than $100 per day. That's 1992 dollars.

    Moreover, your incentive to maintain a working vehicle was almost minimal. So they were real pieces of trash, that harvested money from poor cabbies and poorer clientele, and redirected it into the pockets of the owner of each cab company.

    That's the Virginia way of doing things. YMMV.

  • Uber Insurance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06, 2014 @10:56PM (#47184917)

    Disclaimer: I am an uberX driver in Dallas.

    In Dallas the city is rewriting the rules to allow ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft, and both companies have had a seat at the table while the new rules have been drafted. The old regs, bought and paid for by Yellow, limit the number of cars such that if I wanted to start a cab company with the present regs, I literally could not because Yellow is known to be squatting (i.e., bought but not using) about 300 car licences. The rewrite is of rules Yellow itself bought and paid for (Al Lipscomb, a Dallas city councilcritter, was acquitted by an appeals court, but only because they railroaded a guilty man).

    A lot of people whine about the so-called "insurance gap." That problem has been resolved:

    http://blog.uber.com/uberXridesharinginsurance

    Uber has published the text of the policy; I leave it as an exercise to the reader to find it.

    There ARE kinks to be worked out, but Uber is in compliance with insurance regs that require as much as $1 million in first-dollar coverage. Drivers' personal vehicles are covered for comp and collision damage while on the road as well. (I might like a smaller deductible, but it's better than what I thought Uber provided, which was nothing.)

    Really, all this whining is about protecting entrenched interests. If you had good experiences in cabs, you've obviously never been to a place like Dallas. I hear stories all the times of cabbies assaulting passengers, kicking them out in the dark without knowing where they are, demanding cash at the end of a ride, after agreeing to take plastic at the start, refusing to take plastic when they clearly have the Visa/MC/Disc/Amex/Diners logos on their windows, refusing to use the meter and instead demanding an inflated price, adding excess charges for no apparent reason, refusing to run AC on 110 degree summer days, and having cars that are disgusting and have broken safety equipment (like cut up seat belts).

    In Dallas, clients choose Uber because the taxi companies offer a shitty product, and they like Uber's product better. If Uber brings some attention to the problems of the taxi industry's shitty product, all the better.

    But if you're going to complain, complain about the right thing. The insurance problem has been resolved. It's time to move on and complain about what's really bugging you: Uber is screwing with your business and you don't like it because you thought you'd bought and paid for your little monopoly years ago.

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