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Transportation Technology

How Airports Became Ground Zero In the Battle For Peer-to-Peer Car Rentals 66

curtwoodward writes: "Even in libertarian-infused Silicon Valley, playing nice with the government can be a smart move. That's the attitude at RelayRides, a peer-to-peer car rental service that plans to expand at airports by getting permission first. On the other side is FlightCar, a competitor that would rather fight the power in court. The next couple of years should tell us which approach is smarter. Similar battles are becoming almost routine as startups born of the digital economy confront the real world’s established power systems, particularly in the emerging 'sharing economy,' where online tools help networks of consumers rent things to each other. And as these young companies try to manage rapid growth and fend off threats to their survival, the decision about whether to fight regulators or accommodate them can become another way to gain a competitive edge."
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How Airports Became Ground Zero In the Battle For Peer-to-Peer Car Rentals

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  • by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @07:12PM (#46635015) Homepage Journal

    ...of how the constant whining about the "free market" is total bullshit.

    The free market created innovation, so the established players want to shut it down. They go whining to legislators, who will put in a reglation because their donors tell them to.

    Concerns about "saftey" and the like are irrelevant... this is the usual crap we see in the "pro free market" USA.

  • by ddtstudio ( 61065 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @07:24PM (#46635117)

    In the last few days he's posted two highly biased, agenda-driven things on Slashdot's main page. Both take the perspective that it's eeeevil guvmint trying to crack down on plucky, innovative, honest corporations who just wanna do right by you. In the way he presents these highly questionable narratives, there's no no room for the facts that city governments have had long-standing regulations for cab and ride services that require adequate levels of insurance and other means of covering liability when Bad Things Happen.

    One such case of Things happened New Years's Eve here in San Francisco, when a ride-service (yeah, it's not "sharing" if you exchange a service for a fee) driver ran over and killed a child. The company in question, because it had been throwing tantrums and refusing to comply with existing regulations (not to mention publicly ranting that the city was trying to "kill innovation"), didn't have coverage and refused all liability, putting it all on the driver.

    If these companies cannot afford to comply with existing safety regulations, the way cab companies have and do, maybe they aren't a viable business model and need to innovate all over again.

  • by aurizon ( 122550 ) <bill@jackson.gmail@com> on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @07:50PM (#46635283)

    AFter WW2, when tens of thousand of men were demobbed, they had ARmy skills,- Shoot - explode -shell, and almost all were taught to drive.
    So they would get a car and offer rides for a fee, from these our cab companies evolved.
    There were more cars and drivers than there were passengers to support them, as a result little walled gardens of taxi rights appeared. As time wen by radio dispatch came along, and that was another little walled garden.

    Now we have an iphone ap = radio dispatch is now dead, but still walking around and tryint to create barriers to alternate dispatch methods, such as the web and iphones.
    Now along comes these cars, web booked via iphone ap.
    The very turf beneath the feet of the taxi business and radio dispatch business is sinking.

    Radio dispatchers, the greedy little fucks, want $400-$600 per month, the plate ownjers want $3000 per month to rent a plated cab.
    They will fight and bribe all the politicians in city hall to keep their little, very very very high profit turfs.

    These turfs need to die, these turfs live of the back of the cab driver and the public. Get rid if these little turfs and drivers will make more and riders pay less.

    We need to free this market, griffin is wrong, this is not a free marker, it is little absolute monopolies(turfs or fiefs) that screw us all.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @08:30PM (#46635523)

    With regards to the Uber-X New Years Day accident, you are leaving out some important details. Such as the driver at fault didn't have a paying Uber customer in his car, nor was he on the way to pick one up.

    The best the city could come up with is that his phone was logged into the Uber app....so it's not entirely clear (legally) if his own liability insurance should pay or Uber's. Aside from that it was just a tragic accident, not anything to do with safety of the program. It's akin to an off-duty cop getting into an accident. Because he had his radio, badge, gun etc does that mean the city is liable?


  • by spasm ( 79260 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @10:11PM (#46636081) Homepage

    I moved to the US 14 years ago from another developed nation, but had spent a lot of my childhood in developing nations; I quickly found that anything that baffled me in the US abruptly made a *lot* more sense when viewed as if the US is a third world nation.

  • by pepty ( 1976012 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @11:31PM (#46636417)

    The solution should be something along the lines of forcing insurance companies to cover for hire drivers like they would have to for any other passenger. Why does 'for hire' make any difference what-so-ever in the first place? If I drive 200,000 miles a year and my neighbor drives less than 1000 and both are personal there isn't a premium for one over the other even though the 200,000 miles makes it more risky to insure the one over the other.

    If forced to cover for hire drivers they probably would add a huge extra fee to cover the added risk and higher coverage ($1 million minimum in CA); more of their customers will be driving more miles, so the company will end up with more claims overall. The claims will also involve more passengers, so the average expense per claim would rise a bit. They would probably also raise rates after moving violations even more than they do now. I don't think they charge for insurance per-mile because it would be a pain to keep track and would encourage tampering with the odometer/ECU.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @05:12AM (#46637425)

    I'll quote a bit of fiction (setting is cold war gone hot, the heroine has both won the war and the peace and is now talking to some USSR economic eggheads):

    "Over 100 years ago in my country we were opening the American West.
    Mostly it was dry country but there were rivers the
    wagon trains had to cross. An interesting thing happened. Wherever there was a
    river crossing, there would be someone with a tent and a barrel selling

    Grinning at Mike, she said, "My fiancé is Irish. Many Irishmen came over in
    the 1840's and 1850's. They fought in our Civil War, and many of them helped to
    build the transcontinental railroad. They just kept pushing the railroad track
    across the country. As they went, their camps moved forward with them. In every
    camp there were saloons, dance halls, and gambling parlors. They were not
    provided by the railroad. How did they get there? Why was there always a man
    selling liquor at the river crossings? Because money could be made, and no
    permissions were necessary
    . All it took was someone with an idea and a little
    money to get started.

    we don't have a free market, we don't have anything anywhere near it,
    heck a 12-year old running a lemonade stand now needs a permit

    when any group (2 or more) of people can at any time come to a voluntary exchange of goods or services, then that's a free market.
    When you constantly need to ask permission for any such exchange to a 3th party, it's not a free market
    Whether that 3th party is the government or a local robber barron is irrelevant.

    Note also that the capitalist economic ideal is a 'perfectly competitive free market'
    The adjectives are important, not something to be ignored, and yes you can't quite get to the 'perfectly' but you sure could get a hell of a lot closer then where we currently are

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern