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EU Businesses Transportation

Uber In Retreat Across Europe 460

HughPickens.com writes: Mark Scott reports at the NY Times that Uber is rapidly expanding its ride-hailing operations across the globe but some of Uber's fiercest opposition has come in Europe, where the culture clash between the remorseless competition of the US tech industry and the locals' respect for tradition and deference to established interests is especially stark. In Frankfort, Uber shut its office after just 18 months of operation spurred in part by drivers like Hasan Kurt, the owner of a local licensed taxi business, who had refused to work with the American service. Uber antagonized local taxi operators by prioritizing its low-cost service, and then could not persuade enough licensed drivers to sign up, even after it offered to pay for licenses and help with other regulatory costs that totaled as much as $400 for new drivers. "It's not part of the German culture to do something like" what Uber did says Kurt. "We don't like it, the government doesn't like it, and our customers don't like it."

Uber also pulled out of Hamburg and Düsseldorf after less than two years of operating in each of those German cities. In Amsterdam, Uber recently stopped offering UberPop, in Paris and Madrid, Uber has been confronted by often violent opposition from existing taxi operators, while in London, local regulators are mulling changes that could significantly hamper Uber's ambitions there. Uber's aggressive tactics have turned off potential customers like Andreas Müller who tried the company's Frankfurt service after first using Uber on a business trip in Chicago. Müller said he liked the convenience of paying through his smartphone, but soon turned against the company after reading that it had continued operating in violation of court orders and did not directly employ its drivers, who are independent contractors. "That might work in the U.S., but that's not how things are done here in Germany," says Müller. "Everyone must respect the rules."
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Uber In Retreat Across Europe

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's what sets Europe apart from the oligarchies and part of what the city slickers want to get rid of in the UK.

  • by nbauman ( 624611 ) on Thursday January 07, 2016 @06:46AM (#51254393) Homepage Journal

    Who would have thought?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 07, 2016 @07:03AM (#51254433)

      We are the Silicon Valley. Lower your firewalls and surrender your appers. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.

    • Around here, Taxi companies are run and worked at by some of the worst assholes of all. Show up when they want, take detours and pretend not to understand you, gouge you as much as possible. I'm glad someone is undercutting them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 07, 2016 @06:47AM (#51254395)

    Here in Belgium (Brussels for me) lots of people used Uber, even after the threat to close them down. Its cheaper and more convenient than the expensive and slow taxi service. Most everyone I know has used them at least once and everyone (in my circle) was not happy with them pulling out of Brussels after threat of legal action.

    I think if you talk to anyone who isn't a taxi driver or associated with the police, you'd find they like Uber and are not happy with the monopoly of the taxi service on this industry.

    Of course, Belgium is well known as a 'fuck the rules' sort of country. But we're also the seat of the EU so the irony is not lost on me about this story.

    Still, most people would have been happier if our fucking governments had found a way to work with Uber instead of just bowing over to the taxi unions.

    • by nbauman ( 624611 ) on Thursday January 07, 2016 @07:10AM (#51254453) Homepage Journal

      Here in America, we see that the winner-take-all economy leaves us with monopolies that are even more inefficient, greedy and unresponsive than the unions and regulated monopolies. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] And you saw what Uber did to their competitors like Lyft.

      Once Uber has driven its competition out of business, they'll be able to raise prices for riders and drive their "contractors" (employees without rights) down to third-world wages by getting them to compete with each other to be the lowest bidder.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 07, 2016 @08:43AM (#51254725)

        That's capitalism 101. Drive out the competition by any means possible (or reach an agreement with the competition), jack prices to whatever you want. Buy politicians to legislate against new competitors. Profit!

      • I think you have a fare waiting on line 6.

      • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday January 07, 2016 @09:45AM (#51254951) Homepage Journal

        Here in America, [...] Once Uber has driven its competition out of business, they'll be able to raise prices for riders and drive their "contractors" (employees without rights) down to third-world wages by getting them to compete with each other to be the lowest bidder.

        Once Uber has driven its competition out of business, anyone will be able to offer a service like Uber, because the barriers to entry will have been removed — at Uber's considerable legal expense. I fail to see how you fail to see that this is a win for everyone except entrenched taxi businesses enjoying a state-enforced monopoly. Taxi licensing may work in Germany, I can't speak to that, but Here in America, taxi licensing does absolutely none of the things it is supposed to do.

        • by jaa101 ( 627731 ) <James.Ashton@ashtons.id.au> on Thursday January 07, 2016 @10:07AM (#51255103)

          Once Uber has driven its competition out of business, anyone will be able to offer a service like Uber.

          No, because this type of service is a natural monopoly, especially when operated by a large multi-national. Nobody wants to use a different app for every city. It would be just like trying to compete against eBay in the online auction market.

          • No, because this type of service is a natural monopoly, especially when operated by a large multi-national.

            How ironic, you're complaining about the danger of a natural "monopoly", which is not really a monopoly, when we're already dealing with the poor results of a state-sponsored monopoly, which really is. Indeed, if that monopoly were serving The People, Uber would not even exist for lack of interest.

            • by jaa101 ( 627731 )

              if that monopoly were serving The People, Uber would not even exist for lack of interest.

              How ironic your point is given that the story title is "Uber In Retreat Across Europe". The taxi industry, which is not a state-sponsored monopoly in many places, would seem to be serving the people. Just because the government requires taxi drivers to be licensed doesn't make it a monopoly any more that ordinary drivers' licences make cars a government monopoly.

              However ironic you may think my point is, the danger is real that Uber will achieve widespread dominance and then be in a position to abuse their

          • Once Uber has driven its competition out of business, anyone will be able to offer a service like Uber.

            No, because this type of service is a natural monopoly, especially when operated by a large multi-national. Nobody wants to use a different app for every city. It would be just like trying to compete against eBay in the online auction market.

            Not really. eBay has a monopoly in that, if you're a buyer looking for something rare or unique at auction, eBay is where you're going to look first, and thus as a seller, eBay is where you're going to look at selling first. But it's not like a ride is anything unique, it's not like Uber's customers have brand loyalty, and AFAIK it's not like an Uber driver can't also work for a competitor (that's an interesting question actually). Plus, I'm guessing the majority of Uber users are only using Uber in their h

        • Once Uber has driven its competition out of business, anyone will be able to offer a service like Uber, because the barriers to entry will have been removed — at Uber's considerable legal expense. I fail to see how you fail to see that this is a win for everyone except entrenched taxi businesses enjoying a state-enforced monopoly.

          Wait, once Uber has driven all competition out of business, anyone will be able to compete? That seems contradictory.

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          Once Uber has driven its competition out of business, anyone will be able to offer a service like Uber, because the barriers to entry will have been removed â" at Uber's considerable legal expense. I fail to see how you fail to see that this is a win for everyone except entrenched taxi businesses enjoying a state-enforced monopoly. Taxi licensing may work in Germany, I can't speak to that, but Here in America, taxi licensing does absolutely none of the things it is supposed to do.

          You're making a danger

    • by Guybrush_T ( 980074 ) on Thursday January 07, 2016 @09:40AM (#51254935)

      Same in France. Stupidly restrictive taxi regulation lead to a nonsense : taxi drivers are so powerful that they don't care about customers, there's not enough taxis (you can wait for an hour to get one), and the service is just poor and expensive. As a side effect, taxi license reselling has become an investment for newcomers and a life insurance for old drivers, which makes it impossible to get out of the system without getting all drivers mad (and in a bad situation).

      But the fault is on the taxi lobby for pushed their monopoly too far. Some would say it is understandable, because it means better situation for them, so why not do it ?

      My answer : because some day, it may backfire at you, and you'll deserve it.

      If people are upset and someone tries to change the balance, you'll get no support from the population. I don't know how people feel in Germany, but in France, most people who use taxis frequently are quite happy with Uber trying to shake the coconut tree (as we say).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm European, not a taxi driver and not police. I don't agree with your sentiments at all, no one I know of has used Uber and I doubt they would. Uber are an arrogant, race-to-the-bottom company. They only want to create their own monopoly, long term they won't save consumers any money over taxi services which will be squeezed out of the market (due to underpricing). Taxi services do need to start getting more internet and phone application friendly.

    • Background, I'm from Finland and I have a close friend who is a taxi driver.

      Here the availability and the waiting time of "real" taxis is usually not an issue. Not even sure if Uber exists in my city. I do however see that there is a huge disconnect between what taxis are (and are obliged to) and what the general public perceives and this is part of the reason why people might like Uber while complaining about taxi prices.
      Here taxis are not one big company, even if all taxis are similar and identical prici

  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Thursday January 07, 2016 @06:50AM (#51254399)

    Biassed much? This has jack shit to do with the "remorseless competition of the US tech industry and the locals' respect for tradition and deference to established interests".

    It has to do by following the rules. They keep saying that they are not a taxi company, while they are. They try to get around all different kinds of laws, especially labour laws and that is not a good thing to do in Europe.

    The thing I see is that when they follow the rules, they are NOT cheaper than the traditonal taxi companies.

    So what "remorseless competition" means is actually "illegal operation of a business". It is like calling Corleones way of selling insurance "remorseless competition of European family businesses".

    Uber is welcome if they play by the rules. They tried and did not make any money.

    Do understand that in many places you can just become a taxi-driver by getting the correct papers. Not everywhere there are fixed limits or medaillions.

    What the taxi companies should take away from this (and other places as well) is that people like the ease of use, especially in payment. People like the cashless society. There are options for taxi-drivers. I pay with my bank card if possible and that is something that is widely accepted.

    The App is also a nice thing and I could see a role for Uber (or others) there. Set up a system where multiple companies can join so you can get a taxi easily. e.g. something like http://www.pizza.be/en/ [pizza.be] where people can order from many different places in Belgium.

    Do that on a European or even worldwide manner and you are golden.

    • by Jack Griffin ( 3459907 ) on Thursday January 07, 2016 @07:15AM (#51254465)

      Biassed much? This has jack shit to do with the "remorseless competition of the US tech industry and the locals' respect for tradition and deference to established interests".

      It has to do by following the rules.

      Actually it's probably less about that too. European cities are a lot more public transport/pedestrian friendly, so there is probably not as lucrative taxi industries to disrupt as say the US, where it's cars or nothing.

      • by jemmyw ( 624065 ) on Thursday January 07, 2016 @07:33AM (#51254497)

        This. My wife and I were chatting to an Aussie couple in Copenhagen who were asking where they could get a taxi. I was about to suggest Uber as an option, but my wife pointed out to them, it's a 20 minute walk and the streets are pedestrianised the whole way. And if they don't want to walk, there's a bus every 5 minutes.

        Not long ago getting public transport in a foreign location (even an English speaking one) could be a challenge. But with Google maps showing public transit it has become much more accessible.

        They still went and got a taxi from a local hotel AFAIK.

        • I just got back from a European holiday, 9 countries over 4 weeks. I organised and booked everything myself and can only remember taking a taxi once when we first arrived because I hadn't yet grasped the lay of the land. After that it was train or walking everywhere.
          Back home I'm Uber'ing every week because I live in the the suburbs and it's the only way to get home after a few drinks.
          • by Rei ( 128717 )

            I live in Iceland, which has a crazy-low population density, yet still taxis are mainly only ever used by locals for getting home when out partying (aka drinking) when they live too far from downtown. You don't take taxis between cities or to the airport or anything like that.

    • by monkeyxpress ( 4016725 ) on Thursday January 07, 2016 @07:40AM (#51254509)

      People like the cashless society

      Perhaps, though Europeans still use a lot of cash. I think the bigger issue (and what makes Uber appeal to me) is knowing that the driver isn't going to be able to pull any number of tricks on you in an attempt to shake you down for more money. My most recent regular taxi experience was in Italy, where I waited at a taxi stand for 30 mins desperately trying to flag down numerous empty taxis. A local finally told me you had to ring and order one. I got a hotel to do this (they had to wait on hold for 10 mins), figuring all the taxi's I'd seen must have been on order, until I got in the one that arrived five minutes later and realised there was a EUR 7 'radio taxi' charge for ordering one.

      It is these sorts of stupid tricks that really annoy people. I just want to be able to arrive somewhere, get a taxi, and not worry about the driver changing out my 50 note for a 5er, taking me the long way, or simply driving like an idiot and giving me no way to inform subsequent passengers that they are a dick.

      The big value of uber is that it fixes these issues. If they ditched the stupid Ayn Rand techno-liberalism stuff then they could probably replace all the world's taxis just by fixing these endemic problems with getting into a vehicle with a stranger.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 07, 2016 @08:15AM (#51254621)

        This is the biggest thing for me.

        I started travelling recently for business when I changed jobs in 2012. Since then, I spent two years hailing taxis ... every single one of them tried to cheat in one way or another. In Seattle, taxi drivers have a flat fee of $40 to take you from the airport to downtown; I never paid less than $45. In DC, taxis would say "Yes, I take cards" but when they get to your destination they refuse to take your card. In Texas they pretended their credit card machine was broken. When they give you a receipt (if they give you a receipt) the receipt is blank, and you're expected to write in whatever you feel like, so you can expense a different amount of money and pocket the change.

        Now I ride Uber and the payments aren't an issue. I even like chitchatting with the drivers.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You have it backwards. Uber drivers are conning you. They're invariably not covered with you in the car. They may not fiddle the cost, but if you're in an accident, you are utterly fucked insurance-wise. Ask to see their insurance before getting in, they'll drive off there and then.

        You have a smart-phone, learn to use if you want a taxi. If so many are ignoring you, there's probably a good reason. You probably look like a yob or drunk, and they'd rather not bother.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Tom ( 822 )

        You don't need Uber for any of this shit.

        Firstly, spending just one minute on Google to check the local taxi rules will help a lot.

        Secondly, taxi Apps such as MyTaxi also allow you to rate the driver.

      • by Teun ( 17872 )
        We spend a few days around NYE in Rome, what an amazing place.

        On the way in we booked via the internet a taxi from the airport to the hotel. The driver was waiting for us with a sign with our name.
        Distance about 45km/mins, price €50.-, and as typical a nice Merc.

        At the hotel we received city maps and they also sold tickets for public transport.
        €1.50 for a ticket and for 100 mins. from validating it at the station, this will get you anywhere into the city by train, subway, tram or bus.
        The re
      • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )

        Perhaps, though Europeans still use a lot of cash.

        As a European, I use my credit card mostly on taxis, not cash, nor mobile phone payments.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      People like the cashless society.

      The state likes it because tax evasion is nearly impossible, and banks like it because it means more business for them, and they can rise prices and fees as they want, as there is no competition anymore (competiton between the banks? Nice joke).

      But people liking cashless? I doubt that. A cashless state is a surveillance state. A cashless state is one where when a bank goes bankrupt, you can't pay with anything anymore. In a cashless state you pay so that you can pay money.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo AT world3 DOT net> on Thursday January 07, 2016 @08:12AM (#51254607) Homepage

      I think there is a fundamental difference between the way Europeans and USians think about companies. Europeans expect that they set the rules and companies operate within them, which is why they get upset at extreme tax avoidance that might technically be legal but goes against the intent of the law. USians seem to think that companies basically do what they want and there is little they can do about it, and good for them if they can get away with the kind of stuff Uber gets up to.

      Just compare consumer rights and employment rights between Europe and the US. It's clear that the balance of power is tipped far further towards citizens in the EU.

    • by Afty0r ( 263037 ) on Thursday January 07, 2016 @08:32AM (#51254679) Homepage

      The thing I see is that when they follow the rules, they are NOT cheaper than the traditonal taxi companies.

      Uber is playing by the rules In London which, depending on who you ask, is part of Europe. That said, the city is considering bringing in new rules to prevent Uber from fairly competing with other types of taxi drivers.
      I take about 30 or 40 Ubers a year, and every SINGLE Uber driver I have had has been a licensed minicab operator - in other words the same driver I would be getting if I called a phone number and asked for a cab. These guys are experienced and licensed, and prefer Uber because they earn 5-10% more per hour with Uber than they do with their traditional employer.Did I mention that Uber charge 20-30% less than the traditional minicab firms saving me a bunch of money?

      So magically, Uber has chopped around 35% off the cost of private road transport in London that was previously going straight into the pockets of some already very wealthy people. Now the worker and the customer get that 35%. So I win, the driver wins, the only people who lose are the cab firm owners who have traditionally been raking the money in at our expense.

      If you compare Uber to the Black Cabs in London, things look even better - Uber are around half the price and offer better service, routes and accountability.

      Finally, people will moan about "Surge Pricing" - but that with Uber when surge pricing kicks in I can still GET an Uber, I just have to pay a bit more money for it. At the busier times of night, the times when Uber surge pricing kicks in, if I try ordering a regular cab I'm usually told I can't have one or that there is a wait of an hour or more. So Surge pricing gives me MORE options, even though I may decide not to use that option. With traditional providers, I'm walking the 7 miles home at 3am...

      • by Malc ( 1751 )

        Not my experience with Uber in London. Several times now I've pissed around outside Hammersmith Broadway and Turnham Green trying to get one home late in the evening before giving up and catching a bus or the Tube. Another time on the way to Heathrow in the middle of a weekday afternoon the Tube had some trouble and I was already running late... 35 quid from Boston Manor (~10 miles)? No thanks, and unbelievably Addison Lee is much cheaper than that and arrived in the same time frame! Maybe you've got mo

        • by Afty0r ( 263037 )

          I don't relish Uber's surge pricing if a ton of taxi companies go out of business.

          There'll be a lot of out of work taxi drivers too - who will be desperate to drive, reducing the times / locations that surge pricing occurs in. Plus, if it's so important, someone can launch a competitor to Uber that doesn't have surge pricing, and anyone who wants to can use them. Finally, if it's a real issue, book one in advance (it's what you had to do before, the presence of Uber hasn't made anything worse in that reg

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Biassed much? This has jack shit to do with the "remorseless competition of the US tech industry and the locals' respect for tradition and deference to established interests".

      Well, let me offer a different perspective:

      When an American says "yarg, teh free markets" ... or some bullshit about how regulation is bad and the market will solve the problem ... or how unrestricted Capitalism will save us all ... the rest of the world thinks sod off you ignorant ass, we see what your bullshit theories do, and we dis

    • by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Thursday January 07, 2016 @12:39PM (#51256165)

      The App is also a nice thing and I could see a role for Uber (or others) there. Set up a system where multiple companies can join so you can get a taxi easily. e.g. something like http://www.pizza.be/en/ [pizza.be] [pizza.be] where people can order from many different places in Belgium.

      Do that on a European or even worldwide manner and you are golden.

      This idea has been tried many times in the US (ever since the iPhone became popular)

      In the US, these types of apps simply don't work reliably enough in highly populated areas and during peak hours. You'll order a taxi, but the taxi won't show up. That's because taxis don't have a strong enough incentive to honor their commitment. Since they're taxis, they can commit to picking someone up, but if they see someone else on the road halfway to their pickup, or if they hear of a more lucrative pick up on their radio, they'll go pick up that other person instead.

      Many times, this doesn't even need to be a straight lie, the taxi drivers will just tell themselves, that other person can just wait a little bit more while I take care care of this other customer right now. Or they'll tell themselves, there is enough wiggle room for me to squeeze one more client, especially if I can find someone to pick up who needs to go to the location near where my other pick up will be. All this optimization is great for the taxi drivers, but it's not great for the customers.

      Uber, on the other hand, doesn't work that way (except for UberPool where the customer explicitly chooses that option to be more flexible in exchange for an upfront discount). But with Uber, if you order a normal Uber ride (and not UberPool), the system is first-in and first-out (just like with just-in-time lean manufacturing, if you don't mind me using the analogy). Once a Uber driver accepts the offer of a customer, that driver can no longer see other potential pick ups he can make on the map (the map just won't show him that information). Also, that Uber driver doesn't have competing offers streaming in from a dispatch center over the radio, or via telephone or text, or just via driving (since Uber is not allowed to pick up people who flags down a driver from a sidewalk). In addition to that, the customer is even reassured that the Uber car is on its way (without even asking), since as soon a driver accepts his/her offer, the customer sees the Uber car moving in real-time towards the pick-up location he suggested.

      In other words, Uber is offering a service that taxi services simply can not offer (without the taxi services giving up on some of the advantages they have of having multiples ways of getting customers, which will never happen). Also, the barrier to entry for Uber drivers is much lower. For most of them, they can just use their existing car and just start driving for Uber only for a few hours each month (just to see what it's like). That's a very attractive proposition for potential drivers. Many of those potential drivers may already have full time jobs, part time jobs, or other serious commitments like kids to take care when they're not in day care or in school.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I think they are not succeeding in countries with well established and (maybe) good quality taxi services. This is not the case for Bucharest. Here the taxi drivers are guys with no education that would not get a job otherwise. They always expect tip and can become violent if this is not provided (especially to women). They smoke even if you ask for a non smoking cab and some of their cars are pitiful (I don't expect leather but I want the heating to work). Uber imposes some rules on cars and you can rate d

  • once you guys learn the meaning, spelling and pronunciation of "über".
  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Thursday January 07, 2016 @08:13AM (#51254611)

    This is about Uber pissing all over labour and transport regulations and getting in serious trouble because of that. ...
    And competing against dependable and solid public transport networks.
    Well, OK, scratch that ... sort-of-dependable here in Düsseldorf.
    If only Rheinbahn could sync their online, offline and station timetables, that would be a huge plus ... idiots.

    There's also a cottage industry of ride-sharing going on in Germany for quite some time now (roughly a decade) with platforms such as mitfahrgelegenheit.de [mitfahrgelegenheit.de] or blahblahcar.de [blablacar.de] covering some interesting parts of the market that Uber tries to target. In terms of ride-sharing Uber is actually quite late in the game by German standards.

    As for transportation and labour laws: I took a taxi just this moring because I'd've been late with the tram & bike combo I usually use. The ride took approx. 16 minutes and costed 22 euros, tip included. The car was a Mercedes (almost all Taxis are Mercedes in Germany), the drive has to have a special training and "Personentransport" (it's what you think it is) drivers licence, he gets paid - not very big but he can live - and is tied in to healthcare and all the other stuff every citizen enjoys in Germany.

    Bottom line: With public transport and the occasional luxurious taxi ride when time is short I see not that much of a market for Uber. And as for them getting legal flak for not following regulations - that's a thing I'm quite OK with.

  • I wonder, is their retreat due to a genuine disinterest by the populations of those countries or simply by anti-competitive practices by those countries "established interests"/governments? It almost sounds like at least in UberPops case that the general public was happy to use the service but the taxi companies/drivers "dissatisfaction" resulted in blocking traffic, government lobbying, destroying Uber cars and attacking their drivers. No doubt that Uber is a company that is more than anything interested

  • european perspective (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Thursday January 07, 2016 @08:21AM (#51254649) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, poor "innovators".

    Look, here is what really happened:

    We have existing taxi services that are actually quite good and regulated to the advantage of customers (for example, by law a taxi cannot refuse to drive you just because it's close by and he would prefer to wait for a higher fare customer).
    My hometown, Hamburg, is mentioned, and for all my life my experience with taxis there is that it is easy to get one, they are clean, drivers speak good german and know the roads, fares are transparent and fair and for years before Uber appeared, there were already Apps that allowed you to order a taxi to your current location with a few clicks.

    I don't know the situation in the USA, but over here not many people even saw the need for something like Uber. If you "disrupt" something that works reasonably well, you are acting destructively.

    Maybe Uber is cheaper, but it is not as transparent or fair with its various surcharges and basically auction system. I'd rather know I will spend 20â to get to the airport than leave it up to chance and maybe today I'm lucky and pay only 15 - or maybe 30, who knows? If you want cheap, most of Europe has pretty good public transport (from my house to the airport: just over 3â and only 10 minutes longer than by taxi).

    And then Uber came in with arrogance and hubris and basically said "fuck you all" not just to the taxi companies but also to regulators, police and the law. Sorry, but we here don't share the american "all government is the evil spawn of Satan" attitude. Sure we bitch about tax laws and we think our politicians are corrupt, incompetent imbeciles, but we also value the rule of law and wouldn't want to live in the wild west. We don't think companies and people who break the rules are innovators, we think they are assholes.

  • We are proud of our social accomplishments and we do not like people who mess with it. Especially, when they think they do not need to work inside the law. It might be acceptable in the US to fuck the law and the people and make profit from it. Here, we do not like it. And frankly enough international companies are doing it. Therefore, we fight against that. Even though our governments are not really into it. Even though, they encouraged some companies to pay some taxes and accept the local laws.

  • but that's not how things are done here in Germany," says Muller. "Everyone must respect the rules."

    ......

  • Cabs are not needed as often in European cities because of the lush public transit systems available, and are in general a convenience, rather than a necessity. You might take a cab to the airport because you have luggage, but the alternative is a five-minute walk on safe streets (before the "refugees" came, anyway) to a tram or Metro stop, rather than having to beseech some car-equipped friend for a ride.

    Because taxis are a non-critical part of the city experience in Europe, they compete on service. No gri

  • Driver compensation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Simulant ( 528590 ) on Thursday January 07, 2016 @09:43AM (#51254947) Journal
    Has anyone here met an Uber driver who is making a comfortable living driving for Uber full time? I haven't.
    All the drivers I've spoken too are doing it for extra cash or barely scraping by.

    This is my problem with Uber and the so-called sharing economy. The future looks like multiple part-time jobs and low pay to me.
    • by jaa101 ( 627731 )

      The future looks like multiple part-time jobs and low pay to me

      No, the future is driverless cars and no jobs or pay for cab or Uber drivers. Uber only needs their contractors for a few more years until the technology is ready, then drivers will be free to retrain for better jobs in another industry.

    • by Shados ( 741919 )

      Many do in Uber Black, which was the original Uber service and is often a lot closer to "legal" than UberX.

  • Uber may ultimately fail, but that doesn't really matter - something else similar will take its place, and the only question is one of how long the process will take. There is a strong parallel between Uber and Napster. In both cases a disruptive technology was used to render existing scarcities obsolete. Those vested in the status quo fought back, but continue to lose ground - the market 'spoke' in the way it always does, but in these cases the incumbents didn't like what the market was saying.

    Napster is d

  • the culture clash between the remorseless competition of the US tech industry and the locals' respect for tradition and deference to established interests is especially stark.

    Donald, is that you?

The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out. Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

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