Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
Transportation Businesses

San Francisco's Yellow Cab Files For Bankruptcy (cnn.com) 113

Applehu Akbar writes: Yellow Cab Cooperative, the largest taxi company in San Francisco, has filed Chapter 11. While competition from those newfangled ride-sharing services is a natural target for blame, a more proximate cause is Yellow Cab losing an $8 million accident liability suit by a passenger who is now paralyzed. Apparently the Yellow Cab drivers are...registered as independent contractors. So much for the medallion cab argument that they offer superior liability coverage.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

San Francisco's Yellow Cab Files For Bankruptcy

Comments Filter:
  • by Jailbrekr ( 73837 ) <jailbrekr@digitaladdiction.net> on Monday January 25, 2016 @07:38PM (#51370395) Homepage

    We don't want to actually, you know, read the story anyways. We'd rather bitch about Uber or Taxis in general with no actual facts to back it up.

  • by ClickOnThis ( 137803 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @07:38PM (#51370399) Journal

    Like this one? [cnn.com]

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "In the court filings, Yellow Cab said it is handling around 150 ongoing liability claims stemming from taxi accidents. The company was found liable for $8 million last June after a Yellow Cab crashed and left a passenger partially paralyzed. "

      So, in other words, the taxi company had no liability insurance, hoping to use the "independent contractor" excuse. Fuck 'em for being greedy incompetent assholes.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        in other words, the taxi company had no liability insurance

        Damn, though, I'm going to have to rethink my $50k policy if getting in a wreck costs me $8 million. It's not like I've got the other $7950k just laying around.

        • by FlyHelicopters ( 1540845 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @08:01PM (#51370521)

          Damn, though, I'm going to have to rethink my $50k policy if getting in a wreck costs me $8 million. It's not like I've got the other $7950k just laying around.

          Actually, almost everyone is horribly underinsured, but for some reason, we all just accept this.

          I have $300k of liability on my auto insurance and a $2 million umbrella policy that covers beyond that, for just the reasons linked here.

          If I cause an accident that hurts someone that badly, $50k is just a drop in the bucket.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            Actually, almost everyone is horribly underinsured, but for some reason, we all just accept this.

            I have $300k of liability on my auto insurance and a $2 million umbrella policy that covers beyond that, for just the reasons linked here.

            If I cause an accident that hurts someone that badly, $50k is just a drop in the bucket.

            My take on having an umbrella policy is not that I can over an accident as much as my insurance company is more likely to fight it than write a 50k check and then say "you're on your own..." if they are potentially on the hook for a couple of million.

            • My take on having an umbrella policy is not that I can over an accident as much as my insurance company is more likely to fight it than write a 50k check and then say "you're on your own..." if they are potentially on the hook for a couple of million.

              In general, insurance companies are not allowed to do that. They are required to provide you with a legal defense and attempt to settle the claim if possible.

              They can't just pay the person the $50k and leave the lawsuit open against you.

          • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

            Its my understanding that if after the fact your insurace co decides you are under insured your insurance co doesn't have to pay anything. At least thats how it is with building insurace in Oklahoma I assume auto falls under the same rules.

            Well you have to understand that a lot of us are driving around cars worth only just a bit more than the deductible. The vast majority have just the minimum required by law liability insurance. That is if they have any insurance at all.

            And should healthcare ever cost anyo

            • Its my understanding that if after the fact your insurace co decides you are under insured your insurance co doesn't have to pay anything. At least thats how it is with building insurace in Oklahoma I assume auto falls under the same rules.

              Assuming you are correct, perhaps you should live in a state which doesn't hate its citizens so much.

              Yes, if you under insure, your insurance company should not have to pay the full cost, but a reasonable approach is to reduce the payout by the percentage that you are

            • Your understanding is likely based on some half-truths and missing details.

              Insurance is a highly regulated product, the companies generally can't just do whatever they like, even if they wish they could.

            • by FlyHelicopters ( 1540845 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2016 @06:56AM (#51372565)

              Well you have to understand that a lot of us are driving around cars worth only just a bit more than the deductible. The vast majority have just the minimum required by law liability insurance. That is if they have any insurance at all.

              Liability insurance does not have a deductable, the point of it is to cover damage to persons or property that you cause.

              If you carry the minimum amount, which is often less than $50K, you can't even cover the damage to someone else's nice car, much less their injuries.

              If you total someone's luxury car, your liability insurance has to pay for that, but if you have only $40k of coverage, that isn't going very far. You're then liable for the difference.

              Now you might be judgement proof, you can even declare bankruptcy, but those options suck in their own ways.

              ---

              Example: You crash into my truck and total it. It is worth more than your insurance will cover. Your insurance will pay the first $40K, my insurance will cover the difference (since I have what is called underinsured motorist coverage that makes up such gaps).

              Now you become subjugated to my insurance company, which has the legal right to come after you for the difference. You aren't at risk of being sued by me, but by my insurance company, who has the time and resources to come after you, at least to the extent to force you into bankruptcy, at which point they go away.

              The problem is that we allow people to buy just $40K of liability coverage in the first place. Given the price of cars and medical treatment, that number should be much higher.

              As for not having insurance at all, that is being irresponsible, since you likely lack the means to cover damage that you cause out of your own pocket. The penalties for not having insurance are not nearly harsh enough, IMHO...

            • by ADRA ( 37398 )

              Loss of wages adds up big time when you're working in high earning industries. Hit a lawyer? Count the millions flowing out of your pockets..

          • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
            That much insurance is just not worthwhile to someone with few assets, or even shielded assets. Most people have the majority of the net worth invested in their primary residence. Good luck tapping that when you sue someone.
            • The reason to require insurance is to protect the injured party, not the one doing the injuring.

              I'm well aware that people who are judgement proof often don't carry insurance because they don't see how it benefits THEM, but that is a very selfish and self centered view.

              That is why we have insurance laws in the first place, to protect those who would be injured by such people. But the dollar amounts of that insurance are not nearly high enough.

              • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
                Sure, in a perfect world. In our world, you would price alot of things out of existence if you required insurance for them.

                I carry the state minimum on my automobile and I well aware that if I hit an expensive SUV, I'm in trouble.
                Inversely, I think at some point it's your responsibility to insure your own items. If you want to drive an $80,000 car, you better make sure you can afford to handle a collision. I'm driving my $600 beater, minding my own business, but sometimes shit happens.

                The only people wh
                • Inversely, I think at some point it's your responsibility to insure your own items. If you want to drive an $80,000 car, you better make sure you can afford to handle a collision. I'm driving my $600 beater, minding my own business, but sometimes shit happens.

                  If you hit my car and total it, it is not my responsibility to fix it, it is yours.

                  I understand that some people think that they don't have to be responsible for their actions, that someone else should pay for their makes, but they are generally wrong in that assessment.

                  The only people who think the cost of insurance should be borne by others, are insurance executives and weasels. Insure yourself, then you have nothing to worry about. I'll worry about my stuff.

                  That statement implies that you could go along and smash someone else's car and say "hey, they should have had insurance, not my problem".

                  Yes, your point of view is really that stupid, you're welcome. :)

                  • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
                    Again, in a perfect world yes. Are you an economist?
                    • Again, in a perfect world yes. Are you an economist?

                      You don't have the right to drive, it is a privilege. If you're not able to be responsible for it, and that includes any accidents you might cause, then perhaps you shouldn't be driving.

    • We are so time-constrained that we pay for others to read our summaries and articles... no fool, not money, moderation is thy pay.

      On the green line site, you may get modded informative for repeating the obvious... pro-tip for the karma-challenged members.You know who you are.

      Here is another pearl of wisdom: it is entirely plausible a drowning company will attempt to drown its own savior.

      • I didn't see the link in the green bar until someone pointed it out. I found the cnn article independently.

    • by EzInKy ( 115248 )

      The logical purpose of clicking on the headline of a discussion of a story is to view the discussion of the story. Extraneous information, including a link to the story itself, are better left to the text in the summary.

  • Huh? (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    San Fran's cowardly compressed installer files are taking a stand for bankruptcy? ???

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @07:45PM (#51370451) Journal

    a more proximate cause is Yellow Cab losing a $8 million accident liability suit by a passenger who is now paralyzed......So much for the medallion cab argument that they offer superior liability coverage.

    To be fair, they did cover it.

    Maybe they need bankruptcy insurance :-)

    The lesson is that ANY cab-like co better be ready for an 8-mil zinger.

    • The lesson is that ANY cab-like co better be ready for an 8-mil zinger.

      Or just incorporate overseas, and locate their servers outside the jurisdiction of the US. Taxi drivers almost always own their own cabs, and own their own medallions. So there is no reason for a "cab-like co" to have a physical presence in the cities where they operate.

      • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

        And why do they need those medallions?

        This to me indicates that the taxi system is artificially protected from clean competition and also be a source for corruption.

        From Wikipedia:

        In New York City and other cities, a "medallion" is required in order to legally pick up passengers flagging on the street. Medallions, or CPNC (Certificate of Public Necessity and Convenience), may also be sold in Boston, or Chicago, but in San Francisco—one of the few other cities that has medallions—the sale of meda

        • The quarter of a million price on a medallion smells like a price that opens up for corruption.

          You think this is bad? NYC medallions are routinely valued at around $1M each.

          And no, ShanghaiBill, the average driver doesn't own their own medallion, at least in NYC. That's owned by a conglomerate and the driver has to rent the taxi, medallion, and everything else from that company.

          • The quarter of a million price on a medallion smells like a price that opens up for corruption.

            You think this is bad? NYC medallions are routinely valued at around $1M each.

            And no, ShanghaiBill, the average driver doesn't own their own medallion, at least in NYC. That's owned by a conglomerate and the driver has to rent the taxi, medallion, and everything else from that company.

            That sounds like a really bad deal. How are there so many taxi's in New York then? (Note I've never been so all I have is TV telling me the streets are chock full of taxis in NY)

            • Taxi companies own and trade the medallions. They then rent out their en-medallioned cabs by the day to poor people who have to drive almost solid to break even before they can keep dime 1.

              Of course, the meme that justified violating the principle of free entry into a profession was too many taxies would clog the streets.

              Go ahead. Buy into it. Even modern Uber detractors whine about insurance and licensing and not about too many taxis.

            • From what I've heard about taxi drivers there, desperate immigrants.

              As for 'chock full', it depends on when and where you are - most of the 'taxis' are probably actually 'black cars', IE 'livery', which are rented more like limos rather than hailed. It's actually illegal for a black car to respond to a street hail - and the cops run stings occasionally.

    • a more proximate cause is Yellow Cab losing a $8 million accident liability suit by a passenger who is now paralyzed......So much for the medallion cab argument that they offer superior liability coverage.

      To be fair, they did cover it.

      Maybe they need bankruptcy insurance :-)

      The lesson is that ANY cab-like co better be ready for an 8-mil zinger.

      Exactly. A REAL cab company doesn't need liability insurance because they are going to have $8 million in a bond somewhere that can be used to pay for a catastrophe such as this.
      An independent contractor HAS to have liability insurance, because they probably are lucky to have $5,000 sitting around in case of a catastrophe.

      • Exactly. A REAL cab company doesn't need liability insurance because they are going to have $8 million in a bond somewhere that can be used to pay for a catastrophe such as this.

        Your version of events is completely wrong. One of their biggest debts is to the victim of a catastrophe. The fact that it is a debt shows that they did not pay the victim. It appears that they don't have any such bond. At least Uber has real assets that a victim can go after. Uber isn't going to go into bankruptcy over debts of $

      • To be fair from the vids we have been seeing lately the biggest danger to Uber drivers isn't other drivers or getting in a wreck, its the passengers. [abc7news.com]
    • by Aighearach ( 97333 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2016 @12:02AM (#51371641) Homepage

      They were prepared. They waited until they had a higher than average pile of cases, and filed bankruptcy. Now they can "restructure" their debt, while maintaining business as usual.

      And they even have a ride hailing app now.

      The real lesson here is not to file bankruptcy frivolously. Save it for when you need it.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    So much for the medallion cab argument that they offer superior liability coverage.

    Doesn't Uber only offer 1 million in liability cover as well? I guess in the case of an accident with an Uber driver it is the driver that is fucked rather than the Uber themselves.
    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      The problem is $1M doesn't pay for shit in these cases. It may pay for the lawyers and if you've got an idiot willing to settle for a few 100k. But medical bills in the US for big accidents and long term care easily go a few 100k per year for the rest of your life. In the US, 1M is enough if you kill someone in an accident but if you maim someone severely you should have an insurance willing to pay out ~$20M. But are you willing to pay the premiums on this, no, but the few hundred people that get into such

  • What I liked (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @07:58PM (#51370509)
    was that their biggest creditor was because they couldn't weasel out of paying for a terrible wreak caused by one of their drivers. $8 mil of their $20 mil in debt is for that. I wonder if this is just the first step in folding the company and reforming it so they can skip out on paying the poor gal who got hit. This is why folks in the know hate Uber. It's all about externalizing your costs onto somebody else.Uber's doing the same damn thing but "with an App" so it's OK.
  • by rahvin112 ( 446269 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @08:09PM (#51370539)

    If they went bankrupt because of a lawsuit related to an injury then there is clearly more financial backing there as the plaintiff was able to go after their assets. Someone like Uber would have walked away from the case and thrown the driver under the bus (which they've already done at least once) and the person that got hurt would have never gotten a dime.

    The very fact that the victim here was able to go after corporate assets shows they are more financially liable than Uber. The result being the article proves the exact opposite of what the summary tries to say it does.

    • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @08:29PM (#51370659) Journal

      If they went bankrupt because of a lawsuit related to an injury then there is clearly more financial backing there as the plaintiff was able to go after their assets. Someone like Uber would have walked away from the case and thrown the driver under the bus (which they've already done at least once) and the person that got hurt would have never gotten a dime.

      Did you not read the article? The Yellow Taxi company operates as a co-operative and argued that the driver was an independent contractor, just like Uber does. Apparently this position did not fly with the court, and it seems reasonable that if Uber made the same argument, the court would also make Uber liable.

      • If they went bankrupt because of a lawsuit related to an injury then there is clearly more financial backing there as the plaintiff was able to go after their assets. Someone like Uber would have walked away from the case and thrown the driver under the bus (which they've already done at least once) and the person that got hurt would have never gotten a dime.

        Did you not read the article? The Yellow Taxi company operates as a co-operative and argued that the driver was an independent contractor, just like Uber does. Apparently this position did not fly with the court, and it seems reasonable that if Uber made the same argument, the court would also make Uber liable.

        Actually, New York taxicabs are the classic example of how to create a liability shield. Basically they all operate as ICs and each one has the minimum required state liability, so the state lets them get away with having no liability as a whole for things that cost more than that small amount (maybe $50K, which in New York is like I tripped and stubbed someone's toe).

        Every case is going to be decided a bit differently based on location, corporate structure, and the quality of the lawyers, etc..., unless U

      • by floodo1 ( 246910 )
        Not in California. Taxis and Uber are covered by different laws because California has specific laws for "transportation network companies" that apply to Uber (and Lyft and such).
    • Someone like Uber would have walked away from the case and thrown the driver under the bus

      Congratulations! You win the /. mixed-metaphor award for the week.

    • "Uber would have walked away from the case and thrown the driver under the bus (which they've already done at least once)"

      Not that I doubt you, but references?

  • Filing for chapter 11, is not the same as filing for bankruptcy.

    Chapter 11 is bankruptcy protection, It's basically saying "Creditors, hold off a sec, lets see if we can make this work our so we can still pay you and not actually go bankrupt."

    • Filing for chapter 11, is not the same as filing for bankruptcy.

      Chapter 11 is bankruptcy protection, It's basically saying "Creditors, hold off a sec, lets see if we can make this work our so we can still pay you and not actually go bankrupt."

      Creditors, hold off a sec, lets see if we can make this work our so we can still pay you pennies on the dollar and not actually go bankrupt."

      There, fixed that for you..

      • Creditors, hold off a sec, lets see if we can make this work our so we can still pay you pennies on the dollar and not actually go bankrupt."

        That's more chapter 13.

    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      When I hear "Chapter 11" I think of SCOx. It may not be bankruptcy for the company, but it is for the creditor. I believe that most of the assets ended up with the friends of the bankruptcy judge. And even with that I don't consider the bankruptcy judge to be the major villain of the piece.

      Ever since then I don't trust any business headquartered in Utah. Even though I know that "guilt by association" is unreasonable.

      • by Xest ( 935314 )

        Chapter 11 is basically a default on your debt. Whether you go bankrupt depends on whether you can convince your creditors that they should give you more time, accept reduced payments, or somehow otherwise let you restructure your debt.

        If you can't convince them, that's when bankruptcy hits and that's when the legal battles start over the remains - this is where it starts to get nasty and becomes a gamble for creditors as everyone starts to try and fight to get as much of their investment back as they can,

        • Wrong. Just wrong...

          Chapter 11 is a restructuring of debt. Debts must be paid and the creditors must agree on the restructuring, or else the company is forced into Chapter 7, which is liquidation. In liquidation, employee salaries are considered a priority debt. Pension payments for the past 180 days are also priority debts. Unsecured debt and stockholders are the ones that are mostly fucked. They are at the ass end of the line of creditors.

          Don't confuse Chapter 11 bankruptcy with Chapter 13 pers
          • by slew ( 2918 )

            Wrong. Just wrong...
            Chapter 11 is a restructuring of debt. Debts must be paid and the creditors must agree on the restructuring, or else the company is forced into Chapter 7, which is liquidation. In liquidation, employee salaries are considered a priority debt. Pension payments for the past 180 days are also priority debts. Unsecured debt and stockholders are the ones that are mostly fucked. They are at the ass end of the line of creditors.
            Don't confuse Chapter 11 bankruptcy with Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy.

            That's the theory, but in practice, other than salaries and certain pension contributions which are guaranteed by law, debtor in possession (DIP) rules can be exploited to allow nearly all assets (including any employee equity) go to the institutional investors before all other creditors. Since institutional investors generally control most of the debt (they deliberately mix their straight equity with share warrants and venture debt), they have the most leverage in the choice of DIP financing and most DIP

            • Your explanation is not inconsistent with mine. Payroll and pension have priority and "Unsecured debt and stockholders are the ones that are mostly fucked." Yes, buddies of management get theirs, but the general shareholder gets nothing.
              • by slew ( 2918 )

                Your explanation is not inconsistent with mine. Payroll and pension have priority and "Unsecured debt and stockholders are the ones that are mostly fucked." Yes, buddies of management get theirs, but the general shareholder gets nothing.

                Payroll is 2 week of work only (for most employees). At $50k/year that's only about $1k after taxes for the employee (double it for 2x the salary)...

                Sure payroll technically priority from a legal point of view, but in my experience, if things are so bad that there's no money to be had to even make payroll, you might only see that $1k check in about 6 months after things go into the dumpers... Meanwhile, mortgage payments to make and no healthcare insurance (well maybe to the end of the month)...

                • I don't know about you, but if my employer failed to meet payroll, I would be applying for unemployment. If you are working and aren't getting paid, you are unemployed. That's called a hobby, or charity. I would be looking for the exits a long time before the company dropped the papers off at the courthouse.
                  • by slew ( 2918 )

                    I don't know about you, but if my employer failed to meet payroll, I would be applying for unemployment. If you are working and aren't getting paid, you are unemployed. That's called a hobby, or charity. I would be looking for the exits a long time before the company dropped the papers off at the courthouse.

                    Oh I agree. One employer that I had that couldn't make payroll effectively laid off everyone immediately.. I was outta there and found a new job the next day, but if I didn't, I would have filed for UI benefits.

                    In this case all of us peons got our last payroll on the day we were laid off *except* for accrued vacation pay which came at the end of the month by mail. They recalled about 1/3 the folks at the end of the month, but I (like most folks) were already outta there with new jobs...

                    However, I know dur

  • But hey, fortunately there is an equivalent number of Uber drivers on the road that are making as much or more money to support their families with Uber money they rake in. Right? Right? I can feel this country healing. I can feel the healing.
  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @10:06PM (#51371085)

    TL/DR version: Super old news; done for debt shedding.

    This was publicly announced 3 weeks ago, but it's been known for a month and a half (since 10 Dec 2015), when a letter was sent out to co-op members, and it was primarily done to shed debt, and because the coop (which is how it's organized) is not attracting new drivers; with a limited number of medallions, taxi coops compete to attract those with medallions. Yellow cab isn't doing as well in this as other companies and co-ops. Primarily they are losing medallioned drivers to Flywheel Taxi (formerly, DeSoto Cab) and Luxor Cab.

    "The bankruptcy filing will allow the co-op to shed its mounting debts."

    "Fewer drivers mean fewer profits for Yellow Cab, the co-op admitted in a letter to its members."

    "The company told the San Francisco Examiner its ridership numbers are healthy. But in a letter to shareholders obtained by the Examiner, Yellow Cab Co-Op President Pamela Martinez wrote that they must do more with less to survive."

    ^^^^---- note: not losing business to ride sharing services ----^^^^

    “In reality, we have the best color scheme there is in the world, we’ve got a lot of loyal customers, we still get a high volume of calls to our color scheme on a daily basis,” he [Jim Gillespie] said.

    "Financially, he said the straw that broke the camel’s back were a number of lawsuits which ended up hurting the company’s bottom line."

    "On background, multiple sources told the Examiner that cab companies are having a tough time hiring competent drivers and may be hiring drivers with spotty driving records. Gillespie denied this, but he did say the lawsuits were harmful to the co-op."

    http://www.sfexaminer.com/yell... [sfexaminer.com]

  • Glad to see one of the benefits of market pressure. Yellow Cab has been a lousy vendor for decades, and they were protected by the medallion system. Hats off to Uber for blasting that cronyism business model to pieces.

    -jcr

  • by Tom ( 822 )

    a more proximate cause is Yellow Cab losing an $8 million accident liability suit by a passenger who is now paralyzed. [...] So much for the medallion cab argument that they offer superior liability coverage.

    Ehem, you did notice that the first and last sentence contradict each other? If they had to pay out $8 mio. then obviously they do offer liability coverage, otherwise the cab driver and/or his insurance would have paid.

    • Liability Coverage. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2016 @04:19AM (#51372235) Homepage Journal

      It took a court to break the company's argument that since it's drivers were independent contractors, the company itself shouldn't be found liable.

      Indeed, I think there's a misconception on what liability coverage is, and how liability insurance works.

      You see, any liability insurance police is limited by a maximum payout - For example, a common one is $100k per person, $300k per incident coverage, my 'step up' from that which is $250k per person/$500k per incident. This is generally enough to cover most claims. But liability itself doesn't have a limit unless a statute(law) has been passed limiting it.

      So the taxi driver gets into an accident and causes $8M of damage. Must of been nasty. But he's carrying the minimum insurance. $100k is paid to the harmed individual via the insurance. Obviously this is 'no where near enough'. So the harmed party would go after the rest of the cab driver's assets. Problem: Most people in the USA are effectively 'judgement proof' because their debts exceed their assets, and as a matter of law, their home, primary vehicle, and such are generally untouchable*. Most cab driver's aren't rich enough to have a spare yacht that can be sold. So lawyer and court fees would quickly drive the driver bankrupt. You can't get money from a stone.

      So in this case they then go after the parent company - Yellow Cab. It does it's best to argue that it's not liable. Hell, it doesn't have insurance for this. Thus, when the verdict is handed down, they're 'forced' to file for bankruptcy, if one of the more minor versions of it.

      When people mention 'liability coverage', they generally mean insurance, which this isn't. This is straight up liability.

      *They can force the sale of extra vehicles, if not used for work. But for something like a primary residence, if the judge determines that selling the residence/vehicle and buying a more modest version won't actually yield a significant amount of money, they won't do so. Figure on losing 20-40% of the value of the property in question, and suddenly while there might be 'modest' gains to be had, kicking a taxi driver out of a $200k lousy home and forcing him into an apartment would actually COST money. You're not getting much selling a $10k car to the dealer only to buy an $8k car.

      • by Tom ( 822 )

        For example, a common one is $100k per person, $300k per incident coverage, my 'step up' from that which is $250k per person/$500k per incident.

        You are not messing up the digits there? I have a basic insurance in my country (Germany) and the insurance sums are 100 million total, 15 million per person.

        That explains a lot. If insurance coverages are so tiny in the US, of course the company backing suddenly becomes crazy important.

        • You want crazy? Most companies won't sell below a $100k/$300k policy, but my state requires even less:
          State of Alaska requirements: [alaska.gov] $50k/$100k/$25k - per person, per incident
          Yes, I buy 'underinsured' insurance. What this means is that if I get hurt by a motorist with less insurance than me, my insurance picks up the difference to their limit. So I get hit by somebody with a $50k policy, my insurance picks up the next $200k because I have a $250k policy per person.
          Florida [flhsmv.gov] is downright insane: $10k persona

          • by Tom ( 822 )

            As I said, I buy average insurance, not the most cheap possible. Always done it like that, always been happy with it. When you have a case, they don't try to fuck you over.

            But $10k is a joke. A serious fender bender is half that. If someone goes to hospital, especially in the US with its inflated health treatment prices, you're instantly above that.

            And yes, 10 mio or 15 mio - almost no difference in price.

    • a more proximate cause is Yellow Cab losing an $8 million accident liability suit by a passenger who is now paralyzed. [...] So much for the medallion cab argument that they offer superior liability coverage.

      Ehem, you did notice that the first and last sentence contradict each other? If they had to pay out $8 mio. then obviously they do offer liability coverage, otherwise the cab driver and/or his insurance would have paid.

      No it doesn't. It is an unsecured debt on their bankruptcy petition. Therefore, it HAS NOT BEEN PAID. If they had adequate insurance coverage, they would not be listing it on their debts.

  • ...the taxi I booked isn't showing up!
  • I find it pretty shocking that driver insurance in the US is limited liability cover.

    In the UK there is no limit to the liability for personal injury claims; only 3rd property damage is limited to a minimum of £1M. Indeed this unlimited liability cost one insurance company £22Million when the driver left the road causing a major train crash leaving 10 people dead and 80+ injured.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

  • by k6mfw ( 1182893 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2016 @12:14PM (#51374553)

    For what it's worth, I found this post by Chris Johnson interesting:

    It's designed to make maximum use of crazy people and force the others to live up to that standard or be fired.

    I'll define 'crazy Uber people' not as 'danger to customers', but 'people who are bringing more value in terms of vehicle, skill and desire to please, than they are getting back in pay and benefits'. So the crazy Uber person is the one who keeps buying a new Lexus or whatever, vacuums their car three times a day and busts their ass to outperform all the other Uber drivers, so they can continue to win out over anybody else seeking to be a driver.

    The key factor is that they are giving more than they get back, in the belief that they're cornering some kind of market or buying in to something important.

    If you make a business that relies on people like this, you can demolish anybody else because you've worked out how to get voluntary unpaid labor, like the Amazon exec who was said to use her own money to hire subcontractors to do more. As long as there are people who are willing to do that, the market breaks and Amazon/Uber get to do what Wal-Mart did in small towns, break the back of other market participants so they can't break even or continue.

    Another way to be a crazy Uber person is to put more depreciation and wear and tear on your car than you can afford to repair (or replace). It's easy to be crazy in these ways. It's externalities which are easy to overlook. These Amazon/Uber business models are designed to leverage that kind of crazy as hard as possible, and kick out everybody who's not willing to lose (one way or another) on the deal. Psychology is useful in getting people to buy into this stuff.

    As they say, a cult.

But it does move! -- Galileo Galilei

Working...