Sunday, October 25, 2015

Taxi driver appeals to Shaffer to squash competition

From Council Member Lisa Shaffer's latest newsletter:
I had an interesting discussion with a local taxi driver (who, after waiting 3 weeks for a response from the mayor, asked the Council secretary for any elected official to call him, and I did.) He is concerned that while taxis are required to have Encinitas business licenses, annual inspections, and carry $1 million in liability insurance, Uber drivers are not licensed by the City and thus have no fees, and have only Uber's insurance requirements which are much less. He said the Uber ap showed 37 Uber cars in Encinitas last Friday and 42 on Saturday evening. I told him I would talk to the City Manager and staff, confirm what our policies and practices are, and then request that the City Council consider whether any changes are called for. In my view, we don't want to be choosing among competing business interests, and we don't want to discourage safe options for bar patrons who have enough sense not to drive while intoxicated, but we do want to ensure that we are being fair and looking out for public safety, not sanctioning unfair or unsafe business practices. So the first step is information collection and understanding, and then we can move to deliberation on whether anything needs to change.
The taxi cartels have been trying this with cities all over the country, trying to remove their cleaner, cheaper, friendlier, more convenient competition. For the other side of the story on Uber, please see UCSD Economics Professor James Hamilton.

Oh, and Uber has $1.5 million liability insurance, by the way. Maybe those taxis should be forced to increase their coverage to match.

32 comments:

  1. For taxi services, there is a barrier to entry, with limited licenses (some cities) and other regulation, such as being able to get insurance. This has allowed the taxi companies to exploit the drivers, who are often just employees, and the public with higher fares, and poor service. In addition, they have political influence in may cities, which leads to more artificial barriers, such as public transport not going quite all the way to the airport (LAX). Where government creates artificial barriers to entry, technology and innovation can find a way around. Netflix and Amazon are similarly disrupting the cable TV racket - another place with bad service and unfair pricing. Mail order pharmacies are doing the same to Rite Aid and CVS pharmacies, which remind me of DMV. Now...if someone would replace DMV!

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    1. Well said, 7:12.

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    2. Yes, agree with 7:12, thanks.

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    3. I don't have a dog in this fight between Taxis and Uber, I agree with a lot of whyat 7:12 says. But I would Note that this new model that Uber employs, ie creating an app and extracting the value and data from said app while drivers do all the work and carry most of the liability, is not without its pitfalls.

      Lest we give total free reign to the straight libertarian perspective on this blog, here's the other perspective..

      "But what the company is really doing is supplying a governing service, replacing taxi commissions, and taking a fee for doing that."

      http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/04/matt-stoller-how-uber-creates-an-algorithmic-monopoly.html

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    4. The GASbag deserves to be bashed when she doesn't do her job. She has already left Encinitas. Too many irons in the fire will burn her behind. It will all catch up with her one day.

      Thanks Lisa for pointing out we have an inept mayor.

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  2. Why does Shaffer have to always include snarky remarks about Gaspar?
    "After waiting three weeks for a response from the mayor, ..."
    Even if true, why include that information in her newsletter?
    It is a petty comment, blatantly aimed at trying to embarrass the mayor. What does she gain by that? And who appointed her the scribe to document what occurred at a council meeting, which she always writes with her heavily biased opinion?

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    1. Because she doesn't like her? I think that's pretty clear by now. And everyone's opinion is biased, that's why it's your opinion. Shaffer is who she is, she's not a warm and cuddly engaging council person, like Maggie. But then again, neither is Gaspar.

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    2. Shaffer has engaged in playground-level commentary since she started. She may have a higher education, but her maturity level doesn't go beyond an age in the single digits.

      Too bad she can't control herself. She only makes herself look ridiculous.

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    3. I pretty much agree, but that's her call and we have about a year to go before she heads off into the sunset. I still prefer her to Jerome and Danny....

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    4. At least with Jerome and Danny, you knew what you were getting and they didn't pretend to be someone else.

      Shaffer, on the other hand, came to voters with her platform of "ethics" and "transparency." She set the expectation and fell far below what she promised. She appears to have no self awareness, thus her kindergarten comments.

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    5. She is carrying the tradition of hate from Barth. They, along with Tony are actually creating sympathy for Gaspar!

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    6. Disagree, despite that being the popular narrative on this blog. Lisa was Lisa before she ever got on the council. Nobody with any kind of clue has sympathy for Barbie. She's a plant by the Rotarians and the development interests in the city. Now they've promoted her to running for Sup. You get what you sign up for....

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    7. 8:46, what a pompous jackass who ran up the pensions and a village idiot who was proud he never read any of the materials before council?

      I don't agree with everything Lisa has said or done, or how she's done it, but she stands above those two any day. Too much time is spent on this blog grinding over the past, instead of what we're going to do in the future. Who's running next time, besides the dreaded Lerch?

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    8. Blakespear for mayor

      Muir, Kranz running for re-election to council

      Tasha Horvath-Boehner announced. Joe Mosca and Lerch likely running too. And don't be surprised if somebody comes out of Barth's "Engage" group.

      Plus the Republicans have to come up with another name or two if they want any chance of retaking the majority.

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    9. Tasha does her homework and then some. Mosca and Lerch are plants - that's easy enough to spot from a mile away.

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    10. Mosca has no chance if he runs, he's yesterdays news, unless he's going to get the big development backing Lerch got last time. Lerch came in late and still almost got into the mix at the end. I have to look into Boehner-horvath, isn't she on the Planning Commission?

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    11. Well of course Mosca will get the big developer backing Lerch got and can look forward to again. I suspect you know that, yes?

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    12. Ha, so Kranz got the "not Mayor material" memo?

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    13. Actually, it's more of a structural thing. Kranz ran from a safe council seat last time, Blakespear will run from a safe council seat this time.

      The Republicans don't have anybody in a safe seat, so unless Muir wants to risk his seat in an uphill battle or some other strong candidate steps forward, Blakespear likely wins.

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    14. Muir is another one that sits there and contributes unless it affects him. Get this guy gone. He's collected too much money from this city already and keeps bilking it as much as he can. What's his pension up to now so he can keep feeding his large family?

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    15. Lerch got the big backing from developers last time, Check out the results. He came in late and still got a lot of votes.Mosca is an unknown quantity at this point, former Sierra Madre mayor much hated by the local undercover blog run by a local crank.

      http://www.smartvoter.org/2014/11/04/ca/sd/race/093/

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    16. Mosca will get the developer money noooo problemo.

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    17. It's bad enough to be inundated with the national Presidential race coverage but to talk about the local race now? Please, it's a year away.

      We'll have a full year of talk about how good a candidate will be, followed by a year, if elected, of disappointment, then three years of trashing how they became a sellout, turncoat, moron, etc.

      Rinse and repeat.

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  3. Uber and Lyft only raised their coverage when the law changed....

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/ellenhuet/2015/07/01/new-laws-push-uber-and-lyft-to-bump-up-insurance-coverage-but-a-collision-gap-remains/

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  4. There are a few others considering running and they are not of Barth's ilk nor Gaspars. Just depends if they can get a few things worked out and you may hear some names you recognize.

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    1. Thank you, all-seeing eye.

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  5. Maybe the solution is to liberate the hacks; let anyone with a car compete with Uber and break the taxicab cartel. Prices go down, quality improves, and there will be fewer cars on the road. It's an environmentalist's dream!

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    1. 7:42 oh, shut up!

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    2. It's always bright and shiny when new. Wait 3-5 years when fewer cabs are available to compete/compare against. Let's see how Uber holds up then. Let's see how many drivers stay with Uber and make a decent living. Let's see if those drivers remaining with Uber can afford to maintain their vehicles or start cutting corners.

      I'm no fan of how cab regulation (or any regulation) captures a market and prevents competition but it does establish a baseline of competence even if it's imperfectly enforced.

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    4. @7:42 No

      @10:43 I think more competition is coming from Lyft and Sidecar and there are at least ten other ride sharing companies online right now. I just don't know that the licensing system really establishes a "baseline" when that baseline keeps rising because of entrepreneurial capitalism.

      I suppose taxis would do well to invest in the sort of technology the ride sharing companies have.

      With respect to supply, I doubt we will see a problem with that. The future won't be in app-set rates but rather driver set rates; the app will act as a "gig facilitator" of sorts, matching drivers (with various rates and service reputations) with rated customers too. Will that drive prices up? Not in a transparent market. Downtown Encinitas should always have a ready, inexpensive supply of drivers at the ready; Olivenhain may cost riders a bit more.

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