Sunday, April 23, 2017

Why, as a driver, I prefer the "Luddite" version of the taxi business.

When the pukers come out, en masse, usually around the government-mandated bar closing time, I would much rather be a non-exempt cab driver than a politically favoured Uber cab driver. This is because I don't have to rely on "pings" to let me know where the customers are. I already know where the customers are, and, go figger, that is usually where I direct my cab in pursuit of commerce.

But I have a big advantage over the Uber cabbie, at least the Uber cabbie who is mindlessly compliant with the Uber model, which dictates that they shall restrict their sphere of activity only to those who have a credit card on file, and who use their smartphone to hail a cab. (And, of course, Uber corp and their political cronies like to play up Uber's lack of payment flexibility as a positive, rather than the negative it really is.)

My advantage, given that I am driving a fully insured taxi, is that I can pick up anyone, regardless of whether they used a telephone, a smartphone, or a wave of the hand to hail a taxi, and remain confident that I am fully covered in the event of an accident.

Of course, it's common knowledge by now, except in the fantasies that occupy the minds of local legislators, that all cab drivers have the same incentive... to make as much money as they can in as short a span of time as is possible.

It's human nature.

Which means that some Uber cabbies will be enticed by the availablity of the greater payment flexibility enjoyed by fully insured cab drivers. Which means, cash trips. Regardless of the insurance implications. Uber drivers have an incentive to evade and avoid the "business model" that Uber restricts them to.

Due to Uber's rating system, as well as it's vaunted "business model," which implies total observation and control of every taxi ride, human nature will inevitably lead to attempts to circumvent that matrix.

In simple English, (if the use of that language has not yet become demonized as a form of "systemic racism," owing to its uniquely white, anglo-european heritage. "How dare you speak English, you must be a Nazi!") it means that Uber cabbies will learn to apply increased discretion as they troll for fares.

I don't think it is unreasonable for me to predict two trends, based upon two incentives.

1 - the trend to favour flexible payments, like cash.

and

2 - the trend to avoid pukers.

Experienced cabbies prefer the privacy of cash. And they eventually learn how to avoid pukers, by not picking up people who are obviously pissed to the gills.

The non-exempt cabbie, when hailed by a potential puker, can simply drive on by, without anyone knowing about it. The Uber cabbie, on the other hand, has to cancel the trip on his computer, which leaves a time-stamped record of the event, which he may have to explain later.

From the point of view of the cab driver, who the fuck would want to be strangled by the Uber model?

Not many.

And that is why, the Uber cab driver will, eventually, become the exact same person as the non-Uber cab driver.

Or, if he can't figure out how to avoid the pukers, he will quit being a cab driver.

There are certain, fundamental realities in the cab business that cannot be circumvented by dispatch technologies, nor ignorant or opportunistic politicians.

It's all so easy to understand. I don't know why I feel compelled to explain it.


3rd and last puker

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