Uber STL

All the ways we move people and things: trains, planes, automobiles, biking, walking, etc.
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Maybe there is a thread for this already, but I couldn't find one.

I assume many on the forum have been following the Uber vs Metropolitan Taxicab Commission.

In case you haven't here's a little update...
http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/uber-says-taxi-commission-is-blocking-free-rides-this-weekend/article_36279577-3965-56a0-8b5a-92c48d1e5659.html

Its just insanity. Clearly there's a conflict of interest when a board that has taxicab employees controls the system that dictates its industry. Following the back and forth arguments on twitter is incredibly frustrating as well. The longer this fight goes on, the worse St. Louis looks. How do you convince people in startups and young technology companies to come hear when we hold those same companies back?

How is it legal to have a board constructed that way? Its like a legal monopoly.

Any lawyers out there? Statutes start at 67.1800
http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/chapters/chapText067.html
^ The law itself was created in an old world without ride share; the issues today I think are 1) does the law (or part of it) governing taxis apply to rideshare and 2) efficiently making any necessary changes to laws/regulations that protect the public while allowing this new service.

Aside from that, the MTC Chair, politically connected Lou Hamilton, is completely embarrassing Saint Louis.
Hamilton is a joke. I assume he was Slay's appointee. How many private institutions would put up with that?

I would think he can't have long left on his term. It looks like he can only be on for at the most a 4 year term. Nothing about length of terms is posted on their website.
Not sure how long he has left but Slay appointed him before uber and lyft became a thing.... Slay did appoint Sommers to be a force for change. I'd seriously consider removing Hamilton if he has the power to do so; Lou's recent behavior is ridiculous.
I'm not sure I understand what's going on. Uber offering free rides without license was always predicated on the notion that the MTC doesn't have jurisdiction. So what difference does it make what the MTC says with respect to free rides?
Lou Hamilton is most definitely embarrassing.

That said, I am anti-Uber; I think ridesharing is bad for the economy in markets like St. Louis that are slow-growth and mid-sized, and I support the MTC in its efforts to protect St. Louis's locally-owned businesses and employees.

Further, I am unconvinced that acceptance of Uber should somehow be regarded as a bellwether for startups' ability to succeed or fail in St. Louis. Uber is not a plucky startup anymore, it's an international corporation financed by foreign investors whose headquarters is in the Bay Area of California.

If we're talking about making St. Louis better, then flooding the market with cheap unregulated labor for the benefit of foreign investors is not the way to go, in my opinion.
^^ I'm not sure that is the case.... I don't think Uber wants to come into Saint Louis w/o an acceptance from MTC or in the alternative a common understanding it doesn't have oversight. The free ride offer was something MTC reviewed and accepted only with conditions Uber said were unacceptable.
True Uber is no longer a startup. But unless you have a startup or are somehow related to the startup industry, your opinion on Uber's acceptance isn't relevant. What matter's is how those who have startups view it. From what I've seen by Gabe Lozano and others who have startup companies, they adamant that this tiff between Uber and at he MTC is very discouraging to their way of business.
Interesting.

Have they explained why they feel that way?
I'm not the biggest fan of Uber & Lyft; I cheer the ruling of California that drivers are indeed uber employees and not independent contractors, e.g. (btw, I think most taxi cab drivers here are considered independent contractors.)

But as long as drivers have adequate insurance and an adequate background check and decent wage then this is something that has to be accommodated; and I do think the more we're seen as resisting the worse our reputation will grow. It kind of is like food trucks where brick & mortar folks initially (and some may continue) to resist as harming their business.... you have to be able to make reasonable accommodations to keep up with the times.
Mound City wrote:
Interesting.

Have they explained why they feel that way?


^ The current situation is anti-technology and prohibits innovation; we can't afford to be seen that way. There would be no need for uber if the taxicab industry itself evolved to embrace tech and customer interface but it was incapable of doing so.
roger wyoming II wrote:
Mound City wrote:
Interesting.

Have they explained why they feel that way?


^ The current situation is anti-technology and prohibits innovation; we can't afford to be seen that way. There would be no need for uber if the taxicab industry itself evolved to embrace tech and customer interface but it was incapable of doing so.


So to be clear, it's purely a perception thing. There isn't anything about St. Louis's protectionist tactics vs. Uber that specifically would prevent tech startups from succeeding in St. Louis, it's just that we're seen as the big bad Luddites and so no techies wanna do business here.

Do I have that right?
So what's all this chatter I'm hearing about Uber being "white privilege"? Someone please explain.
roger wyoming II wrote:
I'm not the biggest fan of Uber & Lyft; I cheer the ruling of California that drivers are indeed uber employees and not independent contractors, e.g. (btw, I think most taxi cab drivers here are considered independent contractors.)

But as long as drivers have adequate insurance and an adequate background check and decent wage then this is something that has to be accommodated; and I do think the more we're seen as resisting the worse our reputation will grow. It kind of is like food trucks where brick & mortar folks initially (and some may continue) to resist as harming their business.... you have to be able to make reasonable accommodations to keep up with the times.

I think the key question at stake (at least in public rhetoric) is whether "Uber says they're cool" counts as an adequate background check.
leeharveyawesome wrote:
So what's all this chatter I'm hearing about Uber being "white privilege"? Someone please explain.

I don't know, but I'd speculate it's about well-off white people using Uber contracting as a way to make some extra cash on the side while undercutting the drivers who actually need to charge enough to make a living at it.
^^^Yes, it probably is more of a perception thing. But how is that helpful? The people outside of St. Louis who we are trying to attract clearly see it as a bad sign.

Read their explanations for yourself...https://twitter.com/gabelozano
Wow, that feed is rough. I wish Gabe Lozano would quit casting our city in such a negative light.

I happen to be of the opinion that it is not in St. Louis's best interests to bend over and appease the technocrat class.
I think he is trying to help. And sometimes in order to effect change and help you need to paint a negative picture.
Oh, I'm sure in his mind he's doing St. Louis a great service.
Mound City wrote:
roger wyoming II wrote:
Mound City wrote:
Interesting.

Have they explained why they feel that way?


^ The current situation is anti-technology and prohibits innovation; we can't afford to be seen that way. There would be no need for uber if the taxicab industry itself evolved to embrace tech and customer interface but it was incapable of doing so.


So to be clear, it's purely a perception thing. There isn't anything about St. Louis's protectionist tactics vs. Uber that specifically would prevent tech startups from succeeding in St. Louis, it's just that we're seen as the big bad Luddites and so no techies wanna do business here.

Do I have that right?


It's much more than that. The cab services in St Louis have a monopoly and their service levels reflect that. Part of the reason I live in the city is access to public transit and cab service. When I plan on going to a drinking event I always schedule a cab in advance. i.e. at 2pm I'll schedule a cab to pick me up at my South City home at 6p.m. When the cab hasn't appeared by 6:30p.m. I'll call only to find out that a cab hasn't been dispatched to my home yet and they don't have an idea one will be in route. Typically by 7 one shows up when I've totally lost patience and am ready to drive to the event/bar/etc. and leave my car there.

Then when my event has ended it takes upwards of 45min. to hail/get a cab and when I do the meter is typically "having issues" and they have no idea how to get to my home in South City.

Conversely, when I lived downtown I could get a cab quickly but they would refuse to take me or give me serious attitude when they found out my destination was Soulard or the CWE because they were holding out for an airport fare.

Our cab service is woefully inadequate. They need competition but are locking them out because they know they will lose a huge percentage of the market due to their own failings. This Hamilton guy is a joke. His only interest is self protection. He need to be removed immediately.
I happen to be of the opinion that it is not in St. Louis's best interests to bend over and appease the technocrat class.


But I guess it's in St. Louis's best interest that we should bend over and appease the taxicab industry? Its ok to prop up their terrible service with a public commission that they dictate.
MarkHaversham wrote:
roger wyoming II wrote:
I'm not the biggest fan of Uber & Lyft; I cheer the ruling of California that drivers are indeed uber employees and not independent contractors, e.g. (btw, I think most taxi cab drivers here are considered independent contractors.)

But as long as drivers have adequate insurance and an adequate background check and decent wage then this is something that has to be accommodated; and I do think the more we're seen as resisting the worse our reputation will grow. It kind of is like food trucks where brick & mortar folks initially (and some may continue) to resist as harming their business.... you have to be able to make reasonable accommodations to keep up with the times.

I think the key question at stake (at least in public rhetoric) is whether "Uber says they're cool" counts as an adequate background check.
leeharveyawesome wrote:
So what's all this chatter I'm hearing about Uber being "white privilege"? Someone please explain.

I don't know, but I'd speculate it's about well-off white people using Uber contracting as a way to make some extra cash on the side while undercutting the drivers who actually need to charge enough to make a living at it.


Oh I see. I guess I didn't realize that when I was taking a taxi I was also participating in some sort of pseudo-welfare transaction sanctioned and controlled by the local Taxi Commission. By your logic, a Commission for everything would solve all our problems.

It's just sad that Lou Hamilton has now basically taken all the proud and hard working taxi drivers and cast them as sacred cow charity cases. I just find it so gross and disgusting to treat people that way.
robertn42 wrote:

It's much more than that. The cab services in St Louis have a monopoly and their service levels reflect that. Part of the reason I live in the city is access to public transit and cab service. When I plan on going to a drinking event I always schedule a cab in advance. i.e. at 2pm I'll schedule a cab to pick me up at my South City home at 6p.m. When the cab hasn't appeared by 6:30p.m. I'll call only to find out that a cab hasn't been dispatched to my home yet and they don't have an idea one will be in route. Typically by 7 one shows up when I've totally lost patience and am ready to drive to the event/bar/etc. and leave my car there.

Then when my event has ended it takes upwards of 45min. to hail/get a cab and when I do the meter is typically "having issues" and they have no idea how to get to my home in South City.

Conversely, when I lived downtown I could get a cab quickly but they would refuse to take me or give me serious attitude when they found out my destination was Soulard or the CWE because they were holding out for an airport fare.

Our cab service is woefully inadequate. They need competition but are locking them out because they know they will lose a huge percentage of the market due to their own failings. This Hamilton guy is a joke. His only interest is self protection. He need to be removed immediately.


This is my experience every time I use a cab in STL. It has gotten so bad that we refuse to use any taxi cabs and just plan on a driver being sober to take everyone home. I have traveled to many other cities across the country and any city that has Uber, I never have any problems getting around.

The way the taxi commission is acting I will continue to refuse using taxi and if they do not approve a form of ridesharing. I may choose to leave STL for better connected cities.
Yikes.

I'm sorry the taxi service has been that consistently bad for you guys.

I never have any problems ordering taxis to or from anywhere. I live in Dogtown. When I'm going out drinking downtown with my friends, we order cabs 30-45 mins in advance and they always show up when they say they will, within about a ten-minute margin of error. Always.

pat wrote:
I happen to be of the opinion that it is not in St. Louis's best interests to bend over and appease the technocrat class.


But I guess it's in St. Louis's best interest that we should bend over and appease the taxicab industry? Its ok to prop up their terrible service with a public commission that they dictate.


The taxicab industry = locally owned and operated St. Louis businesses that have been employing working-class citizens for decades, giving them living wages and meaningful, gainful employment.

The technocrat class = Capitalist entrepreneurs looking to hit it big in low-overhead St. Louis with an eye to moving their businesses to Palo Alto.

If we have to prop up one or the other, then yeah, the taxicab industry is the better bet, in my opinion.
I don't really see how it is embarrassing. Sure it would be nice to have ride sharing but is it really that big a deal?
moorlander wrote:
How is it embarrassing? Sure it would be nice to have ride sharing but is it really that big a deal? Do people not have anything else to b**** about?


This is a lot more along the lines of what Lou Hamilton meant when he said b*tching about Uber in St. Louis is the epitome of white privilege, and he's absolutely right, even if he comes across as a hotheaded dweeb.