Uber Closes Cities, after it Opens Them - an article from The Conversation

Larrikin

Active Member
Most of us know the story of what Salon’s Elias Isquith calls “Wall Street’s favourite disrupter”. Uber, the ride-hailing service run primarily through smartphones, is a global economic success story.

In 2008, it was but an idea held by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp. Today it is a profit-making “unicorn”. It was recently valued at US$62.5 billion.

How Uber came to be worth such significant sums is a question often posed. Integral to its success was its speedy efforts at connecting riders with drivers through smartphones. This saw Uber become an on-demand disruptor business. In the process, it has alluringly branded itselfas a service “for the good of all” that puts “people first”.

Uber seemingly takes from over-priced taxis, facilitates livelihoods for its drivers, gives to the needy rider and sticks it to urban regulators – or so the story goes.

Much closer to the truth may be that when Uber isn’t wrapping itself in cloaks of communal good, it is busy trying to institute a monopoly on ride-hailing. It actively encloses what could be a more open city in which riders and drivers work to benefit city residents.

Now you’re open, now you’re closed
Uber “opens” cities to “close” them. We think this way because Uber is just another intermediary capitalist (like eBay, Airbnb and PayPal) that profits from the needs of typically urban people connected to the internet.

Uber is therefore an extension of capitalism and, because of that, can be understood as a business trying to maximise its market share.

Uber “opens to close” a city in three steps:

  • to disrupt the existing taxi monopoly (a closed system) through marketing and paying fines incurred by its drivers;

  • to entice riders to download its app, drivers to “share” their car, and urban regulators to acquiesce to the popularity of the Uber service; and

  • to exclude ride-hailing alternatives through its maximised market share.

Uber ‘opens to close’ a city in three steps.Robert Couse-Baker/flickr, CC BY

The marketing Uber uses to disrupt the grip one or more taxi companies have on a city is to present a rich rhetoric of being the “alternative”, somehow “grassroots” and, most importantly, a “communal” choice for drivers and riders. It casts itself as a Robin Hood in the struggle against unjust, or simply outdated, urban regulators.

This branding, Uber’s cheaper price and its convenient app make it an alluring option for ride-hailers. So long, cabbie dynasty, this city’s now open.

But because Uber grows within the shell of the taxi industry all it really does is open a city to enclose it for its own benefit. It does this through consistent marketing to riders, but also by enticing drivers to partner with Uber with promises of higher pay and a be-your-own-boss mentality.

Uber also crows about creating tens of thousands of jobs and getting one million women into work. This helps to get regulators onside.

A city is “closed” when Uber’s enclosure is complete: when it has successfully disrupted taxis, changed ride-hailing regulation and has a city’s residents on board (so to speak).

We say closed because an “Uber city” is a city captured by intermediary (middleman) capitalism. Defeated taxis are creating their own apps, and alternatives abound. But Uber’s market dominance makes it very difficult for more meaningful alternatives to emerge.

Market dominance means the exclusion of competitors and the control of the means of production so that profits keep rolling in. “Capture your market” is a mantra for a reason. And that reason is because it works – it’s Capitalism 101.

An open-city alternative

The need to get around a city safely and conveniently shouldn’t be viewed as an opportunity for businesses like Uber to cash in.STML/flickr
A truly open city would be one where residents are invited, supported and backed by their city government to create their own ride-hailing apps. Riders still get picked up for a fair price, drivers still get paid more, but profit goes into a public trust to ensure the apps provide good service but also to fund resident-specific projects, like bike roads fully separated from cars.

Not only will this keep jobs and money inside the city, but it also puts a vital transportation resource into the hands of city residents and not a foreign business.

The need to get around a city safely, conveniently and with as little carbon emissions as possible shouldn’t be viewed as an opportunity for businesses like Uber to cash in. It should rather be treated as a common pool resource.

Since the majority of people in cities still depend on cars and roads to get around, chasing the wrong incentives can lead to chronic traffic jams and a host of other problems.

City residents don’t want traffic jams; moving around is a vital part of their daily lives. Uber doesn’t necessarily mind traffic jams because of surge pricing and a rolling meter – it still makes money. Ironically, despite this conflict of interests, Uber is the US$62 billion Wall Street poster child and the open-city alternative is excluded.

Uber may open cities from taxi rackets, but it closes them off to the possibility of more radical and meaningful alternatives.
 

haldriver

Well-Known Member
When all taxis become Uber all incomes go down. Passengers save on fares but community loses through lowered Tax revenue and driver's income drops dramatically.
In Perth there are now only 5000 Taxi drivers to go. 1000 have left the industry and most probably gone to Uber. 488 lease plates have been turned into DoT. When I thought Uber was a good alternative there were a couple hundred Uber Black and probably 300 X. Now over 5000 registered (who knows how many with regulation change) and most taxis will be forced to convert to uber or starve. You can yell and scream about license fees and insurance but the real problem is a flooded market and with a flooded market there will be no surges and many complaints.
Uber drivers become instrument of own destruction.
 

UberPig

Well-Known Member
And Uber in return will consume itself.....
Glad to be watching from the side line!!!!
 

haldriver

Well-Known Member
Yes, and first theTaxis were the instrument of their own destruction with their crappy service and monopoly
By undercutting taxis Uber gets more clients taxis remove stickers (livery) get Uber app and become Uber then so many Uber that we all get one job every 4 hours then no-one makes money.
Because Uber drivers have succumbed to Uber HQ slash and burn fare/commission policy we all make less money and we all suffer.
Uber HQ success at the personal sacrifice of Drivers means WE ARE THE INSTRUMENT OF OUR OWN DESTRUCTION. Uber used (exploited Ponzi style) us to get successful and now we are going to be in financial dire straits unless they cap driver numbers and increase fares and reduce commissions and that ain't gonna happen.
Bag Taxis as much as you want but my concern is how Uber is mismanaging it assets into poverty. If you are a hobby Uber fine, you can say it was fun while it lasted picking up those little girlies and hooning around in your pretty Beemer or Audi, but for the drivers who are trying to make a living they are up the proverbial creek.

Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it.
 

Karl Marx

Well-Known Member
Most of us know the story of what Salon’s Elias Isquith calls “Wall Street’s favourite disrupter”. Uber, the ride-hailing service run primarily through smartphones, is a global economic success story.

In 2008, it was but an idea held by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp. Today it is a profit-making “unicorn”. It was recently valued at US$62.5 billion.

How Uber came to be worth such significant sums is a question often posed. Integral to its success was its speedy efforts at connecting riders with drivers through smartphones. This saw Uber become an on-demand disruptor business. In the process, it has alluringly branded itselfas a service “for the good of all” that puts “people first”.

Uber seemingly takes from over-priced taxis, facilitates livelihoods for its drivers, gives to the needy rider and sticks it to urban regulators – or so the story goes.

Much closer to the truth may be that when Uber isn’t wrapping itself in cloaks of communal good, it is busy trying to institute a monopoly on ride-hailing. It actively encloses what could be a more open city in which riders and drivers work to benefit city residents.

Now you’re open, now you’re closed
Uber “opens” cities to “close” them. We think this way because Uber is just another intermediary capitalist (like eBay, Airbnb and PayPal) that profits from the needs of typically urban people connected to the internet.

Uber is therefore an extension of capitalism and, because of that, can be understood as a business trying to maximise its market share.

Uber “opens to close” a city in three steps:

  • to disrupt the existing taxi monopoly (a closed system) through marketing and paying fines incurred by its drivers;

  • to entice riders to download its app, drivers to “share” their car, and urban regulators to acquiesce to the popularity of the Uber service; and

  • to exclude ride-hailing alternatives through its maximised market share.

Uber ‘opens to close’ a city in three steps.Robert Couse-Baker/flickr, CC BY

The marketing Uber uses to disrupt the grip one or more taxi companies have on a city is to present a rich rhetoric of being the “alternative”, somehow “grassroots” and, most importantly, a “communal” choice for drivers and riders. It casts itself as a Robin Hood in the struggle against unjust, or simply outdated, urban regulators.

This branding, Uber’s cheaper price and its convenient app make it an alluring option for ride-hailers. So long, cabbie dynasty, this city’s now open.

But because Uber grows within the shell of the taxi industry all it really does is open a city to enclose it for its own benefit. It does this through consistent marketing to riders, but also by enticing drivers to partner with Uber with promises of higher pay and a be-your-own-boss mentality.

Uber also crows about creating tens of thousands of jobs and getting one million women into work. This helps to get regulators onside.

A city is “closed” when Uber’s enclosure is complete: when it has successfully disrupted taxis, changed ride-hailing regulation and has a city’s residents on board (so to speak).

We say closed because an “Uber city” is a city captured by intermediary (middleman) capitalism. Defeated taxis are creating their own apps, and alternatives abound. But Uber’s market dominance makes it very difficult for more meaningful alternatives to emerge.

Market dominance means the exclusion of competitors and the control of the means of production so that profits keep rolling in. “Capture your market” is a mantra for a reason. And that reason is because it works – it’s Capitalism 101.

An open-city alternative

The need to get around a city safely and conveniently shouldn’t be viewed as an opportunity for businesses like Uber to cash in.STML/flickr
A truly open city would be one where residents are invited, supported and backed by their city government to create their own ride-hailing apps. Riders still get picked up for a fair price, drivers still get paid more, but profit goes into a public trust to ensure the apps provide good service but also to fund resident-specific projects, like bike roads fully separated from cars.

Not only will this keep jobs and money inside the city, but it also puts a vital transportation resource into the hands of city residents and not a foreign business.

The need to get around a city safely, conveniently and with as little carbon emissions as possible shouldn’t be viewed as an opportunity for businesses like Uber to cash in. It should rather be treated as a common pool resource.

Since the majority of people in cities still depend on cars and roads to get around, chasing the wrong incentives can lead to chronic traffic jams and a host of other problems.

City residents don’t want traffic jams; moving around is a vital part of their daily lives. Uber doesn’t necessarily mind traffic jams because of surge pricing and a rolling meter – it still makes money. Ironically, despite this conflict of interests, Uber is the US$62 billion Wall Street poster child and the open-city alternative is excluded.

Uber may open cities from taxi rackets, but it closes them off to the possibility of more radical and meaningful alternatives.
" The public's inability to grasp the pathology of our oligarchic corporate elites makes it difficult to organize effective resistance. Compliant politicians, entertainers, and our vapid, corporate - funded popular culture and news media hold up the elites as leaders to emulate. We are repeatedly assured that through diligence and hard work we can join them. We are taught to equate wealth with success. This narrative keeps us from seeing the truth." Chris Hedges, Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt 2015 page 61 In Don Tapscott new book he discusses how the block chain might disrupt the disrupters by enabling competition and "general knowledge" to create a more equitable democratic economy.
 
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Potsy

Well-Known Member
" The public's inability to grasp the pathology of our oligarchic corporate elites makes it difficult to organize effective resistance. Compliant politicians, entertainers, and our vapid, corporate - funded popular culture and news media hold up the elites as leaders to emulate. We are repeatedly assured that through diligence and hard work we can join them. We are taught to equate wealth with success. This narrative keeps us from seeing the truth." Chris Hedges, Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt 2015 page 61 In Don Tapscott new book he discusses how the block chain might disrupt the disrupters by enabling competition and "general knowledge" to create and more truly sharing democratic economy.
You've put into words exactly how I feel
 
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