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Wednesday October 18th 2017

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Über – Killing Your City and Your Union?

Über appears to be everywhere.  Writing this for Beach Street News while sitting in Kauai Hawaii, Über is here too.  I have to wonder how they are getting away with it.  Lyft riding right behind them.

In the city of Los Angeles for instance the Taxi business has been gutted by Über.  I wonder why a city that is generally socially conscious  and needs a heavy tax base to survive allows the largest taxi cab company in the world to operate in their city essentially tax free

KuhlToys Jeep JK Wrangler Halo Headlights

Maybe if I lose my day job I’ll get a KühlToys Jeep and drive for Über.

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The irony of Über is that the people riding Über are the same people Über is hurting.  Über drivers don’t pay city of Los Angeles taxes like Cab drivers do.  They don’t pay business taxes like Cab Drivers and Cab Companies do.  Über drivers don’t even need a commercial drivers licenses or plates according to Über.

Lyft and Über stand by their claim that these are “ride sharing services” and the California DMV policy that all Lyft and Über drivers are required to get commercial license plates, says that California is starting to see these services for what they are.

With the massive amount of profit going to the companies that run the apps, and drivers making very little.  The additional cost of commercial plates starts running the price closer to a regular cab.

At LAX the real story of Über unfolds as drivers clog up the airport in a constant loop hoping to get that perfect high dollar fare back to their neighborhood.  If these were truly ride sharing services.  All of the drivers should have just arrived from a flight as well.

Ridesharing is a great idea.  If I am at LAX and headed to Woodland Hills and You are going to Tarzana, why wouldn’t it be smart for me to give you a ride?  A recent Lyft commercial on the radio advertising for drivers saying that they make more money and can get tips that you don’t normally get from the “other guys” is calling it like it is.  A job driving people around, not ridesharing.

When the Los Angeles Airports allowed ride share pickups to happen, they should have made a stipulation that all of the drivers must have been parked in the airport parking lot and arrived on a flight within the past four hours.  Otherwise, they should require the drivers to get in line in the cab lot just like the cabs and pay the fees the cabbies pay.

It is ironic to see a city like Los Angeles approve a service that takes profits and tax revenue out of its coffers while complaining about congestion. At a recent union meeting, a rep asked everyone to use a special link on Amazon because the Union got a kickback. Someone asked “Are you asking me to buy from a union busting company?” During the silence she said “Next you’ll tell me to use Über to save money.”

Über is just one “app” or “virtual company” that is changing the landscape of our lives without us even realizing it.  In the old days, like 1999, you needed to join an actors guild to make any money as an actor. Or join the directors guild to get those juicy studio jobs as a director.  Today, YouTube and Vimeo might just be the best way to make money as an actor or director.

Want to be a cab driver?  Why go to the hassle of getting a commercial license and paying all those taxes when you can join Über or Lyft and skip the cab waiting lot at LAX?

As I was wondering why does Los Angeles allow it?, I remembered a very interesting book on my shelf at home.  According to the Authors, James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg,  the cities are losing their ability to control services as technology gives people more power.   The duo told us this would happen in their book, the Sovereign Individual in 1999, and the predictions they wrote about then are unfolding right now.

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