This page has been archived and commenting is disabled.

This Wasn't Supposed To Happen: European Cab Protests Lead To 850% Increase In New Uber Users

Tyler Durden's picture


As we reported earlier, today Europe woke up more congested than usual, with traffic snarled up beyond recognition for one simple reason: from London, to Madrid, to Berlin some 12,000 taxi drivers took to the streets... and parked there, in protest of the $18.2 billion-valued startup Uber, which has grown so fast it i) has threatened the livelihood of cab drivers from San Francisco to Stockholm, and ii) is about to launch a myriad of copycat services in this no barriers to entry model where distributed participation is merely a question of where the driver earns the most money, and thus, which company is willing to generate the lowest profits (or most negative cash flow) in order to thrive - think Amazon.

Valuation questions aside, it appears that the European taxi driver protest has led to the one outcome which not only none of the protest participants anticipated, but had desperately hoped to avoid: a sharp surge in Uber popularity and further cannibalization of the legacy taxi customer base which disgusted by the taxi protest looked for, and found, alternative means of transportation. According to the Independent, "Uber said it experienced an 850 per cent increase new users today as London's black cabs staged a protest that brought gridlock to the city centre."

How did this latest attempt to stop progress and customer choice backfire so dramatically? Simple:

Drivers’ unions said that the rise of Uber is leading people to contact unlicensed drivers without any checks on whether they are legitimate.


But Uber's UK and Ireland general manager Jo Bertram said: “Londoners are voting with their fingers, tapping the app in support of new and innovative services as we see our biggest day of sign-ups in London today since launch two years ago.


"In fact, today we're seeing an 850 per cent increase in sign-ups compared to last Wednesday. The results are clear: London wants Uber in a big way.


Uber described the union representing black cab drivers, the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA), as “stuck in the dark ages”, and accused it of “holding London to ransom” with an economic impact of £125 million.

Of course, there is no way to actually check if Uber is merely making up this uber surge in sign ups: certainly start ups desperate for even more buzz (and venture capital spending) have been known to fib now and then at important milestones in their lifecycles, but even if the number is one uber lie, the reality remains:  as long as local governments try to extract their pound of flesh by regulating the cab business, be it in the US, or Europe, alternative providers such as Uber will prosper unhindered by encroaching bureaucracy, at least until said (very much broke) governments decide it is time to regulate the Ubers of the world too.

This may be the legacy taxi drivers' last hope:

The RMT's Ian Beetlestone said he hoped the demonstration would send a message that Uber is “operating in a grey area”.


He said: “We are not objecting to competition. We have had competition for years from minicabs but we haven't caused gridlock over it.


“We have to jump through hoops to be regulated and we don't feel people involved in these new apps are being subjected to the same regulations.”


Similar taxi driver protests took place today in Madrid, Milan, Berlin and Paris. Uber now operates in more than 100 cities in 30 countries and last week was valued at $18.2 billion, a fivefold increase in the space of a year. If the valuation is to be believed, an app launched five years ago is now worth more than the global car hire firm Hertz, which was founded in 1918.

Well, for all taxi drivers stuck in the middle ages, we have good news: in this day and age, in which every government is seeking to tax, and otherwise extract pounds, and tons if possible, of flesh from anything that generates any cash flows, it is only a matter of time before Uber too succumbs to one then another, then a third corrupt official working for that multi-headed hydra which merely takes and never gives: the local government.

It also means that in a few years, anyone who extrapolated Uber's growth rate in perpetuity, and assigned a valuation to match, will be very much regretting they day when they valued the company higher than Chipotle, Autozone, Dollar General, Loews, Seagate and so on. Because the days of free enterprise in a "fairness doctrine" world are numbered.

For now, however, enjoy the almost free ride, and watch and learn as the government destroys yet another business model.


- advertisements -

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:04 | 4845729 zaphod
zaphod's picture

It's kinda hard for a strike to be effective when there is a new pool of available and ready workers (in this case uber drivers) willing to provide the same service for less. 

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:08 | 4845746 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture



Drivers’ unions said that the rise of Uber is leading people to
contact unlicensed drivers without any checks on whether they are


Latka: You known in my country everyone shares with everyone.
Elaine: Oh thats beautiful.
Latka: Otherwise they shoot you.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:13 | 4845770 Chuck Norris
Chuck Norris's picture

There is no unintended market consequence that cannot be fixed by more government.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:37 | 4845854 MillionDollarBogus_
MillionDollarBogus_'s picture

 "Uber said it experienced an 850 per cent increase new users today as London's black cabs staged a protest that brought gridlock to the city centre."

How could Uber's business increase 850% if they use the same gridlocked streets..??

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:42 | 4845870 elegance
elegance's picture

App downloads moron.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 19:35 | 4846599 Matt
Matt's picture

So they had a surge in people downloading a free app to their phone, which takes a couple seconds, not an 850% increase in actual revenue or service usage. 

Isn't that kind of like a news story resulting in increased traffic to your company homepage?

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 23:00 | 4847301 logicalman
logicalman's picture

An eye-opener maybe?

But look at the other side - how much does a cab licence cost - if you paid for protection, you expect to get protection.


Thu, 06/12/2014 - 03:29 | 4847648 IronForge
IronForge's picture

That's SMAC Marketing coming right at ya.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:09 | 4845753 Stackers
Stackers's picture

Newspeak: "We have had to jump through hoops to be regulated"

Translation: "We've worked long and hard paying off crony bureaucrats to have the government enforce our monoply"

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:50 | 4845801 RyeWhiskey
RyeWhiskey's picture

Close but in reverse. From taxicab driver it''s more like -

I pay my local taxes -  Uber doesn't.

I purchased my business permit from the city - Uber didn't.

My vehicle is regulated and inspected - Uber's isn't.

I have commecial insurance requirement - Uber refuses to comply.

Get the picture? Don't believe every pump-n-dump you're witnessing.


Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:57 | 4845912 Stackers
Stackers's picture

you are driving around in a marked vehicle openly soliciting random pedestrian traffic - Uber doesn't

you are advertising your service for mass consumption to an uninformed client - Uber doesn't - it serves known clients who go out of their way to request Uber specifically

There is a MASSIVE difference in a private contracted car transport service and open public flag down taxi driving on the road hoping to be infront of someone when needed.


Uber is not a taxi service. It is basically an affordable limo service. these are nothing new and there is a reason they are not regulated like traditional hail for service taxis.

Yeah, I get the picture


Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:19 | 4845991 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

 Your comment is spot on! UBER isn't cheap and requires a credit card on file to use their service.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:47 | 4846085 Zerozen
Zerozen's picture

Sometimes taxis are flag-down type services (random pickup) but where I live, for example, they are never used this way. Taxis have to be called and they come to wherever you are. Same thing that Uber does, except they have to comply with all the local laws and regulations imposed on them (read: expenses).

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:20 | 4845994 Greenskeeper_Carl
Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

Cry me a river. Free people should be able to choose to contract with another free person in allegedly free countries in any manner they wish. That is all that matters. Can drivers shouldn't be complaining about über, they should be questioning why they have to do all those things you listed above at all. That's the real problem. But of course most people are too dense to ask those questions, and too used to bein told what to do.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:50 | 4846090 Zerozen
Zerozen's picture

That's exactly what they are complaining about.

It's like 90% of the people on this thread need to brush up on their reading comprehension.

From that article itself:


He said: “We are not objecting to competition. We have had competition for years from minicabs but we haven't caused gridlock over it.


“We have to jump through hoops to be regulated and we don't feel people involved in these new apps are being subjected to the same regulations."

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:59 | 4846133 Greenskeeper_Carl
Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

I read the article. Nothing wrong with my reading comprehension. What I got out of it is that they want über to be subjected to the same regulations the cabs are, not the cabbies saying they should ALL be free to conduct business as free people in a manner of their choosing.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 17:08 | 4846185 Zerozen
Zerozen's picture

I was agreeing with you. I was saying a lot of the other people on this thread are misreading the article.

Sure, it would be ideal if cabbies were free to conduct their business as free people... either way, the key thing I got out of it is there's a double standard for Uber cabs, another for regular cabs

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 17:29 | 4846258 Carl Spackler
Carl Spackler's picture

and to that I say..."Gunga, gunga, gunga ga-lunga. On your deathbed you will receive total consciousness."

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 18:26 | 4846383 NoPantsSpongeBob
NoPantsSpongeBob's picture

Cry me a river.

Or at least adjust the attitude, now with a new competition in town. NYC taxi drivers can be fucking assholes.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:10 | 4845961 css1971
css1971's picture

The clarion call of business world wide.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:09 | 4845754 Hippocratic Oaf
Hippocratic Oaf's picture

I use Uber

Great service.

When you have to walk several blocks just to wait and hail a cab, they come right to your door in 7 minutes

Survival of the fittest BITCHEZ!!!

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:11 | 4845767 jbvtme
jbvtme's picture

plus, they speak your language

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:20 | 4845774 Quus Ant
Quus Ant's picture

Walk several blocks??!!

F that.  The cabbie should come in your house and carry you to the chariot.

plus hearing someone complain about walking several blocks while declaring "survival of the fittest" is... awesome.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:45 | 4845879 Hippocratic Oaf
Hippocratic Oaf's picture

Guess pushing a stroller in the rain is a better option AND fighting for the next car.

Go fuck yourself.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:47 | 4845884 Platinum
Platinum's picture

I gave you an upvote simply because of the mental picture your comment gave me.


A surly NYC cabby carrying a man in a suit holding a briefcase on his shoulders as he shouts "survival of the fittest", as they head towards a waiting cab, where the fare hasn't been started yet.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:56 | 4845917 RyeWhiskey
RyeWhiskey's picture

Some individuals like to praise this self-glorified car service.

Others had a less "glorious" experiences such as  -

having to pay medical bills following an accident in which

Uber driver was not properly insured,

or pehaps this young woman that was plain kidnapped by an Uber

driver only a few days ago:

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:25 | 4846005 Greenskeeper_Carl
Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

Totally correct. Like that one time when we had too much dangerous freedom and then the govt came in and fixed everything and made it all perfectly safe? Remember that time? Me neither, cuz it never fuckin happens.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 17:30 | 4846264 Carl Spackler
Carl Spackler's picture

"...and that's all she wrote!"

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 17:00 | 4846109 Zoomorph
Zoomorph's picture

That story doesn't really make sense tbh. She was drunk and can't remember anything - maybe she consented to go with him to the motel? He didn't sexually "abuse" her all night, but waited until the morning, then let her freely go when she didn't want to? So what exactly did he do wrong, then?

IMO sounds like an innocent guy got led on by a drunk girl, did nothing to her, and is probably going to go to prison for it because, you know, just looking at someone the wrong way is abuse nowadays (especially true if they're a female).

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:14 | 4845779 RyeWhiskey
RyeWhiskey's picture

And we are supposed to believe numbers provided by Uber itself?

Sure. Gazillion % growth every two weeks.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:23 | 4845811 doctor10
doctor10's picture

can't wait until this happens in medicine!

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:59 | 4845925 RyeWhiskey
RyeWhiskey's picture

Open heart surgeries at market prices? No experience or license needed.

Download the app. Have your pants on. And you all set.

(Last requirement is optional).

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:03 | 4845730 Stoploss
Stoploss's picture


Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:04 | 4845732 Relentless101
Relentless101's picture

Now that's funny. Economics are a motherfucker when your on her bad side. 

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:05 | 4845734 999.9
999.9's picture

Yes, I am sure these are real numbers

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:38 | 4845858 elegance
elegance's picture

Why not? I woke today with news about Uber in the morning, every effing news bulletin on radio started with news about Uber, evening news featured Uber prominently. And I am about to download the Uber app to my tablet just to piss the cabbie dinosaurs.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:05 | 4845737 Conflict of Interest
Conflict of Interest's picture

It's hard to take the Italian protestors seriously.  When I was in Italy last summer, just about every other cab was illegal.  And yet the cabbies never protested against *them*.  That and none of the cabs, legal or illegal, bothered to turn on their meter.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:08 | 4845740 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Doh! Who could have seen that one coming? Certainly not the embedded cretins who would hold the country hostage because of some competition. Market forces are a bitch.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:15 | 4845782 jbvtme
jbvtme's picture

"the internet is going to ruin everything" said a jew businessman to a cnbc reporter in 1998. yup

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:18 | 4845795 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

For a minute there, I thought that was my quote being repeated.  But I wasn't that smart yet in 1988.  And I'm not Jewish.


Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:27 | 4845809 jbvtme
jbvtme's picture

check out  "flight car" in san francisco, where you lease your rig out at the airport while you fly (rather than paying to park it). sfo sued the company for "unfair and deceptive trade practices". not sure of the disposition. desperate times for the established order.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 17:14 | 4846205 dojufitz
dojufitz's picture

Yes....I was talking to an Antique Dealer a few weeks ago......

he said it was really great before the Net stuffed everything up.......

now too many people are informed.....

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:24 | 4845812 RyeWhiskey
RyeWhiskey's picture

Market forces supposed to operate within the bounds of the law, dear doctor.

Otherwise we can call offshore-based money-laundering operation

with an IPhone app - a "progress" and be done with it.

Having a double-standard is unfair. That's what this protest is about.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:33 | 4845836 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Laws written by special interests you mean. Market forces help tear down those laws that are designed to protect the status quo.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:11 | 4845948 RyeWhiskey
RyeWhiskey's picture

That's a perfect example of mass media meme sponsored by and brought to you by those

who plan (and do) benefit from reaping off thousands of law-abiding

small transportation businesses.

How is having my vehicle inspected 4 times a year a

"protection" for my small business?

How is me paying for my business permit to the local municipality

is "protecting" anything? You want to compete - it's free for all -

have a permit and operate. 

Municipal permits are city revenue. Not my personal profit.

Funny how destruction of small businesses for the sake of creating

yet another offshore-based tax-evading monopoly is manipulated

into "general good".

Oh, war is peace, freedom is slavery. I forgot... Back to normal.

Go on.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 19:10 | 4846504 PhilofOz
PhilofOz's picture

Some excellent points. Another case of the big boys wiping out small business. Uber, the Walmart of the cab buniness. I know there are very few here that support Walmart after their destruction of small business, yet this is no different.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 19:43 | 4846631 Matt
Matt's picture

"How is me paying for my business permit to the local municipality

is "protecting" anything? You want to compete - it's free for all -

have a permit and operate"

In many jurisdictions the number of permits allowed is restricted. It is a golden ticket to make money, since only a limited number of people are allowed to do it.


On the other hand, if you let people have free-for-all competition, people will keep undercutting each other until they are operating at a loss, or by reducing expenses like maintenance.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:40 | 4846055 Zoomorph
Zoomorph's picture

These laws exist to make the government rich and keep them and their friends in power. Think hard - what's the down side to Uber? Taxi drivers will lose their government-enforced monopoly. People will pay less for rides. Taxi drivers may have to become Uber drivers instead, and take a cut in pay.

Are you seriously suggesting that free markets are bad because taxi drivers somehow deserve to get paid more than the fair market price for their services?

Off-shore money laundering blah blah blah. All of this is people trying to keep their money out of grasp of the government, which tries to steal money from people to feed itself. They are all good things that are slandered in popular opinion because they threaten the government's grip on everyone.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:07 | 4845747 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

Cost of a NYC Taxi Medallion:  $1,000,000.  Might be double that since the last time I checked.  And you wonder why apps like Uber are growing in popularity?

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:16 | 4845788 RyeWhiskey
RyeWhiskey's picture

That's $1,000.000 in NYC municipal revenue.
Not offshore Uber bank accounts.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:25 | 4845816 McMolotov
McMolotov's picture

That's $1,000,000 in extortion money. Quit defending government theft. It's no different than the mob shaking people down for protection money.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:02 | 4845935 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

The battle is ALWAYS over resources and markets.

People tend to forget markets and this story is a prime example of their importance.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:22 | 4846001 RyeWhiskey
RyeWhiskey's picture

How is $1,000.000 paid to the city for a business license is an extortion? Enlighten me.

And how is that an offshore corporation that pays no local taxes,  has

no business license to operate - yet has biillions to spent - is doing

more "general good" than my local tax-paying small business?

You seem to be getting it backwards.

And I leave a technology part of this discussion out - because

there are hundreds of apps that do same, and better than Uber -

yet we never even hear about them.  Fair? I don't think so.



Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:44 | 4846070 Zoomorph
Zoomorph's picture

The government force people into buying "business licenses" if they want to engage in the market. If you don't buy one, they'll send their mob around to beat you up and lock you up. Pretty clearly extortion, just as taxation is theft.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 17:02 | 4846156 RyeWhiskey
RyeWhiskey's picture

But Uber is operating. Right? No one is sending any "mob" to stop it.  See? These are facts.

What taxi drivers want is fairness, not vendetta. 

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 18:23 | 4846370 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

Fairness as in limiting the amount of medallions so that they cost a mil + and cutting down on competition and keeping rates high for consumers.

You mean that kind of 'fairness'?


Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:35 | 4845849 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

"That's $1,000.000 in NYC municipal revenue."


Yeah that argument will win you a lot of support.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:33 | 4846030 RyeWhiskey
RyeWhiskey's picture

Well. It should. These municipl funds are paying for road repairs, schools construction, pension being paid, etc. Look into financial municipal statements - you will see it all there.

I'm supposed to believe that offshore-based Uber taking off with

that cash to its offshore bank accounts, already swelled by easy billions, is better?  Better for a few oligarchs standing behind it - sure.


Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:45 | 4846074 Zoomorph
Zoomorph's picture

Think of how many machine guns could NYC buy with that extra tax revenue to keep its citizens in line...

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:11 | 4845966 DogOfSinope
DogOfSinope's picture

Revenue, for what product or service?

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 17:11 | 4846195 Kprime
Kprime's picture

thats 1M in mob theft

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:19 | 4845794 jbvtme
jbvtme's picture


Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:30 | 4845820 ThroxxOfVron
ThroxxOfVron's picture


"This week, New York held an auction for individual yellow-cab medallions, the rare and wonderful permits that give drivers the right to operate a taxi and pick up street hails. Winning bidders paid as much as $965,000 for the latest batch of medallions. Last year the city drew even higher, record-setting prices in an auction for corporate medallions, which went for as much as $1.26 million. That record will be broken in the coming weeks when a single medallion changes hands for $1.31 million, according to Andrew Murstein of Medallion Financial, which is helping finance the deal.

 If you were to go back in time and invest in a single asset, taxi medallions would be an excellent way to make a fortune. Increases in New York’s taxi medallion values have far outpaced traditional investments such as gold. Since 1980, medallion values have soared more than 1,000 percent, while gold gained 181 percent, according to Bloomberg News."


The Cabs in NYC were caught routinely ripping off the Customers with doctored meters that ran fast, bridge toll inflation, etc. for years.

I try never to take Taxi Cabs or Black Cars if I can help it.  Better to pay a Friend cash for an arranged ride..


Info/link provided, and personal opinion and response provided; -SOMEBODY is getting hella rich off the Medallion scam or it would have collapsed a long time ago.  Maybe the mobsters that accrued the Medallions in the 1970's; -but, still...

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:07 | 4845748 Australian Economist
Australian Economist's picture

Don't worry the government will create a level playing field.


What they should do is deregulate, cut bureaucracy and reduce costs of cab drivers to make them more competitive and let the free market decide. Unfortunately they will increase the cost of Uber to match that of cabs so they can get their cut.


Once again the customer loses.


Wed, 06/11/2014 - 17:07 | 4846181 Kprime
Kprime's picture

yah the gov will create a "too bad you aren't on our level" playing field.  Now hand over your money or we will kill you.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:08 | 4845752 Bemused Observer
Bemused Observer's picture

Taxi drivers would be better off quitting their 'official' jobs, and taking advantage off all that apparent customer demand. On the side, off the books. And untaxed.
NYC drivers should tell the city to shove its million-dollar medallion up its greedy ass. Just drive around rogue, and pick your customers up in your unmarked car.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:20 | 4845799 Perfecthedge
Perfecthedge's picture

You are a honorary member of my Club, dear Mr. Bemused Observer.  This is thinking to my liking. 

The Revolution has many faces...

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:31 | 4845841 Bemused Observer
Bemused Observer's picture


I'm no good at the actual physical fighting, but there's ALL kinds of ways to 'gum up the works'. Going around the obstacles is often a lot easier and more effective than actively fighting them.
Also, fighting just gives them a target to go after. Non-cooperation on a wide scale would be impossible for them to fight against.
And, I love the message it sends...You aren't even worth my energy and effort to fight. I'll just go around your sorry ass...

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:44 | 4846073 Wait What
Wait What's picture

one small step in the direction of the unregulated underground economy takeover.

Unfortunately, everything is tracked and will be "appropriately" back taxed when .gov gets its shit together on the matter.

when I see tax free, untracked revenue for the drivers, then i'll be impressed.


Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:31 | 4845832 RyeWhiskey
RyeWhiskey's picture

Regulated transportation is one of the last municipal revenue sources for many cities across the states.

How privatization by offshore-based Uber of that revenue will

help anyone except the oligarchs behind Uber?

It's your property taxes that will compensate for reduced city revenue.

Look at city financial statements - income from regulated transportation are embedded in each nd every one.

Same $$$$ that was city revenue is now taken offshore to Uber

bank accounts.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:04 | 4845936 withglee
withglee's picture

This is one of many many examples of municipalities charging fees but delivering no service. Every such instance in the municipality should be exploited just like Uber is doing. This would force municipalities to charge (tax) only for services the citizens want to buy. Citizens should demand a pay as you use fee ... and refuse to use if the fee is too high. Governments no longer get unlimited blank checks. Citizens will come up with more and more ways to tell governments they "don't want their services ... at any price." Governments are blood sucking parasites and this is another great can of "Off" repellant.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 17:07 | 4846087 RyeWhiskey
RyeWhiskey's picture


Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:52 | 4846098 RyeWhiskey
RyeWhiskey's picture

Safe accessibility-enabled public transportation is a service.

I'm sure that young woman who was kidnapped by an uber driver just a few days ago would agree:


Wed, 06/11/2014 - 18:14 | 4846353 withglee
withglee's picture

Just like the mafia's first reaction to someone refusing their protection service is to burn a place down, so governments will use the same tactic to convice us they really are providing a service. It's called a false flag. They are masters of the technique. Brace for it ... but don't yield to it.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:41 | 4845863 Never_Put_Down
Never_Put_Down's picture

This how the mini cabs work in England I think. While there our group negotiated a "fair" price with a mini-cab driver before we evn got in the cab. Also, the drunker you are the more money the mini-cab drivers tend to recieve. The free markets at play

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:56 | 4846114 Oldrepublic
Oldrepublic's picture

In the wild west days in Moscow in the early 90s, all one had to do to get a ride was to put one's hand out and private cars would stop.

Even, ambulances would make a detour for the extra cash!

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 18:33 | 4846404 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

"You- sit in back. If he turn grey give push on chest."

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 20:22 | 4846781 SilverRhino
SilverRhino's picture

They still do that in Kazan.   

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:14 | 4845781 ShrNfr
ShrNfr's picture

Stereisand effect strikes again.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:20 | 4845805 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

Cue uber-driven murders in 5,4,3, ...

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:44 | 4845827 ptoemmes
ptoemmes's picture

Uber tried to "legalize" its entry into the Florida market at the state level this past legislative session.  Uber, Lyft, and others have also tried to "play nice" with local regulatory entitites most recently - and notably - in Miami-Dade County, but also Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, and no doubt elsewhere.  The state level effort (somewhat surprisingly) failed.  Uber - UberX actually - and Lyfyt have said eff it and they are running openly "illegal" in Miami-Dade getting fined including confiscation of vehicles, etc - no doubt to setup a court based legal challenge.

While the Taxi industry-lobby leads the fight  this also will affect the "black car" - limo - operators, too and so they, too, are engaged as well.

As in most paces, the local regulatory framework is a mess.  Permits are regulated, restricted, expensive, and worse.  Perhaps the worse, though, is this.  

Consider that the Southeast Florida - Palm Beach County, Broward County, and Miami-Dade County - area is home to regulatory entities at the county level and also separate regulatory entities for the FLL and MIA airports as well as Port Eveglades and Port Miami.  Palm Beach consolidates PBI airport and Port of Palm Beach, but in all cases a "black car" operator must buy annual registration stickers to operate - up to 7 registrations/stickers all of which cost an increasing amount of money annually.  And, MIA, FLL, and PortMiami require a transponder so you are charged per pickup or dropoff.  It's a little different for Taxis, but still.

While a certain degree of regulation makes sense - driver background checks, vehicle safety checks, insurance verification (commercial insurance is very expensive) - it's a redundant mess in the area and seems as much about collecting government fees as anything else.

What was never clear in the Uber effort at the state level - nominally regulation at the state level and exclusion from local regulation - was how that would have been grossly unfair to the existing "black car" businesses.  Would have made more sense if the propsed legislation would have been for ALL for-hire vehcle operators.

Yes, I have a dog in this hunt but I also understand the role technology has to play.  It is unfortunate that all of this is tainted by the corrupt political process at what seems to be all levels.



Wed, 06/11/2014 - 18:40 | 4846421 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

And in the meantime Carlos is killin 'it in his lowrider selling rides and weed.

"Ehhh...Orale, you want some mota, esse?"

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:34 | 4845846 Agent P
Agent P's picture

I'm going to start Buber and have topless women drivers. I will also buy a bunch of Google's driverless cars, so the drivers can ride in the back seat with you.  Any VC's want in on the ground floor? 

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:58 | 4846124 Zerozen
Zerozen's picture

I'll give you a big bag of money to invest in this business.

One question though - since the cars are driverless, can we have the topless female drivers serve drinks in the back to the customers?

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 17:02 | 4846158 Kprime
Kprime's picture

can you order a car with two drivers?  :-D

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 20:12 | 4846744 Agent P
Agent P's picture

Yes, but no midgets or farm animals....this is going to be a classy business.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:35 | 4845850 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Maybe I'm missing something from the article...but wtf IS an 'uber' ?

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:50 | 4845894 Whatchamacallit
Whatchamacallit's picture

I know, I gave the article only 2 stars because nowhere I could find what Uber was.


It's an app for you smartphone that lets you request a driver that will come pick you up wherever you are (GPS address is enough), and is cashless, as it will debit your credit card automatically. Pretty neat, actually.


Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:05 | 4845945 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

AH ok thanks.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:27 | 4846011 Zerozen
Zerozen's picture

Yeah it's really neat, just like calling a cab company on your phone and they send a taxi right to your door, and you pay by swiping a credit card through the reader.

Seriously, I don't get the Uber value proposition (unless Uber is way cheaper than a taxi, but that hasn't been my experience in the city I live in).

This app also has no barriers to competition. It's not the concept I have a problem with, it's the ludicrous valuation. I can't wait for copycat apps to start appearing that take a $1 cut from the fare instead of 20%. Where will this turd be valued then?

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:39 | 4845860 NYPoke
NYPoke's picture

Economics 101

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:45 | 4845877 Whatchamacallit
Whatchamacallit's picture

Well, I hate taking a taxi in Paris. Uncouth, surly drivers, hating the traffic, hating their job, and hating you. And for this, you pay a fortune.


By the way, excellent post from an excellent blog written by a taxi driver. It's called "The pig trap" (guess who the pigs are):



Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:53 | 4845908 Itch
Itch's picture

"decribing the union representing black cab drivers, the Licensed Taxi Drivers Associationn (LTDA), as “stuck in the dark ages”, "

As opposed to having the capacity to roll out a global busuness model with backers at the apex of of banking and tech. Totally, dinosaurs.   

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 17:12 | 4846197 RyeWhiskey
RyeWhiskey's picture

Taxicab owners offer their own apps and their own websites. And these are developed by local startups, not offshore Uber.

Yet - we hear very little about these apps and websites.

With $17 BILLION valuation - I'm sure - Uber is spending good few hundreds millions on endless self-adverisements.

Not unlike Enron pre-IPO.


Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:54 | 4845909 g speed
g speed's picture

If I were an Uber driver I would keep a little black book (phone book app) with steady customers-- cut Uber out of the loop?? Oh you're already doing that ----sorry.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:30 | 4846024 Zerozen
Zerozen's picture


When it comes to copycats and competition, Uber is a bug in search of a windshield. There's no competitive moat.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:54 | 4845910 midtablerespect...
midtablerespectability's picture

Hard to feel too sorry for London black cab drivers. Self employed, cash business. Underdeclared earnings. No doubt next years declared returns will be even lower off the back of this.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:03 | 4845938 css1971
css1971's picture

Just wait till driverless cars hit mainstream.

They will put all the taxi drivers out of business, then put all the big car companies out of business. Why own a car when you can hire one at 1/10 the current price per journey? Each taxi can make around 30 journeys per day, which means about 1/30th the sales.Then they'll put all the train, bus and tram companies out of business; why wait for a bus or train when you can get a taxi for the same price which picks you up at your door and delivers you direct to your destination.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 19:14 | 4846516 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

But who would you practice your Farsi or Pashtun with?

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:13 | 4845975 zipit
zipit's picture

BRB, I've gotta go take an Uber.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:18 | 4845987 theprofromdover
theprofromdover's picture

This shouldn't be a fight between the taxi drivers and uber, it should be a fight between the taxi drivers and the licensing authorities. They made the price of licensed taxis so ridiculous.

It all comes down to taxes.


not taxis.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:39 | 4846053 Zerozen
Zerozen's picture


The only post on here so far that shows understanding of the real issue.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:21 | 4845998 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

Dear Uber,

You must pay more to the pols and crats than the current monopoly holders.

Don't you know?!

An experienced corruption watcher.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:29 | 4846017 Casserole of no...
Casserole of nonsense's picture

It's all fun and games until tourists start ending up under bridges raped and strangled. I'm not sure the uber model will last very much longer after that.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 18:27 | 4846384 withglee
withglee's picture

Watch for it. It's guaranteed. The obvious defensive tactic. 9/11 was just such a tactic.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:29 | 4846018 Jack Burton
Jack Burton's picture

Part of my small business customer base comes to me via just such peer to peer internet apps and new app creators who service vendors and customers. My business is under threat by cities and states seeking to destroy our business model because they are under big corporate pressure that we are taking big business customers and that we may not be paying sufficent taxes to local authorities. Though all our income is declared to the IRS.

Those who have captured a market and have a business model of long standing, do not want new competiton that favors customers by offering cheaper service, more choices and freedom of the peer to peer model.  It's simple, Big Corporate Capitalists HATE new competition, HATE IT! They always seek captive government to put in regulations and taxes and laws to drive out newer, and better service provides. This talk of free markets is bull shit lies. Corporate America hates the free market.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:37 | 4846048 Zerozen
Zerozen's picture

Yes but that's not what going on here. Taxi drivers don't hold gov't captive. It's the other way around. Gov't imposes burdensome regulations on taxi drivers. Uber is a totally unoriginal/obvious idea. Don't you think cab drivers would be doing the same thing at similar prices since long ago, if it wasn't for gov't regulation?

The cabbies are bitching because Uber competes against them by breaking the laws that they have to comply with.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 18:25 | 4846375 withglee
withglee's picture

I'm sure if you check the history, Yellow and Checker lobbied hard "for" regulation. In the beginning anyone could be a cab company. Limiting competition and protecting territories is where "all" regulations come from.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:58 | 4846128 Wait What
Wait What's picture

no one likes to see their margins ruined by upstarts. in this growth environment, it's all corporate america has to stand on.

welcome to the global marketplace, america. we're going to learn quickly that living high on the hog doing things people in other countries do for a fraction of the price, with the backstop that we issue a reserve currency was a poor business model from the beginning.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 17:19 | 4846227 RyeWhiskey
RyeWhiskey's picture

I assure you, Jack. That Uber - by far - is the biggest "corporate capitalist" in transportation industry.

None of the taxi fleets come even close to Uber's valuation.

Uber has politicians, bankers, oligarchs in its own pocket. For example, after Chicago major's brother became

an "investor" in Uber - Uber got green light to operate license and fee free in Chicago.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:57 | 4846116 teslaberry
teslaberry's picture

I cannot wait until uber drivers start protesting the google car. oh, the irony. 

give it 20 years 

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 17:04 | 4846170 Spungo
Spungo's picture

Governments are fucking retarded. They keep trying to make these weird/inconsistent laws. Example: it's legal for me to make wine. I'll go to jail for a very long time if I sell that wine, but I'm allowed to give it away for free. Same with sex. Same with giving people a ride in my car. I can understand needing a license to drive a bus or a limo because that's not quite the same as driving a regular car.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 18:18 | 4846357 SeekingNuNormal
SeekingNuNormal's picture

I'm a horse and buggy driver and this uber thingy is very, very disconcerting.

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 18:53 | 4846452 pagan
pagan's picture

This is just the first step. What will the taxi drivers do when the driverless taxis arrive? Burn down the city?

Or when I start my teleportation service business..

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 19:28 | 4846555 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

It ain't easy.

My Mag-Lev Underwear Monorail System was a sure fire winner except the VC guys had no imagination.

Okay, I admit that the butt-cheek squeeze braking plan needed more work but give a guy a chance.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!