15 votes

"It’s an old joke that ride-share companies are slowly inventing the bus, but it’s more accurate to say that they have reinvented the servant."

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4 comments

  1. [4]
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    1. [3]
      nonesuchluck Link Parent
      Yeah, I've always been baffled how much money Uber/Lyft skims off the top from their drivers, and somehow they're still losing money? I don't understand. It can't possibly be that expensive to run...

      Yeah, I've always been baffled how much money Uber/Lyft skims off the top from their drivers, and somehow they're still losing money? I don't understand. It can't possibly be that expensive to run a glorified geolocation app with 3rd party map data.

      If Wikipedia can run the 5th biggest site on the internet with donations and no ads, this should be doable. Subtract 5% or whatever credit card fees to add credit to your account, pay 100% to driver, take tips like Humble bundle: user chooses split between company and driver. Stick Jimmy Wales face on top if you must, that's a proven money-getter.

      3 votes
      1. mundane_and_naive Link Parent
        My guess is they need the money to invest in self-driving tech, which is probably the only way for these companies to remain relevant in the future. R&D is always a giant money sink with slow return.

        My guess is they need the money to invest in self-driving tech, which is probably the only way for these companies to remain relevant in the future. R&D is always a giant money sink with slow return.

        5 votes
      2. MimicSquid Link Parent
        Reading up on Lyft's IPO, I saw that if they ceased additional marketing and R&D, they'd already be profitable. At this point, increased revenues is less desirable than increased market share with...

        Reading up on Lyft's IPO, I saw that if they ceased additional marketing and R&D, they'd already be profitable. At this point, increased revenues is less desirable than increased market share with the ability to turn the screws and ramp up prices later.

        4 votes
  2. 45930 Link
    This is an interesting topic because the "gig economy" is the definition of the free market. You have people that are sort of well-off driving for uber. I just found out a coworker of mine was...

    This is an interesting topic because the "gig economy" is the definition of the free market. You have people that are sort of well-off driving for uber. I just found out a coworker of mine was doing grocery shopping for insta cart as a college student before starting where we work now. You also have people attempting to make a full time living out of these new opportunities, who are in a completely different economic class than the first group. The idea of the "side hustle" is, in my opinion, a very innovative and liberating one that these new apps offer. I know the against side says that "needing a second job" is bad. But I don't think everyone who gigs needs the job. But beside the "side hustle" is this different class of laborers that are just doing the gigs full time.

    Now, as I said earlier, it's a great example of the free market. In my opinion, many people who are, say, driving for uber full time, are making a poor choice, and in a vacuum we could just write it off as people being stupid. But in reality, these people can make $100 today by driving, or they could polish their resume, or they could go on interviews, or they could go to school. Only one of those options nets them $100. If you do that day by day, you end up being a full time driver. I'm sure that if you don't drive for a couple days uber will ping you and offer you some bonus to start driving again too.

    At the end of the day, I think it's the government's job to protect people, not Uber's. And I don't think the government should protect people via asking companies to protect them. However you regulate Uber, they will find a way to do something similar anyways. Personally, I'm a believer in abolishing minimum wage and replacing it with basic income and universal healthcare. I think that would be a nice solution to this problem, in that if everyone's basic needs are sorted, then driving would be a "side hustle" for everyone doing it. The options to apply for a better job, or go to school to work toward a better job become more realistic. I'm sure there are other solutions as well. I think that this discussion will definitely continue in the progressive canon in the next few years. I'd be interested to hear a conservative opinion on the issue, as well, other than some Darwinian "this is fine" answer.

    6 votes