Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Uber comes to Wyoming. . . . and I don't like it.

I started this post a couple of weeks ago.  True to form, it's taken me awhile to get back around to it.  Today the same story hit the cover of the Casper Star Tribune. That story made me all the more miffed about Uber, frankly.

 Cab driver, New York, 1942.

I don't like Uber.

The concept that is.  I have no personal experience with it myself at all.

Uber drivers are, to my way of thinking, up until recently, Gypsy Cabs.

Now, gypsy cabs aren't cabs driven by gypsies, they were illegally operated cabs.

Uber bills itself as a ride facilitating outfit and by and large the concept has been accepted.  It's nonsense.  It's a cab company in which the cabs are owned by the cabbies, who are independent contractors.

Being a cab driver is one of the worst, and most dangerous, jobs in the US. At least at one time being a cab driver in Washington D.C., for example, was the most dangerous job in the United States . . . more dangerous than being an Alaskan commercial fisherman. .. and that's dangerous.

And no wonder.  You pick up people you don't know and take them to a place you didn't know you were going just a few minutes prior.

Think Uber drivers must all be safe dudes and dudettes?  Google the topic "Uber driver murdered" or something like that, and you'll pull up some scary stories.  You'll also pull up at least one website simply listing crimes and accidents of Uber drivers.  And you'll find the tragic stories of Uber drivers who are murdered.

Cab drivers commit crimes and have crimes committed against them as well.  But cabs came to be regulated and controlled everywhere for a reason.  Ride sharing is bunk.  Ubers are simply unregulated cabs.

But, in the "the market must be free" and "technology is always good" atmosphere we live in, Uber and like services are going to keep on keeping on.  To the detriment of cabbies.

And that should give us pause at that.

In some places cab drivers are members of unions. . . and for good reasons. Everywhere they are employees subject to their states workers compensation laws.  In other words, they have benefits in addition to their pay, which isn't large, for their dangerous work.

Uber drivers have their own cars and that's about it, in so far as I'm aware.

Well over a century of progress in labor reversed.

No wonder the blue collar workers in this country feel left out.

But at least its regulated. The drivers have to be licensed as cabbies, the companies have to complay with the law for operating cabs. There are some protections, for the cabbies and the customers.

Now, I suppose with Uber the price may be controlled, as set by Uber, but otherwise it's really a loose sort of deal.  

Well, I'll look forward to the cry "Uber drivers of the world unite. . . you have nothing to loose, not even your tire chains".

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