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Virginia DMV Cracks Down On Uber, Lyft

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the markets-solve-many-things dept.

Transportation 260

An anonymous reader writes 'Talk about regulatory capture! As radio station WTOP reports, "The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles says that ride services Lyft and Uber are violating state law and must stop operating immediately. The DMV sent cease and desist orders to both companies Thursday." Who benefits most? It's not the people who are voting with their dollars and feet — seems more like the current stable of taxi drivers and others blessed by the state of Virginia. Good thing there's no call for or benefit from greater per-car occupancy, or experimentation more generally with disruptive disintermediation. Given enough bribe money down the road, I'm sure a deal can be struck, though.'

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And that's why (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183645)

That's why I bought a Saturn.

Predicable (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183657)

Virginia elected a statist as Governor.

Guess the party.

Re:Predicable (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183695)

Impossible to guess. The Republicans have shown that they're no better than the Democrats when it comes to sucking the auto dealers' cocks.

Re:Predicable (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183719)

That's almost unheard of. Republican politicians are almost universally more skilled than Democrats at sucking cocks.

Re:Predicable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183891)

That's almost unheard of. Republican politicians are almost universally more skilled than Democrats at sucking cocks.

wait... what... I thought most homosexuals were Democrat.

Re:Predicable (5, Funny)

penix1 (722987) | about 6 months ago | (#47184205)

wait... what... I thought most homosexuals were Democrat.

Just the ones in the open... The Republicans just have a wide stance....

does this need refactoring (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183659)

When we refactor code we find there is sometimes unexpected wisdom hidden in with the cruft.
Is there perhaps some wisdom in these laws that help public safety?

I really don't know.. I like the concept of Uber and lyft, but while we're getting rid of the cruft, are we getting rid of the wisdom too?

I can picture a serial-killer scienerio with these utilities, but I have no idea if the protections are built in.. I've not used them..

Just asking the question cause I have no idea.

Any answers?

Re:does this need refactoring (5, Funny)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | about 6 months ago | (#47183685)

Most taxi services have an "anti-serial killer" clause in their contracts. If you are a serial killer, they won't hire you. This is accomplished by swearing on the job application form that you are, in fact, NOT a serial killer. If they find out later on that you ARE a serial killer, they will terminate the contract and you will no longer be able to drive the cab, thus keeping the taxi industry 100% serial killer free. As far as I know, niether Lyft nor Uber have taken any steps whatsoever to prevent serial killers from working for them, which means that as a rider you have no idea if your driver is going to murder you, after having already murdered someone else. (It takes more than one murder to be a serial killer).

So yeah, this is a good thing.

Re:does this need refactoring (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183801)

I know you're joking, but interestingly enough, the reverse is so much more likely. Given the nature of the payment system, a bunch of missing Uber passengers would quickly be tied to the killer. The general anonymity and cash payment system of taxis would be entirely more preferable for a predator.

Re:does this need refactoring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47184235)

taxis take plastic now.

Re:does this need refactoring (2)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 6 months ago | (#47183819)

But, if I'm gonna get killed by my driver, I want him to be well insured.

Re:does this need refactoring (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#47184307)

How about your driver's car being in poor mechanical condition and their insurance company refusing to pay your medical bills when it loses power on a freeway ramp or doesn't stop at the red light and gets creamed by another motorist.

I'm thinking you most certainly would want your driver to have good insurance- even if you get killed. Your family will likely appreciate it too.

Re:does this need refactoring (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47184147)

I've seen my state put up on their billboards, "SAVE GAS, CARPOOL". So now... they don't want me to carpool? How confusing.

Re:does this need refactoring (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47184453)

Uber is a "carpool" service now? i thought it was a service similar taxi's, but unlicensed.

Seems reasonable... (4, Insightful)

NouberNou (1105915) | about 6 months ago | (#47183661)

Or you know maybe it it's about companies coming in and skirting all regulation and laws that other companies have played by for years? Also some of those (read almost all of those) regulations have a purpose that serves to protect the consumer and the employee.

But of course Libertarians will circle jerk about how poor little Lyft and Uber are being downtrodden upon by democratically elected governments that established the laws in the first place.

Re:Seems reasonable... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183721)

Two words: Unlicensed taxis

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/taxi

— n , pl taxis , taxies
1. cab , Also called: taxicab a car, usually fitted with a taximeter, that may be hired, along with its driver, to carry passengers to any specified destination

So, how is Uber and Lyft not a taxi service despite the method to hire said drivers?

Re:Seems reasonable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183833)

Actually I am pretty sure unlicensed taxis are illegal in every state except the District of Columbia and there's people polling to get that changed there too.

Re:Seems reasonable... (-1, Troll)

sillybilly (668960) | about 6 months ago | (#47184405)

How about unlicensed ass-wipers? With all this stupid regulation soon you'll need a license and permit to wipe your ass, or hire someone with a license. There'll be a permit that expires stamped on each slice of toilet paper, and if expired, has to be renewed with a new license fee payment, else it's considered illegal asswiping! But it's okay to wipe with it as long as you don't get caught by the authorities!

Re:Seems reasonable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47184565)

"with a taximeter"

My car doesn't have a taximeter. You have to take the entire definition. You just can't highlight a partial definition and make it the entire definition.

Re:Seems reasonable... (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183733)

You say "democratically elected" as though that means something.

People are voting with their dollars and their feet EVERYDAY. What is your "democratically elected" government worth in the face of that? How representative...

Re:Seems reasonable... (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about 6 months ago | (#47183883)

People are voting with their dollars and their feet EVERYDAY.

And people would buy toys with lead paint in them too if the price was low and they weren't aware of the risks of lead paint. Does that mean the regulations preventing them are wrong?

Similarly people will get into a car operated by a driver without sufficient insurance or any gaurantee that the vehicle is operating correctly and safe, and if its cheaper they won't care either... at least... until there is an accident.

Which is how the regulations came into effect in the first place -- the public was tired of getting into cabs that weren't insured or maintained properly.

The public seems to have a very short memory.

Re:Seems reasonable... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183919)

EVERY Uber ride I've ever had has been in a nicer and better-maintained car than any cab I've ever been in in my life. AFAIK, Uber guarantees insurance on all of their drivers as well. There was that one incident a few months back where a driver and Uber pointed fingers at each other regarding whose coverage should be used, but I don't think they'll find themselves in that position again. Kinks have been worked out quickly.

Re:Seems reasonable... (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about 6 months ago | (#47183983)

EVERY Uber ride I've ever had has been in a nicer and better-maintained car than any cab I've ever been in in my life.

a) Then UBER should have no trouble meeting the requirements establishing that the cars are in fact safe

b) No idea where you live / travel, but I've never been anything but clean and excellently maintained cabs.

AFAIK, Uber guarantees insurance on all of their drivers as well.

Sure they do. To a faction of the limit than the state requires.

Meanwhile most Uber drivers I've met are effectively operating their vehicles as cabs, but are insuring them as pleasure and commuter cars.

Re:Seems reasonable... (5, Interesting)

MickLinux (579158) | about 6 months ago | (#47184197)

It is not the same in EVERY Virginia city, but in Norfolk whenI was a taxi driver, the city licensed a cetin number of cabs to operate. Like the commercial fisherman's license, if you had a license, you had every incentive NOT to operate a vehicle, but to rent it out to a licensed cabdriver for a rental fee of more than $100 per day. That's 1992 dollars.

Moreover, your incentive to maintain a working vehicle was almost minimal. So they were real pieces of trash, that harvested money from poor cabbies and poorer clientele, and redirected it into the pockets of the owner of each cab company.

That's the Virginia way of doing things. YMMV.

Re:Seems reasonable... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#47184407)

Most cab cars I have been in use decommissioned police cars. They buy them up at auction at reasonable prices because the maintenance and service has been well kept up over the life of the cars as police vehicles (I've actually talked with a few drivers). They use them for a year or two and get new ones.

The interior of a couple cabs I have been in have been rough. But having the fake chrome trim on the cup holders doesn't mean the tires are going to keep traction in the corners or the brakes will stop the car or that the steering will not screw your dog and piss on a tree when you need to avoid something in the road. I suspect the maintained he is talking about is the aesthetics like a dash with no cracks and no rips in the seat cushions and stuff. I've driven some really nice cars that were dangerous. I remember a park avenue I picked up for a friend who let a relative use it until they got another car and had to stop and put brakes on it in the parts store parking lot on the way home because they were almost not there. and by not there, I mean pads and shoes down to the metal and the wheel cylinders leaking. All I can say is thank god Advanced auto parts has a tool loaner program as I had nothing but a jack and lug wrench with me.

Re:Seems reasonable... (3, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about 6 months ago | (#47183947)

'aware' is really the key word here. Everything tends to be fine until it isn't, and these services are fantastic if one lives in a fantasy world where everyone is fair and safe (kinda needed for libertarian and anarchist models), but people have been spoiled by the benefits of regulation and oversight so they assume they will get the same level of assurance but at a lower cost.

As you say, people would buy lead painted toys if the price is lower and no one they know personally got sick from them.

Re:Seems reasonable... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183975)

Thank goodness the government mandates sunscreen, otherwise I'd get burned at the beach!

Government is like the guy who jumps in front of a marching parade and then pretends to lead it.

Re:Seems reasonable... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47184007)

Oh, I didn't realize that the taxis of yore carried continuously updated ratings and reviews from each and every passenger.

Also, why can't insurance companies start offering "Passenger Plans" for the wary consumer?

Fool; your mind is a fossil. Please, get out of my way.

Re:Seems reasonable... (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about 6 months ago | (#47184071)

Oh, I didn't realize that the taxis of yore carried continuously updated ratings and reviews from each and every passenger.

So now the number likes you have on facebook means I can trust you? The reputation system of Uber is a good idea, but 'other passengers' are hardly qualified to assess the mechanical condition of the vehicle, or the insurance held by the driver. Its good if I want to know if he speaks Chinese, is friendly, talks too much, or if I want to hear long winded complaints about how the previous passenger must have worn too much perfume that triggered an allergy attack but the driver got him to the hospital efficiently so A+++.

Also, why can't insurance companies start offering "Passenger Plans" for the wary consumer?

Really? So if you get sick at a restaurant, the restaurant shouldn't have any liability or insurance; you were suppose to have your own 'diners insurance'?

Fool; your mind is a fossil. Please, get out of my way.

That's the best you've got? The existing taxi system has lots of room for improvement and competition, and there is some regulatory capture (corruption even) but pretending uber is all rainbows and unicorns from the knights of good is a bit myopic too.

Re:Seems reasonable... (0)

swb (14022) | about 6 months ago | (#47184263)

The smartest guy I've ever known, Jeff Dean of Google fame, used to cast his own lead soldiers.

People are rational. Give them information but let them assess risk and make their own decisions.

Re:Seems reasonable... (-1, Flamebait)

sillybilly (668960) | about 6 months ago | (#47184475)

How about children playing with poisoned mushrooms in the forest! Let's ban all species of poisonous mushrooms, stingy bees, and poisonous snakes and spiders. Eradicate them from the world just so we are safe! People will let a lot of their freedoms be taken away in the name of a little safety! You know in the national anthem it says the land of the free and the home of the brave, and all I hear is pussies like you that are neither brave, nor complaining about their freedoms taken away by regulations, in the name of some marginal safety. Watch George Carlin's airport security on youtube. Yeah, there are two sides to everything, and he may be swinging too much to the other side of proper balance, but he does have a point, in how out of balance things have gotten. Airport security hasn't found a single bomb yet. After all this waste of time, not one found. So Da Man who's pulling the strings on this let's herd this herd-crowd gradually into more and more bondage by slowly eroding their freedoms, til we can turn them into total salves and exploit them, like we used to back in the old days, so Da Man is gonna now put it in the paper and in the news that all these bombs have been found by airport security scanners. And they will be actual stories of conspiracy gangstas operating on behalf of Da Man doing it, so we can keep up this, camera on every streetlight I can't even pick my nose at a red light in privacy anymore, world.

Re:Seems reasonable... (4, Insightful)

DRJlaw (946416) | about 6 months ago | (#47183999)

People are voting with their dollars and their feet EVERYDAY. What is your "democratically elected" government worth in the face of that? How representative...

People vote with their dollars and their feet for dumping in unlicensed landfills and on abandoned property EVERYDAY. That doesn't make it a remotely good idea.

Re:Seems reasonable... (1)

GroundBounce (20126) | about 6 months ago | (#47184191)

Nevertheless, rather than just whining about the big, bad, evil DMV (who are mainly enforcing laws passed by others), it would be more productive to work to get the bad/outdated laws changed. Yes, that may mean fighting an uphill battle against a powerful lobby (existing cab companies), but it there is already a lot of public support for this.

Re:Seems reasonable... (2)

chipschap (1444407) | about 6 months ago | (#47184545)

Lyft just announced their opening in Honolulu and the cab companies are already lined up to fight them.

Cab service is very expensive here, for instance $50+ for a 7-mile ride from my place to the airport. Lyft to proposing to undercut taxi service by about 30%, which is a step in the right direction but still nothing close to cheap.

It will be interesting to see what the city does, that is, to find out who has been making the biggest payoffs.

Re:Seems reasonable... (2)

tomhath (637240) | about 6 months ago | (#47184303)

What is your "democratically elected" government worth in the face of that?

It makes and enforces laws based on the will of the majority. There will always be a few dissenters.

Commercial Civil Disobedience (-1, Troll)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 6 months ago | (#47183803)

Companies coming in and skirting all regulation and laws that other companies have played by for years?

Regulations and laws that have been added to over the years with a strong intent to kill all competition?

Why SHOULD a company obey laws that are unethically sound. If a law is bad why is it not just as admirable for a company to engage in civil disobedience - we already treat companies as individuals to some extent, so why would there not be good along with bad as there is with everything else?

After all Uber/Lift are doing everything they can to obey the SPIRIT of regulations regarding taxis. The regulations exist to help makes things safer for drivers and passengers - and in that regard Uber and Lyft are VASTLY better than a taxi company. If things go wrong with a Uber ride there is a record of where you were picked up and where you traveled. With a taxi you can go in and just disappear from the face of the planet.

I personally would prefer an Uber ride in every regard to a taxi, any time it is possible... because they are simply a safer service that is much nicer to use. In what way are they not following regulations that actually matter?

Re:Commercial Civil Disobedience (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#47184549)

Regulations and laws that have been added to over the years with a strong intent to kill all competition?

Work to get the laws and regulations changed if you truly believe that. I agree somewhat with you too.

Why SHOULD a company obey laws that are unethically sound. If a law is bad why is it not just as admirable for a company to engage in civil disobedience - we already treat companies as individuals to some extent, so why would there not be good along with bad as there is with everything else?

Bad? Because good and bad are on sliding scales and subject to interpretation. What isn't subject to interpretation is laws and regulations. What's that, fish are being over harvested and the wild populations are down to dangerous levels, well the rules are bad so I won't follow them- after all, this is how I make a living. What's that, people cannot dump petrochemicals into the river, well, in the 20 years I have been doing it, nothing bad has happened unlike all those other people who actually caught the river on fire. What's that, the sign says slow children at play speed limit 20mph, well, I'm a good driver, that's a bad law because I can go faster..... oh shit, the rug rat ran right in front of me.

Or are you saying that a law is only bad if you agree it is bad? Well, if that is the case, how are we supposed to know which laws are for real and which ones can be discarded at will because you deemed them bad? I will tell you how, you get them changed.

I personally would prefer an Uber ride in every regard to a taxi, any time it is possible... because they are simply a safer service that is much nicer to use. In what way are they not following regulations that actually matter?

I would say their levels of insurance is a key way. Cabs need to have a commercial insurance with a rider that meets a certain minimum that residential auto insurance doesn't. This limit is generally 100 to 300 thousand as that seems to be the minimum for most of the google results I found. But in almost every state, if the person is acting unlawfully in the course of creating the claim, the insurance company can get out of paying a claim. So failing to get a taxi license and operating as a taxi service can possibly create an opening for the insurance company to refuse payment for your hospital bills. This happens all the time when people deliver pizza without the commercial insurance, they get in an accident, the insurance company finds out they were driving for work and refuses to pay because it was considered a commercial trip and you didn't have commercial insurance.

Re:Seems reasonable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183825)

But of course Libertarians will circle jerk about how poor little Lyft and Uber are being downtrodden upon by democratically elected governments that established the laws in the first place.

I am not a Libertarian, nor do I have any stake in this particular issue. But I will point out that "it was passed by a democratically-elected government!" is not a valid defense of any given law. Lots of bad laws have been (and will be) passed by democratically-elected governments. A law is good or bad because of its own merits, not because it was voted for.

Re:Seems reasonable... (5, Insightful)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 6 months ago | (#47183827)

In related news, Airbnb thinks they are exempt from food safety regulations.

http://goo.gl/LC73vZ

Newflash- if you offer goods or services to the public for money, you are not part of some new and different "sharing economy" just because it involves an iPhone app. You are part of the old fashioned economy and you need to play by the existing rules.

Re:Seems reasonable... (5, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about 6 months ago | (#47183973)

Every few decades there is a movement or two that discovers that things are cheaper if you skip the rules, and they look around and can not see horrible things happening so they assume that things simply don't go wrong (as opposed to there being a regulatory structure that is helping)... but after a while things go wrong, people get sick, people get hurt, long term consequences start becoming visible, and those injured by the workarounds start demanding regulation so it does not happen to others... then wait a decade for people to forget again.

Re:Seems reasonable... (2)

MildlyTangy (3408549) | about 6 months ago | (#47183993)

...you are not part of some new and different "sharing economy" just because it involves an iPhone app.

What if they have an Android App? Android is Open Source after all.

Yep (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 6 months ago | (#47184019)

Now, if you think the regulations are unreasonable, ok, fair enough. But the correct answer then is to push to change the regulations. It isn't ok to say "Oh no those regulations are necessary for the NORMAL economy but our special SHARING economy should be exempt". That is just being greedy and trying to have unfair competition. Either it is good for all or it needs to be changed.

Also, if you think it should be changed, you might first want to look and see why said regulations exist in the first place. Sometimes they are bullshit, but often there is a good reason why a regulation comes in to force. There was a problem, and regulations were created to solve it. OHSA regulations are a good example. For anyone who's had to deal with them they can seem a little onerous, but then you study history and find out why we have them and it seems like a pretty damn good idea.

A business that can only be competitive and offer a lower price by skirting regulations isn't something to be proud of.

Re:Seems reasonable... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183869)

Don't you mean, how the other companies have been played for years?

No. That isn't the reason. Uber and Lyft offer too few opportunities for graft.

Re:Seems reasonable... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47184025)

fuck all that... i live in chicago and uber provides a service that is light years ahead of taxi services. Average wait for a taxi is an hour... uber around 5 min and they email me a reciet with a breakdown of the cost. With taxis u never know. Its not unusual for me to pay double the way back then what i paid to get there. Fuck those scam artists. If they took ubers business model then i would use them...until then i vote with my wallet.

Re:Seems reasonable... (1)

Jumunquo (2988827) | about 6 months ago | (#47184037)

Why don't you list the regulations and how they protect the consumer?
Insurance? Uber provides it, up to a $1 million I think.
Very limited number of licenses? This is to limit competition.
Fixed prices? Yup, again to limit competition.

The truth is, these regulations were written by the taxi companies to protect their business. Same with the dealership laws that prevent Tesla from selling direct.

Re:Seems reasonable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47184577)

kill yourself, statist scum

Third-world Jitney service (4, Insightful)

jtara (133429) | about 6 months ago | (#47183681)

Uber and Lyft are essentially third-world Jitney services, with a high-tech veneer.

The difference is the driver has been vetted by the company to some degree and there is a social reputation system in place.

Drivers are typically under-insured and under-licensed vs. regulatory requirements.

In California, for example, drivers-for-hire have to be specifically licensed, and carry $1M liability insurance. Uber provides a $100K "umbrella" for the benefit of passengers, "just in case" the driver isn't insured as required by the company. (But the required insurance level is far less than that required by the state.) The car, as well, needs to be registered with the state (TCP). (Unless a taxi, which is regulated locally).

Certainly, taxi and limo companies have a stake in keeping the status quo. That does not change the facts about under-insurance and under-licensing. So, they do have a legitimate beef about unfairness and protection of the public. This also works in their self-interested to limit competition, though.

If we don't have enough taxis, or limitation of taxis is artificially boosting rates, change the local regulations to allow more taxis. Let's have a more fundamental public debate and solution. Sure, taxi and limo companies are greedy. So are Uber and Lyft. Let's work-out what is really best for the public.

Uber/Lyft is "solving the problem" by ignoring it, and avoided a public/political debate by slipping in through a (non-existent, IMO) loophole.

Re:Third-world Jitney service (5, Interesting)

rwa2 (4391) | about 6 months ago | (#47183809)

Puerto Rico has these "third world" jitney services.

They're actually pretty cool, when I was there all the drivers of the vans knew each other, and had their own cellphone social network going on, so if you called one for a pickup, and they weren't close to you, they would call another driver who was available to come pick you up.

Even better, they would do their own vanpooling of passengers, kinda like the airport shuttles work here in the US, but coordinated over their social network. So you might be going from town to town, and stop somewhere briefly to pick up and drop off some other paying passengers who called in and just happened to be along the way.

So much efficiency could be achieved...
Disclaimer: I essentially wrote my master's thesis on running mass transit networks more like a jitney service, with smaller, more flexible vehicles:
http://hairball.mine.nu/~rwa2/... [hairball.mine.nu]

Of course, Virginia still gets some points for tolerating "Slug lines"... the instant carpools where people headed in or out of DC could pick up strangers lined up at bus/train stations so they both could ride the HOV lanes in.

Your definition of "town-to-town" is not normal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183933)

Maybe somebody told you the service is a "town-to-town" service. It's not. The service you are talking about only work around the tourists areas NEAR the international airport (ie: just the San Juan metropolitan area).

The "town-to-town" services are a vanpool service .... with a car, not a van, where you have to endure a crammed vehicle and also endure that the vehicle drops and picks up clients all over the different towns that are on your way home. And if you are going to the other side of the island, that usually means that a trip that usually takes 1.5 hrs is now a 4 to 5 hr drive.

Re:Third-world Jitney service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183923)

But who says that it's in the public's best interest to require drivers-for-hire to have $1m insurance and a special license? Why is that? Sure, you need some insurance and an actual drivers license, but why more?

Was that benchmark perhaps established with consultation by the (at the time) existing players (cab/limo companies) to make it very hard for new players to enter the market?

A parallel might be the abortion laws being introduced in some States saying abortion isn't illegal, BUT you must follow these 5 almost-impossible-to-follow rules (admittance rights to a local hospital all the way to random rules about how wide the hallways have to be) to be allowed to legally operate an abortion clinic. Sure, they're for "public safety", but are they actually needed to make the public safe, or are they just a roundabout way of stopping people doing something that either you don't agree with or you aren't profiting from?

Re: Third-world Jitney service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47184209)

The rules about how wide hallways have to be in abortion facilities are based on how wide a stretcher is. They need to be able to get the women out quickly if something goes wrong with the surgical procedure.

Re:Third-world Jitney service (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 6 months ago | (#47184417)

One reason for the million dollars worth of insurance is that you may be carrying more than one person. Pick up three or four people, have a heinous accident, and you could end up with a million dollars worth of medical expenses.

Part of the reason for the special license is that cab drivers also have their own rules for where they can pick people up or drop them off and we want to be certain that drivers know those rules. For example, where I live, drivers can't just stop on the street and block traffic to pick up a fare. They have to, at least, pull off the road.

Greater per car occupancy? (5, Insightful)

ugen (93902) | about 6 months ago | (#47183715)

I am not sure trying to pass Uber as an environmentally friendly solution will pass muster. Uber drivers operate essentially as unlicensed taxi cab drivers, rather than true "rideshare" or carpool services. They pick up new clients wherever requested and drive them to wherever client wants to go. These are trips that would not have happened otherwise. Since these services are, generally, cheaper than licensed taxi cabs (though, curiously, not by much in the area I just checked) - they may prompt people to call for and use an individual car, whereas otherwise the same riders might have chosen less convenient but cheaper public transportation.

Re:Greater per car occupancy? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about 6 months ago | (#47183917)

They're not cheaper than taxis. They're at best roughly competitive. What you get with Uber is two things: their Black and SUV service is much nicer than a taxi for little more, and UberX should - in theory, due to congestion pricing - insure that there's always a ride available, even if it isn't cheap.

Re:Greater per car occupancy? (1)

ugen (93902) | about 6 months ago | (#47184255)

So what you are saying is that Uber is not even a ride "sharing" platform so much as an enabler for unlicensed car service business? I did not know that.

I have to admit that my opinion on Uber was, so far, essentially neutral. However, if what you are saying is true - I would be inclined to reconsider and think of them as a net-negative. If they are a taxi cab - they should register and operate as one, any instant online hailing and optimal vehicle routing sauce notwithstanding.

I will vote accordingly if/when this comes up in my locality.

Re:Greater per car occupancy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47184499)

Uber isn't an ISP, they are an "information service"... wait... what were we talking about again?

Re:Greater per car occupancy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47184131)

They are definitely NOT cheaper than taxis.
I use uber because the wait time for a taxi is too long quite often in SF, especially end of night.

i guess it's back to... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183717)

driving to a strip mall, like hundreds and hundreds of other people around the area, then hitching a ride with random strangers looking for that 2nd or 3rd person to get into HOV lanes on their way into arlington, alexandria, and DC.

What about rental car companies? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183729)

Don't rental car companies basically do the same thing...let a group or community use a vehicle?

Re:What about rental car companies? (2)

taustin (171655) | about 6 months ago | (#47183807)

Rental cars don't come with drivers. Rental cars with drivers are called . . . taxis.

Re:What about rental car companies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183949)

Rental companies are also regulated and the vehicle are inspected and approved for rental.

Re:What about rental car companies? (2)

jythie (914043) | about 6 months ago | (#47184021)

They also carry extra insurance and are required to follow safety regulations when it comes to maintenance and inspection of vehicles.

Monopolies upset (1)

hsmith (818216) | about 6 months ago | (#47183735)

That their monopolies are threatened and leverage government to protect them.

Way it is and way it will be.

Re:Monopolies upset (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 6 months ago | (#47183845)

You should learn what a monopoly is.

Re:Monopolies upset (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 6 months ago | (#47183849)

Taxi companies are monopolies? Most placed I've been there are several companies to choose from.

Re:Monopolies upset (1)

Jumunquo (2988827) | about 6 months ago | (#47184101)

Many to chose from, but the price is fixed, and licenses are fixed to an artificially low number. It's counter to all the principles of free market. However, it's not a monopoly. It's just really bad regulation.

Shakedown??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183751)

RICO act...

State (0)

markdavis (642305) | about 6 months ago | (#47183757)

>"Virginia State Cracks Down On Uber, Lyft"

Virginia State is a university and Virginia is a Commonwealth. Sometimes these abbreviated topic lines really are bad.

Couldn't it just say Virginia DMV? It is actually *FEWER* characters.

Re:State (1)

HairyNevus (992803) | about 6 months ago | (#47183853)

Given this sentence

Good thing there's no call for or benefit from greater per-car occupancy, or experimentation more generally with disruptive disintermediation.

I'm thinking Anon was having too much fun writing the summary to give the title a second glance. Editors are notorious for making slight changes to titles as well (it's about the only thing they'll "correct").

Re:State (1)

timothy (36799) | about 6 months ago | (#47184173)

You're right; I've fixed the headline to read DMV instead.

Re:State (1)

KiloByte (825081) | about 6 months ago | (#47183879)

No, "Virginia State" is an US state (with a little-known own name of "Commonwealth of Virginia"), "Virginia State University" is the school. Using bare "Virginia" is not enough to tell what you mean, especially in an international forum.

Re:State (1)

jythie (914043) | about 6 months ago | (#47184035)

The summary was amateurish and bias even by slashdot standards. Where has this new style of 'reads like some random blog post' story come from?

Virginia is a Commonwealth. (0, Flamebait)

k31bang (672440) | about 6 months ago | (#47183797)

nt ;)

Re:Virginia is a Commonwealth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183851)

Which is one of the 50 United States. A state, that is.

Illegal taxi service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183817)

Illegal taxi service shut down for being illegal taxi service? I'll set up the blogosphere outrage signal!

What I'd like to know.... (2)

mark-t (151149) | about 6 months ago | (#47183823)

Could someone explain what the difference is between taking a cab and carpooling when the driver expects to receive compensation for the ride?

Re:What I'd like to know.... (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183903)

Could someone explain what the difference is between taking a cab and carpooling when the driver expects to receive compensation for the ride?

The government's cut and rules that deter competition for established businesses.

Re:What I'd like to know.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183941)

With carpooling, you and the driver have the same destination and plan to leave this destination at around the same time (a good example of this destination being *your workplace*). This cuts down on carbon emissions, since only one car is on the road when there would have been two before. A redundant element in the traffic flow is removed. Throwing the driver a couple bucks after the ride makes sure that the cost burden (for, you know, gas, insurance, and general maintenance) is split among all parties involved. It also makes you (in scientific terms) *not a total fucking tool*.

Cabs, in contrast, make many many trips through the road network throughout the day. They do not stop, and they do not necessarily eliminate redundant cars on the road (unless people decide to split a cab). They are almost perpetually in operation, or at least operate for hours on end. They pollute ad nauseum and their fees are designed to make a profit.

So that's the difference. Sorry we had to spell it out for you chump.

Re: What I'd like to know.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47184297)

Holy fucking **WHOOSH**

Re:What I'd like to know.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183951)

i think it's being licensed and insured where your passenger is concerned, and cab and limo companies have met these stringent requirements in order to operate legally. Car poolers go with the driver's coverage for his passengers.

What I'd like to know.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183977)

Legal taxi / vanpool services follow a strict set of regulations and rules .... and pay taxes.

Re:What I'd like to know.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47184031)

In carpooling the driver was already planning to go there anyway, you stupid CUNT.

Re:What I'd like to know.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47184145)

Not owning a car, I regularly post to twitter and ask for someone (friend) to a) come grab me b) give me a ride someplace and c) bring me home.
This happens enough, and I do pay for peoples time and gas.
Why is this illegal?

Re:What I'd like to know.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47184295)

That isn't illegal. Your friend isn't operating a business to do this.

Re:What I'd like to know.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47184495)

OMG, really? is your friend offering his services for a fee to others? Is your friend operating a taxi service in a city which requires taxi's to be license, yet doesnt have one?

Re:What I'd like to know.... (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 6 months ago | (#47184217)

Could someone explain what the difference is between taking a cab and carpooling when the driver expects to receive compensation for the ride?

Its the same as the difference between:

"getting together with some friends for a BBQ, and all throwing $50 the host to help split the cost of the steak and booze they picked up"

versus

"getting together with some friends for a BBQ, and hiring a caterer."

Can you really not see a difference?

... and in Colorado (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47183897)

The regulation approach.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/06/06/4162062/uber-lyft-become-regulated-in.html

Free Market... (3, Informative)

amoeba1911 (978485) | about 6 months ago | (#47183971)

This is a good example of how we have a "Free Market" in America... the big business is free to screw you over.

Re:Free Market... (4, Insightful)

blackiner (2787381) | about 6 months ago | (#47184079)

It is sad really. One of the best things about America was that it was easy to just set up a company. Being able to quickly set up a business is the real answer to wage slavery. You don't like working a shit job making minimum wage and being a slave to the corporation you work for? Start up your own shop. It empowers the people, and allows them to break free of the control of mega corps. But the urbanization of just about everywhere people live makes it damn near impossible to buy a chunk of property if you want a place these days, and even if you do find a place to set up shop or have a business idea where you don't actually need land (like Uber), you get fucked by regulations. They have even come for software, which is arguable the easiest possible thing to set up a private business around. Pretty much any piece of software you write today is likely covered by some patent, and if you get big enough, they WILL come after you. Everything is perfectly set up to consolidate power in the established players, and cripples the average person.

Re:Free Market... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47184533)

Free Stupid. Uber and Lyft are probably bigger than any taxi company in Virgina -- there are literally thousands of small cab companies in VA. This also wasn't an order by big business, it was the DMV.

But hey, please feel free to imagine that since just the phrase "regulatory capture" was used and thus it must be so. What a fucking shill summary too. I'm sure you realize that these companies were operating without a license and aren't willing to pay their fines and the DMV has offered to work with them and plans to update the rules for them, but Uber and Lyft just said "fuck it we're going ahead without licenses".

Are the people that run the DMV douchebags? Probably. Is the corruption there? Most likely. But that doesn't negate the law. And it most certainly doesn't mean the laws are all bad. And the people running Uber are most certainly the biggest douchebags. These people believe it is better to ask forgiveness than permission. And sadly it works. "Disruption" will probably win out in the end. And don't go thinking that's a good thing. Disruption is a tactic, not a virtue. It is neither good nor bad. But the people using it are being dicks, and you are a fool if you think they give a shit about your safety.

So yeah, all hail the free market (that Adam Smith said required regulation to function).

OP is an obvious shill. (2)

Max Threshold (540114) | about 6 months ago | (#47184063)

Whatever the pros and cons of ride-share apps, there is something seriously wrong when a corporation pledges to operate in open defiance of the law. That's far worse than regulatory capture. Corporate death penalty, anyone?

Re:OP is an obvious shill. (1)

l0n3s0m3phr34k (2613107) | about 6 months ago | (#47184241)

nah, this is just the Rise of the MegaCorps, companies so powerful they will eventually become their own "country", just like ShadowRun )without the magick, unfortunately)

Limit number of taxis to help workers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47184067)

I can sort of see that. I just wish that applied to cities and states cracking down on illegal immigration to help American workers. No more "sanctuary cities".

Maybe the real sharing economy is in telecommunications themselves. I can see running a fiber optic line or setting up some Ubiquiti dishes to reach a distant neighbor. Regulations should enable that sort of sharing/trading (the ISP will get paid from that distant neighbor, though perhaps at a reduced rate).

Maybe if two people are heading the same way, a server could inform them over text message and they both save money on a cab ride. No need for people pretending to be cabbies. The same could apply to people carpooling (without an exchange of money). It could be handy for groups of people heading to a concert, for example. Or maybe, "I'm flying to Hawaii. I'll take your package with me to dodge mail costs."

So, there is a sharing economy of some sort, but it's really more grey market than anything.

Re:Limit number of taxis to help workers? (1)

timothy (36799) | about 6 months ago | (#47184233)

Largely shut down now (maybe completely), but there was for a time a thriving, aboveboard business for air couriers to ship some things (important documents, that sort of thing) by air. This was when checked bags were routinely included in air travel prices, the internet was less prevalent and capable, online signatures were a pie-in-the-sky theory, etc. You'd sign up, and in exhange for payment (mostly or fully in the form of free travel), you'd get to visit New York from Los Angeles (for instance) in exchange for the use of your checked-luggage space. Plane ticket prices have plummeted thanks to deregulation, and so have the prices of alternatives (online, but also the reach and cost of other quick mailing options, for things that absolutely, positively have to be there overnight), and checked baggage is no longer a built-in cost.

So when you say "dodge mail costs," I just take issue with the connotation :) It's like the old and true saw about taxes: "Avoid," perfectly fine; "Evade," and you might go to jail. Doing favors for friends, cooperating to accomplish tasks is more on the "cooperate" side of the scale than the (criminally) "conspire" side.

 

You've got a Ron Paul 2008 sticker on your ass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47184077)

And everybody is laughing at you.

Sheer Irony (2)

docwatson223 (986360) | about 6 months ago | (#47184179)

In a state where slugging is a daily occurrence - if not downright necessity - I find it insane that they would rule against what is the next natural evolution of it! Are they going to kill slugging now??

They dont want you to own a car in Virginia (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47184185)

They tax your car every year 4 percent of its value. The number one reason I am leaving the state.

WARNING:GRAPHIC! But reality (sometimes) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47184311)

Maybe being on Uber or even a taxi-driver isn't such a good idea...

WARNING:GRAPHIC VIOLENT VIDEO LINK ENCLOSED. It's NOT safe for work, and will probably give you nightmares or at least cause you to think a little about just how much your life is worth to the motherfucking criminals of the world. http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=8ae_1401517310 over a few dollars.

Don't say I didn't warn ya...oh and RIP old man.

Lets kill all these statist scum (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47184513)

who get off on telling consenting adults what they're allowed to do.

why does the average american love (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47184563)

telling everyone else what they're allowed to do? fuck off and die, american scum.

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