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Monthly Archives: December 2015

Seattle gives the needle to Uber and Lyft

The Revolutionary Che'ring economy.

The Revolutionary Che’ring economy.

Uber and Lyft are like good friends and black sheep family members, just because we are not talking about them directly, doesn’t mean we are not thinking about them.

Their business model is one where you call a ride from an app on your phone. The app matches you with one of their drivers and they pick you up/drop you off and you settle with credit card on file. Most people like the service where they consider them better looking and presented that the traditional taxi companies which was overdue for competitive overhaul.

However, the devil is in the detail and much of this comes down to the laws of how they do business. Each country, state, city jealously protects the terms and conditions on doing business. If you look at a map, how Uber and Lyft operates there is piecemeal. Some have welcomed them with open arms, some have banned them outright.

A major issue is one of Licencing: Traditionally in the US, cities have strictly controlled the capacity of the taxi industry with the ‘medallion’ system. Only taxis with the medallions are allowed to operate. After forking out large sums of money for such tokens, the taxi barons are not happy with the upstarts threatening their monopoly. The taxi system regulated the fares within their jurisdiction but also who could be a taxi driver. Most require an in depth criminal background check that may go above what Uber/Lyft are prepared to carry out on the ground that this is costly.

The business model assumes the drivers are ‘independent contractors’ and this is of importance as there is class-action lawsuit filed by a number of its drivers in California. They contend that they’ve been wrongly classified as contractors, instead of full employees, and that Uber has withheld some of their tips. [see Atlantic for more details]. Up to 160,000 drivers from 2009, could join this in California. A similar class action case is going on in Oregon.

So what does Uber, the company who railed against monopolistic practices do? It updated their driver agreement so that drivers must sign before being able to accept any new rides to require private arbitrators. Except that they tried something like this in 2014 where the updated driver agreement included an arbitration clause that stripped drivers of their right to sue the company in regular court. A federal judge in San Francisco recently threw out that agreement.

Another interesting development was in Seattle: the city council voted to allow the drivers to organize a Union. From NPR:

 Seattle on Monday became the first U.S. city to vote to allow Uber and Lyft drivers to unionize and negotiate issues such as pay and working conditions.

The National Labor Relations Act regulates the right to unionize, but it doesn’t guarantee that right for independent contractors like the Uber and Lyft drivers.

The Seattle measure directs companies like Uber and Lyft “that hire or contract with drivers of taxis, for-hire transportation companies and app-based ride-hailing services to bargain with their drivers, if a majority show they want to be represented,” the Associated Press reports.

It passed the City Council 8-0.

So what does the brave Mayor do? He bravely decides to do nothing.

Mayor Ed Murray says he will not sign the bill because of the potential cost to the city, but he won’t veto it so the measure will become law without his signature.

And what is Uber’s reaction. They don’t like it one bit.

“Uber is opposed to Seattle enacting O’Brien’s ordinance and has ramped up its engagement in the city in advance of the council’s vote. David Plouffe, a former political strategist for President Obama now serving as Uber’s chief adviser, visited Seattle earlier this month to promote the company and criticize the ordinance.”

Ah we wondered before what Mr Plouffe would be doing. Being a good Democrat and fighting for the workers rights and social justice or being a good government insider fighting to influence the laws against the proletariat.  Guess which path he seems to have chosen.

Pesky things those laws. Funny thing you can be all for changing them one day but the next week, you are the ones being changed.


 

Further reading

 

The Drive through hotel checkout

Dahlings, Have a dispute about your hotel bill? Maybe you should go down to the front desk and dispute it but the advice to get it resolved is remember to keep it civil.

Tell that to John Parsley who after apparently having his card being declined twice, he drove his pickup through the hotel lobby narrowly missing the front desk employees.

 

The hotel was the Alva Comfort Inn and Suites in Oklahoma. The driver was John Parsley, 62, of Gonzales, Texas, faces two felony counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and one count of malicious injury to property over $1,000. Enidnews has the best details:

“We are No. 1 on TripAdviser, and we don’t have angry guests,” Christian said. “We make sure our guests are happy, but, this person, he was difficult to talk to and wouldn’t listen. He purposely drove through to kill front desk staff.”

In an interview with police, Parsley said he drove into the hotel because, “they thought he was bluffing, and he proved he wasn’t,” according to the report.

Number 1 on TripAdviser they say?

One review of Alva Comfort Inn and Suites

A review of Alva Comfort Inn and Suites

How more upscale can you get?

Road rage, air rage, now hotel rage : the march of humanity. Time for some Brawndo.

Ciao for now,
Cleo.

Frequent Fight downgrade

Aldo and McGregor

Pugilists Aldo and McGregor demonstrate JetBlue’s new in flight entertainment system.

Dahlings, a recent JetBlue airline was turned around 25 minutes into the flight. The reason was a fight between two passengers.

Oh what’s so special about that Cleo as it seems to happen pretty regular these days?

Well they were a bunch of Irish men.

So, isn’t that a bit stereotypical?

I should mention that they were on their way to Vegas.

Hmm. But they were on their way TO Vegas not coming from it.

..Yes that’s correct. They were part of a big crowd traveling to support fellow Irishman Conor McGregor in the upcoming MMA match against Jose Aldo this coming Saturday.

Ah makes a bit of sense now.

But wait there is more. I almost forgot about an Irish prior passenger being kicked off for interrupting the safety announcements by singing which then delayed the flight quite a bit since the result was they missed the take off slot.

This is a beautiful story so I’ll let passenger Damien Coyne tell it.

FB-DamienCoyle

Speaking to MailOnline about the fight on board, Mr Coyne said he was ’embarrassed and angry’ over the incident that saw the plane return to New York. He also spoke of how the flight was already delayed out of The Big Apple when one man was removed because he kept interrupting the safety briefing.

‘I’m sitting in between a group of Americans on the flight and I heard them stereotyping the Irish when all of the drunken Irish lads got on.

‘I was angry listening to them talking about us in that way, then these two separate incidents happened and it’s these types of situations which do us no favours around the world.’

Mr Coyne, who lives in Kildare in Ireland, shared details of the incidents on Facebook. ‘These other two Irish lads start kicking off at each other,’ he wrote.

‘Got very heated and one guy despite everyone on the plane shouting at him to sit down, struck out and threw a few slaps at the other lad. ‘Flight crew go mad, separate the two fellas and now we are on our way back to JFK again.’

Mr Coyne alleges that the two men were ‘drunk’ and says that they ruined it for ‘themselves and for everybody else.

‘Moral of the story here lads, drink by all means and have a good time. But know the one that’s too many, and look out for each other.’

Yes Damien. There’s always one who ruins it for everyone else. Or maybe two. Wait make that three just like a clover leaf.

Sláinte.

Ciao for now,
Cleo.