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BlaBlaCar is a Ja Ja Ja : App for digital hitching

R2R thumbs up‘BlaBlaCar‘ is an interesting idea that literally is part of the Sharing economy.  It is an web based business that you use for sharing a car journey with someone where you contribute to the costs. It is a form of digitial hitch hiking. From Bloomberg:

People who sign up to drive on BlaBlaCar offer rides to passengers in 12 countries, including France, Germany, Spain and the U.K., at prices that undercut other methods of transportation. In England, a peak-time train ticket from Manchester to London costs as much as 160 pounds ($267), whereas a quick search on the BlaBlaCar app showed the same trip being offered by a dozen different drivers for 12 pounds.

Since it is unlikely to be used as a ‘job’ like a taxi, it is not attracting any of the legislation. Unfortunately it’s plans are only to operate this in Europe.

This is a fantastic idea and gets a big Roads-2-Roam thumbs up. In addition, the prices are extremely reasonable.

That Giant Sucking Sound : Surge pricing on Uber

Some Giant sour suckers: Coming to a town near you.

Some Giant sour suckers: Coming to a town near you.

As we said before on the ‘sharing’ economy, careful what you wish for. Houston is allowing the likes of Uber and Lyft into it’s market but it will also liberalize it’s standard fares to allow surge prices.

To see what surge prices may look like, read the Marketwatch article titled “Uber car service twists sharing economy into ‘sucker’s economy’. It’s main piece is about riders at a San Francisco festival being charged anything from $290 to $470 to go a few miles.

The story originates in Scallywag which shows screen dump of such a trip where the driver took a 11 mile trip instead of a 4 mile trip and in the meanwhile, the fare came to $391.

Ouch.

 

 

 

Now, Play nice and Share : Uber dirty tricks on it’s competitor, Lyft

A well known board game.

A well known board game but we do not remember it’s name.

After reading a news article in CNN Money, it seems like the Uber and Lyft are not getting along where Lyft is accusing Uber of dirty tactics by calling in rides, then canceling them last minute.

According to data provided by Lyft, 5560 rides were ordered by Uber affiliates then cancelled. The smoking gun is the telephone numbers from which the rides were ordered, cross-reference back to known Uber recruiters. One account in LA had 49 cancellations from October to May.

CNN also reports that Uber were busted doing something similar in a NY rival taxi App, called “Gett” and after that Uber agreed to “”tone down their sales tactics.”

So much for the sharing economy where CNN quote an earlier interview with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick by Laurie Segall

“The taxi industry [is] trying to protect a monopoly that has been granted them by local officials, so they’re trying to slow down competition.”

Oh the hypocrisy.

Meet the new Taxi boss. Same as the old Taxi boss.

Vive La Revolution : Houston allows Uber and Lyft to operate with conditions

The Revolutionary Che'ring economy. [1]

The revolutionary Che’ring economy[1].

In the war against the old style Taxi and municipal regulation, Houston City council came down on the side of Uber and Lyft and voted to allow them to operate in Houston City limits.

Click2Houston.com says:

“After months of discussions, City Council has approved the operation of ride-sharing services in Houston.

Taxi cab drivers have been fighting it, but on Wednesday Houston city leaders gave the green light to companies like Uber and Lyft.

For months Uber and Lyft have been asking to operate within city limits, but city leaders have been slow to say yes because there were questions about how to regulate the new mobile app-based services.

City Council members discussed the topic for more than five hours Wednesday and focused on insurance, accessibility for the disabled and how to make sure there weren’t any gaps in regulation that could lead to lawsuits down the road.”

And this is where Mr. Devil meets Ms. Details as there are different models under the Uber and Lyft banner. Continue reading..

Dark clouds for the Black Cab: Projection for London’s iconic Taxis

Future of London Black Cab?

Future of London Black Cab?

Business education classes teach a technique called “PEST analysis” to assess the market attractiveness or a health of a company. It looks at  the external factors beyond your control, that are either opportunities or threats to your business.

In this context P.E.S.T is an acronym that refers to POLITICAL, ECONOMIC,  SOCIAL or  TECHNOLOGICAL trends coming in the near future.

Eco City Vehicles (ECV) is the company that makes black cabs and they are getting hammered by a perfect storm of PESTs. These are all threats with hardly any opportunities. A market report by “This is Money” discusses the bleak outlook for ECV. Continue reading..

Cab Call Away : European taxis day of protest against Uber

And so it goes. Actually it was more getting stuck in a massive hold up. We refer to thhe counter revolution against the Uber with the taxi drivers in many European cities protesting.

Transport in major European cities has been disrupted by strikes affecting taxis and rail services.

Taxi drivers blocked roads in Paris, Madrid, London, Milan, Berlin and other cities in protest against the rise of services booked using smartphone apps.

They say there has been a lack of regulation concerning rival mobile service Uber.

[Source bbc news 11th June 2014]

You’ve not heard the last of this. Expect to hear more push back from entrenched interests.

Question we will continue to ask is: Will Uber end up as a Napster or a Google?

A job for the Ubermensch

While walking his 2 Roam’n war dogs, Trajan listened into the local NPR station where Marketplace was playing. Generally we consider Marketplace to be rather lightweight when it comes to economic news but there was an section on there about “Uber”. It apparently has been valued at $18 Billion.

The latest venture-capital investment in Uber, a mobile app that allows users to hail a ride in a town car or taxi, pegs the company’s value at more than $18 billion. That’s more than United Airlines or Sony, just shy of what car-rental Avis and Hertz are worth together. That may seem high for a company with direct competition like LyftSidecar and the entire taxi industry.

For Uber to be worth what investors are betting, the company might need to capture half of the worldwide market for taxis, says Andy Brennan, author of a recent report on that industry from IBIS World Research.  “I can’t see that ever happening,” he says. “Generally taxi customers are quite price-conscious.”

A ride in one of Uber’s town cars costs more than a cab. “The average person who gets a taxi is not necessarily going to use Uber on a regular basis,” Brennan says.

However, competing with taxis isn’t Uber’s goal. The company’s CEO has identified a much bigger competitor: The personal automobile.

$18B for an app that allows you to book a car at a higher price than a Taxi ? If the Venture capitalists are telling you this, then it is likely an example of “the Greater fool” theory. They need to stoke up the hype to get you to buy it from them during the yet to be determined IPO.

Not only that but the Uber model itself faces an uphill struggle for acceptance. In San Antonio, the police chief is threatening users of Uber’s sister app – Lyft  – with jail on the grounds that they do not conform to Taxi restrictions. Afterall, police have the protection of the cities revenue stream public safety  to consider. Continue reading..