We Manage to Discuss Uber Civilly, Barely   Leave a comment

Alaskans have strong opinions and very few of us subscribe to the idea that you can’t talk about religion or politics in polite society. So this is an article from the Alaska Dispatch News about Alaska being the 50th state to FINALLY allow ride-sharing services to operate here.

https://www.adn.com/business-economy/2017/06/15/uber-and-lyft-are-arriving-in-alaska-heres-what-you-need-to-know/

Image result for image of uberI’m not that interested in the article, mainly because it assumes that Alaskans have not already used these services in the Lower 48. We’re not uneducated troglodytes, but Alice Rogoff and her staff keep insisting we need them to educate us.

My focus is the comments section, which I’ve posted below so you can have an example of the rhetoric the Alexandria shooting was inspired by. I won’t use his name here because I don’t give publicity to murderers, but he was a self-radicalized terrorist who had supped deeply at liberal-progressive hate speech. His social media posts have been taken down now, but some of us read them while they were available.

So, this is an article about ride-sharing. There’s a tiny bit of controversy involved, but it really shouldn’t get people’s panties in a knot. But notice to prickliness of some posters, especially when you question (however mildly) the culturally accepted assumptions.

Dave H

What the cab companies need to know is, “don’t let the door hit your rump on the way out”! Good riddance, pirates!

In reply to Dave H

Lela Markham

It doesn’t seem to have destroyed taxis in other cities, but it has made them pick up their game – cleaner rigs, lower rates, better customer service. There will probably always be people who are willing to support the huge government medallion fee because they think anyone who isn’t background checked, covered by workman’s comp and in radio contact with a dispatcher must be a serial killer looking to kill passengers. Then there are those of us who are willing to forego that because we prefer to spend less and get more and we’re just not that afraid of people. And, that’s fine. In an actual free enterprise system, we should have choices that match our individual wants and needs. And, now we do.

Allen English

What the cab companies need to know is, “don’t let the door hit your rump on the way out”! Good riddance, pirates!

— Dave H

Uber and Lyft pay people to lobby for them on newspaper web sites. Are you one of those?

SpicyMorale

And you think cab companies don’t also do this?

Foster McTeague

New Comment

NorthRick

About time. Calling a cab to take me to the airport always carried an air of uncertainty. Would the dispatcher ever answer the phone? Is the cab going to show up in 5 minutes or 45 minutes? Is it going to be another Crown Vic and get stuck in my driveway, again?

In Reply to North Rick

Foster McTeague

Were you waiting until the last minute to call for a cab? They take appointments. My last trip I called in the afternoon to catch a redeye that night and the cab showed up early. Also you can request for a specific type of vehicle. For example, a minivan or an SUV if you are worried about a steep driveway (and you cannot be bothered to salt/sand it).

New Comment

ProfessorX

Finally. Alaska is, what, the very last state in the union to allow ride sharing? Even years behind several third-world countries with similar services offering nicer cars and lower rates than our local cab cartels? Has this been because our legislators have been extra concerned about Alaskans’ welfare … or the welfare of the cab cartels? Hmmm….

In Reply to ProfessorX

Allen English

Uber and Lyft pay people to lobby for them on newspaper web sites. Are you one of those?

ProfessorX

Nope. I take a lot of taxis for work, usually to and from airports, and when I travel Outside, almost anywhere Outside, I get to take Uber or Lyft. There is no comparison in service, they are different products that both provide rides. I prefer using a smartphone to arrange a ride: it tracks the drivers, payments, destinations, and lets me know arrival times and costs ahead of time with fairly good accuracy. Cars are new and drivers are friendly.

With cabs, who knows what I’m going to get? Maybe calling 15 minutes ahead is sufficient, maybe I need an hour. I can count on the car being old junk and the driver being colorful. Sometimes that’s fine and sometimes it’s gross, like when one driver was cleaning his teeth with is tongue and lips (after taking out his teeth.) He was a character though and was funny. YMMV.

I just want a choice and am happy Alaska is one step further from being a third-world colonial state.

New Comment

russiarulez

Use ALASKA2017 code for $5 credit on Lyft!

Allen English

Uber and Lyft pay people to lobby for them on newspaper web sites. Are you one of those?

SpicyMorale

Use ALASKA2017 code for $5 credit on Lyft!

— russiarulez

Uber is offering $5 off five different rides (as long as they don’t go over $20), starting two minutes ago until June 20th 2017!

Angel Damask

Good idea, but not everyone has (or can afford) a smart phone.

In Reply to Angel Damask

Lela Markham

If you can afford a taxi, you can afford a smart phone. TracFone sells (admittedly annoying) smart phones that will cost you about $10 a month.

FootballField

Good idea, but not everyone has (or can afford) a smart phone.

— Angel Damask

Seriously, if you are poor you can get one for $5/month from Lifeline at GCI. If you are more busted than that you really need to rethink this life.

alaska61flyer

You should rethink your negative comments about people who have nothing football. What exactly are you implying with that comment?

In reply to alaska61flyer

Lela Markham

I’m implying that the poster is implying this is somehow an unfair service because you have to have a smartphone to use it. If you can afford a taxi ($27 from my house to my workplace, 7 miles), you can easily afford a smartphone. I was merely removing the excuse of “only rich people can use this” from the table. It’s not true.

I’m waiting to find out what that ride will cost me with ride-sharing. I think it will be a lot less and therefore more affordable to those of us on a budget.

 New Comment

Lela Markham

Actually free enterprise?

Wow. I thought that would never be seen again. Good going Legislature and Gov. Walker for allowing almost unrestricted free trade.

Foster McTeague

[Actually free enterprise?]

Not in the strict sense. The Legislature gave in to lobbyists and carved out exceptions. The article touched on one:

[Alaska’s new law says they are independent contractors.]

The most bothersome (for me) is the lack of government oversight.

[While the law requires ride-hailing companies to conduct local and national background checks for people who apply to be drivers, and also look into their driving history, there’s no state oversight to make sure businesses actually do this.]

The law also PREVENTS local municipalities from any oversight as well. The taxi industry is arguably one of the most municipally regulated industries in Alaska.

I wouldn’t call it free enterprise when some are favored by the law.

In reply to Foster McTeague

Lela Markham

Um, free enterprise would mean that taxi companies would not be favored anymore than ride-sharing. Until this bill passed, the taxi companies held an industry monopoly. THAT isn’t free enterprise. Allowing ride-sharing services in moves us slightly in the right direction. Government oversight would not be free enterprise. Having to ask permission from a bureaucrat to make a living is basically slavery.

I know that is scary … the idea that individuals might do something in their own interest, but that is what freedom is. Uber and Lyft are free enterprise in action.

New Comment

Sky Killough

Finally a remedy to some extent at least to the traffic problem, air pollution, and golly gee… it creates jobs. Moreover, we might make it to work on time.

muckamuck

Anchorage doesn’t have a traffic problem. If you want to see traffic problems go to Seattle, Portland San Francisco or LA.

James Dickey

Finally a remedy to some extent at least to the traffic problem, air pollution, and golly gee… it creates jobs. Moreover, we might make it to work on time.

— Sky Killough

It doesn’t create any jobs. The drivers are “independent contractors”. They don’t have any protections afforded to actual employees, and the companies are free to exploit them as they see fit.

In Reply to James Dickey in Reply to Sky Killough

Lela Markham

Owning your own business (which is what an independent contractor does) is a job. An independent contractor subscribing to a service that brings business to their door is making use of a good business practice. A friend of mine who used to drive taxi in Seattle has been driving Uber for several years now, also in Seattle. He says he makes a lot more money as an independent contractor, even adjusting for maintenance costs on his vehicle and having to buy commercial insurance. His wife’s job pays for their health insurance and my friend pays for a liability insurance policy that works a lot like workers comp. If Uber/Lyft drivers treat it like a business, they come out ahead of the employees of taxi companies.

Starting your own business creates a job for the business owner.

 New Comment

Bubba Cat

This is interesting news, alright. I went back over the article for something about the vehicles, insurance, driver background checks, etc. but I didn’t find much. I was struck by the fact that the vehicle must have four doors, though. I hate it when there’s a door missing. Cold and windy…

 New Comment

Allen English

It’s discouraging that posters here don’t get the crony capitalism aspect of this bill. For those of you who claim that there is such a thing as a free market, here’s evidence that there isn’t. Including the posters who are paid by Uber/Lyft etc to troll web sites for articles like this.

In Reply to Allen English

muckamuck

Where is the evidence?

How much is the taxi industry paying you to troll web sites for articles like this?

Lela Markham

It’s discouraging that posters here don’t get the crony capitalism aspect of this bill. For those of you who claim that there is such a thing as a free market, here’s evidence that there isn’t….

— Allen English

 

Nobody is paying me, but I fail to see how this is any more crony capitalism than the taxi companies holding an industry monopoly. THAT is crony capitalism. They went to government many decades ago and asked for and received a monopoly. Here in Fairbanks, two companies own pretty much all the taxi companies and getting a medallion prices most people out of the market.

Private contractors signing up for a ride-sharing service that people voluntarily use in place of taxis is competition to the crony capitalists.

It is leading to less monopoly. Just explaining the economics here.

New Comment

WhiteDragon

Thank you representatives and governor for helping keep young women safe. Many women have been hurt from people offering rides at night after they gave up waiting on a cab. A disgusting crazy individual was recently convicted for trolling the bars near closing that was offering rides to women. He raped and beat many women before he got caught. Peaceful Warriors for years were helping individuals get home safely and are truly glad someone was finally listening. There is now a police force walking the downtown streets last November and now more transportation. Thank you for looking out for women in our state and not taxi’s profits. Love to you all. Alaskan Women Get ER Done!

New Comment 

jimb

Plain old taxi has always worked well for me in Anchorage. They’ve been very reliable, although we live close to the airport and that may help. Best wishes to folks driving taxis, Uber, and Lyft. In New York I used Via; they were really good. I appreciate my Senator Costello– she’s a good person and next (I hope) on her itinerary will be helping unplug the fiscal logjam between the house and senate, working with other good folks like Tom Begich and the Senate Minority, and my representative Jason Grenn who is part of the House Majority.

New Comment

meanwhile

Cool, I guess. A new thing from outside that I never used or needed before, and will continue to never use or need.

In Reply to meanwhile

Joe Willow

Cool. A new thing from outside that I have used all over the US and overseas that works well. Happy to see that I now have a new transportation option in Alaska.

muckamuck

Cool, I guess. A new thing from outside that I never used or needed before, and will continue to never use or need.

— meanwhile

Do you ever take a taxi to an airport inside Alaska or out?

ProfessorX

Cool, I guess. A new thing from outside that I never used or needed before, and will continue to never use or need.

— meanwhile

 

I bet you’re fun at parties.

meanwhile (in reply to muckamuck)

Do you ever take a taxi to an airport inside Alaska or out?

— muckamuck

Yup! And they’ve always worked very well. Were your experiences with taxis bad? If so, I can understand how having a different option has an appeal.

muckamuck (in reply to meanwhile)

My experience with taxis is bad. You call and you never know when they will come. You watch the clock anxiously wondering if you’re going to miss your flight. With Uber and Lyft, you get a fairly accurate ETA, and can see where the ride is as it moves toward you. You also get a price estimate.

Taxi’s are usually some dingy old car with seats with no support. The drivers are not friendly. Not so with ride sharing services. Uber and Lyft rides are automatically charged to your credit card. No fumbling with cash or swiping your card, necessary.

I suggest you give them a try. I’m sure you will find it a better experience than a taxi.

Rock DeAugustine (in response to meanwhile)

Yup! And they’ve always worked very well. Were your experiences with taxis bad? If so, I can understand how having a different option has an appeal.

— meanwhile

 

Alaska cabs are extortionist and Yellow specifically has incredibly bad service. Uber and Lyft are half the price and way quicker

Fred Willis in reply to meanwhile

Cool, I guess. A new thing from outside that I never used or needed before, and will continue to never use or need.

— meanwhile

 

They got these things called flush toilets outside as well which you may never use or need but hear they are a step forward…I guess.

Allen English (in reply to Rock DeAugustine)

Alaska cabs are extortionist and Yellow specifically has incredibly bad service. Uber and Lyft are half the price and way quicker

— Rock DeAugustine

 

Uber and Lyft pay people to lobby for them on newspaper web sites. Are you one of those?

 

SpicyMorale (in reply to Rock DeAugustine)

 

Alaska cabs are extortionist and Yellow specifically has incredibly bad service. Uber and Lyft are half the price and way quicker

— Rock DeAugustine

 

Not too mention they used to listen to Checker’s radio feed, to steal rides.

Rock DeAugustine (in response to Allen English)

Uber and Lyft pay people to lobby for them on newspaper web sites. Are you one of those?

— Allen English

 

ha no, I’m someone who has used them extensively in the US and Europe

 

New Comment

Alaska Jim

Lyft launched at FAI today. I guess ADN forgot to investigate, as usual. Great job!

New Comment

Lou Skizas

” Lyft launched in Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks as soon as the bill was signed on Thursday.”

I mean, that’s exactly what the article says, Jim.

Alaska Jim

Ewww you got me, not. FAI is not Fairbanks. It is an airport code for the airport. Please think before you comment. It’s ok. Anyhow The article said they will be allowed to enter into agreements with the airports (future tense). Please read the final 2 paragraphs. They’ve already started. Take care.

Jimmy R (in reply to Alaska Jim)

” Lyft launched in Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks as soon as the bill was signed on Thursday.” I mean, that’s exactly what the article says, Jim.

— Lou Skizas

Pretty sure he’s taking about FAI (the Fairbanks airport), which the article said was “conning soon, after more negotiations”, and which Alaska Jim claims already happened. So, no… not exactly what the article said.

Heywhawn123 (in Reply to Jimmy R)

Conning lol

 

New Comment

The truth is upon us

Checker & Alaska Yellow are history.

New Comment

AndyAK

Lyft Promo Code for some $$ discount: STATE49

In Reply to AndyAK

Allen English

Uber and Lyft pay people to lobby for them on newspaper web sites. Are you one of those?

 

SpicyMorale

Lyft Promo Code for some $$ discount: STATE49

— AndyAK

 

I used ALASKA2017, uhh.

AndyAK (In Reply to Allen English)

Uber and Lyft pay people to lobby for them on newspaper web sites. Are you one of those?

— Allen English

 

I wish they paid))..

STATE49 is the promo code for discount when u install the app.. it may be used by more then one person. Thats why I am sharing it..

New Comment

 

Barbara Bachmeier 160

Anchorage taxi companies charge a customer $1.00 just for using a credit card. If the fare is $10.00 or $100.00, there is an additional charge of $1.00 and I think this is wrong. Uber and Lyft will not do this. Another point in favor of choosing ride hailing alternatives!

New Comment

Power

Boom! I’m going out tonight …

 New Comment

Heywhawn123

As a driver of those, you will be an independent contractor. You have to keep track of all your mileage so you will be able to write them off come tax time. You will get a 1099 not a w-2. Any maintenance done to your car, keep track of Everything so u can write them off.

New Comment

Jill Cole

Taxi ride for me to airport is 23-25.00 for 8 mile trip. Plus tip.

I had 2 different taxi drivers tell me they will become Uber drivers as they hope to make more money than driving a leased cab.

New Comment

ProfessorX

This will be Representative Adam “Anti Faculty” Wool’s signature accomplishment: legalizing cheap rides to his bar! (Which is for sale, by the way.)

Now that that priority has been taken care of, maybe they can move on to the budget and education issues.

So, I’ll follow up with the comments from another article that really set off the rage.
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