Did Uber Limit Supply of Drivers in Effort to Push Up Fares?

Comments

1
What's to stop a driver from being "activated" on Uber, Sidecar, Lyft, etc etc all at the same time? If Uber doesn't want them driving, who's to say they can't take a Sidecar or Lyft passenger?

Customers can and should diversify their transportation options... Drivers should be allowed to as well. I hope that ends up in the new rules.
2
Good thing there are Lyft and Sicecar too, then.
3
Public services like cars should only be available to well-off tech nerds. Soon, ALL services will be this way; you won't be able to buy food if you don't have the latest app on your phone.
4
Well, not quite. When Uber caps supply, it is aware that the prices and supply still need to be competitive. When the city caps supply, it does so to protect a handful of private companies. It's daft to think the outcomes would be the same.
5
If there were a limited number of companies providing such services and they all colllectively employed such policies, your argument would be stronger. But there aren't, and they don't.

Uber is not essential to life or to the smooth functioning of society. It's a luxury service. Go use Lyft, or call a conventional cab.
6
I'm shocked someone would use an occasion like Valentine's Day to cynically earn extra profits. For shame! Is nothing sacred?
7
"So it's not really a question of whether to artificially cap supply, but rather who gets to make that decision."

And whether those decisions are made for the public good or simply to try and create giant IPOs for all of these copycat "services". The streets need to be cleared for giant stretched limousines and not clogged by people living in their cars begging to drive people around for lowest possible fare. Isn't that obvious to everyone?
8
@4 what?

When Uber caps supply, it is aware that the prices and supply still need to be competitive.


I was planning on finally trying Uber on Monday night from 1st & Columbia to West Seattle. They quoted me $45 before tip on a non-surge period. I ended up taking a cab for $20+tip. What's competitive about that pricing?
9
If this is a problem, then maybe we should include limits on artifical caps by TNCs in the regulations that Seattle is considering.
10
@8, you don't matter. The important principle here is the freedom of rich people to do whatever the fuck they want, even if -- hell, especially if -- ordinary people get screwed out of the market. If you can't afford $45, then you should a field somewhere breaking rocks. Call it the Scientology model of the future.
11
@10 if that's typical Uber pricing I'm wondering who the hell can even afford to take these TNCs routinely, and what is the demographic breakdown of the people so vigorously defending them. I can afford the $45 but why would anyone pay 225% more for the same basic service? It makes no sense. But then again, dumb people pay 225% more for their organic produce at Whole Foods when you can get comparable organic for a hell of a lot less at QFC or PCC, so...
12
"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss"...sadly, we do seem to keep getting fooled, over and over.

Also: @FNARF +1M This is the whole of anarcho-capitalism: if you have money, you can do anything, but if you don't have money, you might not be able to have access to much.
13
I am a bit confused by this. It says that they restricted the number of drivers on the road, not that it raised the price of the fares.

Unless, I am missing something, all they did was try to guarantee that their existing drivers would get more business that night. The cost to the customers using the service would be the same (right?). The only negative I can see for the customer is that they may need to wait longer for their taxi to arrive.
14
@8; you are comparing a taxi fare to Uber Black when you should be comparing it to UberX. UberX is a TNC like Lyft, Sidecar, and East Side for Hire. The fare would be much less on UberX. It is only the TNC companies/contractors that would be affected by the upcoming regulations.
15
Wait, you mean Uber has to make sure their drivers make money to stay interested? Shocker.
16
@8: What @14 said. Make sure you clicked the option for an UberX quote. By default I think it shows Uber Black. Last time I did a quote for downtown to White Center I think it was under $25.
17
@6 Thank you for redeeming this dead-horse discussion with a healthy dose of perspective.
18
@8 The UberX is the cheapest option and actually costs less than a taxi. It sounds like you chose the Uber Black option which is a luxury Lincoln Towncar.
19
@10 I don't understand, didn't the "ordinary person" get a ride to his destination at a reasonable price using your precious taxis?
20
10 miles @ $1.30/mile = $13.00
16 minutes @ .30/minute = $ 4.80
Base fare @ $2.14
20% Tip @ $4
Total trip from 1st & Columbia to the farthest reaches of West Seattle on UberX.....

$23.94

vs taxi @ $20 + $4 tip = $24

UberX WINS!!!!!
21
I agree with Goldy. This all just sounds way too complicated to deal with. Let's not deal with it. Anyone who disagrees with me clearly doesn't understand how complicated the taxi companies and I think this problem is.
22
Yes, a cap imposed by a city on the taxis that operate in that city is exactly the same as any sort of temporary cap imposed by one (of several active) TNC services.

That's why I was so pissed when I went out to lunch with someone who said they would order a smaller meal because they're on a diet. It totally prevented me from eating my fill.
23
@Fnarf and others... If someone can't afford Uber/Sidecar/Lyft or a phone and phone plan, what's the matter with pointing them to Metro or a conventional cab? TNCs can and should be a small part of a wide spectrum of transportation options: walking, biking, Metro, Sound Transit, streetcars, car share, bike share, taxis, etc.

We ought to have all kinds of options for transportation and figure out a way for them to all stay viable. If taxing TNCs to make them even more of a "luxury" product and dumping the funds straight into Metro or subsidizing highly regulated conventional taxi service or creating low-income taxi fares is the only way to fit them into the spectrum without completely disrupting things, hey, that's fine by me. Squeeze them in somehow!
24
@8, 11: who the hell would pay $20 for a cab when they could pay $3 for a bus? The answer to that question - service - is what separates cabs from TNCs
25
@8

So weird, everyone I talk to on the Seattle Reddit imply the opposite, that cabs are so expensive, smelly, rude, late and Uber is so cheap, clean, efficient and nice. Not saying your wrong, I personally have never had a problem with a taxi in Seattle.

Given the price gouging Uber employs randomly, I dont trust them.
26
@25 Please elaborate with specific details on how Uber randomly price gouges.
27
@8, aside from others pointing out that you were probably comparing luxury sedan vs. taxi, there's also no tipping involved with Uber.
28
WTG, Goldy! After circling the damn rideshare airport for weeks you finally land on an honest-to-god issue with private services like Uber!

Yeah, Uber's run by aggressively libertarian assholes who have been documented doing a lot of nasty tricks. The proper response to this situation, however, is not to ban the service. Or regulate it into oblivion. Or introduce an arbitrary cap on vehicles (which, if anything, would seem to exacerbate this problem).

The sensible solution, one would think, would be a combination of free market responses (hello Lyft. hello Sidecar.) and better enforcement of price gouging laws. Fundamentally, there's nothing really wrong with raising prices with demand. The problem is that Uber's being pretty douchey about it.