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Three Uber stories

Uber

We’re still waiting for Council to take action on vehicles for hire, so here’s some more reading on the subject to keep you up to date on what’s happening elsewhere.

Wonkblog: Are Uber and Lyft responsible for reducing DUIs?

Wonkblog: Uber is tapping into the too-drunk-to-drive market, user data suggest

A question asked and then tentatively answered about a possibly beneficial side effect of having companies like Uber and Lyft and the added transportation options they would bring to one’s city. It’s hardly a ridiculous question to ponder – Grits was pondering the same thing over two months ago, after some high-profile DUI fatalities in Austin, including one particularly tragic on at South by Southwest. More transportation options was the subject of a Statesman story at the time, and Uber and Lyft were suggested as possible remedies. The data so far is extremely preliminary and comes from Uber itself, but again, the premise is sound. It’s worth considering and keeping an eye on.

Techblog: How Uber is disrupting the taxi business: It’s simply great.

Chron tech writer Dwight Silverman and his wife visited Atlanta, used Uber exclusively to get around, and generally had a great experience with it. Note that in Atlanta, as in Houston, Uber is currently operating without the authorization of city officials, and they are as fast and loose with the rules there (picking up people at the airport even though their not supposed to) as they are here. Make of that what you will.

WSJ: Seoul Moves to Ban Uber, Plans Own App

For those of you that think cab companies should just adapt to changing technology or suffer the market consequences, I give you this:

Uber Monday evening called Seoul city government’s earlier statement a sign that it lags behind in adopting what it called an innovation in transportation. “Comments like these show Seoul is in danger of remaining trapped in the past and getting left behind by the global ‘sharing economy’ movement,” the statement said. An Uber spokesman in Seoul denied that the service was illegal as Uber is “a technology company that connects drivers with passengers” and doesn’t directly run a taxi service with rented cars.

The Seoul city government said Monday it would seek a ban on a car-hailing smartphone app from Uber Technologies Inc., joining a global battle by municipalities and traditional taxi services against the service.

The local authority said in a statement that Uber is illegal under South Korean law, which forbids fee-paying transport services using private or rented motor vehicles unregistered with the authorities.

The city added that it will launch in December an app that will provide similar features to Uber for official taxis, such as geo-location data on cabs nearby, information about them and their drivers, as well as ratings.

A Seoul-based Uber spokesman said the company was preparing a response to Seoul’s move, which follows a string of other actions taken by the city against the service in recent months.

Be careful what you wish for, I suppose. Definitely worth keeping an eye on this as well.

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3 Comments

  1. N.M. Horwitz says:

    Glad to hear that Dwight Silverman freely admits to breaking the law. No one can ever accuse the Chronicle of being dishonest…

  2. JessieCups says:

    Lyft is great! Ride for free

    1. Download the app
    2. Enter code LOSANGELES (works nationwide)
    3. Request and enjoy your free ride
    4. Repeat on another phone to ride again free

  3. Letfreedomring says:

    Uber is great and it would be political suicide to try and handcuff it. As far as the accessibility issue I think it’s ridiculous. You can’t make your neighbor buy a certain type of car to accommodate you so why should our neighbors who happen to want to make some extra money on the side have to cater to disabled people. Tacos do because that is the some purpose of a taxi and it’s built into there guaranteed fare structure. Uber on average is cheaper because it makes use of idle resources that are already available. Furthermore, Dallas as fully embraced it and as a native Houstonian I find it embarrassing to be slower than Dallas. We are suppose to be the worldly city in Texas. As long as the drivers are insured and legally able to drive that should suffice. Let the people decide the rest. If Uber is dangerous and has bad service etc. Then it will fail. If it offers a truly needed service it will thrive period.

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