Now that Uber and Lyft are public, their inevitable financial collapse is much clearer

in NYC you can use the “Curb” app to hail a regular taxi and pay in the app as you say. Then you dont have to worry about the hassles you mentioned. I have found however that sometimes the nearest taxi may be 15 minutes away if you’re out in a less popular area of brooklyn or whatever. That’s one thing Uber and Lyft have… sheer numbers of cars… for now… as the article states, i don’t know how tenable this situation is going forward…


That sounds like what I want for the occasional multi-errand type day.

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In the case of Uber, Libertarians creatively destroyed a lot of shareholder value in record time – losing the money over generations would have been kinder. Seeing Kalanick’s constant pronouncements of his love of Ayn Rand was an immediate red flag to stay away from this company. The more “free”-market fundie garbage that a startup founder publically spews, the more suspicious I am of his company’s finances and business model.

Anyone wanting to get into that sleazy and corrupt business would be better advised to get into the predatory loan business:

One of the few good things about Uber is that it exposed how ugly the taxi medallion racket was. But investing in either industry amounts to the same thing: exploiting the drivers.

Limit medallion sales to indvidual humans only, with a single-digit limit on how many any individual can purchase. Bring the medallion price in line with a realistic upper-limit ROI. Require proof that the purchase isn’t funded through a usurious loan. A muncipality-wide or, better yet, and nation-wide non-profit co-operative should offer an app for booking and payment and rating that replicates that of Uber’s or Lyft’s while taking a much smaller slice of the fare to keep the co-op running. All of those measures would bring fares below the current ones charged by medallion monopoly taxis while also helping cities limit congestion and allowing drivers to make a better wage.

Nah, that would be soshalism, and we can’t have that in the U-S-A.

[Full disclosure: I’m no angel. I’ve stopped renting cars or using taxis when I travel and use Lyft whenever possible instead. It’s less expensive than a taxi or rental and I don’t want to worry about hte parking and fueling and doing the actual driving that comes along with a rental. But I’m under no illusions about how this situation comes about.]

The more likely future scenario is people who own self-driving cars using a service’s app to handle dispatching and payment to offer them as taxis when they’re not using them (which for most privately-owned cars is 90% of the time). The owner is responsible for maintenance, cleaning, charging, insurance etc. It might be workable, if the company or non-profit operating the app aren’t as greedy as Uber, but we’re at least 15 years away from that being feasible.


in my case i was also lucky that there was a zipcar parking area like 2 blocks from my apt… unlike some other services you do have to return them to where you found them. At least when i used it that was true.


Yes, I have no idea what is most proximal. Need to do some more research.

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Except they are $75-100 a day in NYC and the cars are dirty and come with 1/4 tank of gas. And you’ll be paying their costs for gas because there are hardly any gas stations to fill up in Manhattan any more.

Zipcar was marginally better, except you end up paying for time you don’t use because you have to allow for getting stuck in traffic, plus they fire you as a customer if you get into an accident (even if you pay for their insurance).

There are no great options

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I’m an Uber driver in Amarillo Texas. Here is a small city of 200,000 where we have a reasonable amount of Uber drivers and passengers. I’ve noticed no problems with the service over here.

Honestly I don’t understand either one. I feel like the companies could be replaced by an extremely small company that duplicates their service collects a small 3-5% transaction fee like a credit card company does and doesn’t try to be 100 other things. From what I understand lyft/uber collect almost half of a fare?


So I am now living in downtown Seattle and have gotten rid of my car. So far walking and bus have been ok but I know sooner or later I will need to go to some place where those options don’t cut it.

This was me a few years ago - downtown Toronto, sans car, but with a ZipCar parking station in the base of my condo building.

Worked gloriously for short-notice / short-term car needs (like groceries, picking up non-city-folk from the airport) - but also was great due to the ability to choose what style of vehicle you need. 99% of the time was small hatchbacks… but the ability to walk over a few blocks and hop into a minivan or pickup truck for a trip to IKEA was amazing - and vastly cheaper than having IKEA deliver things to me.

For longer trips tho - was just easier to hit up a traditional rental place. Price wasn’t much different, and you could book a car for a week or two without having to talk to ZipCar customer service.

The main drawback: time stress. If someone has the car booked for the time slot immediately after you, and you’re late in returning it, you get dinged. Alternatively, waiting for a car that someone else still hasn’t returned yet, cutting into your allocated shopping time. I learned not to meander too much on my errand trips - or to book cars that were used less frequently - and to try not to book immediately after someone else was set to return it.

Other than that, I loved carsharing. I’ve since moved from downtown and own a car again, but I still have a zipcar membership due to the easy ability to upgrade to a different vehicle style whenever I may need to for less than $20/hr.


It depends on the neighborhood, but I’ve seen some garages for like 40 a day. Most people just park on the street (for free) but it’s a hassle cuz there’s so many cars fighting for spots and you gotta move it every couple days for street cleaning. I think the parking has gotten way worse because more people are getting cars to do Lyft and Uber actually…

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Thank you. This is all really good input.

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Be aware that Car2Go (Mercedes) and DriveNow (BMW) just joined forces as ShareNow. I have been a customer of both for years, back when the locking was done vie NFC card, and found them both okay.

On the note of Uber, I can tell that they are desperate because of the bus stop ads they put up last week in Munich, extolling how safe they are, that their drivers are all properly licensed, that it’s a secure way to show your loved ones where you are on the road, and so on. I think they are panicking, because Mercedes also runs MyTaxi, an app that most taxi companies are participating in. So getting a cab in a place like Munich is still easier, and Uber isn’t cheaper. And now Sixt, a German rental car company, just released an all in one app for full rental, zip cars and even hailing a cab.

Good bye, Uber, and good riddance.


Try at least double that. Rents for parking spaces in NYC meet or exceed the average rents for an apartment in a given part of NYC.

That said hourly parking garages are not that. With a compact or midsize car its not all that hard to find a 12 hour or full day parking for less than $30. especially in the outer boroughs where street parking is abundant.

When I was starting to read reviews this week there were a bunch of names I didn’t recognize. I also got the impression that many users used to be happy with the various services but recent changes had them feeling not so happy any more.

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That’s kind of where I was going. If you have to spend $1,000+ a month for a place to garage a car you own. Just regular renting a car for weekend excursions or week long vacations doesn’t sound so bad. Even at $100 a day for a rental with full insurance. That’s 10 days a month to just a break even cost of only the garage. Completely ignoring the cost of getting and maintaining a car. You could rent every weekend and still come out better than owning.

But, really, if you live in a city where this is the cost structure, why would you need a car and be leaving it that often? Isn’t that part of the advantage of living in the city, there’s stuff that’s “right there”. :smile:

It’s living in the burbs with poor public transit where the car is a bigger deal, and the cost structure is different.


I will second what @Jim_Campbell said. I even recently got a short notice compact for cheap for an emergency situation. Nothing dire just needed a 2nd car for a day and it was cheapish.
And if you can plan ahead probably even cheaper. Also U-Haul for local things is like $20 (plus whatever fees/taxes) for a van or truck for a day.

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Or, you know, cabs sucked and people were clearly very eager for an alternative.


It was always obvious they were losing money. But they showed how absurd the old system was and contra Cory my city exists and is doing quite well. When uber tanks something better than both will eventually take their place.

What I’m still looking for is true ride-sharing: something built for people to not waste empty passenger vehicle-miles for trips they were going to take anyway, essentially a reputation-screening sort of local hitchhiking/carpool app (since the sort of informal methods that are fine in other countries are illegal here in our perfect utopia because apparently money makes everything a sin).


Cool. Looking at the map I see close to me:
Budget, Sixt, Avis, Hertz, Dollar.


I can see this easily happening, when developers are now forced to merge two incompatible systems. Right now, you can see Car2Go cars in the DriveNow app and vice versa, but to rent you meet to open the app it belongs to.

Another thing that will drive off current users is fiddling with the UI will mess up “muscle memory” – users learn the workflow, and changes feel jarring even if they make things better in the long run.

Now, I ought to add that I rarely use these, as Munich has one of the best public transportation networks I have ever encountered, even if the Münchner complain about it. But when I use them, I found them to be pretty decent.


Another complaint was that which ever service had the really small cars, they used to have here in town special mini parking spots all over. But I guess they sold all of those cars for more standard sedans that don’t fit in the old spots. So people are less likely to drive them downtown since it’s tough to find a place to leave them.

Another complaint related to above was that after parking in a valid spot, that the city will ticket the bejeezes out of the car. Since you are done and have walked away you don’t see the ticket stack up… until you get some ridiculous bill from the service. Then you have to try and get the GPS of where you parked and go to court and prove you were not parked 2 blocks away in a 2 hour spot.

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