Why we hate (and love) Uber


“Indispensable?” Really? Maybe in other cities, but in NYC it is not at all “indispensable”. #koolaid


I’m going to go with ‘I suspect it can’t be good when a large impersonal corporation, as well as all its most visible officers, oscillates between the affect of the most callously sadistic bullying children and the most unmitigated atavistically jubilant bros.’

I realize that corporations have a nasty lawful-evil streak; but that just makes me worry more about the ones that revel in it.


Jesus, this is getting to be daily. You can’t buy the kind of advertising that BoingBoing lavishes daily on Uber (now valued at 30 billion). It’s getting incredibly old.

It’s unseemly watching them shill for a Wal-Mart level asshole corporation that treats it’s ‘partners’ inconceivably worse than Wal-Mart treats it’s workers, all the while keeping up this bullshit ‘little-guy’ marketing schtick.

Edit: To Uber riders, your driver hates you. If you want to know what drivers really think (but are too afraid of saying to passengers, lest they get the dreaded 4 star review that can get them deactivated), check out:


The duality of man?

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Uber and Lyft and all these other people are charging you fares, while STEALING your infrastructure. It is the ultimate “no responsibility, no consequence” bullshit “disruptive” business model that only toking on the Ayn Rand crack-pipe can reconcile.

Taxi medallions cost money, and cab companies (predatory labour abusers, I know) are obligated to contribute to municipal tax bases for, you know, street repair. Lighting. Crap like that. I guess “disruptive” is the correct word for the experience you will have, when you let these neo-capitalist sociopaths run your local cabs out-of-town.


Nice article. Fundamentally, any sentiment you expresses about Uber is meaningless, since your actual opinion is dictated by your wallet. It’s hilarious to watch consumers try to reconcile their purchasing decisions with their ethics.

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Unless you don’t use Uber and stopped using Amazon.

Yeah, it’s more of a pain for me to get places or things, but at least I’m avoiding contributing to the destruction of the middle class along the way. Taxis and actual small business bookstores for me.


I’m curious about this because I’ve heard it before. Is there some special tax that taxi companies (or drivers) pay each year that other local companies don’t pay? Or when you say they “contribute the the municipal tax base” is it just the same taxes every local business pays? Or are you referring to the medallions which, as I understand it, are a one-time purchase from the city so they don’t really contribute anything on an ongoing basis (but correct me if I’m wrong)?

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Unfortunately, there are few (if any) major corporations that don’t do anything sketchy. You can’t avoid 'em all.


Absolutely true. But I can minimize my impact as much as I can. We use disposable diapers but potty train as soon as we can. We have a car but my daily commute is walking and public transit. I moved away from WalMart years ago due to their working conditions and decided to do the same for Amazon a few years back. Just because you don’t see your box filler the way you see a shelf stocker doesn’t mean they’re not treated the same.


It will vary from state or province and municipality. Most of it is complicated. :slight_smile: In California, cities and towns are responsible for their own roadways and other municipal infrastructure. They are also very limited in the methods available to collect revenue. Parking fees and violation payments are one way. Taxi and commercial loading permits are another.

There’s a pretty good reason that you have a Sunnyvale cab company and a Mountain View cab company and a Milpitas cab company… Mainly that these need to be licensed in a town. There are explicit fees, licenses and taxes collected at municipality that are separate from the state. These go - among other uses - to the local DPW for streets, etc. There are state funds that devolve, too. That’s why it’s complicated.

Without such fees you have an abusive public subsidy of private business - something already rampant in the USA. Uber is more egregious, as they were constructed to “loophole” through public policy.

“public policy” is what the statists use to justify the continued existence of totalitarian democracy.

Uber should hire Bill Cosby as spokesman.

Would be disruptive, yes.

So here is what SFMTA says are the fees for taxis: http://www.sfmta.com/services/taxi-industry/taxi-industry-fees

None of these are recurring. They are one-time fees. And pretty minimal. So if this is what Uber is avoiding, then I think it’s probably dwarfed by their municipal employment taxes, property taxes, and other municipal fees and taxes that Uber does presumably pay. Is there something I’m missing or are we really just talking about a couple thousand dollars of one-time charges?


Why don’t you try using words with the meanings your readers are likely to ascribe to them?

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The thing that makes me sad about Uber is that it highlights how terrible my city’s taxi services are and the possible alternatives are worse.


I kid, I kid. Uber CEO travis kalanick is a Randroid.


It’s also a way to describe the social contract established to maintain relations between government, business and citizens with rights and entitlements.

Arguing with a word choice, because rhetorically it is used to obfuscate totalitarian motives? You evade the principal elements of my explanation - while chucking “totalitarian” around like the most Godwin-addicted of pseudo-argumentation.

Christ! My point is simple - an imperfect and unequal system involving fees and taxes exists, with a greater burden on some of the businesses which rely on public infrastructure to generate profits. It’s not ideal, but it contains seeds of a notion for some fairness.

Uber is a resource-extraction model, that views existing, post-industrial urban centers as a mine to strip. Street repair? Fuck that! We are disruptively streamlined! Employee benefits? What’s an “employee”? Free individuals can associate themselves with our disruptive ass at will! Plenty more where they came from!