Uber acting like a teenager on a brain fart

did i do that

I’m all for innovation, competition and shaking up cosy little industries that have managed to essentially run a protection racket, so in principle taxi app Uber is doing all that just fine.  Except that they are now undermining the industry by cheating, and that’s not on.

Questions are being raised over whether taxi app Uber can be classed as a private hire company, as they continue to come under fire for using fare estimates rather than fixed prices.

Uber, an app used worldwide to order taxis, offers fare estimates between a range – for example, an estimate might be $16-$20.

But police say because Uber is registered as a private hire company, drivers must offer a fixed fare at the start of each journey, as required by the New Zealand Transport Agency.

“We say that a range is sufficient,” says Uber spokesperson Katie Curran.

Nice arrogance there Katie.  The law?  Who needs the law!   Katie says this, so Katie must be right.

The company says the correct interpretation of the law is before the courts, but would not elaborate when 3 News asked for more information.

“The real question is whether the rule being cited is in the best interests of consumers or a way to protect the incumbent industry from competition,” says Ms Curran.

That’s a different argument.  If the rules need changing, do what it takes to change it.  But don’t break the law willfully and then pretend you don’t care.

But the New Zealand Taxi Federation (NZTF) isn’t satisfied, and wants Uber to follow the rules.

“If they’re going to work in the private hire space then they need to follow the private hire regulations, and that’s give a precise fare – not a penny less, not a penny more,” says chief executive Roger Heale.

“Uber is not a start-up anymore, it’s a $40 billion company – it has to grow up and make a decision what it is going to be.”

The NZTF says although Uber has brought a lot of good aspects to the competitive taxi market in New Zealand, it needs to adhere to the law.

“We would like to see Uber playing by the rules like the rest of us have to,” says Mr Heale.

Uber needs to stop trying to be ‘cool’ and follow the rules.  If other taxi companies fail because they run a terrible service, so be it, but if you are undercutting hard working taxi drivers who don’t do anything wrong by not following the law, you need your leash tugged.

Uber has been outlawed in certain countries.  This is a clear signal that it is the Uber way or else, and legislators have had to react by taking punitive measures.

Uber needs to consider the “fair go” aspect of Kiwi culture.  We all love a bargain, but not when people know the bargain comes at the cost of putting good people out of a job by not playing by the same rules.

Uber is like the Kim Dotcom of the taxi industry – counting on it’s underdog anti-establishment status to get ahead.  As with Dotcom, that works for a while, until the people realise you’re getting ahead by crushing hard working normal people.

– Briar Marback, 3 News


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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