Comprehensive and passionate post. Arguments about Uber rapacious and predatory behaviour well made, and resonate with my experiences, albeit much more subtle here in Sydney, Australia. I’m less convinced about the reasons people don’t just stop driving. It’s like they’ve bought into the dream of what uber is, except that it isn’t. I admit I have other options, but having an option that is really only an option if a bunch of things change doesn’t really sound like an option at all. It’s kind of like someone trapped in an abusive relationship: they don’t want the relationship to end, they just want to stop getting hit. But that ain’t gonna happen: someone’s fundamental DNA has to change, which of course it rarely does.
I’ve been driving for nearly 8 months and I can already see the writing on the wall with what is beginning to look like saturation levels of drivers in some parts of Sydney. It may just be that there is less business after the bacchanalia of the Sydney festive season, but I’m starting to recognise lots of uber cars on the road, something that wasn’t obvious even in December. Daily takes are down, and surge pricing is a distant memory. Uber’s latest apps are full of bugs and show no sign of getting fixed,
Uber’s 20% fee is at the high end of acceptability for what they provide, and if it went up I’d be heading for the exit door.
And good luck with driverless vehicles: they may be fine to get from a well-defined point A to a well-defined point B, but try dealing with both the vagaries of consumer-class GPS and the randomness of passengers (especially those that don’t know the city and literally don’t know where they are) and you’d need Deep Blue in every car to (maybe) put a solution together. I call even the most straightforward pickups just to make sure that they are actually where the Uber app says they are, and often as not they aren’t
But I’m not saying don’t call it out. Bad behaviour should always get named and shamed. The probability for change may be low, but it is not zero!