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Samizdata quote of the day

We’re in a political campaign, and the candidate is Uber and the opponent is an asshole named Taxi.

– Uber CEO Travis Kalanick

Gratitude to City A.M.’s Lynsey Barber for spotting this quote and supplying the link to it.

9 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • CaptDMO

    A political campaign?
    Isn’t this just another PoliSci in “Economics” clothing bidding war for corrupt pols?
    Oh…wait, apparently I gaffed.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    I feel genuinely sorry for the black cab drivers – as whoever it was who made that quote felt genuinely sorry for the manufacturers of buggy whips rendered obsolete by the coming of the motor car.

    Still, the black cab drivers are their own worst enemies. Their planned protest will just tell thousands of potential customers that Uber exists and offers a cheaper service.

  • Perry Metzger (New York, USA)

    Uber does not always offer cheaper service. They operate on a market pricing mechanism to assure availability.

    This means that, for example, on New Year’s Eve in NYC, you are assured you can get an Uber car even though normal taxis are essentially unavailable because of excess demand, but you will also discover the Uber car will be quite expensive. This is, of course, as it should be — the spike in price encourages as many Uber drivers as possible to work during a rush period. However, it is also decried by those who do not understand economics.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Good point, Perry. Expect to hear denunciations from the official cab drivers of “price gouging”.

    But my optimistic side says that in the audience for every denunciation there will be someone obediently nodding their head to keep in with the crowd yet privately noting the fact for future reference that with this here new service it looks like you will be able to get a taxi on New Year’s Eve.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Incidentally, I’ve no particular brief for Uber, though I like the unapologetic cut of Mr Kalanick’s jib. But some company somewhere, Uber or one of their rivals, is going to make this sort of thing visibly work in enough cities that any victories of the entrenched interests in other cities won’t last for long.

    When looking at developed nations it can be hard for people with no prior interest to see what works and what doesn’t in terms of economic policies, property rights and so on. That’s because countries are so big that there is nearly always some complicating factor messing up the picture.

    But there are lots more cities than nations and the question here is a very simple one.

    I shall miss seeing trainee cab drivers on motorbikes, gaining “the knowledge”. The Knowledge was part of London’s urban folklore, and I like urban folklore

  • Chip

    I used Uber in Singapore and it was quite expensive. But now all the taxi companies are using an app called Grab Taxi that does the same thing.

    You send out your request and taxis from different companies all bid, with the winner being the closest. The fare is exactly the same as usual.

    I wonder if this isn’t the way forward elsewhere, with ALL drivers competing for customers in the same marketplace.

  • Nick (Blame Frenchmen) Gray

    My only dislike is the name. ‘Uber’ sounds like it could have been set up by ex-nazies. I wonder if the company song is ‘Deutschland, Deutschland, uber alles!’?

  • Laird

    Nick, more likely it’s “Tomorrow Belongs to Me.”

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    I am told that “Deutschland uber alles” means “Germany BEFORE all else”, a sense of “uber” which would make sense for a taxi app.