The StarTribune ran an article over the weekend looking at how difficult it can be to hail a cab in downtown Minneapolis if you’re looking for a short ride or aren’t white.
For example, a group of black people who wanted to go two mile ride had to deal with this crap:
One driver finally took the group, but he started his meter at nearly $15, instead of the required $2.50.
But, as Eric Roper (one of the article’s authors) pointed out, the illegal price gouging by taxis was still less than Uber’s price gouging:
Here is what UberX "surge pricing" looked like while we were hailing cabs last week at bar close. pic.twitter.com/ZhStIbxsZm
— Eric Roper (@StribRoper) June 29, 2014
I don’t know of any examples of Uber proactively discriminating against potential riders based on race. Instead, they’re equal opportunity discriminators based on price. If you’re not willing to pay nearly $40 for a 2-mile ride, race has nothing to do with it. But, if a city councilmember were to look at the race breakdown of who Uber actually serves, we’d probably see similar results by different means.
For example, Uber does a good job serving people like failed Minneapolis Democrats Exposed blogger, Andy Post:
— Andy Post (@andypost1) August 24, 2013
Clearly, GOP operatives working for a gubernatorial candidate like Marty Seifert shouldn’t have to interact with the common taxi driver.
I can see why the GOP would like a service that ignores unions, government regulations, people with disabilities, and people who can’t afford to spend $35 on a 2-mile ride:
— Andrew Wagner (@andrewwagner) June 25, 2014
But, that doesn’t mean it’s in the best interest of Minneapolis residents to allow a company to blatantly disregard regulations meant to protect passengers (ex. proper insurance, ADA compliant vehicles). And, it’s not clear how it’s in the best interest of Minneapolis and Minnesota residents to have 20% of every fare sucked out of the state and into the pockets of companies like Uber and Lyft.
By the way, this doesn’t mean that I’m anti-Uber or similar dispatching businesses. We just need to remind ourselves that they’re not above the law and have the resources to comply with existing taxi laws. If those laws are antiquated, let’s change them for all taxi services rather than allow start-ups to disregard those laws in order to cherry pick fares through price and technology.