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Guest jmecklenborg

Ridesourcing

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3 hours ago, E Rocc said:

Anyone ever have Uber charges (big ones) show up on your credit card statement but not show up on your Uber account?

 

Fortunately my bank is on top of it, though I still had to cancel out my card......grrr.

 

No.  That is potentially scandalous.  

 

BTW Uber laid off 350 more people today in high-paying positions.  The stock is down 25% since its IPO.  Meanwhile, Lyft is now down a staggering 50% from its IPO.  

 

They're going to follow the GoPro model and soft-land as penny stocks in five years.  GoPro is down to $4 after peaking at $80 in 2015.  

 

 

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11 hours ago, jmecklenborg said:

 

No.  That is potentially scandalous.  

 

BTW Uber laid off 350 more people today in high-paying positions.  The stock is down 25% since its IPO.  Meanwhile, Lyft is now down a staggering 50% from its IPO.  

 

They're going to follow the GoPro model and soft-land as penny stocks in five years.  GoPro is down to $4 after peaking at $80 in 2015.  

 

 

 

They were all over it, but confirmed that it was a duplicate account someone set up.  Even gave me the first name of the person.   Nothing about how it was authorized.  

 

The business model is very good, especially since the cab companies clearly intended to maintain their antiquated business model (Voice phone only?  In 2019?  Really?) and use local regulation to stifle competition.  The execution, perhaps not so much.

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This article came to my attention today despite being a year old:

 

The Inside Story of How Uber Got Into Business With the Saudi Arabian Government

By 

Eric Newcomer

November 3, 2018, 9:00 AM EDT Corrected November 3, 2018, 3:52 PM EDT

 

The Saudi Arabian government was set to give the San Francisco-based startup $3.5 billion, an astronomical amount. The company’s legal team had to double-check that it was even possible to send that much money in a single wire transfer. But on June 1, 2016, the Saudi Public Investment Fund sent Uber Technologies Inc. the cash in one lump sum. It was the largest single investment from a foreign government to a venture-backed startup ever—and still is.

The sprawling consequences of that mega-deal have yet to fully unfold. Two years ago, the money helped Uber settle its war with Didi Chuxing in China, fortified its position against rival Lyft Inc. and empowered then Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick ahead of a long, pitched battle with investors who ultimately pushed him out. Now, the deal is drawing Uber into a global reckoning over the business world's relationship with Saudi Arabia.

 

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-03/the-inside-story-of-how-uber-got-into-business-with-the-saudi-arabian-government

 

 

As I speculated earlier on this site, Uber isn't being propped up by those looking to make money; it is being funded by enemies of transit, walking, bikes, good urbanism etc. in order to damage them and keep the world dependent on fossil fuels.

 

 

Here is an article written today:

 

Khosrowshahi was asked about Khashoggi to begin with because Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund is Uber’s fifth-largest investor, having provided $3.5 billion to the rideshare company, not including whatever money the Saudis indirectly put into Uber through major investor Softbank’s Vision Fund. Yasir Othman Al-Rumayyan, the managing director of Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund, sits on Uber’s board. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the fund’s chairman....

 

Uber’s existence entirely relies on investors like Saudi Arabia to keep pumping money into its coffers because Uber does not and has never made a profit. It is, in the strictest sense of what we think business are, not a good one. So it relies on investors who are interested in things other than making money to keep it afloat.

 

https://jalopnik.com/the-mistakes-we-make-1839812496

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Here's a recent account of how things are in Columbus right now for rideshare drivers:

 

 

 

I am a ride-share driver. It’s an easy job. I started doing it in college while holding down a couple of part-time jobs, and other side hustles. It paid more than on-campus jobs, or doing retail. I could work “when I wanted”, although demand kind of ends up dictating a schedule anyway. I came here poor, with no assets. I needed something that would give me money, without interfering with my studies too much. For a time, it worked.

Ride-sharing’s moving target, shift-on-the-fly changes with their pay structure has turned a once OK paying job into a scam that feels on par with Arbonne or LuLaRoe. When I started, the commissions were split 75/25 (Uber was 72/28) with myself getting the lion’s share, and the ride-sharing company getting a small take.

This is no longer true.

I get paid per mile, per minute. In Columbus, it’s $0.87 per mile, and about $0.14 per minute. What the passenger is charged has no bearing on what I am paid. In other Ohio cities, it’s even lower; Dayton’s per-mile cost is about $0.60 per mile. In other parts of the USA, it’s as low as $0.24 per mile.

 

https://medium.com/@kevinwilliams_76732/i-dont-love-columbus-because-i-can-t-participate-in-it-4e2f62f9699d

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"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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On 2/28/2020 at 5:38 PM, GCrites80s said:

Here's a recent account of how things are in Columbus right now for rideshare drivers:

 

 

 

I am a ride-share driver. It’s an easy job. I started doing it in college while holding down a couple of part-time jobs, and other side hustles. It paid more than on-campus jobs, or doing retail. I could work “when I wanted”, although demand kind of ends up dictating a schedule anyway. I came here poor, with no assets. I needed something that would give me money, without interfering with my studies too much. For a time, it worked.

Ride-sharing’s moving target, shift-on-the-fly changes with their pay structure has turned a once OK paying job into a scam that feels on par with Arbonne or LuLaRoe. When I started, the commissions were split 75/25 (Uber was 72/28) with myself getting the lion’s share, and the ride-sharing company getting a small take.

This is no longer true.

I get paid per mile, per minute. In Columbus, it’s $0.87 per mile, and about $0.14 per minute. What the passenger is charged has no bearing on what I am paid. In other Ohio cities, it’s even lower; Dayton’s per-mile cost is about $0.60 per mile. In other parts of the USA, it’s as low as $0.24 per mile.

 

https://medium.com/@kevinwilliams_76732/i-dont-love-columbus-because-i-can-t-participate-in-it-4e2f62f9699d

 

Yeah, I've heard this too, that drivers don't get any benefit now of working surges and overall pay is way down. I was talking to my Lyft/Uber (can't remember which it was) driver and he said he works 14 hrs a day to earn $120/day. that's pretty crazy.

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Ironically fares have been significantly more pricey than years past. Overall they're still better than nightmare cabs, but the differences are thinning a bit.

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...and Softbank is the Saudi Royal Family disguising itself as a Japanese "bank".  

 

https://www.businessinsider.com/saudi-arabia-reportedly-considers-investing-in-softbank-vision-fund-2-2019-10

 

Why is the Saudi Royal Family subsidizing rideshare?  Because rideshare cars use a ton of fuel and damage public transportation ridership worldwide.  

 

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On ‎10‎/‎14‎/‎2019 at 9:27 PM, GCrites80s said:

Unbelievable that such a niche product such as GoPro went public and traded at $80.

 

They're down to $2.65.  

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On 2/28/2020 at 5:38 PM, GCrites80s said:

I get paid per mile, per minute. In Columbus, it’s $0.87 per mile, and about $0.14 per minute. What the passenger is charged has no bearing on what I am paid. In other Ohio cities, it’s even lower; Dayton’s per-mile cost is about $0.60 per mile. In other parts of the USA, it’s as low as $0.24 per mile.

 

That sure takes any credibility out of the argument that drivers are just "independent contractors" and that Uber and Lyft are just "middlemen" who make a small percentage on each ride. Nope, the drivers are employees, making a set amount per mile or minute. It's just a taxi service now.

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Same ol' same ol' with "disruptive" companies. Everybody involved including old-school competitors loses a ton of money and arrives almost right back where things were before. Cabs have apps too plus an optimized fleet and support structure while the new people supporting the internet (drivers) are stuck with massive bills and an inability to make money using their personal assets.

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1 hour ago, GCrites80s said:

Same ol' same ol' with "disruptive" companies. Everybody involved including old-school competitors loses a ton of money and arrives almost right back where things were before. Cabs have apps too plus an optimized fleet and support structure while the new people supporting the internet (drivers) are stuck with massive bills and an inability to make money using their personal assets.

 

I think that the only advantage of being a rideshare driver vs. a traditional cab driver is that you really do have the flexibility to work whenever you want.  Being able to take breaks to go home or run an errand is something a traditional cab driver doesn't have.  Also, shifts for most cab drivers were 12 hours - a very, very long day of sitting.  The sitting itself is not healthy. 

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Why Do Food Delivery Companies Lose Money?

 

Delivery via smartphone is one of those venture-funded sectors where business executives appear to have taken seriously the old joke about “losing money on every transaction but making it up on volume.” Normal rules of capitalism about maximizing profits do not apply. This has led to a strange situation where restaurants feel squeezed by the fees charged by delivery services (when, unlike Roy’s friend, they participate voluntarily on a delivery platform) and yet the delivery services themselves manage to keep losing money. Why is this even happening?

 

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/05/why-do-food-delivery-companies-lose-money.html?utm_source=pocket-newtab

Article also has rideshare discussion

 

Just as crooked as the Sugar Trust, the railroad barons and 1800s coal mine owners -- but people like them. Well people back then liked sugar, trains and coal too.

 

 

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^That article gets it all wrong.  As someone who has delivered food for two restaurants (one as a bicycle guy, another with a car) for literally 13 years (so thousands upon thousands of deliveries), and pocketed well in excess of $200,000 for doing so, let me chime in. 

 

1. A delivery guy does work back at the shop.  He or she often answers the phones, does food prep, cleans, and even does runs to the restaurant supply store in between delivery runs.  How in the hell does a Door Dash guy fill in any gaps in labor at the restaurant when all they do is deliver?

 

2. A store sends their drivers out on runs.  Solo runs are avoided unless absolutely necessary.  So while a traditional sub or pizza guy is out there delivering to 3-4 customers on a single run, Door Dash is nothing but solos. 

 

3. Store drivers have dedicated parking spots, usually right behind the restaurant.  A Door Dash driver has to find a spot to park somewhere near the restaurant, which wastes time.  What's more, the Door Dash person has to often wait in line with the customer pickup people whereas a store driver is dispatched by the kitchen manager and exits through the back door.

 

4. The order-taking integration between Door Dash, etc., and the host restaurants is non-existent and leads to errors.  For example, when you order via your app on Door Dash, a physical person calls in that order.  That person is often overseas and so has a thick accent.  So here you are in the United States being called by someone in Asia with a salad and wings order.  They are unfamiliar with the food and unfamiliar with regional American dialects.  Some yuppie using their app triggers an Asian person who has never been to the U.S. to call a restaurant somewhere in the United States where the person taking the orders might be a hillbilly, might be ghetto, might be foreign themselves.  IT DOESN'T WORK.

 

5. So...if Door Dash, etc., end up creating their own restaurant POS system they will be able, in theory, to circumvent that huge problem in the process right now.  But they're going to have to convince restaurant owners to switch to their POS, which frankly sounds like a slow-motion scam.  But even if it works perfectly and even if it's not a scam, and even if it routes coherent multi-customer runs, the independent driver still can't help out in the physical restaurant.  They still can't fill in the labor gaps in the way that drivers do currently. 

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The author had clearly never been a driver.  I delivered pizzas for years when I was in high school and early college, and yeah you don't just sit around while not delivering.  Doing delivery was the easy, fun (I got to spend so much time listening to my music!) and profitable part mostly.  Back at the shop it was washing dishes, making pizzas, doing prep work, or cleaning out grills and ovens and grease traps.  Someone still has to be paid for all that.

 

What I still don't understand is who the investors are who are willing to lose money year after year, and why.  I was hoping that the article would have given some insight into that.

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3 hours ago, X said:

What I still don't understand is who the investors are who are willing to lose money year after year, and why.  I was hoping that the article would have given some insight into that.

 

Like the author, the investors have never worked in a restaurant.  Softbank is fueled by the Saudi Royal Family...does anyone actually think a Saudi Prince ever worked at Pizza Hut?  How about the average Silicon Valley stooge? 

 

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Another viewpoint: 

 

Restaurants rebel against delivery apps as cities crack down on fees

One restaurateur gives each bag a personal touch, printing out a small note with a simple message: Grubhub orders are killing his business.

 

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/restaurants-rebel-against-delivery-apps-cities-crack-down-fees-n1211456?fbclid=IwAR0iaO7ao9jwVcqW7duXYOFPw_RMfTNeZPiMXVyNqbDBcBzta5T5StO12hs

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13 hours ago, GCrites80s said:

^Well at least your arguments bolster the article's position -- in ways the author didn't think of.

 

I talked to a guy today who was working the register at a place that does Uber Eats.  He explained that Uber Eats provided them with a proprietary tablet which displays the orders their app generates.  There is no cash changing hands, obviously, but it circumvents the problems I explained above regarding a call center calling in orders from overseas. 

 

I followed up and said I'd bet that Uber Eats, etc., are going to worm their way so deeply into small restaurants that at some point they're going to demand that their POS system takes over completely.  They would then have complete access to every restaurant's data.  They might then demand that all employees go through their payroll system.  They might demand that the company use their tax preparer.  Fees, fees, and more fees. 

 

After getting the restaurants in debt, they could buy them out for pennies on the dollar and put disparate local restaurants under the auspices of a pseudo- franchisee...maybe set up an investment product similar to a REIT. 

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