The CPUC recently made a quite silly ruling that would effectively legitimize these illegal taxi services that have been masquerading as “ridesharing”. This ruling basically laid it out that they are not “ridesharing” and are for hire/for profit transportation services. Exactly what they claimed throughout the whole rulemaking proceedings that they were and were not, respectively. The ruling, while also essentially overstepping the regulatory purview of the CPUC, was a step in the right direction policy wise but lacked the enforcement teeth that something like this really needs and shunts much of the responsibility back on to the TNC companies themselves. The liability insurance requirements and requests of the DMV will most likely be the biggest stumbling blocks for these TNC companies and their drivers. The DMV is not known to move quickly when changing motor vehicle law is concerned and the insurance industry has stated time and again that they are not interested in helping these services to operate or take on any liability where a personal vehicle is being used for commercial use. There also are a number of pretty slamming lawsuits coming down the line that will likely be bringing legal injunctions against the TNCs, the CPUC and possibly even forcing removal of the apps from the app stores. To make matters more even more difficult for them I have started a riotously successful license plate collection effort by cab drivers across the city providing the insurance companies with the intel about who is out there and how often. This collection effort is already helping to get insurance policies called into question and cancelled. When you couple this with the social media blabbering of the drivers in question, they are effectively digging their own graves with shovels of tweets, hashtags and blog posts about their still illegal activities and insurance fraud.
Since this ruling and knowing all of the above I have been more at ease when on the road and out in public. When I see these dipshits operating my blood no longer boils (as much). I laugh and shake my head as I calmly take down the license plate and give the driver a middle finger and a smile. This could be largely because I know that I am on the right side of the law or that its only a matter of time before something really bad happens, exposing these companies to be the frauds that we know them to be. Either way, when someone asks me about them now I just laugh and say: “What idiot would want to ride with an uninsured flunkie that lacks even the most basic sense of direction and rules of the road to safely navigate the streets of a major city?”
The public is beginning to agree with me more and more every day. It’s not from my efforts to publicly shame the assholes running the companies or blast their drivers and passengers on social media with evidence to the bullshit of their PR campaigns. The public is realizing that these idiots are not worth giving their money too when they can get properly insured, experienced and trained drivers in two clicks and under 10 minutes with Flywheel and UberTaxi. Drivers who actually know where they are and where they’re going, aren’t trying to pick up on them, get a job from them or touch them. The customers are telling me that now that they know about Flywheel they are back to real cabs because they don’t need to give directions, they don’t worry about the driver going the wrong way up a one way street, they don’t get charged “surge” pricing when it gets busy and above all else the cab actually shows up, unlike when you call dispatch or use Taxi Magic.
So now when someone asks, I don’t get mad. I laugh. These gypsy cab services are likely going to be gone in a year or so and the fad will have died off. The people with actual functioning brain cells and critical thinking skills know that as long as they can get a legal cab or limo without trouble or a long wait they have no use for services like these. I’m not saying the taxi industry hasn’t suffered, will or won’t continue to suffer, or doesn’t have its own problems by any means. But the users of these services and the drivers providing the car will steadily decline in quality, brainpower and intentions leading to the inevitable. Someone will get killed, raped or the class action labor violation lawsuits will take them down hard. John Zimmer with his shit eating grin and Sunil Paul with his bald head and scowl can give me all the smug looks they want when they see me in public (better dressed than they are) but I know who is really on the winning end of the stick and that makes me smile. The insurance industry that hates them and the biggest VCs betting on Uber all have a lot more money, legal power and back door dealing capability than a dumb pink mustache does.