ON Demand Congestion, OFF Sustainable Target

Its been a while since I have written a post and a whole shit lot has happened.

I think it’s fairly safe to assume that Uber’s days are numbered.
Better ready that escape to a non-extradition country Travis.

Lawsuits and legal action mire every single aspect of their business model.  Lots of scandal with the press, lawsuits, rapes, assaults, and even a few deaths.  Mayors, City Councils, even Governors are waking up to the line of bullshit Uber feeds everyone.

The biggest problem is the one they don’t want you to see.  Congestion and pollution.  Something they have cleverly hidden under the rhetoric of eco this and jobs that.  At this point there are all manner of apps providing some service or other “on demand”, from food delivery, to dry cleaning, valet parking, and dog walking; in SF at this point you can even get your medical weed delivered in under 30 min.  All in the name of “efficiency” yet not one of them is really doing anything good for the city or the economy, unless you are feeling lazy and cheap.  An Uber or Lyft cruising the congested streets waiting for a “ping” and then having to circle back three blocks or make some haphazard three-point turn 6 feet from an intersection; while the customer stands on the corner looking at their phone with empty taxis going by that they could just wave down.  Delivery services that pick up food from restaurants that already have their own delivery drivers is just as redundant as it would logically seem.

While the app revolution has arguably been making life easier and more seamless for a few, its severely putting the damper on a large population of other Americans trying to do their jobs, and I’m not talking about the taxi driver or pizza delivery driver.  I am referring to the diligent and tireless public servants that save us from burning building, armed robbers and wicked car accidents. They are the ones that pick up your trash, fix the power lines, tow your broken down car and drive the city busses filled with the plebeian masses.

When your fireman can’t reach the fire in time to rescue you, you die.

When the cops can’t respond in time to prevent your store being robbed, the bad guy gets away.

When EMS can’t reach you after the accident, when seconds count, you could be dead.

Wouldn’t it be a shame if these critical services couldn’t reach you because there are tens of thousands of cars clogging the streets that shouldn’t be there?  I think it would.  Especially if it was an app driver that made the life or death difference in response.  An app you used.  Would be oh so ironic in that uniquely hipster way.

If you are having trouble wrapping your head around it think about it this context: 15 people at every one of the thousand (plus) bars in SF right at 2am all order a SHITs car.  This is 15k cars at the very least (more if Uber and Lyft have their way) all vying for the same number of rides in the same finite amount of space.  Now since its 2am throw in the multitude of food ordering apps being accessed to ensure that when drunkie gets home, food will arrive shortly after (hopefully before they pass out).  That is now a few thousand more trips being dispatched across the city.  It’s now 230 am… is it really necessary that there be tens of thousands of cars on the road inside 49 square miles?  Probably not.  Double or triple so in the morning when you add to the 15k plus cars already out, hundreds of busses and private shuttles, and all the rest of the on-demand app workers racing into the city to deliver your dry cleaning, thai food, groceries, sundries, booty call and more.

I think 50k vehicles in the most congested areas of the city at the most congested times of day and night certainly do not help the environment or our city, even more so when not one of those vehicles is paying its fair share to the city for the wear and tear they cause the streets.  Don’t you?

Think you are “helping” by using LyftLine or UberPool?  Using them does not make up for any of it, in fact you are more than likely contributing even more congestion by adding unnecessary stops and mileage to a previously not pre-existing car trip, while leaving a vehicle that truly exists to eliminate car trips, empty and useless.  Furthermore if you think your “carpooling” argument has weight here consider that there are true Ride-Sharing apps where you actually share a ride going the same way for a fraction of the cost you pay with LyftLine or UberPool.  Unless you are using one of those apps you are essentially wasting your time and everyone else’s.

Stop the madness.  It’s clear we need a new regulatory structure for the “app” services, no matter what that service is.

(NOTE: the CPUC does not count considering they are the most toothless, corrupt and inept state agency in history.  If you think i need to present evidence I suggest you use that “smartphone” and make yourself smarter.)

Its my suggestion that we fingerprint, license and insure every driver driving in a commercial capacity on our city streets in EVERY CITY.  PERIOD.

APP Service medallion maybe?  Clear and permanent markings visible from over a block away, definitely.  Tax the drivers for the congestion and wear on the roads, absolutely.

No matter what angle you look at it from there are far too many cars on the road as it is, let’s get those who spend the most time on city streets for compensation to pay for the additional wear and tear they are causing.  City taxpayers and small businesses should certainly NOT be subsidizing the business model of $40bn valued international corporations at the expense of public services, welfare and infrastructure.

taxi driving
Headed down Mission St to grab an e-hail with Flywheel. Dodging multiple cars on every block driving like idiots or blocking a lane.

You might think you hate cabbies or cab companies…. you probably have the wrong idea about them (unless you live in Boston) and how the business works to both protect the consumer and provide a living wage for the workers; but when it truly comes down to it, Uber and the like have extracted more money illegally from the economy in the last two years that the entirety of the taxi industry in the last 50 years.

If you want to talk about sustainability and supporting jobs, stop feeding money to the Task Rabbits and Lyft Drivers of the world.   You are not doing anyone but a few VCs favors by riding with or ordering from an app.

Get off your ass and go outside.  It won’t kill you to venture out for a bag of weed, burritos or a blowjob.  The city is not as dangerous as your mommy told you it was.  Well unless you help make it more dangerous….

Or you were born after 1990 … in that case I can’t help you.  You’re just fucked.  Go back to playing with your phone, Barney still loves you.

How’s that for helping with Vision Zero?  Fill the streets with thousands of desperate suckers from far flung communities and their cars…  Instead of just dealing with the streets jammed with lost idiots staring at a GPS a few days a year, now we get it every day!

Yippee Mayor Ed Lee, great job at fucking the city, you should try walking, biking or driving yourself one of these days and see just how bad it really is.

Better yet Ed, you can ride with me.

(Full disclosure: I do use Eat24, Seamless (both of which use the restaurant’s own drivers) and Munchery on the regular so even I am contributing to the problem no matter how I justify it.  So don’t bother trying to call me a hypocrite.  I am helping fuck shit up too.  With the exception of Munchery I try to keep my congestion inducing ordering via app at a minimum.  Even so, I did check out the Munchery operation and while they are adding cars to the streets they are making significant efforts to reduce or counter car trips and have invested heavily in congestion reduction policies core to their operational model.  I know and freely admit to all of the above and that I am certainly as much part of the problem as I am of the solution.)

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One thought on “ON Demand Congestion, OFF Sustainable Target

  1. Yes we like it 100 percent right you guys say, So many cars uber Lyft every corner so many wrong turn left turn u turn so bad driver need a stop that shit we are tired to deal with this bullshitt ,

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