Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Unsurprising Headline Of The Day

From The Daily Mail:

Taxi company Uber's low-cost carpooling service, UberPOP, is set to be banned in France from January next year, the government said.

The ruling comes after hundreds of taxi drivers blocked roads around Paris to protest what they claim are its unfair business practices.

… er, causing a massive gridlock isn't an "unfair business practice"? Sounds like typical Gallic shittiness to me. The only thing that's surprising is that the French weren't the first to ban Uber.

The new law tightening regulations for chauffeured rides will effectively ban the UberPOP service as of January 1st, Pierre-Henry Brandet, spokesman for France's Interior Ministry, said.

'Currently, people who use UberPop are not protected if there is an accident. So not only is it illegal to offer this service but for the consumer there is a real danger,' Brandet told the BFM television network.

We've heard this one before and it is completely irrelevant, it's a "Killer Argument Against Uber, Not". If the Frogs want to make it a law that it's illegal to drive a car without insurance for all passengers, paying or otherwise, well that's absolutely fine*. But how the driver and passengers first establish contact is completely irrelevant.

Also on Monday, the city government in New Delhi banned Uber from operating in the Indian capital after a passenger accused one of its drivers of rape…

New Delhi Police said they were considering legal action against Uber for failing to run background checks after it emerged the suspect was arrested for raping a woman three years ago but was later acquitted.

That's collective punishment is what that is.

The Indians might as well find out what mobile network the driver was using and shut that down as well, find out where he bought his last tank of petrol and arrest the pump attendants for aiding and abetting etc.

* IMHO this requirement for insurance is a load of nonsense. It makes sense if only a small minority have cars, but nowadays, we are nearly all either car drivers, passengers some of the time and nearly all of us are pedestrians some of the time, so we're all paying to insure each other and ourselves. Compulsory mass insurance is what governments do (however dressed up or disguised), so they might as well run it centrally and universally. That cuts down admin overheads, paperwork and saves on enforcement costs.

It's the same logic has having one national fire brigade. The fire brigade isn't really there to help the poor fool who sets fire to his own house, it is there to protect the poor fool's neighbours. Those neighbours don't need to worry about organising somebody to put out the fire, or getting sued for trespass, the fire brigade does it for them. Whether the government then wants to recover costs from the poor fool is a separate topic.


Kj said...

Re India, in a radio report about it, Word was that lots of women felt Uber was safer in spite of the mentioned incident, and lost a safer mode of transport than the public buses. Which are ofcourse much more prone to these incidents.

Re taxi-drivers, they are pretty prone to violent action anywhere, not just the Frogs. I remember in the olden days, when after we got our drivers licenses, we did some rides for cash without all the papers in orders. Licensed drivers were not strangers to strike hard against any such activities, hands-on if they deemed it necessary...

The Stigler said...

IMO British taxi laws work very well.

Black cab - highly regulated, fixed charges. Suits people arriving in a town they don't know as they know they aren't going to get conned (and people who get conned for a taxi in a different town can't be bothered suing).

Minicab - lightly regulated (clean driving license, clean criminal record, insured car). Works for locals who can test the market out, find a company they like using.

The problem with Paris isn't that they won't allow unlicensed taxis. A bit of consumer protection in this area is quite sensible. It's that there's been producer capture by the owners of very expensive taxi licenses who have been trying to stop minicabs from taking off.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Kj, that makes it even worse about India.

TS, sorry, but I've never been "conned" by a mini-cab driver and I have unfailingly and always been "conned" by taxi drivers, in every country I've ever been in.

mombers said...

MW, I'm a bit surprised at your comparison to the fire brigade. The value of the fire brigade is much higher to the owner of expensive land as the rental value will plummet more if there's an uncontrolled fire. A house that burns to the ground will be more expensive to repair and will not be able to generate rent for a longer time than one where a fire is caught early. And of course this will impact what a bank will lend on it.
Regarding car insurance, the problem with universal, central insurance is that it introduces serious moral hazard. Bad drivers (young males, people who are pathologically irresponsible, etc.) will not be as deterred by high insurance costs from driving as they are now and accident rates will inevitably go up. And corruption on a grand scale could ensue as well - take a look at the Road Accident Fund in South Africa

Lola said...

Re the fire brigade. In my case it is there to help me - I have no neighbours. Yay!