Posts by BenWilson

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  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber driver, in reply to Ritchie Sims,

    I took out full commercial insurance, with YOUI, who have experience in dealing with Uber drivers.

    As for licensing, yes, you have to change the category to a commercial vehicle, and then get a COF. They're a little bit more expensive, but it's not much, really. Getting the vehicle to comply to the COF might be, depending on your vehicle type. Hatchbacks need a decent luggage barrier, although I hear that luggage straps might be OK instead. An 8 seater van pretty much has to have the door seat removed, because there is a minimum gap in front and behind the seat to the door, required.

    Uber also requires the vehicle to be less than 10 years old.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9720 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber driver, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Finally, they could go to Uber with a search warrant – they have offices here?

    Good luck with that! I only know where the room that they sign people up in is. Where the rest of their NZ infrastructure is, is anyone's guess.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9720 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber driver, in reply to Dan Salmon,

    Proper police checks and so on, yes. Which Uber also did, until last week. Most Uber drivers today are still compliant, by a big margin. But this could be rapidly changed. I understand that it’s getting as high as 20 new drivers a day recently because the compliance drop has removed a major barrier to entry. If there is a will to stop this, and preserve the compliant Uber that we had until last week, it has to happen right now.

    I feel for the new guys. They’re not getting all the facts. They don’t understand the massive fines they could receive. More scarily, they don’t understand that insurance companies will not pay out for them on their non-commercial insurance that Uber is apparently allowing now. They’re literally being sent out to the slaughter.

    I can’t account for all taxis, but I’m not aware of any that keep a full recorded track of all their vehicles rides, apart from Uber. On this, Uber is exceptional, extraordinary, and awesome. I want them to keep working here. Legally.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9720 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber driver, in reply to Dan Salmon,

    Oh, and of course one of the other protections is related to cost, so I'll put that separately here. The driver literally can't rip her off, aggressively demanding some arbitrary fare at the end. Drivers have no control over the charging at all, except in so far as starting and stopping the ride is concerned. They could drive off without stopping the ride, but when you get the bill you also see the route. If it goes to your house, and then drives all the way back to the city, request a fare review. Uber comes down on that shit hard. They will kick the driver out if that happens. And they'll cut the fare back to something more reasonable, or quite possibly refund the entire amount.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9720 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber driver, in reply to Dan Salmon,

    Stepping outside the cost issue, the question i keep coming back to, is if my 14 year old daughter was catching a cab home at midnight would i prefer an uber driver or a reputable cab company, and without some sort of regulation there’s very little protection.

    Yes, I’m hoping to deliberately avoid the cost issue here. I’d say that Uber made both the changes at the exact same time so as to muddy the debate. I focused entirely on the compliance drop here. Of course there’s plenty to say about the whole issue of cost, fairness to passengers and drivers, etc. And since compliance is a cost, a barrier to entry, it’s impossible to strictly separate the debates. I’ll get back to that one in a later post.

    In terms of the safety of your daughter, there is the whole way Uber works to consider. Even with an uncompliant driver, she will still have all those protections. You’ll know who she was picked up by, where they went, how much it cost. She can still rate the driver down if they were a creep. But without the P Endorsement she can’t directly complain to the authorities, the way she could with, say, me. She only has to remember “bwilson1”, written in big letters on the endorsement itself, and then call the police, and they can find out who I was. If the complaint is of a very serious nature, having only Uber as recourse for tracking the driver down seems very suboptimal to me. They could refuse to give the information to the police. Probably, they wouldn’t. But they could. Especially if it was a very high profile crime like a rape, abduction, assault, etc.

    But all this said, I think the way the protections offered by a standard non-Uber taxi service are actually a lot less, especially up until last week. A drunken traumatized passenger will quite likely not remember my unique identifier. They wouldn’t even know where to look, and if I was going to do something like that, I could always hide the P Endorsement just beforehand. So to that end, I think Ubers are much safer. This is backed up by hundreds and hundreds (no joke) of my passengers saying that directly to me. Drunk girls late at night are a major Uber demographic. I wouldn’t want to lose them – it’s one of the best parts of the service that it’s made the world a slightly safer place for them.

    ETA: Oh, you edited out your post. I hope I answered your revised question here anyway?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9720 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber driver, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I’m surprised they’d want to bugger this up, but maybe they’re propertarians and not happy unless fighting the evil guvmint..

    Yeah, it seems they were just biding their time, and our compliance honeymoon is over. I doubt they did it without a conscious plan. It's not like this is the first place any of this has happened.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9720 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: How the years flew by ..., in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    which just as the Reserve Bank is mandated to control general inflation, is expected to manage house prices: for instance to target a 1% annual drop for the next 10 years.

    That would never happen!! No way would that get voted in by anyone who already owns a house. But it could be mandated to keep the inflation down, just like with all other inflation. Hell even if it the rules just changed so that it was counted as inflation, that would do the job. Because it bloody well is inflation, and it's extremely important inflation because it's on something that everyone needs, and forms the biggest part of their life's expenses, by far.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9720 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber driver, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    The cops could bust every illegal Uber driver without leaving the warmth of their office, which must be an attractive prospect.

    You're talking about Uber giving them a list of their illegal drivers, and a list of every trip they do? Ain't gonna happen by Uber's choice. I have no idea how the police or anyone could force them to do that.

    If Uber were to “play nicely”, there’s actually no reason why they shouldn’t be able to validate drivers and process issuing P endorsements themselves, just as the AA and VTNZ are franchised to process driving licenses

    For sure. And even short of that, there's no reason that Uber could not hold the Transport Service License (TSL) which every driver must operate under. We are forced to either get our own one, which cost about another $400, another test, another wait for police checking, and then we carry the risk of getting fined as a TSL holder as well as a driver. Or we can operate under another party's TSL, and they can take a cut. This is what I do. Uber is saying that their drivers no longer need to operate under a TSL (also totally contrary to the law). The small group of guys who have been offering their TSL for a cut had a business model that was seeing them signing up literally hundreds of drivers. They were doing well, and IMHO, they offered a pretty good service for the money - training, mentoring, legal protection. It is only because of the existence of these guys that we're even in the prototypical phases of organizing ourselves as a group. They built the Facebook pages, organized the people, made sure the payments were all on time, trained us all, talked us into Ubering, etc. Now Uber has literally just shafted them. They're expendable assets that just got expended.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9720 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber driver, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    IANAL, but isn’t Uber, by encouraging people to drive without a P endorsement, itself a party to each offence?

    This is the discussion I was most hoping would erupt here. IANAL too. But there are plenty heaps of lawyers who read here....please comment!!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9720 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber driver, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I reckon that if you want to be a professional driver and carry passengers, you should need to do an advanced driving test and some form of local knowledge test – not London taxi standards, but knowing local landmarks, motorways, etc.

    Yes, area knowledge, which used to be mandatory for taxis. Part of the review I linked to above is dropping that, on account of the rise of good navigation systems having made it less necessary. I think they've got a point.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9720 posts Report Reply

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