Posts by BenWilson

  • Polity: Four thoughts on polling in…, in reply to Sacha,

    Thanks for that Sacha. Interesting that it's not about cost, but actually about the statistical validity and complexity.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10138 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Four thoughts on polling in…, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Does robopolling acquire any demographics?

    Well, you can ask demographic questions. One of the answers can be "I don't want to answer this question". But you do presumably want to keep the survey short too, so probably you want to limit the number of options that can be chosen.

    One advantage to robopolling that leaps to my mind is that it's 100% consistent in method, tone, etc.

    Also, it may well have a lesser effect of people lying about embarrassing opinions than you get when you speak to humans.

    I can see why it's used. The price of the staff has to be a huge factor. Seems to give similar result to human robo-callers.

    I’m guessing that this misses an awful lot of mobile-phone-only voters, based purely on no-one in the office ever having been called.

    Yup. But what can anyone do about that? You want to poll opinion, you do it with what you have. It's a whole lot better than nothing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10138 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Trump's Dummkopfs,

    I really don't think anywhere in the developed world has any kind of chops for actual insurrection. As tooled up as nutty Americans may be, their various forces are like a thousand times more tooled up. We are talking about a country that rains death from the skies all around the world.

    But maybe they need an incident or two to wise them up about their stupid arse gun laws. An attempt by a militia on the President's life at the instigation of some billionaire idiot? I don't see even a Democrat administration taking that lying down.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10138 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to goforit,

    Yes, you are right, and no one but taxi drivers care. Not passengers, not the NZTA, not the CVIU, not the Minister of Transport, not the general public. It's been tested in court and it died the death that farcical old laws that are going out under a law review always die. The informal death that precedes the formal death.

    Personally, obviously, I also don't care. I would not drive for Uber or ride in one if I cared about this. There are actually important rules to focus on. Things that go to public and driver safety. I'd rather push for cameras in Ubers than muck around talking about how meters used to work. I'd rather the laws covered important aspects of taxation so that Uber pays its tax obligations. I'd rather look at how the enforcement of the law is failing even on those important aspects before worrying about something that neither has been, nor is, nor can, nor should be enforced.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10138 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to goforit,

    When this happens and of course it does occassionly, a new price has to be negotiated at the time of changed circumstances.

    Sounds like it could be made effectively identical to a taxi in pricing structure. So the question that probably occurred to the regulators was "if it's functionally equivalent then why bother enforcing a farcical situation that it must be presented as different?".

    But also possibly they actually found that it might be quite hard to prove that a negotiation had never happened. The driver could very well have actually said the cost of the trip beforehand and the passenger said "OK then". You'd need the passenger as a witness in court. I'm not sure how many passengers would be willing to be party to busting an Uber driver they booked for an Uber trip, especially since they are then a party to the crime.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10138 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to goforit,

    Under the current act there is 5 forms of small passenger service and the one that descibes the Zoomy operation is a taxi service therefore the regulations around taxi service must be complied to

    To me it looks more like the drivers are operating private hire services, but they're not following the laws around setting the price. If they were taxis they could have signs on their roofs, accept street hails, and sit in taxi stands.

    One cannot choose which regulation they wish to be compliant with and which regulation does not suit them

    That's true, but you can choose what service you are claiming to provide and they claim to be providing private hire services.

    those innovations could and should still follow the current regulations.

    I was trying to work out yesterday what that would actually look like for a private hire service. You could certainly offer a pre-agreed price. But the passenger could not vary the trip. Or you could offer a per hour rate, in which case it would be pot luck for the passenger whether they got caught in slow traffic, or the driver if they got asked to drive at 100km/h all the way to Hamilton.

    Certainly it could be done. Would it be a particularly popular service, in competition to Uber? Who knows? Someone should try it. I expect Zoomy is winging it, because it would look extremely bad for NZTA to enforce on them the operator licensing rule that they have failed to enforce on Uber, essentially driving out the local competition in favour of a multinational. And if they did do that, Zoomy could certainly implement a price structure change.

    But as I said before, there is no will among enforcement over this particularly arcane and technologically outdated aspect of transport law that isn't even statute law. They have much, much lower hanging fruit in drivers not even having P Endorsements, COFs, or using logbooks. Those are things that people can easily see are problematic compliance violations. Also they will continue to be violations even after the law changes.

    Using a different (and in almost every way considerably superior) kind of meter is something that they just don't want to break. I get that. Maybe they change that sometime soon. If so, I'd say Zoomy can change their app in a few days, and Uber would just pull out of NZ.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10138 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to goforit,

    Work the drivers longer for less profit, it has been proven that there are plenty of drivers that just flock to this model

    It's not the low pay anyone is flocking to. It's the ease of access, the low barriers to entry, the casualized setting of your own hours, and in some cases, the enjoyment of the job itself, or maybe just the enjoyment of having a job, rather than being actually unemployed.

    Low pay is a consequence of those features above, though. I don't think it's even a necessary feature. It's just a feature Uber is exploiting as they buy market share, burning their investors capital up at an extraordinary rate, whilst also burning most of their drivers. Well, OK, low barriers to entry do tend to suppress prices, which suppresses wages. But to argue for high barriers just to keep wages up is to insist on cartelizing the business. This is what is being busted up. If wages are to be kept high somehow, I don't think arbitrary barriers to entry enforced by the industry itself is the way to do that. It should be done via actual legislation. And that is highly problematic when it comes to independent contractors.

    It is possible to retain most of the features of the gig economy without the low pay. But I suggest that is only possible by cutting out the evasive maverick multinational corporation. I live in hope that the law changes will have this effect. But I don't really have the answers when it comes to the problems of pay rates (and other conditions) for independent contractors. On that, there's only case law in NZ. Which means that the bodies involved have to operate in the NZ jurisdiction. Hence my comment above about multinationals driving most of the problematic parts of all of this.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10138 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to goforit,

    I only said they were more compliant than Uber. Yes, it's impossible for an app based service that meters rides to be compliant with the current Operator Licensing Rule. As far as I'm aware this has moved into completely unenforced territory long ago. Whether that constitutes an unlicensed taxi service, I don't know, since metering rides is pretty much the only way it resembles a taxi service. In all other ways, it is a private hire service.

    And let's be even more specific. Zoomy itself is not offering the private hire service. That is done by each driver. Their sole violation of the law is that they don't fix a price for the trip beforehand, or charge an hourly rate fixed beforehand.

    Compliant Uber drivers are in the exact same situation, too. Which is why CVIU does not bust them. This would appear to be a fairly sane policy that implements their direction not to stand in the way of technological innovation. The ship of enforcing that one lingering impossible and outdated rule (it's not even an Act of Parliament) has sailed. They are literally waiting for the law changes on that.

    But enforcing the other rules, particularly the ones that will be retained under the law changes, is something they are actively and righteously doing. I don't think it's having very much effect, because Uber pays the fines, so the effect is limited to taking only those drivers off the road. They could go after Uber itself, that is the only sane approach from a coordinated and effective government. But the government is either too cowardly or too involved with Uber to even try this.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10138 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Basically, Juno is targeting Uber where it’s weakest – driver welfare – and luring over high-rated drivers.

    In Auckland, Zoomy is doing much the same thing. They currently have a minimum payout for drivers of $15, no matter what the fare was. They also insist on almost all the compliance, and their rates are highly competitive with Uber's. Currently their model is to grow the driver base in parallel to Uber. They claim that getting a rider base is way less difficult than getting the drivers. A very significant proportion of their drivers are also Uber drivers.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10138 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to Singh Singh,

    It could be soon, or a hundred years from now. No one has a road map. Uber and Google have a strong track record in making websites and phone apps. That translates to cracking a huge breakthrough in robotics in the same way that a strong track record in making sewing machines translates into good chances at putting people on the moon. I mean both are impressive, right?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10138 posts Report Reply

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