Safety Uber Alles

 

shutterstock_246422644On a the Friday episode of Radio Boston — WBUR’s local news show that is, like NPR itself, equally informative and insufferable — a guest comment perfectly encapsulated the wrong-headed way that the Left addresses problems. While discussing recent controversies regarding ride-sharing programs like Lyft and Uber, guest Shira Springer said (starts around 9’12” into the file for the whole show):

I feel sorry for the taxi drivers in that respect, but I am for regulation. I do think Lyft and Uber need to somehow be regulated. And I’m speaking here as a single woman who is fearful of contacting an Uber driver and having them come and pick me up. Let’s be honest: there have been cases locally and globally where sexual assault [has] taken place with Uber pick ups. And so you have to kind of be conscious and aware of the consequences, perhaps, of calling a driver to your home or having a driver drop you off at your home and not having them have… a background check.

Of course, Uber and Lyft do require background checks, though they’re (apparently) not as rigorous as those for bus, taxi, and livery drivers in Massachusetts. Asked if requiring them to meet those standards would change her mind, Springer responded:

It wouldn’t satisfy me entirely… But yes, I think Uber and Lyft should be held to the same account as other transportation providers. You know, whether were talking bus drivers, taxi drivers, whatever the case may be. I want to know when I’m getting into an Uber or Lyft car that I can feel safe.

That desire to feel safe is as understandable as her prescriptions are maddening. Notice what’s missing from her comments:

  • Acknowledgement that other people might judge risks differently than Springer, and should be allowed to do so. Springer didn’t call for Uber and Lyft to change their policies in order to gain her business, but argued that they should be required by law to change them.
  • Consideration that these additional background checks might drive-up prices, disincline some drivers who aren’t willing to put up with so much hassle for a part-time job, and/or otherwise adversely affect Uber’s business.
  • That — even if one stipulates that the reduced background checks are an issue — Uber and Lyft compensate for them in multiple ways. As I’ve noted before, every transaction through these services is logged, time-stamped, and mapped in real-time with the real names of both driver and passenger in the cloud. From the criminal’s perspective, there are few places worse to assault someone than in an Uber.
  • Consideration that she might be responsible — to some degree — for her own safety (though Uber bans her from the most obvious means of protecting herself).

Freedom takes some effort and requires one to carry some risk, but provides incredible opportunities. If we can convince just a few more people of that, we can continue to do great things.

There are 40 comments.

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  1. Troy Senik, Ed. Contributor
    Troy Senik, Ed.
    @TroySenik

    Speaking as someone’s who’s been in an awful lot of cabs and an awful lot of Uber cars: if you’re more concerned about the kind of people driving the latter rather than the the former, you’re not paying attention.

    • #1
  2. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    Troy Senik, Ed.: Speaking as someone’s who’s been in an awful lot of cabs and an awful lot of Uber cars: if you’re more concerned about the kind of people driving the latter instead of the former, you’re not paying attention.

    That crossed my mind, too.

    • #2
  3. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

     I do think Lyft and Uber need to somehow be regulated.

    I love calls for regulation when no specific regulation is being articulated. They must “somehow” be regulated.

    Do something.  Anything.

    • #3
  4. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    This is about  nothing more than control. The left hates it when they don’t control some part of an economic transaction.

    • #4
  5. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Frank Soto: I love calls for regulation when no specific regulation is being articulated. They must “somehow” be regulated. Do something.  Anything.

    Its typical “Won’t someone PLEASE think of the Children”ism

    • #5
  6. John Peabody Member
    John Peabody
    @

    She also has the choice of calling a cab. Remember? Choice?

    • #6
  7. V.S. Blackford Inactive
    V.S. Blackford
    @VSBlackford

    Speaking of continuing to do great things, the Wall Street Journal has an article today about new health care start-ups:

    Startups Vie to Build an Uber for Health Care

    • #7
  8. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    John Peabody:She also has the choice of calling a cab. Remember? Choice?

    You don’t understand, John.  Cabs suck.  She just wants Uber to stay as awesome as it is, but be run just like cabs.

    • #8
  9. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    They call them safety nazis for a reason.

    They’re zealots, unfortunately, and not to be reasoned with.

    And I have no idea how to deal with them, as they’re—in my experience—led by American mothers.

    • #9
  10. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    Jamie Lockett: This is about nothing more than control. The left hates it when they don’t control some part of an economic transaction.

    See Also: e-cigarettes.

    • #10
  11. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    OK, she’s a Boston Globe reporter, she went to Harvard, natch, and wrote for the Crimson.  Of course she’s for regulation, just like a puritan’s for the stocks.

    What mystifies me is that she’s a runner.  Doesn’t she know that’s dangerous? She could get mugged!

    We need a regulation to keep runners off the streets, for their own safety!

    • #11
  12. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Licensing is a revenue scheme cloaked in security and safety of the public.

    From CNBC:

    After hitting an all-time high of $1.3 million in April 2013, the price of a taxi medallion has fallen by nearly a quarter of its value to roughly $840,000, according to New York City’s TLC. That drop represents a major turning point for yellow cabs—there had never been a price decrease before 2013—and the shift could be tied to the changing nature of transportation in the city.

    There are two types of arguments these days. The first is the rational argument designed to solve a problem. The second is the political argument designed to advance power.

    Background checks fall into the latter. Why? Because there is no “on-ramp” to horrific crimes. One does not typically “build up” to rape or murder. Often it is the first crime someone has ever committed.

    These kinds of political arguments then cause a huge case of cognitive dissonance in other areas. A liberal woman who argues for background checks on everything from taxi drivers to gun ownership is also the same person who will tell you about the need for prison reform and the needed mass release of inmates because, you know, racial discrimination. But don’t make it so that they can get a job.

    • #12
  13. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Umbra Fractus: See Also: e-cigarettes.

    See Also: Everything ever regulated.

    • #13
  14. Ross C Member
    Ross C
    @RossC

    EJHill: Background checks fall into the latter. Why? Because there is no “on-ramp” to horrific crimes. One does not typically “build up” to rape or murder. Often it is the first crime someone has ever committed.

    That is interesting I would guess (without knowing) exactly the opposite.

    • #14
  15. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Troy Senik, Ed.: Speaking as someone’s who’s been in an awful lot of cabs and an awful lot of Uber cars: if you’re more concerned about the kind of people driving the latter instead of the former, you’re not paying attention.

    That crossed my mind, too.

    OK, serious question.  As a matter of safety, would you recommend someone new to the whole thing use Uber over a traditional cab?

    • #15
  16. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Leigh: OK, serious question.  As a matter of safety, would you recommend someone new to the whole thing use Uber over a traditional cab?

    Any and every time.

    • #16
  17. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared
    @ASquared

    Troy Senik, Ed.:

    Speaking as someone’s who’s been in an awful lot of cabs and an awful lot of Uber cars: if you’re more concerned about the kind of people driving the latter instead of the former, you’re not paying attention.

    In the last decade, the worst Uber I’ve been in has been far better than the best taxi.

    One obvious fact that never seems to enter these discussions, if an Uber driver attacks a passenger, there is an electronic record of the specific driver picking up the passenger and a GPS record of where they went after the pick-up (usually from both phones since most people keep the Uber app open during the trip).

    When someone hails a taxi, there is no evidence whatsoever unless they pay with a credit card, and then only at the end of ride as the passenger is getting out of the car at their destination (ie, after the driver decided not to attack the passenger).

    Only an idiot would sign up to be an Uber driver to to find convenient victims.   Only an idiot would feel less safe in an Uber than in a taxi.

    • #17
  18. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Ross C:

    EJHill: Background checks fall into the latter. Why? Because there is no “on-ramp” to horrific crimes. One does not typically “build up” to rape or murder. Often it is the first crime someone has ever committed.

    That is interesting I would guess (without knowing) exactly the opposite.

    Interesting fact: In Florida and Georgia, first-time offenders who are found guilty of  felony murder and given the death sentence compromise more than 50% of the first-time offender population.

    • #18
  19. Frozen Chosen Inactive
    Frozen Chosen
    @FrozenChosen

    I would guess that there have been as many or more rapes committed by taxi drivers as there have been by Uber/Lyft drivers.

    • #19
  20. Metalheaddoc Member
    Metalheaddoc
    @Metalheaddoc

    Frank Soto:

    John Peabody:She also has the choice of calling a cab. Remember? Choice?

    You don’t understand, John. Cabs suck. She just wants Uber to stay as awesome as it is, but be run just like cabs.

    Yeah! Awesome like Uber, but fully regulated like cabs, cuz you can regulate Awesome without harming it. In fact, you can make it Awesomer. Just think how awesome it would be if you made every Uber vehicle wheelchair accessible.  And mandate that Uber go into  transportationally underserved inner cities while also transporting healthy nutritious food into food deserts. And link a group of Uber cars together along predefined routes on a schedule like an Uber light rail! And provide free rides to Planned Parenthood!

    • #20
  21. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    Leigh: OK, serious question.  As a matter of safety, would you recommend someone new to the whole thing use Uber over a traditional cab?

    Absolutely. Seconding Troy, my experiences with Uber drivers is vastly superior to that for taxis. The fact that you never have to handle cash is a nice perk, too. I’ve not used Lyft, but I imagine it’s similar.

    My recommendation would be to download the app, sign-up, and give it a try. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to use it.

    • #21
  22. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Metalheaddoc:

    Frank Soto:

    John Peabody:She also has the choice of calling a cab. Remember? Choice?

    You don’t understand, John. Cabs suck. She just wants Uber to stay as awesome as it is, but be run just like cabs.

    Yeah! Awesome like Uber, but fully regulated like cabs, cuz you can regulate Awesome without harming it. In fact, you can make it Awesomer. Just think how awesome it would be if you made every Uber vehicle wheelchair accessible. And mandate that Uber go into transportationally underserved inner cities while also transporting healthy nutritious food into food deserts. And link a group of Uber cars together along predefined routes on a schedule like an Uber light rail! And provide free rides to Planned Parenthood!

    Now you’re catching on.

    • #22
  23. Metalheaddoc Member
    Metalheaddoc
    @Metalheaddoc

    Tuck:OK, she’s a Boston Globe reporter, she went to Harvard, natch, and wrote for the Crimson. Of course she’s for regulation, just like a puritan’s for the stocks.

    What mystifies me is that she’s a runner. Doesn’t she know that’s dangerous? She could get mugged!

    We need a regulation to keep runners off the streets, for their own safety!

    And violate her choice? NO! She needs a taxpayer funded Security Squad to accompany her. The Squad should reflect our great tapestry of American diversity and include a differently-abled person of color. Which might slow the runner down. But that’s fine because the faster runners  might shame and “other”  the slower runners, so her speed should be made prudent, moderate, reasonable and inclusive.

    • #23
  24. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Leigh: OK, serious question. As a matter of safety, would you recommend someone new to the whole thing use Uber over a traditional cab?

    Absolutely. Seconding Troy, my experiences with Uber drivers is vastly superior to that for taxis. The fact that you never have to handle cash is a nice perk, too. I’ve not used Lyft, but I imagine it’s similar.

    My recommendation would be to download the app, sign-up, and give it a try. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to use it.

    I’ve never taken a cab alone in my life, I like being the one behind the wheel.  But there’s always the potential of being stranded in a strange city, and knowledge is power…

    • #24
  25. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    Also no mention of how many assaults may potentially take place in a taxi cab or a bus or a subway or a train, etc…

    • #25
  26. Eeyore Member
    Eeyore
    @Eeyore

    Frank Soto:

    I do think Lyft and Uber need to somehow be regulated.

    I love calls for regulation when no specific regulation is being articulated. They must “somehow” be regulated.

    Do something. Anything.

    I didn’t find anything difficult about the word “somehow.” As it came from a liberal, all responses to a “problem” must be instantaneous 0-to-60.  So, when I saw the word “somehow,” without even having to finish the word, my brain saw “taxi medallion.”

    • #26
  27. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    Frank Soto:

    John Peabody:She also has the choice of calling a cab. Remember? Choice?

    You don’t understand, John. Cabs suck. She just wants Uber to stay as awesome as it is, but be run just like cabs.

    How do I “like” this comment about a hundred times???

    This is it – exactly: The Left wants all the awesome stuff that the free market comes up with – only regulated to the point of totally screwing it up.

    • #27
  28. Eeyore Member
    Eeyore
    @Eeyore

    Songwriter:

    Frank Soto:

    John Peabody:She also has the choice of calling a cab. Remember? Choice?

    You don’t understand, John. Cabs suck. She just wants Uber to stay as awesome as it is, but be run just like cabs.

    How do I “like” this comment about a hundred times???

    This is it – exactly: The Left wants all the awesome stuff that the free market comes up with – only regulated to the point of totally screwing it up.

    And they want it just like it looks –  They want it Free!

    • #28
  29. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    Thank goodness the illegal immigrants who are employed by landscaping businesses and swarm over millions of lawns across the country are all subjected to rigorous background checks.

    • #29
  30. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Songwriter:

    Frank Soto:

    John Peabody:She also has the choice of calling a cab. Remember? Choice?

    You don’t understand, John. Cabs suck. She just wants Uber to stay as awesome as it is, but be run just like cabs.

    How do I “like” this comment about a hundred times???

    This is it – exactly: The Left wants all the awesome stuff that the free market comes up with – only regulated to the point of totally screwing it up.

    Then subsidize it.

    • #30

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