In my never-ending mission to challenge the lazy & lame anti-Uber articles written by my fellow journalists who hate Uber, think Uber drivers should earn $60k a year with full health care, and have no clue how awful the typical urban taxicab monopolies were for 80 years, I may have gone overboard.
But in case the moderators at Citylab.com decide not to allow my commentary to live forever on the Internet, here, for posterity’s sake, is what I wrote about Mimi Kirk’s Citylab.com’s piece about a “scientific” survey of what Uber drivers think of their jobs:
Nice journalism, but it’s example 201 in a series of Uber-hating articles.
How is it possible for every Uber Hate article I read in places like this to blatantly avoid talking to Uber drivers like me who make decent money driving 10 to 20 hours a week part-time, enjoy the job’s flexibility and freedom and human interaction, and don’t think they’re victims of an evil, predatory global corporation that puts profit (which Uber doesn’t make yet) above all human decency?
How is it possible for every Uber Hate article to exclude perspective or balance? To mythologize or ignore the awful taxi cab rackets that existed in virtually every city before Uber came along?
Like your fellow Uber Haters in journalism, Mimi:
— You unfairly bash Uber at every illegal-turn-on-red and emphasize all the downsides of driving while minimizing the upsides.
— You feature drivers who are incompetent, financially foolish or naive about what being an Uber driver is all about.
— You compare a mythical taxi cab system to Uber.
Come to Pittsburgh.
I’ll take you out Ubering.
I’ll show you can make 20 bucks an hour for five hours a day every day of the week.
I’ll show you some of the 5000-plus happy customers I’ve driven around since January of 2015.
I’ll tell you the history of the cab monopoly in this town — and how they screwed Pittsburghers for 80 years with high fares, lousy, racist service, crappy cabs and an f-you attitude that privileged monopolies always develop when they are protected from competition by government.
I’ll tell you how the cab monopoly owners here (like in most cities) were in bed with the local politicians.
I’ll tell you how the clueless local media here — like in most cities — never questioned or scrutinized the taxi monopoly’s sweet deal or pointed out how consumers, especially black citizens, were getting screwed.
For 80 years.
I’ll explain why black citizens here had to develop their own illegal but thriving micro-transit system called “jitneys” — 80 years ago — because Yellow Cab, which you naively think has been regulated in the interest of public safety and convenience by regulators, would not go into poor or minority neighborhoods.
Yellow Cabs here, like elsewhere, were so few in number that for years college girls were stranded outside bars at 2 a.m. and had to jump into cars with strangers or drunks to get home.
If Uber had not arrived three and half years ago, Pittsburghers of all classes and races would still be forced to live under the tyranny of Yellow Cab and its friends in government that protected it in the name of insuring that drivers (Pgh’s were charged some of the highest daily lease rates in the US) can make a decent living.
Please find an economist who’ll teach you about “regulatory capture,” which is “the
process by which regulatory agencies eventually come to be dominated by
the very industries they were charged with regulating.”
Please also do some history on the taxi industry, the notorious awful and consumer-unfriendly, driver-abusing, government-protected racket that Uber is disrupting/destroying for the benefit of society.