Failures

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
competition, innovation, italy, uber

Companies:
uber



Uber Now Banned In Italy... Because Competition Is Bad?

from the what? dept

The absolute scariest cab ride of my life happened in Rome a few years back, and I'd prefer not to relive that experience, but apparently I might not have much of a choice next time I'm in Italy, as the country recently banned Uber completely, claiming that it was "unfair competition." Now, let's be clear: there are many, many reasons to not like or trust Uber. You certainly have every right to not like the way it goes about its business or the way it treats drivers. You can refuse to use the service all you want and you can tweet #DeleteUber and whatever else you like... and yet you still should be concerned about this.

Uber isn't being blocked in Italy because of its business practices. It's being blocked in Italy because the taxicabs there don't like the competition, and a court has ruled that those cabs shouldn't face competition. Again, no matter what you think of Uber's own business practices, it's pretty damn clear that everywhere that Uber or similar services operate, what everyday people tend to get are better options for transportation. It makes it easier for people to get a ride when they need it, it adds much needed supply to the market, and it tends to be a better overall experience (and there's at least some evidence that it also prevents drunk driving).

In the end, when it comes to innovation, our general stance around here is that what you need more than anything else is competition. Competition drives innovation. It drives better customer service. Having courts come in and block competition in favor of an organization famous for limiting the number of competitors in the market is never going to be a good thing. If you're upset by Uber's business practices, target those business practices. But doing an outright ban on competition doesn't seem to help anyone, other than the legacy taxi providers.


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  • identicon
    John Cressman, 12 Apr 2017 @ 1:31pm

    Socialists

    And you expected anything from a socialist regime? Sadly, this is the exact OPPOSITE of progress so their left wing self professing "progressives" show their true colors. Progress is fine... as long as it benefits the ones in power and their allies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2017 @ 1:32pm

    Mike you can't start out the article talking about the scariest cab ride of your life and then not give us the story. This is going to bother me

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2017 @ 1:33pm

    They may have won this round but I bet they will lose the automation round.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    sehlat (profile), 12 Apr 2017 @ 1:36pm

    Definition of "unfair competition."

    You are doing my job better than I do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2017 @ 1:44pm

    If Uber is oh so bad to their drivers, why do they have drivers? Can't they just, you know, not load up the app and be available for passengers?

    Its not like anyone is forced to be an Uber driver. I'm tired of all the whining about their business practices. Don't use them if you don't like it. Don't drive for them if you don't like it.

    I don't understand.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2017 @ 1:51pm

      Re:

      What Uber offers is a central registry and request service. Just how do you expect driver to connect with potential passengers without such a service? That s basically the same service as Taxi firms offer, a central contact to get an available driver.

      If all drivers were totally independent, and offered their own app, just how many would you load on your phone, and how long would it take you to find an available driver if you had to try most of your apps to find one?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Docrailgun, 12 Apr 2017 @ 4:14pm

        Re: Re:

        If Uber was just a ridesharing app, they wouldn't take any percentage of fares or do "surge pricing". They could make decent money just by putting ads on the app.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2017 @ 5:19pm

        Re: Re:

        Perhaps those drivers should get together and make a facebook page (or similar) where people can request rides and drivers can respond. There, only one app needed.

        Of course, drivers haven't done this, which suggests that either:
        A) drivers are generally satisfied with Uber or
        B) Uber is providing more than just a central registry and request service

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PlagueSD (profile), 12 Apr 2017 @ 1:54pm

    Uber. Just Another Taxi Company

    How do the taxi companies have a standing in this? Is there only one taxi company in Italy? If so, that's a monopoly and shouldn't be allowed. Is there more than one taxi company? If so, then this shouldn't be an issue as Uber is just like another taxi company and there's already "competition".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jan, 12 Apr 2017 @ 2:00pm

    Uber

    Uber is an unregulated, unsafe option. It destroys any kind of regulated market by undermining any standards that a passenger could expect.

    People surely vote for the cheap option, but the state has the obligation to prevent them from choosing the unsafe one.

    If you call it socialist, let it be socialist.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2017 @ 2:10pm

      Re: Uber

      >Uber is an unregulated, unsafe option.

      If you think that then don't use it. Why shouldn't people be able to make that decision themselves?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2017 @ 2:39pm

        Re: Re: Uber

        Because a system without any regulations at all means people (customers and employees) get abused for years until the industry gets better. And then a new company shows up to abuse customers and employees again. Repeat ad nauseum.

        Now, this isn't to say that ALL regulations are necessary. But companies being allowed to be as shitty as they can get away with until enough people complain is not a good thing.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 12 Apr 2017 @ 2:25pm

      Re: Uber

      If it's an unsafe option, then people won't use it(or at least won't use it twice).

      (And if 'It's unsafe, therefore it shouldn't be allowed' is the logic you want to go with, I certainly hope you're consistent in also opposing Cigarettes and Alcohol, which I imagine harm way more people than Uber ever has.)

      Going after them for offering an unsafe service would be one thing, but banning them because they provide competition is absolutely absurd. That is a perfect example of 'Felony Interference With A Business Model', something that should only ever exist in bad jokes, not reality.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2017 @ 5:25pm

      Re: Uber

      Uber is an unregulated, unsafe option.

      Perhaps. But if I'm going to get into a car with a strange man/woman, I'd much prefer there be multiple digital records showing exactly where/when I was taken.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Docrailgun, 12 Apr 2017 @ 4:11pm

    Uber should be banned everywhere - we have to fight evil and companies that erode workers' rights at every turn.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2017 @ 5:08pm

      Re:

      How does it erode workers right? Do they force you to work for them? Do they tell you what hours you have to work and what days to work? Are you not free to be a Taxi driver or a Lyft driver or get a completely different job. Do you not have the option to QUIT any time you want. How have your rights changed since you signed up? How are you so dumb to know what you're getting into right up front and then later turn around and bitch about it?

      Your comment is laughable.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Koby (profile), 12 Apr 2017 @ 7:17pm

        Re: Re: Choice

        Remember, socialists don't like it when you have an economic choice in the matter. By there simply being a choice, it is a threat to the crony government monopoly system that they create.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2017 @ 10:46pm

          Re: Re: Re: Choice

          Providing a choice by ignoring the rules that apply to everyone else is not a very smart idea. For example, of course I could claim it a great business plan to offer people a choice for cheap stuff - by selling yours without your consent.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Zomadee, 13 Apr 2017 @ 5:45am

    Uber/Italy

    I heard from a friend in Italy that the taxi drivers who were most militant at fighting Uber are those that tried to work as drivers for Uber as an alternative to driving taxis, but realized that it is impossible to make a good living driving for Uber.
    Uber needs to do the following to attract taxi drivers to work for Uber instead of fighting Uber.
    1. Make riders pay for distance driven by drivers from point of request to point of pick up.
    2. Include a tip option on the Uber App.
    Let Uber start with these two changes and see if the negative perception of Uber in some quarters will change.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2017 @ 11:08am

      Re: Uber/Italy

      "1. Make riders pay for distance driven by drivers from point of request to point of pick up.
      2. Include a tip option on the Uber App."

      Both of your ideas are backwards...

      1. A normal taxi doesn't charge a fee to come to me, only the time I ride in the taxi.

      2. NOT tipping is one of the key reasons why I use Uber.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Apr 2017 @ 4:01am

    Spain

    Well Uber is forbidden in Spain For unfair competition too.

    Why? For doing a regulated job and saying because computers we don't have to comply with expensive regulation.

    And Spain said yes you must comply and pay, (specially because half of them means taxes for the state ).

    If a business consist in using hole in legislation to don't have to comply with regulation and you move to foreign countries you are going to find places that do not have such hole.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Sebastian (profile), 17 Apr 2017 @ 4:36am

    Fair Competition?

    Can Uber be considered fair competition when its price model is subsidized by billions in venture capital?

    The situation is far more complex than the gung-ho "share economy" media narrative would suggest.

    Whether you agree with it or not, Naked Capitalism’s Uber series (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four) is required reading if you want to talk about Uber.

    If, as this series of articles suggests - and strongly supports with economic evidence and analysis - Uber's primary business model is "drive traditional taxi firms out of business with subsidized price dumping, then extract returns from a monopoly market afterwards," then Italy or any other country and/or municipality would be correct in trying to compensate for this clear market failure by regulating or even banning Uber.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2017 @ 5:15pm

    The status quo doesn't like Uber.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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