Tag Archives: uber

The End of the On-Demand Dream

Farhad Manjoo writes in the Technology section of The New York Times:

Other than Uber, the hypersuccessful granddaddy of on-demand apps, many of these companies have come under stress. Across a variety of on-demand apps, prices are rising, service is declining, business models are shifting, and, in some cases, companies are closing down. Here is what we are witnessing: the end of the on-demand dream. That dream was about price and convenience.

Like Luxe, many of these companies marketed themselves as clever hacks of the existing order. They weren’t just less headache than old-world services, but because they were using phones to eliminate inefficiencies, they argued that they could be cheaper, too — so cheap that as they grew, they could offer luxury-level service at mass-market prices. That just isn’t happening. Though I still use Luxe frequently, it now often feels like just another luxury for people who have more money than time.

But Uber’s success was in many ways unique. For one thing, it was attacking a vulnerable market. In many cities, the taxi business was a customer-unfriendly protectionist racket that artificially inflated prices and cared little about customer service. The opportunity for Uber to become a regular part of people’s lives was huge. People take cars every day, so hook them once and you have repeat customers. Finally, cars are the second-most-expensive things people buy, and the most frequent thing we do with them is park. That monumental inefficiency left Uber ample room to extract a profit even after undercutting what we now pay for cars.

Full article: The Uber Model, It Turns Out, Doesn’t Translate

Uber Class Action Lawsuit Expands to Include Over 160k Drivers

From Vice:

“This past September, US District Court Judge Edward Chen granted the suit class-action status, clearing the way for drivers across the state to be included. Uber then tried to limit the size of that class, by saying many of its drivers had signed an “arbitration clause” — a legal agreement designed to force employees to settle grievances outside of the courts — that barred them from filing suit. Uber quietly inserted the clause into its driver agreement back in 2014. But on Wednesday, US District Court Judge Edward Chen rejected the validity of the arbitration clause, expanding the group of drivers eligible to sue Uber to as many as 160,000. He called the clause “both procedurally and substantively unconscionable,” since there was no clear way for drivers to opt out.