The MULDA Interview That PISSED ME OFF

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  1. It is not MULDA's job to "find alternatives", it's to earn better working conditions. Which they have done. When any industry goes through a shakeup, it takes time for it to adapt, and because of the startup costs and risks Uber and Lyft cannot be there when it's time for the alternatives to move in (especially because we can't actually be certain they're going to leave until they actually do… imagine if you were a potential replacement TNC and you spend tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars getting ready to start operating in Minneapolis only for the city to call Uber and Lyft's bluff and then they don't leave). There was always going to be a transition period if Uber and Lyft left and if I was a driver there I would've been long prepared for it by now, it's not like Uber and Lyft are the only gig economy jobs to do in Minneapolis or even the only way to do ridesharing/taxi service. The expectations you have here are straight up unreasonable, and in particular are completely out of step with the way the economy works and – more importantly – how incredibly difficult and expensive it is to open a new TNC or just a new business period (even when you AREN'T competing against an embedded duopoly of multibillion dollar corporations).

    Regardless, alternatives can only exist if there is room to exist to begin with. This legislation needed to pass first, and Uber and Lyft needed to say they were leaving first, before any alternative could even be looked at… and even after that, that sort of process takes months. You seem to have this expectation that they even had the capability to just pull one out of thin air, even though there's nothing to sell to alternative providers if there's no market for them to buy into. MULDA's a union, they're not magicians or businessmen. And now that everyone's sure Uber and Lyft are gone, you've got Co-op Drive along with almost certainly Empower and maybe that new company Moov.

  2. I agree MULDA did not have a back up plan, neither did city council, who should have called Austin city council members involved at the time Uber left to get advice on the points you bring up. These are valid points.

    In MULDA’s case, I think they just started their organization a couple years ago. A big job.

    MULDA then immediately took on Uber, another big job. So I can understand a little why MULDA is behind the curve with the backup plan; not so much city council because it’s more their job to see the big picture, plan for the future etc. Difficult though as all pro pay parties were being pummeled by Uber statements and tactics.

    Next, your estimate for starting a Rideshare COMPANY of $45k I think should include adding the cost of sister city ST Paul, they are a twin city. This makes cost substantially more.

    Your point about Uber/Lyft coming back and wiping out the newcomers is well taken. Unfortunately you don’t propose a solution.

    My solution is to ban Uber from returning for at least 5 years if they leave and want to come back, because by coming back, Uber obviously lied.

    Also city counsel should lower the cost for applying for MPLS to only $5k, not $45k your research turned up for a Rideshare company to apply to replace Uber Lyft.

    There are other things city counsel can do to promote new Uber-like companies, competition, ease of use for new companies, and choices.

    For purposes of discussion and analysis, I simply state Uber and Lyft can raise prices and still make more money than MPLS Taxi companies, WRDZ, Empower, MOOV, etc. Do you disagree with that ?

    What lots of people fail to understand is that monopolies like Uber & Lyft are not based on free market capitalism; but, price gouging and cheating as needed to maintain price gouging and undeserved, exorbitant monopolistic profits.

    The argument premise Uber Lyft make, and you seem to accept, is that driver pay increases MUST raise prices of rides.

    Uber and Lyft then imply they make so little profit it is catastrophic to their balance sheet to raise driver pay much or at all without raising prices exorbitantly. So fair game to analyze Uber & Lyft cost and profit to see if that is true and to keep them honest.

    Another thing City counsel failed to do.

    Unfair competition and legislative capture prevents proper regulation of competition.

    I respect all opinions.

  3. There should have been alternatives a long time ago. Some of this is to blame on the city, making the TNC license forty-five thousand dollars. 3 year TNC License in phoenix is $1,000.