On Thursday, April 21, 2016, Uber settled the lawsuit brought against them by San Francisco resident and former Uber driver Douglas O’Connor, among other plaintiffs.
The next day, I was asked what this settlement means for the taxi industry. It was hard to see anything truly positive for taxi drivers or Uber drivers.
This settlement ultimately validates Uber in San Francisco. It will allow them to grow and dominate the vehicle for hire landscape without restraint.
If last weekend was any indication, we are going to see a slew of new drivers entering the market, which means more congestion, more clusterfucks and less work for everyone.
Since most of those new drivers are subsidized, getting guarantees or working towards Lyft’s $750 payoff for doing 100 rides, they are only making things worse for all experienced drivers on the road, cab drivers and Uber drivers.
The drivers who brought this suit against Uber were were very short-sighted. They weren’t looking at the bigger picture at all. Sure, now they are able to awkwardly solicit tips, some more creatively than others, the true regulations needed are limits on the number of available cars on the road and less dynamic pricing.
As long as Uber has a free pass to fill the streets with thousands of cars driven by untrained drivers and the ability to undercut taxi rates by half, the taxi industry will continue to whither and cab drivers and Uber/Lyft drivers will both make less and less money.
Despite what O’Connor and the other Uber drivers behind this lawsuit might think, this settlement doesn’t give them more power, just the opportunity to negotiate with a company that has proven, time and again, they don’t like to compromise.
So… yeah… good luck with that.