While I was away on a three month family visit to Venezuela good things were happening in the yellow cab taxi fleets and I have to credit Uber for a large part of that.
Now, I had been following all the bad publicity Uber had been subjected to in the media. Even Joe Nocerra over at the New York Times was getting in on the act, blasting Uber's management for threatening opposing journalists with "personal research" and worse, with keeping tracking records of Uber passengers. And not saying what they're doing with these tracking records.
Before I went back to the garage last Saturday I had a chat with my son in law who is fairly involved in municipal politics and who I'd say is a new wave mainstream New York Democrat with no labor union background. He told me that everyone is turning against Uber because of civil liberty and privacy concerns.
I don't know about that. I'd guess most Uber customers could give a rat's ass about such things. It is estimated that Uber has taken five percent of yellow taxi business. I don't know about that either. I`d imagine some of these customers would not be in a yellow taxi anyway and that some are riders whose trips are not profitable under the current fare structure.
What I do know is that I went to the garage real early last Saturday because I don't have a steady car and as Saturday night is the most lucrative shift I figured if I wanted to work I'd better be early. I showed up at noon - five hours early - not expecting to be the first driver to shape up (I was) and not expecting the dirt bag weekend dispatcher to offer me a shift and a half in a half decent car that had good prospects of not breaking down before the morning comes. Was I surprised!
My relationship with the weekend dispatcher has been problematic from the start.
You see I am a sixty-eight year old pre - diabetic who walks with a cane due to having been victim in an auto-on-pedestrian assault. I signed up for a steady car which locked me into a six night a week schedule but which supposedly had several advantages : Guaranteed work in a less bad car without a need to show up hours early since ordinarily they would have more drivers on hand than cars.
Except, for me, on Saturdays. I`d show up at five to find out that my steady car had been sold out from under me. Dirt Bag would keep me waiting `till six and give me a POS car. Now they are short drivers and stuck with unleaded cars almost every night
Under our savage capitalism good things don't last long for workers. Somehow what is now a headache for bosses will be transformed into a headache for workers.
All this abuse is gone, at least for now, or as Hugo Chavez often said, "por ahora ." I know that Uber deserves so lot of the thanks por ahora.