While Yellow Cab Was Ratting on Uber, Uber Was Ratting on Lyft to Set Up uberX

Categories: Transportation

Thumbnail image for UberLogo.jpg
We've all seen those desperate emails that Yellow Cab sent to Dallas City Hall last summer, using its influence there to demand that officials crack down on Uber, the digital-savvy car service. Poor Uber, the narrative went, just a little start-up under assault by the entrenched taxi industry.

But when another, even smaller transportation service called Lyft came to town in September, it was Uber that was ratting to City Hall.

"Dear Council Member, I wanted to reach out to make you aware of a new type of service being offered in Dallas," Uber Dallas' General Manager Leandre Johns wrote to city officials in September 2013, according to an email obtained by the Observer.

Lyft, Johns wrote, "purports themselves as being similar to Uber yet isn't in that they do not partner with legal, licensed and permitted drivers in the city. Rather, their model, known as 'ride-sharing,' uses non-licensed individuals to transport citizens."

Lyft uses regular drivers who give rides in their own private cars. (As Eric reported this morning, it's a service that comes with tricky questions about insurance.) Uber, on the other hand, claims to only work with professional limousine services that already have commercial licenses with the city.

Johns' email about Lyft isn't nearly as malicious as those Yellow Cab emails targeting Uber. (Choice quote from Yellow Cab: "Come on, get DPD to write tickets to Uber or stop charging permits to the cab company's!")

But Johns did let City Council know that Lyft appeared to be skirting the city's confusing transportation regulations. And if Lyft was going to keep getting away with that, then Uber should be allowed to have a chunk of that market, as well. Hence, uberX.

"I have sought clarity on the city's position of this type of service, and have been met with little to no response as to whether enforcement will occur. This creates some regulatory ambiguity. So I have drafted up a blog post that communicates our intent to launch our own ridesharing option, uberX."

UberX is the company's direct competition to Lyft -- a low-cost ride-sharing app that allows drivers to use their personal cars. In his email to council members, Johns included a draft of a blog post explaining that Uber is only bringing uberX to Dallas after an unnamed, other company has started offering "non-commercially licensed rides" first.

(A published version of that blog post introducing uberX doesn't mention the competition or the regulatory ambiguity).

Johns referred our questions about his email to an Uber spokesman. We're still waiting for a response. Meanwhile, here's the email in full:

Uber Email to City Council

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24 comments
paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

on a somewhat related note can you believe that companies (maybe a company like the one you work for) pay other companies many times your own salary just to have guys like stew shill for them on blogs mostly used by the unemployed, underemployed, and the unemployable (ruddski). 

ginger4v
ginger4v

The cab companies just need to become more innovative to stay competitive. Yellow cab is expensive and their drivers are crooked. I never used uber but my brother has and it's waay cheaper than a cab.

robindallas
robindallas

This whole argument cracks me up. I could care less about either lyft or uber but uber is such a joke and lies about who they hire. It's the same foreign people who retired their cab and bought a tahoe. They still screw up traffic and block lanes on city streets and hinder valets from doing their job. The high and mighty uber guy is a damn fraud. Too bad they have Google in their pocket or they would probably not be here and other cites already . They are just a notch above scumbag cabs in my book.

WylieH
WylieH

I saw that Uberx was started in response to Lyft.  I wouldn't have a problem with Yellow Cab starting an Uber-type service to compete against Uber.

The more competition, the better.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

Let's not fool ourselves, Uber is not immune to being the bad guy. Did you hear about their "variable pricing" model that increases the cost based on market conditions such as high demand or inclement weather? or this news about how Uber managers ordered service from Gett, only to cancel the service after the driver was sent, and then Uber mgt used the contact info on the Gett service order to recruit the Gett driver?

http://valleywag.gawker.com/ubers-dirty-trick-campaign-against-nyc-competition-cam-1508280668

the bottom line is these services, be they cabs or limo, be it by phone or by an app, need to have regulations in place to protect not only the consumer but the workers.

stew21451
stew21451

Now dont forget every one at the Tir River meeting this week, the cab companies said they had only one criteria for any operating thresholds and that was that every one be governed the same.

Uber claimed exemption and demanded a say in the proceedins as did Lyft. While the limousine association did not weigh in at all.

Seems to me the cab association has the moral high ground.

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

Oh, who cares!  All I care about is that the driver doesn't smell, and that the cab doesn't look like a toilet.....adios Yellow Cab!  Let's see, I'll call Yellow Cab or Uber.......hmmmmm? 

bagsmontana
bagsmontana

Snitches wear stitches and end up in ditches because they were bitches.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@mavdog  Im not saying Uber can do no wrong.  But i know the fare before I hop in an uber car, even before I choose to have the car sent.  And Id rather pay surge pricing with a guarantee to be picked up, than left on a corner at 2:30 am after a New years party stranded bc the cabs never came.  So what if I chose to pay $125 to get home, It was still cheaper than a DWI any day.  I couldnt tell you what a cab cost to go 10 miles because it varies every trip 

WylieH
WylieH

@stew21451 Out out of curiosity, Stewart, why do you use the guy with a cowboy hat photo, when you appear to be an East Coast based freelance reporter for taxi & limousine trade rags?


As an aside, I've enjoyed reading your posts on various websites nationwide.  You really seem to hate Uber... lol...

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin

you may have the ability to pay $125, not everyone does. Cab fares are set by the milage btw.

second, a person who is a bit inebriated may not know that they are being charged a "surge price", only to discover what they paid when they sober up.

I'm not a fan of letting the market dictate fares, it allows for too much potential abuse.

stew21451
stew21451

uhm cause I can?

hate is a strong word, lest just say that I see uber/lyft/sidecar as a predatory business practice that is an assault on the rank and file blue collar workers ability to earn an honest living for an honest days work across the nation.

the livery companies can take care of themselves, workers on the other hand? they just want to make a lkving and raise up their families and take care of their own and have some left over for their futures.

thank you for the compliment but I am not so much the free lance reporter as full participant in the demcoracy we share

JFPO
JFPO

I still find it amazing these paid trolls actually think they're fooling people.

Guesty
Guesty

@mavdog @ScottsMerkin Another thing.  Don't you think drivers should make more money for giving up their new year's eve to drive around the drunks?  Remember, surge pricing mostly goes to the drivers, not to Uber itself.

Guesty
Guesty

@mavdog @ScottsMerkin "I'm not a fan of letting the market dictate fares, it allows for too much potential abuse."


I don't think it is a problem for a service that establishes the relationship before the fare.  You sign up for Uber, you know what you are getting.


On the other hand, not letting the market dictate fares is a great way to make sure there aren't enough cars on the road to service customers.  I'd much rather pay double than have to wait an hour for my car.  And I don't think the fact that some people can't pay double should keep me from getting service.  After all, some people can't pay for a taxi at all, but that isn't a good reason to ban taxis. 

robindallas
robindallas

Scotts merkin , funny btw, you can't be that nieve to think cabs don't rip people off daily. I meet lots of people from out of town and it's story after story on them getting ripped off by cabs going way out of they way just to run up fairs. Also , those scumbags still refuse to take credit cards unless they really have to. They also hate taking one or two people and only try and get big groups of people. The taxi like service in this town sucks except for efrogs and they have a small area and only do uptown and downtown . Too bad those guys don't go all over the place or I would never ride in a cab or uber. Lyft is the best in my opinion but I feel sorry for their drivers putting so much wear and tear on their vehicles for such low money.

dsmithy3211
dsmithy3211

@mavdog @ScottsMerkin  But the price is still clear up front.  Yellow Cab, while it does post its fares, can hardly claim the same.  After a night of drinking, I've taken the same route home with a Yellow Cab multiple times; the resulting fares were vastly different.  Of course, I had no one to complain to, and I'm not about to argue with a cab driver at 2:30 in the morning.  Anecdotes, of course, but yet... I have yet to encounter a problem with Uber or Lyft.


Whether the passenger is too drunk to realize that the fare will be higher than normal is, well, their problem.  


Incidentally, what is wrong with the market dictating fares?  So Uber charges more when the weather is bad, so what?  Yellow Cab drivers notoriously stay home when the weather is bad in the first place.  I'd rather pay surge prices than not get a ride at all.  I'm willing to pay a premium to get reliable service.

laughtiger
laughtiger

@ScottsMerkin @stew21451 A temporary solution at best. The Uber model is to shift more of the cost and the risk onto the drivers, and for that matter the passengers. Meanwhile the new cab giants (Uber and Lyft) can change their fare pricing at whim, raising prices to take advantage of high demand (including natural disasters!) or lowering them to drive out competition.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@stew21451  and why do you think livery workers are leaving to go work uber?  Ill tell you, its better money and they are stuck working for mafia type leaders who pay them pennies compared to what the mothership (Irving Holdings) brings home

JFPO
JFPO

A quick Google search backs Wylie up. You're really bad at this.

stew21451
stew21451

no one is paying me. if you would like to show who is? be my guest here. I garner no remuneration for my activities here what so ever

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