Although I know most of you are looking to see what is coming down the pike regarding Driverless Cars, because I promised it would be in this issue, that is not happening. Unfortunately, I am not able to write about news that is not in the hopper until it comes to fruition, hopefully in the near future. But let me assure you that as soon as news comes out of Detroit or Silicon Valley, I will report on it. March might be better with the auto show coming to town.

Now, with that put to rest, let’s revisit the issue at hand. I believe that of all that I have written about Uber and Lyft, and TNCs in general, it has not been good. Well, things continue to get bad and even worse, with relation to the industry – with Uber and Lyft, in particular. I have written about everything, or so I thought that I covered most everything. Well, that’s not the case at all… so here goes.

One would think that when a new business is in the start-up stage it wouldn’t stay there indefinitely. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case with regards to Uber. In recent reporting by CNBC, it was revealed that Uber’s fourth quarter financial results show that the company’s loss jumped 61% in 2017. The company lost $4.5 Billion last year, up from $2.8 Billion in 2016, according to figures first reported by The Information and confirmed by CNBC. And, so why are they still around?

A company that started-up in 2009 on primarily investment money, and has gone through a change of command nine years later, has successfully caused chaos throughout the For-Hire Ground Transportation industry, which had been stable for over 50 years.

In a recent turn of events, which was reported by Black Car News, as well as other publications in the metropolitan New York area, on an early Monday morning, Douglas Schifter, a career professional taxi and limousine driver in New York City, made one final trip to lower Manhattan. He parked his rented black sedan at the gates of City Hall and killed himself with a gunshot to the head. A sad testimonial to a proud For-Hire Ground Transportation industry – prior to the influx of the TNCs, Uber and Lyft.

An article in the New York Times, February 6, 2018, by Ginia Bellafante, went into a little bit greater detail than I did, but the takeaway that one should glean from this tragic event is that what Mr. Schifter, in his wisdom, wrote was that his faith in our political system was diminished by politicians’ lack of appropriate attention to what was going on in the industry. A part of what politicians have failed to heed was something that was done during previous administrations, and that is doing an environmental impact study prior to adding vehicles and emissions to city streets (only one thing in addition to others that they have failed to do).

In closing, I need to assure my readers that the issues outlined in last month’s article, as they pertain to Uber, still exist.

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Article by Victor Dizengoff

Victor Dizengoff is a retired industry icon and a founder of the New York Black Car industry.

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