Citizens have the right to design their own reality

Op-Ed by Zrants
Red Lanes have hurt businesses on Mission Street, where residents and merchants have been most vocal in their objections. Some demands were met, but there is a lot of anger in the Mission over SFMTA policies – photo by zrants
The article that ran in the SF Examiner, “SF Parking Meters may soon feature Uber-like surge pricing” is non-news to people in Mission Bay and neighborhoods where these meters have been used.
This program, along with the “complete street improvements” has been used to manipulate people for some time and the results have put a chill on our local economy. Many businesses are not recovering after construction projects are completed. There are empty storefronts all over town. Regardless of how you feel about gentrification of neighborhoods, streets and cities, the loss of traditional businesses is a serious matter. We need to maintain a balanced economy.
Documentation is what city authorities like to see, so a number of neighborhoods are gathering data to prove falling revenues and empty storefronts follow in the path of complete street projects that create congestion and remove parking.
Once generated, these reports can go to City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Commission, the media, and anyone else who may be concerned about the condition of the local economy.
City policies are not only hurting local businesses. Big box stores and corporate giants like The Gap, Whole Foods, and Sears are feeling the pinch. How many brick and mortar businesses will succumb to disruptive policies before we take action? Local businesses provide necessary services to the public. As each business dies, it becomes harder for residents to conduct their lives.
Another matter of urgency is arising. In the aftermath of major security breaches we need to review the “anti-cash” attitudes and policies being pushed by the government and it’s agencies. Cash is the safest currency and should be encouraged, not discouraged.
The government works for us and we must demand that it serves our needs.
Mari Eliza

You’re More Likely to Accept Uber’s Surge Pricing When Your Phone’s About to Die

By Maya Kosoff : vanityfair – excerpt

“One of the strongest predictors of whether or not you are going to be sensitive to surge—in other words, whether or not you are going to kind of say, oh, 2.2, 2.3, I’ll give it a 10 to 15 minutes to see if surge goes away—is how much battery you have left on your cell phone,” Chen said… (more)

How To Save Money on Your New Year’s Eve Uber Ride

wspa – excerpt

As you go out to celebrate New Year’s Eve, don’t let a higher than expected Uber receipt ruin your morning.

Here are some tips to avoid the surge and maybe even get some free rides… (More)

Take a cab!

We’d like to know if Lyft has surge pricing. We know that cabs don’t. And how much do the CEOs and other Uber employees spend during surge pricing? Do they even take Uber? Someone should find out and report back how the Uber executives travel tonight. Any spies out there?

SF Has More Surge Pricing Than NYC…And Other Findings From a New Uber Study

By : sfweekly – excerpt

A new study of Uber’s surge pricing found that it doesn’t lure Uber drivers to high-demand areas, although it does discourage many passengers from requesting rides.

As the Chronicle reports, the study, “Peeking Beneath the Hood of Uber,” looked at surge pricing in San Francisco and New York. Researchers collected data from December through May, but really focused on two weeks this past spring.

Here’s what they found:

  • Surge pricing compels many seasoned drivers to seek business in less active areas.
  • San Francisco has more surges than New York.
  • San Francisco’s surges peak at double the normal rate during morning rush hour, from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m.
  • Triple surge pricing sometimes occurs in San Francisco around 2:00 a.m., when bars close.
  • Surges in San Francisco can reach as high as 4.1 times the normal rate, although 1.5 times or less is more typical.
  • Because surges are short-lived, passengers willing to wait five minutes will probably see rates drop.

As expected, Uber disputes the study’s findings and methodology. Keith Chen, a UCLA professor currently working with Uber, told the Chronicle, “[Researchers] missed a lot of what surge pricing does with respect to supply,” noting that drivers were actually more likely to seek high-demand areas.

Uber plans to update its app so drivers will know whether they can make it to a surge area in time to cash in… (more)

Uber’s surge pricing backfires during Sydney hostage siege

Jennifer Booton : marketwatch – excerpt

Prices automatically surged as part of ‘peak demand’ policy

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Uber has found itself embroiled in yet another PR disaster: spiking prices as a hostage situation unfolded in Sydney, Australia…

Uber customers have long complained about Uber’s peak demand prices. But this is the first widely-reported instance where the hike has occurred during an emergency situation.

The app is facing extreme backlash from the move, with Twitter user Tyson Armstrong calling it a “shameful disgrace” and others using far harsher expletives. Uber responded to angry tweeters by saying that the surge pricing is automated. The fares, it said, were increased to “encourage more drivers to come online [and] pick up passengers in the area.”.

Uber “does not profit off crises,” it said…  Uber’s ‘surge pricing’ surprises some users: Variable-pricing model increases the rates for rides with the limo-booking service, surprising many New Year’s Eve revelers…(more)

Complaints About Uber Surge Pricing Caused The Better Business Bureau To Give The Company An ‘F’:  On Thursday, Uber received an “F” grade from the Better Business Bureau, the New York Times reports. It’s the lowest rating that the independent organization assigns to businesses… (more)

Uber’s #357 Crosstown L.A. Ride Highlights Controversial ‘Surge Pricing’… It wasn’t snowing; it wasn’t raining; it wasn’t New Year’s Eve. It just happened to be 7pm — not 9pm where most people are prime to go out nor 2 am when bars are closing. There was absolutely no excuse whatsoever to be charged the surge price — not even their “supply and demand” cop-out justification, which falls short in this instance. On a clear night with near-perfect weather and at least 10 Uber vehicles within my proximity at the time of the reservation, there was plenty of “supply.”… (more)

Uber CEO mocks ‘surge pricing’ complaints on Facebook(more)

While the surge pricing during the hostage crisis caught everyone’s eye, we know there are numerous complaints around the world. Send us your surge pricing stories, and copy them to Mayor Ed Lee and the supervisors:
Uber is so good with their computers, I am sure they can send a warning message to their customers during “surge times” to warn people before they accept the “surge price ride.”