A rape allegedly happened in an Uber cab in national capital of India and then Delhi Police (DP) put its attention on the operating procedure of Uber In Delhi. DP determined that Uber is not following established rules for Taxi operations and thus they banned Uber and other mobile app based companies that does not conform to the rules. Union home ministry also wrote to all states asking them to consider banning Uber and other such services till they are within the ambit of law.
This whole saga divided online world in two camps.
At one end is people like me who inherently distrusts E commerce model due to its opaque model of financing, predatory discounts, unwillingness to follow local laws and similar such offences. Many like me do not like overarching stand of these US businesses. [See Hindu link at end].
At other end are Uber apologists who are apparently the preachers and followers of new economy and distastes everything old. Here I am presenting a biased piece to discredit the arguments put forward by these apologists against the ban enforced by DP against these companies. Enjoy reading and let me know your opinion.
- Uber Apologists
- Who are They?
- Arguments against the ban by GOI on unregulated & unregistered taxi services
- Why these arguments does not hold water?
- Links and resources
- News about incident
- Uber detractors
- Uber Apologists
- Uber Economy
Who are They?
- Disgruntled folks fed up of corruption and thus willing to give chance to anyone
- Investors in these new era app based taxi services
- Journalists opaquely employed by VC funds backing Uber
- Business newspapers dependent on masters of VC funds backing Uber
- Stupid technology people who are under impression that Uber is david against the goliath of taxi operators
- Discount shoppers who will go with any service which offers temporary discount
Arguments against the ban by DP on unregulated & unregistered taxi services
Primary argument is that real problem is rape, not the Uber. They argue that Uber and other should be allowed to operate freely in the name of free economy and to allow apparently cheaper and better services. For the fault of a serial offender driver employed by them, they cannot be held responsible.
Another argument being put forward is that system is corrupt and existing operators have bribed to keep taxi rentals high. Uber etc have broken the stranglehold of these existing operators on local market.
A weaker argument is that why Delhi police allowed them to operate them till now. Its unfair to ban them outright just after one incident. There is so much corruption in country and Uber is singled out for unfair treatment.
Why these arguments does not hold water?
Uber is no small company nor are they completely honest or innocent. They aren’t NGO. They deserve no sympathy. As of today, it has been valued at $40B, hence there is no need to feel anything sorry about it as it is not getting unfairly treated because of its small size, They have top notch lawyers under their wings to defend themselves. Middle class need not feel sorry about their plight. Its an MNC backed by fairly deep pocket VC funds with deep contacts in regulatory circles. They do not offer cheap rates also if we go by their surge pricing model which may go more than 2x which is steeper than what an autorickshaw driver demands. How they are different than fleecing operators who changes prices based on demand? Their lower prices are many a times due to bypassing many rules. Their predatory prices will put many local businesses out of market after which no one will stop them from raising prices.
Uber has been banned for flouting rules not due to rape incident. They have not registered themselves as taxi operator in various cities even though working as taxi service. Their background check processes is almost non-existent. They do not follow regulations for radio taxi services. Uber claims to be a ride sharing service but there is no non-professional driver in their India network. RBI has already rapped them for breaking credit card transaction norms and forced them to comply by bringing PayTM on board which they did begrudgingly while claiming that they are compliant but less convenient.
In many jurisdictions around the world, they have been partially or fully banned for similar reasons including in Germany, Netherlands, Spain, USA, Thailand and Singapore. New delhi is no exception. In fact, GOI should be applauded for not behaving like big brother and allowing them to operate till no problems surfaced despite numerous complaints by incumbents.
Uber user safety is at god’s mercy. They only rely on TECHINT and ignore HumanINT completely. Even though they advertise themselves as safer than others, its only a sentimental pitch. Legally, they absolve themselves from any consequences through their big ToS. [CNET link below]. They assume no responsibility for User safety. Passengers are responsible for any incidents. Unlike traditional operators who go beyond the mandatory police verifications by ensuring that only known and blemishless drivers are employed in their fleet, Uber has no team to ensure that. During verification, they satisfies themselves by looking at documents. Most of MNCs operating in India get extensive background check done on their staffers before employing them. In case of contract staff, it is responsibility of sub contractor to ensure good behaviour. Such human intervention ensures that known offenders are away from job market. A serial offender getting employed with Uber and they having no idea about is a shocking fact for a public transportation provider.
Uber being allowed to ply earlier does not mean they cannot be booked now. A lame argument being put forward is that why government was sleeping till now. This is diversionary trick played by propaganda masters to move discussion towards general law and order rather than towards the fault of Uber. By this logic, most of the criminals should never be convicted. Most of them are not getting caught at first crime or doing it spontaneously. Now that GOI is doing correct thing by recognizing that system failed to act earlier, why apologists have issues? Its a different case if government does not act on its own officers to allow this menace to grow so big. That should be separately pursued.
Links and resources
News about incident
- https://twitter.com/stevesi/status/542030479055011840 / https://medium.com/@sriramk/in-defense-of-uber-in-india-f81c4c6267f2