Muffled in the Hamptons, Uber Makes Some Noise – The New York Times

“Understandably, Mr. Kopoulos is not thrilled that he pays annual fees of more than $4,000 to the town for his six cars and that Uber takes much of his summer business.

“They should have respect for the local drivers,” he said. “They tried to take over. They had 500 cars and no permits. I have a place where I park my cars. I have office space at 62 Newtown Lane. Uber doesn’t have any of that.” ”

via Muffled in the Hamptons, Uber Makes Some Noise – The New York Times.

Consumer alert. Avoid the Hamptons, unless you have your own private transportation.  The town is in a war with Uber and shut it down, because they didn’t get a cut of the action. Many of the cab companies are dumps famous for overcharging, and gypsy cabs are often pirates too. The Hamptons, a good place not to go.

Some cities and towns have allowed cab companies to overcharge, because they are taking huge fees to license the cab companies. They haven’t, at least in New Haven, ever bothered to get the system to work for the consumer. Some cities and towns probably deserve to be cut out of the loop, by the Uber solution. The huge fees municipalities charge cab companies and licensed operators are a hidden tax to the consumer.

On the other hand, the cities and towns have to maintain the roads and police so cabs can roll. Can cities and towns gently get a financial compromise from Uber, that doesn’t feel like a shakedown of both the company, and its happy riders? This debate and tug of war is interesting and worth watching.

There is a good consumer argument in my mind, that other, more general taxes and fees go to cover the cost of roads and police. In the US, we should, as environmentalists, want our taxes to encourage the use of public transportation. Cabs are probably better than everyone driving in their own cars everywhere, so we want to encourage their use, and make sure they are an excellent value. That is the Uber advantage apparently.

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