Friday, December 04, 2015

Uber

Miss a day's posting and you blog is on the downhill slide. That is rubbish of course. But I didn't post anything today so here later is something that has been in the back of my mind for some time.

A Uber (it seems so wrong to not type 'an Uber') driver was today fined by the courts after undercover Taxi Directorate officers successful caught him operating illegally. Here is my view.

At some point in the distant past the laissez faire taxi business became so bad and dysfunctional for users that politicians found the need to regulate the industry. The taxi industry is now highly, albeit not so effectively, regulated. I see this as quite a good reason why Uber should not operate. If it was judged in the past that hiring cars for personal transport caused problems for society, then why allow a new system of unregulated hire cars to operate? Uber has to either be regulated or not be allowed to operate.

While if we were in a house, we probably would have solar panels on our roof and perhaps some kind of tank to collect roof water run off for the garden, again, I believe in the collective good. In the mid twentieth century, many people still had water tanks and still dealt with their own sewerage generation. Governments set up electricity supply departments, gas supply departments, water supply departments, telephone supply departments, sewerage collection piping systems and mail delivery departments.  Classically train and tram systems were brought into to government fold. Why? Because there was a need and it led to cheaper prices and better service than what the private operators offered. Private operation of these essential supplies failed.

Now many have been privatised and if not, they have been corporatised. Has this led to better service? In some ways yes, but at what cost? We taxpayers subsidise so many of these former government departments at such a great cost, so we may as well own them as taxpayers.

The latest newspaper headlines told how the public service has been reduced with a large saving to taxpayers funding, yet more than the public service bill reductions has been spent on private consultants.

Private enterprise is very good at supplying consumer wants, but not so good at supplying consumer essentials for the very obvious reason that private enterprise operates to make a profit.

Capital needs to be kept in a heavy government reign and not allowed to operate laissez faire. It disgusts me that so few high flyers paid any penalty for the Global Financial Crisis, which would have never happened if governments had their eyes on the ball and some control over the game.

16 comments:

  1. maybe I'm wrong, but I still think the basic utilities should have been kept under Government administration. Far too many people now are unable to pay the very high costs of electricity and phone bills. Even cutting back on usage doesn't help a lot, because the biggest component of these bills is the "supply charge" which has more than doubled in the past few years.
    Taxis? Uber needs to be regulated, just like all the others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are not wrong River. My mother who is trapped because she is behind in her electric bill pays around 30c per kilowatt hour, whereas we pay around 21 cents as long as we pay on time. Her fault yes, and each quarter the company gives her a $65 credit to her balance. Nevertheless, that is so wrong that the poor pay more and the more comfortable like us pay less.

      Delete
    2. Does she have to stay trapped? Can you help her contact the company and get the account changed to a pensioner discount one? Are you able to scrounge around relatives and get that bill paid off so she can start over? It's a big ask, but if it helps...
      I've sometimes helped out my kids when they've got behind on something, and now my girl is copying my advance payment method whenever she can afford to.

      Delete
    3. River, I could easily pay off her bill, but I am not ATM for Mother. I lent her $100 and I have not seen it back. I gave her $40 towards a cortisone injection but she has decided against it now. No return of the $40. Now she wants money for a plumber to fix a dripping tap. R said I should tell her to put the $40 unspent towards the plumber. I don't know the dollar figure, but I know Sister gives her a good amount of money at times. We pay her council rates and HBA cost, which she has never used. We children have agreed to pay for any major appliance breakdown cost. ABI Brother calls her to account on every cent. Tradie Brother is generous to her at times, in his own manner. Mother will milk us until we say no and now, we are saying no.

      Delete
  2. I don't know much about Uber...
    Privatisation isn't necessarily a good thing though...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margaret, privatisation is what governments do to distance themselves from responsibility and break down conditions for workers. There are so many examples of where privatisation has failed and even of services that have always been private and have never delivered good service.

      Delete
  3. River is spot on. Now that Aimee has her own home and the bills that come with it she is astounded by the service charge/actual use ratio of cost. I don't understand Uber, why do we need it anyway!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grace, the service charges are high but they weren't, if there was one at all, back when government owned these utilities. Uber users argue that the taxi service is so bad, that they are offering a good service at a cheaper price.

      Delete
    2. I've just checked my last bill (account in credit no payment required) and the supply charge is $68!!

      Delete
    3. Yep River, you are smart about such things. I wish my mother was.

      Delete
  4. We have high electric costs here, but only one choice for a power supplier. Many people,myself included at a couple points, have been forced to do without power, if it gets high. Although the power company is privately owned, there is no competition at all. They do what they want.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Strayer, I don't know if your power company was ever government owned, but when ours was, it was a good service. Now we can choose from many suppliers but they are all much the same.

      Delete
  5. Privatisation is one of my bug-bears. Private isn't necessarily better. Or cheaper (think the cost of private schools for example). You are right. I think it is too often used as a quick money grab or a cop-out. By all flavours of government.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EC, the operation of VLine, our country train service, was privately run until the company ditched its hands of it and walked away and it is now back to being government run, with improved service and probably at a cheaper price for taxpayers.

      Delete
  6. I see my predictions about about these privately funded "colleges" has come true with many students losing their money and will not be carers, masseurs or wait staff. Loads of government money went into these places and disappeared. Did I read somewhere that Myki is being re-done again? And I still want to know why de-salination water is not used on parks, gardens and sportsfields. It's up and running, use it. The Liberal gov refused to use it because Labor spent too much money on it, well now they've gone, let's use it.
    I pay direct debit for power, gas and water and I don't have to worry about heat in winter or my air-con.
    As for taxis, I've been giving a small tip to my regular drivers for years so I get excellent service.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jah Teh, don't forget hairdressers. Apparently there was in the past a great shortage of them in Australia. Yes, the taxpayers money that has gone into rip off private colleges is a disgrace. Taxpayers money that goes into private schools is a disgrace, especially religious schools. With our bigger than Ben Hur desal plant, there won't be a shortage of water in Victoria for a very long time. I would suggest we can even return to watering our concrete. Ok, the water will cost, but your point is sound. There is plenty of water for public gardens and sports fields.

      Direct debit for utilities? You are making me afraid. Funnily, though I refused direct debit for electricity, the still gave us the same 2% discount on top of the 28% for paying on time.

      Yep, get a thing happening with your local taxi drivers and you will be fine. Err, I don't mean you have to 'come across', so to speak.

      Delete