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Old 15th December 2014, 20:01   #556
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Originally Posted by rrsteer View Post
Why can't the algorithm have a cognitive computing input like - IBM watson- which at all times culls through real time news based on GPS co-ordinates and accordingly feeds the algorithm.
Yeah let's also have robots with cognitive intelligence in shopping malls instead of humans. While nothing is impossible , the question is, is it viable financially and effort wise given the current state of technology?

They offered refund to those who were charged and offered free rides to the people. I don't know what the fuss is all about.
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Old 15th December 2014, 20:02   #557
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Uber's Bengaluru office raided by police today

Source link: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/c...w/45523754.cms

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BANGALORE: Uber's Bangalore office was raided in the afternoon by RTO officials.

The company said they were availing services through 3500 cabs in Bangalore but cannot share the details of driver database because such databases are with their headquarters in the US. The RTOs ordered closure of the website and said if bookings are made through Uber app, they will come down heavily on the drivers and the company.

Company has been given time to produce more information about their ops in Bangalore.
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Old 16th December 2014, 03:34   #558
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And how do you propose the algorithm does that? I am sorry but this is arguing just for the heck of it.
It is actually not that hard and not unique. Many toll roads in US and I am sure in other places have demand based toll. The toll increases when there are congestion in the non-toll lanes and decreases to default amount during off-peak hours. It is done through significant transportation modelling where the maximum propensity to pay is determined through surveys and actual usage data. I have seen the toll varying from 0.50 in off-peak hours to almost $5.00 during bumper to bumper traffic.
I am sure Uber is also modifying their algorithms based on these mishaps. Otherwise you will always have a "divide by zero" error
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Old 16th December 2014, 08:47   #559
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HOWEVER, end of the day I still pay only a little more than an Auto-rickshaw. So I wonder what's Mr.Officer is trying to fix here and only lot's of greased palms comes to my mind
His argument resonates with the arguments in a lot of European countries as well - this is treading on the antitrust and Competiton Acts territory. Uber is operating at an operational loss currently just like many other VC-funded online marketplaces, thanks to the funds from the venture capitalists. Hence they are able to provide rates that are cheaper than the break-even point of an unaffiliated ordinary cab driver. With such a model, it would gradually wipe out the competition and attain the monopoly in the segment. After this, the public would be forced to pay whatever they demand since there are no other options left. In case a competitor comes, Uber with its deep pockets can provide lower rates again till the time the competition is wiped out and again switch to higher rates.

Here, the public started crying when they were charged higher rates for a few hours. Imagine that becoming the norm. Once Uber is legalized in any country and then they increase the rates arbitrarily, public would start blaming the government for it along with Uber since that is the easiest thing to do.

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Originally Posted by acurafan View Post
I am sure Uber is also modifying their algorithms based on these mishaps. Otherwise you will always have a "divide by zero" error
Can it be done?
Yes

Is it financially justifiable?
Unlikely, since it involves considerable natural language processing to understand what constitutes an emergency and the extent of areas are impacted. Do we know for sure the increased toll charges in the toll roads in US are not going to be charged in case of any calamity or emergency and that it is done automatically without human intervention? They have enough officials in charge of each toll road and hence they can very well turn off the surge-pricing in case of emergency manually. Even if it is automated, just because an agency funded by US government was able to do it doesn't make it financially viable or cheaper to implement. These are not free/open source implementation that we are talking about.

Is financial viability an issue for Uber?
Not much

Is Uber likely to do it?
Very unlikely considering the instances they've stepped on the wrong side of the law across the globe.

Last edited by zenren : 16th December 2014 at 08:56.
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Old 16th December 2014, 10:02   #560
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The company said they were availing services through 3500 cabs in Bangalore but cannot share the details of driver database because such databases are with their headquarters in the US.
If Uber can't share the drivers list, how Police even investigate crime cases here? Or when the case is reported in newspaper, Uber CEO decides to co-operate with police? Uber has to follow local rules, if they plan do business here.
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But it is also an inherently more efficient model. The typical Bombay Kaali Peeli driver spends most of his day waiting at stands, and also goes in for several short haul routes.
A curious question, why doesn't Uber sign up Kaali Peeli drivers, offer them technology and offer customers better service?
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Just don't expect them to verify the character of each of their drivers - policing is a job for the police, not for the private sector. It's time the cops ensure that people with criminal records can't get or renew commercial driver's licenses, and all driver's licenses are linked to Aadhar.
Agree, policing is job of police. Then there concept of rehabilitation, which is the re-integration of convicted person into society. Anybody with valid license & permit to drive and good conduct must not be denied the opportunity to earn a living.
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New scam: Personal cars masquerading as taxis.
Similar to Uber running long distance taxis as local taxi
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Originally Posted by rrsteer View Post
Why can't the algorithm have a cognitive computing input like - IBM watson- which at all times culls through real time news based on GPS co-ordinates and accordingly feeds the algorithm.
Uber is there to provide simple taxi service to people. They are not into hiring Computer Science PHDs and providing them with 5 year research grants to work on interesting problems.
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Originally Posted by poloman View Post
In the midst of the armed hostage crisis in a Lindt cafe in Sydney’s busy city district, taxi-hailing app Uber, which was earlier charging users in central Sydney a minimum $100 fare as demand exceeded supply, has now gone into damage control mode and is offering free rides out of Sydney's Central Business District.
Whats wrong there? People want to get out fast and there is a price. Note that the cab driver is risking his life too. How about public transport, did they run more service to affected area to get people out?

Last edited by msdivy : 16th December 2014 at 10:06.
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Old 16th December 2014, 10:32   #561
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Whats wrong there? People want to get out fast and there is a price. Note that the cab driver is risking his life too. How about public transport, did they run more service to affected area to get people out?
Quite a few things are wrong here. If they do not wish to risk their life they should simply refuse. Is their life worth those extra money that they are charging? By your logic, paying bribe to get your passport done or licence made or any other service in time is ok.

The cab driver is just doing his duty and not obliging any customer. He has right to refuse as it is a risk zone but he has no right to take up this opportunity to blackmail.
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Old 16th December 2014, 10:42   #562
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Originally Posted by JoseVijay View Post
Uber's Bengaluru office raided by police today

Source link: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/c...w/45523754.cms
Is Uber banned in Bangalore? Really ? I have yet to come across any concrete news of the same. I can see the cabs are still available - less but available.
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Old 16th December 2014, 11:01   #563
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Quite a few things are wrong here. If they do not wish to risk their life they should simply refuse. Is their life worth those extra money that they are charging? By your logic, paying bribe to get your passport done or licence made or any other service in time is ok.

The cab driver is just doing his duty and not obliging any customer. He has right to refuse as it is a risk zone but he has no right to take up this opportunity to blackmail.
Couple of points here:

They may not be putting their life at risk but more likely, it is their cab that they are putting at risk of damage. In that case, the extra money is similar to the insurance premium for damages to the vehicle. No customer is going to pay for the damages to a hired vehicle in case of a mob-violence happening as part of his journey.

We have government orders that define the rate per km in transport sector. These rates are arrived at considering the break-even costs and the minimum profit needed for the cab operators to have a livelihood out of it, assuming zero funding elsewhere. If someone is not adhering to those rates and offers it at lesser rates, no one complains. Hence those folks do not have the moral ground to complain in case of the higher rates too. Overall, it would average out. Those who pay less with Uber on a regular basis and saves money are only giving up a fraction of that savings in case of these one-off surge pricing. If they don't like the model of surge-pricing on moral/ethical grounds, they should opt for regular cabs even when Uber is cheaper.
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Old 16th December 2014, 11:11   #564
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If they don't like the model of surge-pricing on moral/ethical grounds, they should opt for regular cabs even when Uber is cheaper.
In that case why did Uber backtracked later? Was their 'surge pricing' not justified then?

I guess that such surge pricing policy is meant for peak hours or rush seasons and not during crisis.
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Old 16th December 2014, 11:18   #565
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Originally Posted by sourabhzen View Post
Quite a few things are wrong here. If they do not wish to risk their life they should simply refuse. Is their life worth those extra money that they are charging?
That decision is to be made by the cab driver.
Quote:
By your logic, paying bribe to get your passport done or licence made or any other service in time is ok.
There is price for faster service, like tatkal. I am not saying you pay bribe but you have to pay tatkal charges.
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The cab driver is just doing his duty and not obliging any customer.
It is not his duty, but his business. He can refuse. It becomes his duty only when he accepts the ride.
Quote:
He has right to refuse as it is a risk zone but he has no right to take up this opportunity to blackmail.
It is not blackmailing but Uber surge pricing in action. Driver has no control in pricing.
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Originally Posted by sourabhzen View Post
I guess that such surge pricing policy is meant for peak hours or rush seasons and not during crisis.
Great that they are offering free rides. As a responsible company, Uber must reverse the extra money collected due to surge pricing. But you can't blame algorithm for that. Algorithm has no knowledge of hostage crisis.

Last edited by msdivy : 16th December 2014 at 11:24.
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Old 16th December 2014, 11:20   #566
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Originally Posted by sourabhzen View Post
In that case why did Uber backtracked later? Was their 'surge pricing' not justified then?

I guess that such surge pricing policy is meant for peak hours or rush seasons and not during crisis.
Well said. A crisis situation calls for humane measures, not an opportunity to loot the other party. In the name of business, basic humanity should not be forgotten.

Uber got a lot of bad press in the Australian online and social media for this, and then went on to deactivate surge pricing.
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Old 16th December 2014, 11:21   #567
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Default re: Review: Uber Premium Taxi Service

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In that case why did Uber backtracked later? Was their 'surge pricing' not justified then?

I guess that such surge pricing policy is meant for peak hours or rush seasons and not during crisis.
The point is that the issue is the extent of surge and the company.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the issue here is that the system raises rates to get more ubers on the road (trying to match supply to demand), as opposed to us bargaining individually with cabbies and hating them individually. Uber is seen as being profiteering (given their public positioning) over and over again. Thus the instant public backlash.

Surely they can have surge monitoring - if something suddenly surges when it shouldnt (in this case), a global team can look up google / twitter (news breaks in real time - faster than uber's rate ramp ups) and decide how high it should surge.

This isn't rocket science. A 40 bn company should be able to manage it better.

Else they are only one app install away from oblivion (just as one click to FB killed myspace!).

Having said that, they are the ideal embodiment of market forces raising supply to meet demand. Kudos to them for working things out so well (except the pricing!).

Last edited by phamilyman : 16th December 2014 at 11:22.
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Old 16th December 2014, 11:33   #568
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Originally Posted by zenren View Post
His argument resonates with the arguments in a lot of European countries as well - this is treading on the antitrust and Competiton Acts territory. Uber is operating at an operational loss currently just like many other VC-funded online marketplaces, thanks to the funds from the venture capitalists. Hence they are able to provide rates that are cheaper than the break-even point of an unaffiliated ordinary cab driver. With such a model, it would gradually wipe out the competition and attain the monopoly in the segment. After this, the public would be forced to pay whatever they demand since there are no other options left. In case a competitor comes, Uber with its deep pockets can provide lower rates again till the time the competition is wiped out and again switch to higher rates.
There's no question on their disruptive operating model. However do you want us to believe that the RTO is going behind them for that reason? I would have believed if they had gone behind the Black-Yellow Autos and Taxis for over-charging, not using meters, refusal to offer service etc.

It's ridiculous to imagine that one day Uber will gain so much market share in India that they'll be able to manipulate pricing (+Surge Pricing) fleecing the customer. India is price sensitive, irrespective of target audience. It'll be interesting to see how the surge pricing is accepted in India. I for one, move to the next app if I see the Uber thunderbolt
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Old 16th December 2014, 11:45   #569
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I see another problem with handheld GPS as part of safety measure. Uber provides a locked iPhone to its drivers.

The drivers are free to switch cars and make use of personal cars instead of a licensed taxi to carry passengers especially inter-state carriage to make some quick money.

What I am thinking off is to use a taxi to register with multiple app based carriers and then use a personal car for the same.

The customer will not complain as there are no taxes when a personal car is being used and also if a customer complains to the driver, there could be an excuse that the taxi broke down and a personal car was managed or if the customer refuses, the cabby can also inform the app based service provider that the cab broke down !

I would anytime prefer a fixed GPS devise based operator after this mishap !
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Old 16th December 2014, 11:50   #570
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As a responsible company, Uber must reverse the extra money collected due to surge pricing. But you can't blame algorithm for that. Algorithm has no knowledge of hostage crisis.
Yes they did, but first they defended their surge pricing. It was only after public backlash that they reverted back to normal pricing.

There are humans who are operating those 'algorithm' based machines. It would not have been a big deal for Uber to make amendments in the systems to prevent surge pricing, only if they wanted to.

Anyways, I do not subscribe to being profit oriented even if the situation demands a more humane approach to a situation.
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