The War Against Uber

… IS A WAR AGAINST FREE MARKETS The talented and lovely Jamie Murguia over at the S.C. Policy Council has an interesting piece up this week on Uber – the ride-sharing service that represents the very best of technological innovation, free market principles and environmental stewardship. Uber is a web-based…


The talented and lovely Jamie Murguia over at the S.C. Policy Council has an interesting piece up this week on Uber – the ride-sharing service that represents the very best of technological innovation, free market principles and environmental stewardship.

Uber is a web-based application that allows people to contract for transportation services and ride-sharing.  Founded in San Francisco in 2009, it recently launched in Greenville, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Have state officials welcomed Uber?  Hell no.  As Murguia points out in her piece, “the Office of Regulatory Staff issued a memo discouraging citizens from using the ride-sharing app because Uber vehicles and their drivers had not been properly inspected and licensed by the agency in the way traditional taxi cabs and their drivers are.”

ORS agents also infiltrated an Uber planning meeting in an attempt to “obtain information … regarding the driver/partner recruitment process.”

Meanwhile the City of Columbia, S.C. has announced a “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to Uber users.

“When officers detect or find (Uber) drivers that aren’t in compliance with city codes, they would be charged with whatever violations the officer finds, mainly the vehicle not being inspected and also the chauffeur’s permit, not having a chauffeur’s permit issued by the police department,” one CPD officer recently told local television station WLTX TV 19 (CBS – Columbia, S.C.).

Ah yes, “permits.”

Uber – which is worth an estimated $18.2 billion – said it had no problem covering the costs of “unjust” tickets.

“This is clearly an attempt to protect the taxi industry that has failed its customers in South Carolina,” a company spokesman said. “Preventing our driver partners from earning a living and getting people safely and reliably around town doesn’t just hurt the residents and visitors, it hurts the cities. Uber is providing safer and cheaper transportation options and we’re creating jobs throughout the state. We fully stand by our driver partners and will cover the cost of any unjust citation.”

Murguia said the Uber case highlights the backward perspective of government – which is always looking for ways to crack down on entrepreneurial activity rather than considering whether the regulations against it should be eliminated.

“The state could use Uber’s arrival in South Carolina as an opportunity to review industry regulations that most observers agree are outdated,” she wrote. “More competition always leads to better service and expanded economic activity.”

We agree …

Government should keep its hands off Uber.  Meanwhile our elected officials should start reviewing which regulations should stay – and which ones should go.  You know … instead of just pretending to do so.

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Jack's depth perception July 28, 2014 at 10:01 am

Girl and I dribbled out of the bar last Saturday night. Looked toward my ride then pulled up the Uber app on my phone. Was home 10 minutes later after the lovely and entertaining Miss Joyce picked us up in her Uber ride.

No cash, no tips, you get to rate your driver (keeping customer service high) and all is Uber awesome.

Dave Chappelle July 28, 2014 at 11:37 am

shhh…careful! You’re not following the plan!

Norma Scok July 28, 2014 at 11:50 am

Who pays for the gas, the car, the insurance etc if there is no cash/no tips?

easterndumbfuckastan July 28, 2014 at 12:02 pm

The drivers are paid via the app, electronic transfer. There is no physical cash involved and there are no tips. The price is based on demand so if there is a big demand during certain times of day the price goes up with demand.

shifty henry July 28, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Doesn’t Uber have something called a surge price increase during times such as sporting events, storms, and natural disasters? Or am I remembering this from something else?

easterndumbfuckastan July 28, 2014 at 12:33 pm

That’s the supply and demand part it’s called surge pricing. Anything that causes demand to go up will increase prices and all of the above drive demand, so. Here’s the excerpt from their FAQ.

With surge pricing, Uber rates increase to get more cars on the road and ensure reliability during the busiest times. When enough cars are on the road, prices go back down to normal levels. It’s important to know that you’ll always be notified in big, bold print if surge pricing is in effect. When rates are more than double, the surge confirmation screen also requires you to type in the specific surge multiplier to ensure you understand what rates to expect.

Just a fact of life July 28, 2014 at 10:21 am

That’s what government does the most/best, restrict choices. It’s all the name of protecting you, dear sheeple. They know better than you.

Cab background July 28, 2014 at 10:22 am

Brings to mind the Public Service Commission that decides whether or not a city needs a new cab company when the exclusive cab company for many years was owned by a VERY influential political family that has recently been making headlines again.

Or, in a nearby upstate town where the only allowed cab license came available. The successful bidder/applicant was the owner of the local DUI Insurance provider. Funny thing, he never opened the cab company so the DUI’s could keep on keepin on. Things may have changed a little since then but not all that much. Go UBER.

Big City Turn me loose... July 28, 2014 at 10:30 am

Hey I love the concept okay. But for decades these rides – minus the smartphones- were referred to as “gypsy cabs”. Nothing new, just easier to access.

My first boss sent me to New York once. His advice to me was “never get in a cab when the driver has those beaded seat covers”. Back then it meant gypsy cab. Really not sure what the deal was but I think of him every time I walk out of an airport and see those seat covers and do my best to avoid them.

CL July 28, 2014 at 10:38 am

New market, same story. Uber has dealt with this all over the country. Uber has had a great deal of success in combating this regulatory mess, because it offers a service people want. So when the taxi companies cannot get their buddies in the regulatory state to shut it down, they go to the courts.

Philip Branton July 28, 2014 at 11:39 am

Hmm……..wish the war on Lindsey and Scott and Clyburn and Sanford and Riley and Fossil OIL was this ….easy…….and gun-less………

shifty henry July 28, 2014 at 11:49 am

Monday morning and – I- just- can’t- stop- myself..!!


While out cruising the taxi driver misjudged a curve and drove his cab into a wall dividing the houses of a Mr. & Mrs. Smith and
a Mr. & Mrs. Balls. Thankfully, he was pulled out by the Smiths.


A passenger taps a taxi driver on his shoulder. The driver was so shocked that he shits in his pants, swerves nearly hitting a bus,
and stops inches from a shop window.

“Damn! Man, you’re jumpy aren’t you! I only tapped your shoulder,” says the passenger.

“Sorry,” says the cabby, “It’s my first day driving a taxi. I’ve
been driving a hearse for 20 years.”

Crooner July 28, 2014 at 12:02 pm

I have no problem with the government regulating business. I have a rental on IOP that I have to buy a “business license” for. But let’s not pretend that Uber is somehow evil or dangerous.
I’ve used them in larger cities for a couple of years. You usually get a nice car (town car or suburban) that is clean, smells good, and is in good shape. This is particularly nice in summer, when the taxis are hot and can’t deliver the AC through the opening in the bulletproof glass. Charges are made electronically through your pre-set up account. So there’s no arguing with the cabbie who wants your cash instead of your card so he can avoid paying his taxes.

tomstickler July 28, 2014 at 12:08 pm

And the Uber driver pays his/her taxes how?

Über User July 28, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Just like any other independent contractor.

Barry July 29, 2014 at 8:11 am

Yes, moron, let’s fret over how the government gets their cut. Fuck off.

shifty henry July 28, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Unlike some of the taxis in Columbia that show up at your door — best examples of putrid crapola ever encountered, and that includes a few of the drivers (I’m thinking of the Russian guy…) — wear bio-hazard coveralls when riding in one.

cuvinny July 28, 2014 at 1:23 pm

This has more to do with UberX which is just random people picking you up in their personal cars. Uber is an upscale care service.

RogueElephant July 28, 2014 at 12:27 pm

All this permitting and license BS serves only one purpose : keep the individual “in his place”. and the money where it should be. A through and complete audit of the regulatory process is in order and way over due. The auditors should not come from the entities being audited. Outside eyes would get a different and more realistic view.

truthmonger July 30, 2014 at 7:59 am

A few points about local laws and regulations that Uber wants everyone to forget:

1) Vehicle safety -making sure everything on the car works and doesn’t create a hazard. No “suicide rides” that endanger the public or the customers.

2) Insurance coverage -private insurance does NOT cover usage for business, which is what driving for Uber is.

3) Background checks -while not perfect, they provide some level of safety for the rider.

4) Business licensing -allows local governments some control over companies who fail to follow laws or create public nuisances/ hazards. Either Uber OR the individual drivers can obtain a license.

Uber is fine as long as their drivers subscribe to local laws.

RogueElephant July 30, 2014 at 11:56 am

“Uber is fine as long as their drivers subscribe to local laws.” Local laws designed to limit competition to a select group. Bought and paid for through crooked politicians who get “greased” by those the “protect.” This Uber thing is only one in a vast array of regulations designed to make life easier for the select few that control the politicians. My pet peeve are the building codes that basically forbid the individual from doing his own home repairs or additions. If a contractor is building a house for resale or speculation they need to adhere to all the ordinances and codes that apply. But if John Q. homeowner wants to add a bathroom or whatever he has to basically call a contractor. The number of rules and regulations are put in place to discourage the individual from saving money by doing the job himself. All bought and paid for by politicians for their cronies.

Michelle Godkin List July 28, 2014 at 12:51 pm

Since they are going through Uber, they are likely filing tax returns, but SC no longer requires inspections of private vehicles. That pretty town car might have bald tires or bad brakes, and lack adequate insurance; there is a reason vendors of public transport are regulated.

Regulated for your safety BS July 28, 2014 at 1:07 pm

They do of taxi companies though – got it? That’s their angle – we’re protecting the public. Ok, so just require Uber to have their contractors vehicles inspected. NO, too easy. We must have all these other requirements such as “Is there a real need for more taxis? Hmmm, lets have a commission decide that one.

Yep! July 28, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Don’t forget a study too, gotta have some Phd’s in the act proving their worth.

Joe July 28, 2014 at 5:44 pm

As a Uber driver you can request my car maintence record, my background check, my MVR, AND Uber commerical policy. I keep them all in my car ready for people to review them. Not all drivers do this however!

Liz Miller July 28, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Go to to try out Uber or Lyft for yourself! The website compares the two most popular ride-sharing services. $30, $25 of FREE ride credit for new passengers and up to $500 sign-up BONUS for new drivers!! Drivers can make as much as $40/hr! Hope you can see what all the hype is about :) Thanks!!!

shifty henry July 28, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Hellooooo, Liz..!! Would you be MY driver?

Liz Miller July 29, 2014 at 9:24 am

surely :)

shifty henry July 29, 2014 at 10:39 am

A drunk lady leapt into a taxi stark naked. Sachin, the Indian taxi driver made no attempt to drive off.

“What’s wrong with you, haven’t you ever seen a naked woman before?”

“I’ll not be staring at you lady, I am telling you that would not be proper, where I am coming from…”

“Well, if you’re not staring at me, what are you doing then?”

“Well, I am looking and looking, and I am thinking and thinking to myself, where is this lady keeping the money to be paying me with?!”

Liz Miller July 29, 2014 at 4:31 pm

ya, i’d give you a 1-star. no ride for the creep!

Michael47 July 28, 2014 at 10:35 pm

Read more about Uber here

Common sense July 29, 2014 at 6:02 am

Would you eat in a restaurant that didn’t get inspected? Anybody bother to read terms and conditions? You agree to: 1) give up you right to jury trial, 2) that uber does not assess (background checks) the driver or vehicle which may be dangerous and or offensive to minors, 3) uber gets to share your info with 3rd party advertisers, 4) all fares are non refundable regardless of the service, etc. READ THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS ! I can’t believe anyone would agree to all the disclaimers !

Dave Chappelle July 29, 2014 at 8:49 am

“I can’t believe anyone would agree to all the disclaimers!”
Well, I am pretty sure you must be shocked by many things in life. Seriously, would you like to take a gander at how many existing services and products you, yourself, interact with that have similar “box top” or “shrink wrap” license agreements? It is absolutely nonsensical for a company to conduct business without such disclaimers.
Surely you have made an online payment? “Check box to agree to terms and conditions”


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