sexta-feira, 29 de abril de 2016

O dia em que os taxistas prometem parar Lisboa e Porto contra a Uber

 A propósito da necessidade imperativa de melhorar o nível de atendimento dos táxis ...
Notícia de 24 Janeiro 2013 ...
Embaixador da Irlanda pede a António Costa para educar os taxistas lisboetas
BRUNO SIMÕES | | 24 Janeiro 2013,
Declan O’Donovan disse ao presidente da Câmara de Lisboa que já andou de táxi em todo o mundo e que não encontrou taxistas como os portugueses.
( …) o embaixador irlandês começou por dizer que Lisboa “é uma cidade magnífica”, com um “óptimo turismo”. O embaixador sublinhou que viaja, na capital, de “metro, de comboio, de autocarro”.
Depois desta introdução, O’Donovan fez um pedido inesperado a Costa: “pode fazer alguma coisa para educar os taxistas?”. O embaixador sustentou que conheceu alguns em “Nova Iorque, Nova Deli, Goa, Bombaim, Londres, Dublin, Tóquio, Varsóvia”, e em nenhum desses locais viu taxistas como os portugueses.

Declan O’Donovan sugeriu que esse programa educativo pudesse resolver alguns problemas “terríveis”. Costa, que se riu com a pergunta, foi telegráfico a responder. “É uma excelente sugestão. Ainda esta semana a AR aprovou um novo diploma que regula o acesso à actividade de taxista, e acho que isso vai criar boas oportunidades para podermos melhorar o serviço de táxis na cidade de Lisboa”.

A propósito da do sentido de "partilha" da UBER e da AIRBNB ...

What’s Yours Is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy by Tom Slee review – the problem with Airbnb and Uber
The most significant examples of what used to be called the ‘sharing economy’ are giant corporations pursuing monopoly power – what exactly is being shared?
Steven Poole
Saturday 2 April 2016 07.30 BST

‘Sharing” is one of the most rhetorically abused virtues of the age. First we had the euphemism “file-sharing”, for duplicating and uploading copies of albums or films to the internet. Well, you can’t share what isn’t yours in the first place. (If I pilfer money from a bank and give it to my friends, I might plead that I was just “money-sharing”, but I am more likely to be convicted of robbery.) And now we supposedly have a “sharing economy”, the most-often cited two examples of which – Uber and Airbnb – are giant corporations pursuing monopoly power and fighting governments the world over. What exactly is being shared here, and in whose interest?
The first “sharing economy” organisations allowed members to timeshare things such as cars or power tools, rather than owning one each and leaving it idle most of the time. In their purest form such groups were “peer-to-peer”: self-organising, with no central authority. Once a for-profit company is set up to handle the logistics – such as Zipcar – however, the notion of “sharing” is arguably already out of the window. Still, there remained the kernel of a communitarian idea in the origin of Airbnb, founded by two tech workers who rented out airbeds in their spare rooms for a conference, and thought there might be a market.
Airbnb’s marketing still plays on the feelings of virtuous and adventurous sociability in the idea of a “guest” staying in a spare room of the “host’s” home. Yet, as Tom Slee’s superbly argued book points out, the vast majority of Airbnb’s business is now “entire home” rentals: self-contained flats or villas. Long-term renters in cities such as San Francisco are being forced out by landlords who see more profit in short-term Airbnb stays. Slee performs some very clever data research and finds out that the most expensive Airbnb apartment in Rome is one of several European luxury pads rented out by an American tech entrepreneur, who bought them with the proceeds of the sale of his last software company. The idea of “sharing” is as meaningless here as it is in Uber’s made-up concept of “ride-sharing”, which sounds as ecologically minded as “car-sharing” but actually describes a taxi service. Nor is any “sharing” going on with companies such as TaskRabbit, in which people bid to perform other people’s odd jobs.
What is explicitly not shared by any of the poster children of the “sharing economy” is responsibility. When something goes horribly wrong with an Airbnb or Uber transaction, the companies just say: “It wasn’t me.” (The mega-corporation is purportedly neither buyer nor seller but innocent middleman.) Slee has a brilliant chapter on how star-rating “reputation systems” between users simply don’t work, because people feel bad about giving low ratings even when they are amply deserved, so they all cluster between four and five. Instead, trust has to be enforced by authoritarian surveillance and discipline imposed by the company itself. Even so, the companies insist that they are not even providing a service; the websites and apps are just a “communications platform” to link buyers and sellers. (Even as they price-gouge the sellers, with Uber taking increasingly large cuts of up to 30% of a fare.) Nor, notoriously, does Uber consider its drivers to be employees to whom they would owe responsibilities: they are instead “independent contractors”.
What all these artificial constructions amount to for Uber, Airbnb and the like is an attempt to bypass laws enacted over decades precisely in order to protect both renters and landlords, taxi drivers and passengers. Impressed by their popularity and financial clout, most lawmakers bend over backwards to accommodate them. Helpfully, California passed a special law recognising Uber and its competitors as “Transportation Network Companies”. In the face of complaints by London’s black-cab drivers, the high court ruled last year that an Uber driver’s smartphone is not a “taximeter” because the measurement of mileage through GPS signals and the calculation of the fare are done over the internet. This might strike some as a perversely creative refusal to acknowledge the plain meaning of the relevant legislation. The full definition of “taximeter” in the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act of 1998 reads: “In this section ‘taximeter’ means a device for calculating the fare to be charged in respect of any journey by reference to the distance travelled or time elapsed since the start of the journey (or a combination of both).”

None of this is to say that profitable pseudo-“sharing” operations cannot be set up to work in the best interests of everyone. The introduction of Paris’s cycle-hire scheme Vélib’ in 2007 was a great boon for residents of the city, and it now also has Autolib’, a very successful similar operation for electric cars. In the meantime, lots of us will continue to use Uber, too. To criticise it is not the sole preserve of people who are unqualified admirers of London cabbies’ high fares and habit of driving past in the rain. Slee points out, rightly, that his arguments are not about whether he or his readers actually use these services. In modern times we have been miseducated to believe that consumer choice is all-powerful, but the idea that consumers exercising their sovereign right to choose will always lead to the best outcomes is obviously in the interest of corporations seeking to escape official regulation. So, Slee uses Airbnb himself but backs the city authorities seeking to regulate it more tightly; and there is no contradiction in taking an Uber home from a party while wishing the company were better behaved. Only the law can force it to be so.

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