back to article Uber 'does not exist any more' says Turkish president

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has declared that Uber is “finished” in the nation and not long afterwards local authorities started finding ride-sharing operators. Erdoğan is currently on the campaign trail and in a Friday, June 1st, speech said “This thing called Uber emerged. That business is finished. That does not …

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  1. John Savard Silver badge

    Alternative

    If the value of taxi licenses issued by the government has diminished, surely the government could issue refunds.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Alternative

      Refunds? From a government and for license fees? That would be a first....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Alternative

        in Australia our government had to refund people because they had charged too much for insurance.

        They actually CHARGED people a fee to refund them the money they had overcharged them in the first place. Their excuse was it cost them money to process the refunds and "someone" had to pay for it.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          NYC medallions

          Weren't those issued in fixed numbers by the city decades ago, so the city didn't make anything off the price increases?

          I don't know if Istanbul's situation is similar, but even if anyone could be a taxi driver if there are rules they have to obey that Uber skirts around like they do elsewhere, one can see why the drivers are upset.

          In a lot of places AFAIK they basically work for themselves, and thus keep all their profit. If Uber comes along and undercuts them (because the billions of dollars Uber loses subsidizes lower prices to try to drive out taxis) then they have to make less, and if people prefer Uber for the convenience of using an app they have to drive for Uber and make even less. Again, one could see why the taxi drivers were upset.

          Erdogan is acting kind of Trump-like (or rather Trump acts very much like a strongman dictator) in that he's basically 'protectionist' to prevent people from having their jobs displaced as things change in the world around them. Not that I respect Uber at all as a company, but traditional taxi drivers are ALL going to lose their jobs someday - if not to Uber, eventually to self driving cars that will be taxis without drivers.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: NYC medallions

            "Not that I respect Uber at all as a company, but traditional taxi drivers are ALL going to lose their jobs someday - if not to Uber, eventually to self driving cars that will be taxis without drivers."

            In the case of London cabbies, attempts _by_ london cabbies to setup electronic booking and ride hailing systems in order to compete not only with Uber but also minicabs were sabotaged by other London cabbies - who in some cases acted quite violently against those moving with the times.

            Talk about cutting yer own froat.

            1. anothercynic Silver badge

              Re: NYC medallions

              Hailo didn't do itself favours by communicating badly with the drivers, but at the same time, the London cabbies are an obstinate bunch anyway. *sigh*

            2. macjules Silver badge

              Re: NYC medallions

              I once got an Uber with a driver called Chris Dibbler. I did not ask him how he managed to make ends meat.

            3. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

              Re: NYC medallions

              It's the crab bucket.

      2. Symon Silver badge
        Terminator

        Re: Alternative

        "Refunds? From a government and for license fees? That would be a first...."

        Actually, no it wouldn't. Arnie did it in 2004.

        "Six hundred million dollars worth of refund checks will start flowing Friday to California motorists who registered their cars before Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger rolled back state vehicle license fees."

        http://articles.latimes.com/2004/jan/28/local/me-dmv28

      3. mintus55

        Re: Alternative

        the british government did refund water taxis when westminster bridge was erected

      4. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Alternative

        If we're going that far back, in 1833 the British government paid out twenty million pounds to compensate slave owners who were now forced to free their slaves.

        This money of course was paid by the British taxpayer, but fortunately we finished paying that debt off a whole three years ago. Yes, if you paid UK taxes in 2015, you were helping pay off money that was used to compensate those poor, hard done to, slave owners.

        If you'd like to know exactly who that money was paid to, you can look through the records here. Here's David Cameron's great grand-uncle for example.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Notas Badoff Silver badge

      Re: Alternative

      Think "speculation". The classic case of New York 'medallions' had the 'value' of a taxi medallion range from $25,000 (1962) to $375,000 (2005) to $1,000,000 (2013) to supposedly $200,000 today.

      The price of a thing in limited supply (medallions/licenses) depends on the market. The government had nothing (and everything) to do with that speculation, at least in this system.

      Unlike some other government systems, which figure the public purse ought to take advantage of speculation. "Hong Kong began license-plate auctioning in 1973"

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good. Lyft, Uber & their ilk suck arse.

    They think their employees are "independant contractors" & thus they don't have to pay them health & safety bits, don't have to pay for wear & tear on the cars, & can get away with paying those "contractors" a piss-poor wage. Classify those folks as proper employees, pay them as you aught, & give them a living wage -just like any other cab company has to- and suddenly you're not as competitive as you thought.

    Car2Go, Lyft, Uber & their ilk have all thumbed their noses at the powers that be & the public, so it's long past time for us to give them The Finger in return.

    Fuck Uber. I don't appreciate the anti-West sentiments, but I whole heartedly agree with the "Uber is dead" motif.

    1. Dog Eatdog

      Re: Good. Lyft, Uber & their ilk suck arse.

      Nonsense. Most mini-cab and taxi drivers are also self-employed. No different to Uber, etc.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Re: Good. Lyft, Uber & their ilk suck arse.

        I don't know how much longer Uber can continue with the pretense of 'ride sharing'. The original premise was to share the use of a car. That's long gone. Same with AirBnB claiming to allow you to 'share' the use of your spare room or house while on holiday.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Good. Lyft, Uber & their ilk suck arse.

        Obviously with the primary difference that most cab drivers or independant hire companies don't have billions of investor money in cash reserves to throw at loss leading to undercut the competition until they all close down like many of the "ride sharing apps" appear to have. Let's be honest the end game these guys isn't for our convenience or to save us all money these guys seek a monopoly by being able to withstand sustaining signifcant longer than them. Then once all competition is gone they are free to charge whatever they like (which they most certainly need to to recoup the loss they've already taken to get them there in the first place) and most likely significantly more than the other services they replaced. The problem is people are generally quite fickle and easily swayed by a shiny advert or something that seems cool and will see the shiny uber app offering them discounts/ credits/ cheap rides and will fall for it, then be the first to complain 5 years later when they're the only service in town and everything is three times the price it once was. Works as a business model and private bus companies have been doing it on a smaller scale for years, People will happily pay a $1 fare today instead of $2 fare on a rival service nor realising they'll end up paying $5 for the same thing once the $2 company has gone bust.

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: Good. Lyft, Uber & their ilk suck arse.

          If Uber's business model is to destroy competition then overcharge, independent drivers will compete by putting themselves on Tinder or something. Picture of a car will be a clue to what type of ride is on offer. Could still lead to misunderstanding though if it catches on, so do clearly state how far you want to go.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Good. Lyft, Uber & their ilk suck arse.

        "Nonsense. Most mini-cab and taxi drivers are also self-employed. No different to Uber, etc."

        In plenty of places, even independent taxi drivers have a lot of mandatory expenses: their license, as written in the article, and special insurances, and employer taxes, and airport taxes, and have to pass tests and comply with specific regulations, and whatnot.

        All things that Uber explicitly ignored. because disruption, digital, sharing, God-Given-Right-For-An-American-Company-To-Ignore-Local-Laws.

        So, very much different, really.

        1. Boo Radley

          Re: Good. Lyft, Uber & their ilk suck arse.

          As a taxi driver, I rent the car from the company on a daily basis. My rent is a percentage of the amount I meter each day. The company pays for insurance and maintenance, I pay a fee to the city for my taxi license and an FBI fingerprint fee. The city sets the rates, I can't charge more than those set rates. However, our city is allowing Uber drivers to charge whatever they please up to the set rates. Of course they charge half what we do, but for the time being, our business is doing fine. The city requires Uber drivers to have a taxi permit, but the drivers I know know nothing about permits or fingerprinting, so the city is setting a double standard.

      4. Charlie Clark Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: Good. Lyft, Uber & their ilk suck arse.

        Most mini-cab and taxi drivers are also self-employed. No different to Uber, etc.

        Except for the small matter of being able to set their fees: Uber drives fees down by encouraging more drivers. It's good for Uber and possibly good for passengers, unless they suffer at the hands of one of the unlicensed drivers…

        The practice of auctioning taxi licences is iniquitous but Uber and co is not the solution.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Good. Lyft, Uber & their ilk suck arse.

          "The practice of auctioning taxi licences is iniquitous but Uber and co is not the solution."

          Indeed and there's history behind cab licensing schemes.

          In most towns a lack of regulation led to far too many taxis plying for not enough passengers, which in turn led to badly maintained vehicles and drivers fighting (literally in some cases) for fares, along with various problems of criminality.

          This in turn would led to some form of "strict" regulation to license a "sustainable" number of taxis (where the drivers would want that number held down and regulators tended to be friendly with them). This is what drives the ability to set high fares and for licenses to change hands at vastly inflated rates.

          Eventually this may or may not lead to the pendulum swinging the other way (It happened in a town I lived in) and the sole remaining taxi firm finding that its comfortable monopoly has been broken up in an effort to keep a lid on fares.

          Rinse and repeat.

        2. anothercynic Silver badge

          Re: Good. Lyft, Uber & their ilk suck arse.

          @Charlie Clark, or by simply having their investors soak up the losses (as Uber and Lyft are at the moment).

      5. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Good. Lyft, Uber & their ilk suck arse.

        "Nonsense. Most mini-cab and taxi drivers are also self-employed. No different to Uber, etc."

        Most minicab and taxi drivers have to comply with more rules, higher insurance and standards than the average Uber 'ride sharer'.

        When ride sharing is a main source of income it should be redefined to... Oh I don't know, say, cabbing.

        If it's cabbing it should be subject to the same rules as everybody else.

        I did some mini cabbing for six months, many years ago, not an easy job but one that should protect the driver and passengers with the correct insurance and safety laws.

        Just because Erdogan is a nutter doesn't make Uber any better.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Good. Lyft, Uber & their ilk suck arse.

      > They think their employees are "independant contractors"

      Which has been ruled not the case in the UK (and by extension the rest of the EU)

      Which in turn means that Uber do have to pay minimum wage and all the other guff that goes with it - and yet they're still competitive.

      Uber (and other) drivers in the UK have to have PCV licenses too, which means that effectively it's no different to any other type of minicab firm other than the location of the dispatch base.

      1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

        Re: Good. Lyft, Uber & their ilk suck arse.

        "Which in turn means that Uber do have to pay minimum wage and all the other guff that goes with it - and yet they're still competitive"

        No, they're not. They just have to subsidise the service more. As has been mentioned before, Uber is making a massive loss.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Turkey finally steps up and does the thing right

    Just a 1000 human-rights violations to go. Always wanted to visit Turkey. Constantinople rich history etc. Plus Egypt too! But in this climate? No way!

    1. Blockchain commentard
      Facepalm

      Re: Turkey finally steps up and does the thing right

      I know. How are you to travel cheaply are the cities now!!!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Turkey finally steps up and does the thing right

      Don't judge a countries people on the actions of it's government. I've found Turkish people to be down to earth and quite nice when I've visited.

    3. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: Turkey finally steps up and does the thing right

      It's not the right thing. Police action to suppress lawful activity on the basis of a campaign speech made by a politician isn't the right thing. Especially when that politician is tapping into anti-Semitic sentiment.

      It might be an outcome that you approve of, but it isn't right.

      The right thing to do would be to wait for the outcome of the pending court cases on whether Uber's D-2 licences cover their activity and whether Uber is complying with the licence; and then enforce or amend the law. And use the Police to protect citizens from being physically attacked.

      1. Timmy B Silver badge

        Re: Turkey finally steps up and does the thing right

        "Police action to suppress lawful activity on the basis of a campaign speech made by a politician isn't the right thing. "

        That's the way the UK works now.....

      2. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: Turkey finally steps up and does the thing right

        It's not the right thing. Police action to suppress lawful activity on the basis of a campaign speech made by a politician isn't the right thing.

        But Uber is doing things they aren't licensed for, and their unlicensed drivers are lawfully being fined in accordance with the letter and spirit of the law.

        No sympathy from me. Uber just ignores any laws they don't feel like following and it's high time that they are taken down a few pegs.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Turkey finally steps up and does the thing right

          El Reg, "Authorities start rounding up ride share drivers, passengers"

          I came here to post something like "No sympathy from me. Uber just ignores any laws they don't feel like following and it's high time that they are taken down a few pegs.", but I see that you've handled it. Thank you.

          AC so that Uber upper management doesn't slash my tires tonight.

          Not that they would, LOL...

          Sure...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Turkey finally steps up and does the thing right

      I live part of the year in Turkey and I find the vast majority of Turks to be warm, welcoming and helpful people. OTOH driving in Turkey can be ... interesting.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Turkey finally steps up and does the thing right

      "But in this climate? No way!" .......

      I quite agree. The taxi service will be crap again ;-)

  4. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    It's hard to know who to sympathise with...

    It's hard to know who to sympathise with, the taxi-drivers of Istanbul or the parasitic phenomenon that is Uber.

    1. Eek

      Re: It's hard to know who to sympathise with...

      No-one who has ever used a taxi in Istanbul will have any sympathy with an Istanbul taxi driver.

      1. small and stupid

        Re: It's hard to know who to sympathise with...

        Unless you have driven in Istanbul as well, then you realise the taxi drivers are no worse than the other lunatics on the road.

        1. Eek

          Re: It's hard to know who to sympathise with...

          Nope, I won't drive in Istabul (nor did Jenson Button for that matter) it's more the trying to overcharge and unnecessarily complex and long diversions that I dislike.

          1. A. Coatsworth
            Pirate

            Re: It's hard to know who to sympathise with...

            >>it's more the trying to overcharge and unnecessarily complex and long diversions that I dislike.

            THIS is what has allowed Uber et all to thrive, more than the cost of the fare. Taxi drivers all over the world have deservedly got a reputation of being con artist and using every trick imaginable to overcharge the passenger.

            As a tourist (I travelled over Europe a few years ago) I was sternly warned to never ever take a cab in Paris or Rome, the reasons being very similar to what's being said about Istanbul drivers up here. But people is more confident that they can call an Uber in these cities and everything will be ok.

            In my country licensed taxi drivers have started to clean up their act: cleaner cars, new hailing apps, friendlier drivers. Of course they managed to go over all 5 stages of grief in full force before they accepted the fact that they were at least as guilty of this situation as the less-than-legal Uber antics.

            (Please don't think I defend Uber. I don't, the management is despicable and their business model is fundamentally rotten. But I do think they are not the only ones to blame.)

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's hard to know who to sympathise with...

            You misspelled London.

  5. Martijn Otto

    The Great Turkish Führer has spoken

    Uber are destroying the economy. They must be eradicated.

    1. james_smith

      Re: The Great Turkish Führer has spoken

      You've nailed it there - it's a populist move by a wanabe dictator. Modern, secular Turks are in despair at the moment with thousands leaving the country to live somewhere else. That's mostly well educated professionals who can find countries willing to take them, leading to something of a brain drain.

      Erdogan wants to turn Turkey into some kind of fantasy version of what he believes the Ottoman empire to have been, and looks at Saudi Arabia as the kind of society to aspire to. Ataturk must be rolling in his grave.

  6. Mike 125

    That's the way to do it.

    Sheldon Cooper:

    "I like China. See, they know how to keep people in line."

    Turkey too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That's the way to do it.

      "Sheldon Cooper:

      'I like China. See, they know how to keep people in line.'"

      If he ever goes there to practice his language skills, he'll be extremely disappointed at how, in fact, Chinese people are extremely bad at staying in line. The concept of orderly queuing is utterly alien to them. Jumping and elbowing to the front (particularly when it is held by a presumably defenseless foreigner) is a national sport.

      1. Mike 125

        Re: That's the way to do it.

        @AC

        That's interesting. Maybe it feels like a way to rebel, when you don't have many.

        As for the line, of course it wasn't meant literally - this was back when TBBT was funny. For me it referred to the bigger picture, with the irony being that the character who always misses the obvious often speaks a deeper truth.

  7. ForthIsNotDead Silver badge
    Happy

    I'd like to Uber operate in Uzbekistan

    Uzbekistan has the best taxi system in the world. You stick your hand out, and someone will stop. Anyone. They might be taking their kids to school, or just nipping out to the shops. They'll ask you where you want to go, and they'll give you a price, and if you agree you hop in.

    Sounds terrifying doesn't it? But it works. When I found out about it I asked "How do you know the driver isn't a rapist/murderer/whatever?" and the reply was "How does the driver know you're not a rapist/murderer/whatever?". I like that kind of logic.

    I took literally hundreds of "taxi" rides on the streets of Tashkent, Bhukara and elsewhere and never once had a problem. Language is a bit of an issue. My Russian isn't very good but I got by, and had fun.

    I'd like to see Uber compete with that!

  8. Nifty

    Instanbul - the one place that NEEDS Uber

    There is a breathtakingly crafty scam among Istanbul taxi drivers. I think they give each other training on it.

    - Your friendly, English-speaking driver wants to drop you off at a busy intersection or narrow street near, but not at your actual destination.

    - An irate traffic queue instantly builds up behind the taxi and starts sounding their horns.

    - When you pay (flustered), he uses sleight of hand (it's very good) and switches your largest note for a small value one, thrusts this back at you and claims he has not received full payment. You've little option but to pay again.

    The 2nd time this trick was performed we were ready and watching but could still not spot the switch. We stood our ground and he drove off disgusted.

    So if there is anywhere in the world that needs a fully trackable system like Uber, maybe it's Istanbul.

  9. pxd
    Coat

    Yes, but

    Having lived in London since 1979, I feel obliged to point out that the arrival of Uber certainly felt like a good thing here. Black cabs almost always knew their way around, and were generally clean and comfortable, but were terrifically expensive, tended to disappear on rainy days (licence numbers artificially limited to keep earnings up, plus The Knowledge was/is difficult to acquire), and all too often featured drivers with issues (racist commentary, or 'Nah - won't go South, mate'). Minicabs ranged from good (properly licenced and responsibly operated, but often geographically restricted) to dreadful (crap vehicles, very dodgy drivers, no insurance, no idea where they were going). Going out at night generaly started well (use a good local minicab service or plentiful public transport) and ended poorly (public transport finished for the night; waiting on the side of the road in the rain hoping for a black cab, or phoning one local minicab service after another, to find out how many hours it would be before a car would become available). The arrival of Google maps plus Uber (or the many other versions of each) now means that I can take my wife out for dinner without worrying about whether we'll get home before dawn, or whether we'll need expedition clothing as well as something a little more formal. I have yet to experience a poor ride or a surly or uncooperative driver; and the cost of the ride no longer rivals the cost of dinner.

    I know there is a lot to dislike or even despise about Uber's management style and approach, but they have been successful for a number of good reasons. Please can we figure out how to imrove things without throwing the baby out with the bath water? I have my flak jacket on - let the shelling commence. pxd

    1. small and stupid

      Re: Yes, but

      My suspicion is that an above board minicab-hailing app for an alliance of reputable vetted licenced minicab operators would have got fucked over by the black cab lobby.

      However Uber with the ride-share fig leaf and big pockets were able to muscle in.

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