Page 1 of 8 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 71

Thread: Uber in San Josť

  1. #1
    Moderator Speedy1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    San SebastiŠn, San Josť, Costa Rica
    Posts
    2,876

    Uber in San Josť

    Well... it looks like Uber is going to make a run at Costa Rica. I strongly encourage everyone to AVOID using this service. I don't like the Uber concept, which is remarkably similar to the concept used by TripAdvisor:

    "Hey! We don't have to do any actual work! We can just let a bunch of anonymous amateurs do it for us, and pass it off as Professional-Quality Work!"


    Yes... I myself am a travel professional. Yes, I saw my primary profession (travel agent) get eaten alive by the Internet, starting about 20 years ago. While I wouldn't go as far as to Thank the Internet guys (Expedia, TripAdvisor, etc.), I do have to give them credit for weeding out the hacks in the industry. Unfortunately, 20 years ago, most travel agents just typed in a search on a computer and told you what they saw. I always took pride in what I did and put some real work into it, but most guys were just looking for an easy commission for practically zero effort.

    Then, somebody got the bright idea to let people use their credit cards online, to book airline tickets and hotel reservations. At that moment, for 95% of travel agents, the world came to an end. It hurt me, too -- a lot. But I learned a valuable lesson, too: There is no substitute for true professionalism. I wiped the tears off of my computer keyboard and Tahiti brochures, got my shit together, and reinvented myself as a "Travel Concierge." I was essentially what a travel agent SHOULD be, and now I had ZERO competition. It didn't take long. One ex-Expedia/Priceline/Travelocity customer after another was either calling me on the phone or emailing me.


    ----------


    Now... Here comes Uber... trying to do the same thing to the taxi drivers. I agree that, just like those travel agents, a lot of taxi drivers are not really very good at what they do -- but some of them are. There are reasons that we regulate businesses and industries. Uber is capitalizing on the human reasoning that "anyone can drive a car." Never having been a taxi driver myself, I feel that I can safely assume that there is more to the job than just driving a car. What about liability issues? What about safety issues? What about knowing who the person is, other than a scan of his driver's license? I think it is an affront to any industry, and in particular, the transportation and travel industry, to suddenly imply that a regular driver and car meets the same qualifications as a licensed taxi driver and commercial vehicle.

    Yes... I am sure that some people will say, "The quality of the taxi drivers and their cars is no better than a private driver and his car." I would say, "OK... Then FIX that issue! Encouraging people to just start using independent drivers is not fixing that problem, and is certainly not doing the public any favors."

    Fortunately, as low as taxi fares are in Costa Rica, and considering the labor-friendly nature of Costa Rican politics, I think that Uber is not going to do very well in Costa Rica.

  2. #2
    Lifetime Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    88
    mixed feelings on this one I agree that in Costa Rica with cheap fares, UBER shouldn't have much impact. I actually was in the Livery Business once upon a time and its highly regulated and you don't get to pick and choose who you go pickup. You start redlining certain parts of town and your license will get yanked pronto. However, I do see the inevitable march of technology across this industry. I was in financial services when the internet was still in its infancy. Major brokerage firms controlled the flow and content of most investor information and we charged a healthy premium to access that information ( in the form of commissions). even though stock commissions were deregulated in the 1970's it was the internet that put the stake through the heart of the old fashioned brokers in the late 1990's. Ultimately if you can deliver a better service at a lower price, you will win the day. Many larger cities in the USA have god awful taxi service and the prices are outrageous. I am all for making sure UBER meets similar standards of liability and safety. Most taxi drivers actually lease their vehicles from the owners of the licenses and they scrape by while the owners of the licenses get rich for doing little or nothing

  3. #3
    Moderator Speedy1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    San SebastiŠn, San Josť, Costa Rica
    Posts
    2,876
    > I am all for making sure UBER meets similar standards of liability and safety.

    That's kind of what I'm getting at. UBER Does Not want to do that -- and it Does Not have to comply. That's what makes UBER competitive -- it Does Not have to comply. UBER is Not a taxi company.

  4. #4
    Moderator Speedy1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    San SebastiŠn, San Josť, Costa Rica
    Posts
    2,876
    As we end the year 2015, and Uber is still forging ahead with its program in Costa Rica...



    Uber in Costa Rica

    As a lifelong Travel Professional, I always support innovation in the travel industry, when it provides a real benefit to both the industry and the customers, and when it is ethical.

    In my opinion, Uber has stepped over the ethical “line.”

    I understand what Uber is trying to do... in Two Different Ways...

    On the one hand, I truly believe that Uber is trying to provide a better service at a better price than what is currently available in the market. In fact, why Wouldn’t Uber do that? Better service and better price? That’s the basic recipe for a successful business.

    On the other hand, there is a big difference between improving upon a service and offering it at a lower price, and circumventing the rules with which your competition must comply. Wouldn’t life be just grand if we could all figure out a way to use “loopholes” in the law to make our business legal... or at least appear to be legal?

    Costa Rica is full of hard-working individuals who own their own taxis, have paid the money for their permits, and have painted their cars bright red, with the identifying yellow triangle, and with the identifying numbers and letters.

    I understand that many people believe that the regular taxis are a rip-off, but I also believe that people need to take a step back and look at the situation...

    What are you supporting? A lawless system? A system that has a found a loophole? How do you feel, morally, about exploiting that loophole for your own benefit?

    Unfortunately, the majority opinion is that if it’s cheaper and I can get away with it, then I have no “morality” regarding it. Are the governments and some businesses Wrong in what they do? Sure they are, sometimes! But, do two Wrongs make a Right?

    Maybe I’m just too altruistic, but I say, “No! Two Wrongs Do Not make a Right,” and I’m a little bit ashamed of humanity that we have somehow come to that conclusion.

    If there is something wrong with the taxi system, then let’s campaign, lobby, protest, etc... to get it fixed. But doing an “end run” around the guys who have made the effort to comply with the law is just... Wrong.

    And... to top it all off... how many people who are using Uber are really using Uber because they believe in the Political Statement that Uber is making?

    And how many people are using Uber because it is cheaper than regular taxis?


    Think long and hard about this...

    Uber has figured out a way to “Charge” for an app without actually charging for it. Uber simply acts as the “Bookie” or “Pimp” for Uber drivers, and collects their 20% “rake.”


    I’m curious...

    What other businesses might legally be able to offer their services via a “share” program, without being subject to government regulation?

    Doctors? Lawyers? Airplane Pilots?
    Last edited by Speedy1; 12-30-2015 at 06:57 PM.

  5. #5
    Moderator Speedy1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    San SebastiŠn, San Josť, Costa Rica
    Posts
    2,876
    The information that I am getting now is that there will most likely be no problems with taxi service on Superbowl Sunday. This really has nothing to do with the Superbowl, but rather, the fact that the election for the Mayor of San Josť is being held on the same day. Apparently, the taxi drivers have agreed not to disrupt that event. Of course, I can make no guarantees. This is Costa Rica, after all. The protest on Monday was all-out. and really got some attention with not only the city government, but the national government, as well. The taxistas really do hate Uber, and so do I.

    It's a bit disingenuous to say that you're not a taxi service, when you really are, in fact, a taxi service. Meanwhile... Everyone else has to comply with the laws, but you do not.

  6. #6
    Moderator Speedy1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    San SebastiŠn, San Josť, Costa Rica
    Posts
    2,876
    I guess there is a silver lining to every cloud.

    This article was posted in this morning's edition of The Tico Times email. Although I am no huge fan of the Tico Times, they do it get it right more often than not. This is actually a pretty good article...


    https://www.ticotimes.net/2016/02/09...es-for-service


    My favorite line in this article appears at the very end...


    "Finally – and this is relevant for entrepreneurs – if you want to start disruptive businesses, your first step should be to look for old industries with entrenched, outdated habits. Next, figure out how to fix their inefficiencies by creating better incentives. Then, and only then, do you build the app."


    That's exactly what I did when I came to Costa Rica. As I have tried to tell the Morons over on CRT on many occasions... I don't claim to be a genius, nor am I doing anything that is particularly difficult. But... They all loved giving me shit about being a know-it-all. I finally gave up and stopped posting on CRT over a year ago. I do hear, on occasion, that some crank-yanker is over on CRT impersonating me, just to get a rise out of those buffoons. I'll probably trot over there one day and see what all of the hubbub is about. But I digress...

    I moved to Costa Rica a full 3 years before I had originally planned to do so. The reason for that is that, a couple of years prior to my move, I had proposed my idea for a Travel Business Model to several people in Costa Rica, both Gringos and Ticos, and every single one of them said, in effect, "That will Never Work in Costa Rica." Initially, this response disheartened me. However, the more I thought about it, the more I thought, "Why Not?" I took my idea to a few colleagues in the USA, and they All said, "Why wouldn't it work in Costa Rica? It works in every other country on the planet."

    On subsequent visits to Costa Rica, I talked with a few friends who had started business in Costa Rica, which were unrelated to mine, but they all said the same thing... "I do something that no one else was doing." When I asked them, "Did anyone tell you that it couldn't be done in Costa Rica?" Every single one of them answered, "Absolutely everyone that I talked to in Costa Rica told me that my idea would never work in Costa Rica." Obviously, this lifted my spirits.

    About one year after all of that happened, I moved to Costa Rica. As I mentioned previously, this was about three years prior to my originally planned move date. I had my computers with me (I work off of four computers and a few additional monitors), set up my home office, and started up. On my first day, I contacted my former boss, a few colleagues, and a few of my contacts in the travel industry. Within 48 hours, I had over 30 emails in my inbox, most of them from previous clients, asking all kinds of stuff about Costa Rica and what I could do for them. Since that day, my only problem has been that I have never had enough help to handle all of the stuff that needs to be done.

    Now, the wacktards over on CRT will tell you that I'm just bragging about how successful I am. But that's not it AT ALL! My point is that this "It can't be done in Costa Rica" attitude is so contagious that it not only infects the Ticos and the Expats, it also affects the occasional travelers from the USA. Every single person on CRT, and every single expat that I have ever met in Costa Rica, would rather tell 100 people that I am full of shit, than listen to what I have to say, and use that information to their advantage. Every single one of them.

    For example, I was in downtown San Josť sipping on a cocktail with a friend at 3:00 pm, a few days ago. A long time expat came up and said to my friend, "Man... You better get going. Your flight is at 5:30 pm." I looked up at the expat and said, "Plenty of time. He'll be fine." The expat said, "You better be careful. That's cutting it close." I answered, "Hey... You're an expert on XXXXXXX... I'm an expert on Travel. I'm not bragging. That's my job. I bow to your expertise, knowledge, and experience in your area of expertise... Why is it that everyone thinks that they're a travel expert, when they don't even work in that industry? Why does everyone refuse to acknowledge the fact that I am experienced in this particular area?"

    My friend left downtown San Josť at 3:45, and he departed on his flight, at 5:30 pm, right on time.


    ----------


    Once again, I am not trying to brag here. Back in the USA, this wad pretty much mundane, cookie-cutter stuff. But no one was Doing it in Costa Rica, and I jumped on the opportunity.

    Notice how I'm very vague about exactly what I do here in Costa Rica? That's because if I actually posted the details, practically anyone could do it, and I would have competition out the ass. The thing is, "It Can't Be Done in Costa Rica." I would prefer not to have any significant competition. That way, I don't have to worry about business. I've been overworked and understaffed for the past 4 years. Every year, I have underestimated the amount of help that I needed for the upcoming High Season.


    So... That's what you've got to do... Find your niche.

    Be cautious, however. Don't get stuck in that never-ending Gringo Expat trap of opening a bar and/or restaurant, if you have no experience in that industry. Far too many Gringos have moved to Costa Rica and said, "I should invest my life savings in a Bar in downtown San Josť! I've never owned or worked in a bar. I have zero experience in the bar/hospitality industry... But, How Hard Could It Be?" That's a far too common tale here in Costa Rica. It seems like every month, I meet a retired Policeman or Car Salesman or Dentist in Costa Rica, and he'll say, "You know what? I should Definitely move to Costa Rica and open a Bar... or an Electronics Repair Shop... or maybe a Ballet School!" Every time, my jaw will drop, I'll turn my head slowly to look him straight in the eyes, and ask... Whaaaaaattttt?!?!" He'll answer, "Yeah! I'm going to put my entire life's savings into it, too! I'm going to do this RIGHT!"

    There's a big difference between using your knowledge and skills in a business to trump the Tico businesses, and opening a business which you know nothing about, just imagining that anybody can outperform the Tico Businesses. Well... It doesn't work that way. Ticos are not stupid... they are just a little too "set in their ways." If you open up shop less than 3 blocks away from a well-established Tico Bar, and you have no experience in the bar/hospitality industry, you're doomed. You're not here to "put one over" on the "stupid" Ticos... you're here because you're knowledgeable about your business and you're well-prepared to exploit an aspect of that business which the Ticos don't think will work.

  7. #7
    Moderator Speedy1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    San SebastiŠn, San Josť, Costa Rica
    Posts
    2,876
    The expat said, "You better be careful. That's cutting it close." I answered, "Hey... You're an expert on XXXXXXX... I'm an expert on Travel. I'm not bragging. That's my job. I bow to your expertise, knowledge, and experience in your area of expertise... Why is it that everyone thinks that they're a travel expert, when they don't even work in that industry? Why does everyone refuse to acknowledge the fact that I am experienced in this particular area?"
    To anyone on this board who has ever met me...

    I will admit that I can come off as a Huge Dickhead on this issue. I started working in the travel industry in the mid 1980s, and I was There when Expedia and Travelocity and the rest of the online websites took the travel industry away from the travel agents, concierges, and other travel professionals. I survived in the travel industry, because I did a lot more for my clients than simply pulling up prices on the computer and handing out brochures. In fact, although it did take the industry by surprise, in hindsight, most travel agencies were just aching for the "Internet Takeover" to happen. They were really doing nothing more than the average consumer today does... punch in a few search criteria and look for the best price in the search results. After the guys who weren't really doing their jobs closed up shop, it was just that 5-10% who really gave a shit about getting a client booked on a good vacation. We were all that was left.

    Nevertheless, the barrage of insults was continuous, everywhere we went... "Oh... You're a Travel Agent? How do you guys still even make money? I can do your job on Orbitz." I went through all of the emotional and mental phases of dealing with this constant statement...

    1) No. You can't do my job on the Internet, and I'll explain it to you.

    2) That's really not true... but I don't feel like explaining it anymore.

    3) Whatever.

    4) Go Fuck Yourself!

    5) A Smug, "Yeah... You're Right..."


    As you all well know, this has been going on since the 1990s, so I've been putting up with this bullshit for over 20 years.

    I just want you guys to know where I'm coming from, when I get all "preachy" on this topic.

    First of all... I would be the very first person to acknowledge that if you just need the cheapest airline ticket that you can find, so you can go visit Aunt Rhonda for the weekend, then you will absolutely save money by just booking the ticket yourself on the Internet. There is very little that I can do for you (although I could definitely help you out if a massive blizzard hits while you're traveling, or something like that). Simple trips, when you know where you're going and exactly what you want to do when you get there, are best booked by yourself on an Internet booking site (preferably the airline's own website). I would give you that advice straight to your face, if you're looking for the cheapest possible trip.

    However, when it comes to booking 2-week-long vacations, I can positively run circles around anything that you do for yourself on the Internet booking sites. Of course, you would have to be one of my clients, and you would have to trust me, in order to know that I can do that. I can also usually tell you, before the airline even posts it on their website or announces it at the gate in the airport, that the flight is delayed or cancelled. I'll have you re-booked on another flight before anyone else in the gate area has any clue that there is a problem with the flight... and that includes the gate agents.

    So... When I make long posts on this subject or get all upset on this topic, please just understand that I have been told, on a daily basis, for over 20 years, that my job can be done by an 8-year-old with an Internet connection. Occasionally, it pisses me off. Actually, it pisses me off most of the time.

    My primary form of entertainment (which occurs about once per month) is calling up people who ignored my advice, right after they have returned from their vacation...


    Me: Hey! You guys are back home! How did that trip go?

    He: Terrible!

    Me: Awww... I'm sorry to hear that... What happened?

    He: Our connecting flight got cancelled due to a snowstorm in the airport that that airplane was flying in from, to carry us to our destination.

    Me: Oh, Yeah... That's right. I noticed the equipment movement from the other hub for a connecting flight about one hour later in the evening. I re-booked a couple of my clients on that flight. You guys didn't make that flight?

    He: Nah. Our original flight was already canceled, and the new flight was already full by the time we landed. We had to spend the night in the airport.

    Me: You couldn't get an airline rate and a few perks from the airline?

    He: We didn't ask.

    Me: Ahhh... That's too bad.

  8. #8
    Moderator Speedy1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    San SebastiŠn, San Josť, Costa Rica
    Posts
    2,876
    I am going to WAR with UBER!


    Using the free Glympse app, I’m going to offer a cash-only ride-sharing service, throughout Costa Rica. Prices will be based upon Uber’s formula and subtracting 25%, with no Surge Pricing. In addition, anyone with an Uber receipt will get their first free ride with us for free. If one of our drivers is not within 7 minutes of your location, we’ll switch the request to Easy Taxi for you, automatically. We’ll rebate you the difference between our fare (which is 25% off the Uber fare), and the fare charged by the regular “Red” taxi, up to the full amount of your next fare with us. You have to “opt-in” to this feature, and we will only allow you to use it once per month, until we determine how that option fits into our budget.

    We will be cash-only, but the necessary software is already up and running in the open market. It will take me and a couple of friends about 2 or 3 weeks to put the network together.

    Drivers will have to show a valid Costa Rica driver’s license and the proper RTV and Marachamo stickers, as well as current license tags (front and back), upon demand by the passenger. We will have NO training and NO requirements. All that drivers have to do is sign up and go. The risk to the passenger is minimal. I already know 7 Uber drivers in Costa Rica who drive for Uber with fake credentials, so there is really no point in going through the hassle of verifying that. If the passenger is satisfied with the driver and the car, then we are satisfied. Uber drivers can participate too! So can regular “Red” taxis (although they will have to charge the meter rate, which will usually be a bit higher than our regular rate — see above).

    All drivers are private contractors… we are just connecting drivers with passengers. If Uber is not doing anything illegal, then neither are we.

    All I ask of the Costa Rican government is that, if the government allows us to be sued, then Uber must be included in the suit as a Co-Defendant, and that BOTH Uber and my company be subjected to the same penalty, if any. In the case of a financial penalty, I request that the same Percentage of gross income penalty be applied to Uber, that is applied to our company.

  9. #9
    Moderator Speedy1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    San SebastiŠn, San Josť, Costa Rica
    Posts
    2,876
    I already know 7 Uber drivers in Costa Rica who drive for Uber with fake credentials
    I caused quite a little stir amongst my close circle of friends here in Costa Rica, and even one Uber driver (but the Uber driver is in the USA, and the other guys are all expats, not Ticos).

    This information is very relevant to you guys looking for girls, as well. People, especially young people, in Costa Rica, lose their IDs and Driver's License all the time, or it gets damaged, and they don't want to spend the time, effort or money to get it renewed. It's a very common tale. Just a guess, based upon years of observation, I'd say that at least 20% of Ticos/Ticas under 30 years old haven't replaced a lost or destroyed ID or Driver's License. So... How do they get into bars? Routinely, they hand off their ID to a friend, who will run the ID back outside to get the first girls' or guys' sister or brother. It happens routinely all over Costa Rica, especially in the Central Valley (including all of San Josť). Just due to the gene pool in CR, most brothers (and sisters) which share the same two parents can easily pass for the photo on the others' ID.

    To hear the responses that I got, you would have thought that I let some big secret out. To Ticos, this is common knowledge. So... when an Uber driver wants the day off, he gives his driver's license to his little brother. Nobody can tell that he's not the guy in the photo on the ID. It's a very common tale. This is just one of the reasons that the Sportsmens Lodge has its own IDs, which are recorded at the front of the hotel by security. If they notice that the ID just logged in 15 minutes ago, they'll confiscate the ID, find the other girl inside the hotel, and boot them both. You guys need to be really careful, as this is a common ploy used at the Hotel Del Rey and Cocal to get underage girls inside. If you have any doubts, don't touch the girl. Costa Rica is a Civil Law Country, which means "by the book," which means that an ID which states the girl is 18 years old is NO DEFENSE WHATSOEVER against a charge of sex with minor. The law says that it is against the law for an adult to have sex with a minor, not that it is against the law to have sex with a girl whose ID SAYS that she is a minor. I know a couple of guys who have learned this lesson the hard way.

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    5
    Regarding Uber. I read what you said and decided Uber is not a taxi company. Uber is a government service. Costa Rica issues taxi credentials. Uber issues taxi credentials. Costa Rica charges a flat rate for their credentials. Uber charges a fee per service.

    Waze is similar. It challenges government, but government is happy to receive the help in that case.

    I see Uber as more of a result of failure in government rather than a failure in an old entrenched business model. Regulation of the sharing economy won't work, government will need to become better at being government or it will get left behind.

    If I wanted to make a successful app in Costa Rica, I'd target the government, not business.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •