Tag Archives: Uber

Uber vs the Taxi Monopoly in Europe

croissantI’ve rambled about this before, but today was especially fun. Thanks to the medallion buying taxi drivers stopping for their croissants on French highways, Paris and it’s suburbs saw 300 kilometers of traffic jams. This is what’s known in French as a vrai bordel. In classic French fashion, strikers brought Paris to a standstill, and the evening news brought images of caffeinated taxi drivers trying to block even the scooters and motorcycles from passing their automotive barricades. (Cue la marseillaise…)

According to The Independent, Uber in the UK saw an 850% increase in demand today. Can you chuckle on a blog? I would love to know what the increase was in Paris, but that little fact is unlikely to be reported here. So I wanted to write a little note to all the taxi drivers that read my blog.

Dear Taxi Driver,

I feel your pain. Driving in Paris sucks.

Competition is unfair, you’re job is left unprotected, and it’s obvious that uncontrolled mayhem will break out if exagerated fares aren’t kept solidly above market levels. But dear sir, I humbly wonder whether Uber riders simply can’t afford your services? They’d be taking the train if Uber wasn’t there for them, not your taxi, so maybe it’s the SNCF that should be striking. (Oh sorry, yes, they were, but for other reasons.)

I love paying 60 Euros to get to Charles de Gaulle by car, and then only 35  to get to Gatwick by plane. I’m happy to do my part… And it’s a pleasure to pass 2 hours in the back of your polished Prius, admittedly I have more leg-room than on EZJet, but I’m also paying more.

Good luck with your show of force, but I for one, believe that if Uber (and it’s technology) can offer better service, at a lower fare, while at the same time reducing the smog in Paris, your days are numbered.

Veuillez agréer, Madame, Monsieur, l’assurance de mes sentiments respectueux.

Airbnb in Lille, France – No Starbucks?

I just had my first Airbnb experience, I was a virgin Airbnb’er. No longer. I’m a fan. Their technology is excellent, their coverage in a skeptical Europe surprised me.

Uber impresses me, Airbnb impresses me. These companies aren’t just technology darlings, and they don’t seem to be just ‘fads’. They’re pushing aside decade old monopolies around the world. And profiting handsomely, how can you not like that?!

The growth here in Europe seems overnight. But where’s my Starbucks which after 10 (maybe 15) years in France, still isn’t in Lille – the 4th largest city. I was surprised not to stumble on a few, and so were these fans petitioning on Facebook… The old continent takes their sweet time, but I’m happy to see success of private companies like these. Airbnb is private and valued at around $10 billion. (They were founded in 2008…)

Lille has more restaurants than inhabitants, the best beer in France, no dog excrement on the sidewalk (Parisians leave shooshoo a la maison), an endless supply of impressive architecture, and rental bikes available for about $2 a day.

This was the view from our Airbnb, a property owned by a young couple, probably inherited.

Airbnb-View-LilleStumbled on this:

Porte-LilleThis gave me a chuckle:

Funny Garbage CanGood Trading.