The current Mayor of Boston is Marty Walsh, and although I don’t agree with every move that he makes, I think overall he’s a good guy. He might not exactly be my kind of politician per se, but he grew up in Dorchester, is a former alcoholic, and even got shot when he was younger, which are all pretty cool in my book. The city itself has a multitude of problems, and most of the proposed solutions to these problems make little to no sense and usually just end up raising the cost of everything. Now I’m not gonna sit here and blame everything on him because I know that’s not how things work. However, this particular bill was proposed by Marty himself and it doesn’t make any sense to me and I’m sure I’m not alone. Basically, Marty Walsh wants to charge Uber and Lyft more money per ride in an attempt to somehow reduce traffic and get people to take alternatives like public transportation, bike, or walk, and the only problem with this is that it won’t work and sends the completely wrong message in terms of success vs. problem ridden.
You can read the full story here, but I’ll quickly run through the cliff notes that you need to know. As we all know, ride share companies like Uber and Lyft have boomed in popularity in recent years in every major city. In Boston currently, Uber and Lyft are charged a fee for every ride they complete. Half of the money goes to whatever city the ride began, while the rest of the money goes to the state and cab companies. Marty feels that by charging Uber and Lyft a higher fee, which will result in higher fare prices, more people will be coerced into alternative forms of transportation such as public transportation. On paper, the idea isn’t that bad. But as somebody who lives here and sees firsthand how terrible the alternatives are, why the fuck would I take an expensive taxi or a crowded, smelly train that makes me late for work rather than a clean car that gets me from point A to point B with ease for a cheap price?
The answer to the question posed at the end of the previous paragraph is I wouldn’t, and nobody else would either. The reason why Uber and Lyft are so popular is because they are revolutionary ideas that offer people a vastly superior product than it’s competitors. Cabs, bikes, public transportation and walking in Boston don’t even hold a candle to Uber and Lyft. Cab companies and The T (The name of the transportation authority of Massachusetts) had a monopoly for years, and they let the lack of competition go to their heads and refused to adapt or keep their services efficient. Cab companies in major cities have been greedy pricks for years, and then ride sharing came along and rightfully kicked their asses. I’ve already blogged about the time a cab driver tried to extort money out of me in Southie during a brief ride, a blog in which I go into further detail about Cabs Vs. Uber so I suggest reading it if you haven’t. The T sucks balls too. The trains and buses are overcrowded, rarely on time, and all smell like a group of homeless people had a “Who can take the most pisses and shits?” contest. And riding a bike? First of all, go fuck yourself if you ride a bike in Boston. The people who do always think they’re the most important people on the road and want to be treated like a car, unless of course there’s a red light or stop sign. Plus, I would rather play Russian Roulette than bike in Downtown Boston because it would likely be safer. The odds of getting drilled by a car are higher than the rent prices in Seaport, and the fact that somebody doesn’t die everyday is amazing. Lastly, walking? Even if I lived next door to my job I still wouldn’t walk. Walking is for toddlers learning to do so and people who don’t have the Uber app. End of story.
I guess the main point I wanted to make in this blog is that there’s a reason people like apps like Uber and Lyft and don’t like the alternatives. They came into the transportation market and offered the best option to get around, and as a result of this they rightfully did and continue to dominate and profit. That’s textbook capitalism, which is the greatest economic model in the world despite what your sociology major cousin who wears a Che Guevera shirt unironically might incorrectly try to tell you. Success should be rewarded not hindered, so maybe instead of trying to punish these companies, major cities should be questioning why people prefer them over cabs and public transportation. The answers are all there for why Uber and Lyft remain the top choice for getting around easily, but per usual the politicians refuse to see the obvious. Work on fixing your own problems before you start destroying other people’s success as a form of evening the playing field for the undeserving. Just once I would love for Massachusetts politicians to employ a solution to a “problem” that doesn’t involve raising the prices of things, but I have a better chance of quitting drinking, marrying Jennifer Aniston, and becoming the first man to dunk a basketball on Mars than that ever happening.