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Uber and the US Postal Service

By Phantom On December 6th, 2018

I woke up in McLean, Virginia this morning. I called for an Uber at 730am, five minutes later, we were rolling down the avenue.

Uber has had it’s hiccups. Not everyone likes them. But boy have they been great for the customer. You call for a car, you instantly get a quote, the app finds your location via GPS, boom, you’re moving.

The founder of Uber we are told started looking for an alternative to traditional taxis when he couldn’t find a taxi in Paris for love or money one day.

New York business travelers used to have a similar problem – the taxi drivers changed shifts right around five pm – the exact same time when many visitors and locals wanted a ride. And couldn’t find one.

Also in NYC, yellow taxis were everywhere in Manhattan but were rarely seen in the outer borough neighborhoods.

Traditional taxis long resisted taking credit cards, for reasons that I understand, but the customer increasingly prefers using credit cards.

So, along comes Uber, a service whereby you get a price quote in a few seconds, which finds you via GPS, where the drivers are more available in all neighborhoods , and where they only take plastic ( credit or debit ) and where they send you a receipt as soon as you get out of the car.

That’s a pretty good service. One driven by technology. But also full ” credit ” for Uber must be given to the traditional taxis who didn’t want to take plastic and who weren’t often enough available when their customers needed them. They are the true founders of Uber.

Yesterday was the day of mourning for President Bush.

For reasons that I can’t understand, the US Post Office gave their workers the day off nationally, in the busiest time of the year, presumably to mourn the deceased president all day. Yeah right.

Meanwhile, UPS and FedEx worked all day long, delivering packages all over the USA.

If I was a USPS worker, I would not like the fact that I got the day off, because I would not want to be Uber-ized the way standard taxis have sidelined.

Good job, UPS and FedEx.

Terrible job, President Trump, who signed off on the day off, and USPS.

32 Responses to “Uber and the US Postal Service”

  1. For reasons that I can’t understand, the US Post Office gave their workers the day off nationally, in the busiest time of the year, presumably to mourn the deceased president all day. Yeah right.

    So did Wall Street.

  2. Praising Uber and damning POTUS Trump, all in the same post! Well done!!.

    New game: turn any post or issue into an “Orange Man Bad” rant.

  3. Trump gave the beleaguered with competition USPS the day off. Why does a mail carrier in Omaha need a day off for this?

    Wall street was wrong to close too.

  4. “Orange Man” is a bigoted ignoramus:

    “On Tuesday, Donald Trump tweeted: “I am a tariff man. When countries come in to raid the great wealth of our nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so.”

    I don’t have the historic evidence to prove it, but I reckon that quote is probably the most incompetent statement on the economy ever uttered by a US President. Let’s do some textual analysis. “I am a tariff man” is stated with pride. The President truly seems to believe that protectionism protects an economy, when the economic history of the world suggests precisely the opposite…”


  5. the problem with getting rid of the postal dept besides it’s federal union is the fact that it’s written into the constitution…..

    Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution, known as the Postal Clause or the Postal Power, empowers Congress “To establish Post Offices and post Roads”.

    it’s been in the red for decades and private industry can do it better.

  6. lmao Trump made the greatest statement…..

    “I am a tariff man. When countries come in to raid the great wealth of our nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so.”

    Love it.

  7. So Patrick, you are happy to amend the constitution after all?

    I thought you were a “literalist” or whatever you call the constitution headbangers like Kavanaugh? As in the constitution is the ten commandments written in stone and can never ever ever be amended.

  8. On trade

    The Chinese supply goods and the Americans pay for those goods. It is a trade, not a robbery.

  9. The USPS needs to face its private competition and outcompete them

    Taking days off in peak season when the competition is working hard is stupid

    UPS took care of their customers yesterday, while the mailman watched Jerry Springer

  10. the mailman is a federal union member….. nothing else needs to be said.

    Peter the chicoms Idea of r&d is theft and tariffs so far in every trade deal that’s been revamped since trump imposed them have worked just fine.

  11. Do you agree with the president’s decision to give them the day off yesterday?

    They didn’t even have to ask for it; he just gave it!

  12. Patrick

    I agree that the Chinese are cheaters. But the answer is to stop the cheating, not to impose blanket taxes on imports which will be paid by Americans and make Americans poorer. Trump seems to think that his tariffs will be paid by the Chinese. What an ignorant jerk he is.

  13. no Phantom they should not have had off.

    The tariffs are a negotiation tool and a tool to provide time to see what manufacturing can be jump started here. So far the tactic has worked. Pluss the chicoms need our market more than we need their supply.

  14. The high tariffs Are starting to really mess up the economy

    The financial press is more and more talking about Slowing growth, leading to a recession in the near term

  15. And a tariff driven recession Could be in full bloom for the 2020 elections

    MSNBC Noting that if this happens, Mr. Trump would be the first president to run for reelection in the middle of a recession since Jimmy Carter – Which would lead to an almost certain defeat. As his support has always been from a minority of Americans, even at the best of times

    The tariffs are unwise, The tariff man comments are really stupid

  16. The New York “big yellow taxi” and its “taxi driver” have become cultural icons almost as much as the SoL or the Empire State. Tourists apparently even used to take the taxis just to sample the earthy wit and bad manners of taxi drivers, but I always found them full of fun and great people to drive with.

    Terrorists destroyed one of the world’s great landmarks and now this “uber” is destroying another, along with thousands and thousands of men’s livelihoods.


  17. In fairness to Trump that is customary on a National Day of Mourning.

  18. “So far the tactic has worked. “

    The GM job losses, the Harley Davidson relocation, the nail manufacturer in Missouri that cut jobs due to the price of steel, the TV manufacturer in South Carolina that is cutting jobs due to new tariffs being imposed in retaliation to Trump’s tariffs. Yeah the tactic is working.

  19. In Manhattan, yellow taxis are still around in large numbers. They just face a lot more competition.

    Here, the owner of a yellow taxi ( one which can legally take street hails ) must have a one “medallion “ per cab. The medallions can be resold. The value of a medallion has gone down a lot since Uber came into existence. One Michael Cohen is the owner of NYC taxi medallions, so he has taken a financial hit.

    Yellow taxis here now have their own app, which users can use to electronically hail rides. But by now, so many people are used to Uber and similar services, I don’t know how many people are using the yellow taxi apps. I can use a yellow taxi app in one city, I can use Uber in a huge part of the US, and in lots of foreign cities also.

    Prague taxi drivers are known for cheating their customers. I am told that Uber has created a safe way there for travelers to avoid being cheated.

  20. Trump has caused a world of problems for US manufacturers, including those who export.

    He doesn’t Know what he is doing.

  21. Even those that don’t export. The majority of US businesses that sell directly to US consumers will have taken a hit because of Trump’s tariffs. Their inputs are now significantly more expensive than they were under Obama.

  22. “Terrorists destroyed one of the world’s great landmarks and now this “uber” is destroying another, along with thousands and thousands of men’s livelihoods.”

    And think of how many poor horse farmers lives were destroyed with the invention of the car. Uber is successful because of how poor a service these icons deliver. If they want to survive they have to evolve.

  23. The traditional taxis reacted slowly to the internet driven app technology.

    But they absolutely didn’t listen to their customers when for years they refused to take credit cards, Here, a huge percentage prefer credit cards to cash, especially business travelers and tourists.

    Six months ago, I took a yellow taxi in NJ, and the first word out of the drivers mouth was “ cash only “. He is an Uber salesman, even if he’s too stupid to know it

  24. Well said Phantom and Peter

  25. I won’t miss yellow cabs. Most drive like lunatics. I generally take subway in NYC anyway.

  26. Mahons

    And that’s one of the differences between New York and other US cities
    In many US cities, middle-class and above do not take mass transit. They can look down on it.

    In New York, all classes of people, including millionaires take the subway. It’s the fastest way to get many places. You’re a fool not to take it at times

  27. Agreed – it is fast and inexpensive.

  28. Former Presidents do not have funerals every day. I think it was right to commemorate it as it stresses the importance we place on the office. Federal offices were closed and employees had a day off as part of that commemoration. The tradition of official mourning is part of the national character and some things are more important than making money every day.

    As to the issue of USPS competition, I believe they still lead carrying letters if not packages. Fedex, UPS and others generally do a better job with packages and they often use USPS for some packages. The USPS could be profitable if they greatly increased rates, especially on ‘junk’ mail.

    Uber and others provide a good service and, as stated, the Yellow Cabs did not keep up with what their customers desired and rightly the cost of medallions is declining. During the day in Manhattan the subway is the best way of getting around town due largely to so much traffic. It is wise to always have a MetroCard handy.

    There is no doubt Trump is tanking the international economy with trade wars and tariffs. He may know how to ‘sell’ apartments but that is the only business skill and knowledge he has. Some suspected that the economy would not escape the damage a totally unfit and inept President would inflict, it looks like the suspicions were well founded. Batten down the hatches.

  29. Uber is successful because of how poor a service these icons deliver. If they want to survive they have to evolve.

    Taxi drivers are an endangered species. Uber is planning to switch to 100% driverless cabs within 10 years.


  30. Letter mail in deep decline.

    Junk mail might soon follow – you can advertise digitally

    Magazines transitioning to digital also

    USPS does OK with delivering packages, often in partnership with Amazon and even UPS, but the pig ignorant Bum is messing with that because he doesn’t like Bezos.

  31. “Letter mail in deep decline.” We still get quite a lot of it. Some letters such as bills, bank and investment statements should always have a hardcopy option. The market in letters may be declining but it will not disappear. USPS will probably dominate that market into the foreseeable future. I also think there will continue to be a market for hardcopy magazines because some consumers prefer some of them to digital or subscribe to both. I don’t know much about junk mail but suspect some marketers will continue to see some value in it for those not 100% digitally engaged.

    Excluding packages mail is still a huge market even if on the decline. As I said above, USPC could be profitable if they raised rates and were well managed. Until them they will get federal subsidies.

  32. When was the last time you got a personal paper letter? It was such a wonderful thing for centuries, now nearly gone. I’d think that most people 21 or younger have never received a personal letter. Email or texts, yes, a zillion of them, birthday and Christmas cards, yes, but no letters.

    I love high quality print magazines, including the beautifully printed New Yorker and WIRED, which everybody with the time to read them should subscribe to.

    WIRED is very forward looking, but they remain devoted to a very high quality print edition on good quality paper.