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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Don’t change state law to save Uber and Lyft. Let the market decide

Drivers support a law on independent contractors
Supporters of a law to limit when companies can label workers as independent contractors circle the Capitol during a rally in Sacramento on Aug. 28.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

To the editor: Why do we feel we must support a business model that was designed to suck the life out of an existing business (taxicabs) by severely undercutting prices, all without the need to make any money?

As Steve Westly writes, Uber and Lyft “are not profitable” and are “hemorrhaging cash.” That’s because their plan from the beginning was to price their service so low it would destroy the competition — and it worked. Imagine a burger chain with unlimited start-up capital selling a Big Mac for 29 cents — it would soon kill off McDonald’s. That’s essentially the path taken by the ride-share industry.

Now that future capital for the industry is less assured, Westly and other hand-wringers say we must find a “compromise” on the new state law requiring the reclassification of drivers from contractors to employees because “everyone loses” if we don’t. Really? How about we let the market decide instead?

Uber and Lyft must pay their employees as employees, as it should be. The companies will have to raise prices in order to make money. The great irony, of course, is that to create a profit, these prices will be closer to what the taxis charge.

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Kirk Jordan, Long Beach

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To the editor: Can we just stop calling Uber and Lyft “ride sharing?” That implies that a driver who was already headed to your intended destination would be sharing a car with you.

In reality, it’s a bunch of motorists buzzing around town, clogging up the streets and looking for somebody to get into their cars and use them as a cheap taxi service.

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Craig Arnold, Long Beach


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