When did getting a ride home become an inalienable right?
A Twitter controversy over the weekend involving car service Uber laid bare how far some people have come in misunderstanding privilege and rights.
Here’s what happened: It snowed in New York City. A lot. (Well, at six inches, a lot for New York. Hold the laughter, Minneapolis.)
Because it snowed, people didn’t want to walk home and so yellow taxicabs were hard to come by.
So people took to Uber, which has made a neat little business out of allowing people easy access to drivers willing to take them anywhere for a price.
Uber, because it is a capitalist enterprise and is one of the few startups with a strong understanding of supply-demand economics, instituted what is known as surge pricing. In some cases, the prices for rides were seven- or eight-times what they would have been on a clear night.
Why so high? Well, Uber needs people to drive, and no one wants to go out in the cold. Surge prices attract drivers. That puts more cars on the road. When more cars are on the road, more people get rides home.
Let’s pause a second. Uber faced a two-front war. First came from people who claimed they had been “gouged.” But that argument doesn’t pass muster. Anyone who uses Uber knows that it is a clean, transparent transaction. You know what you are paying before your butt warms the back seat. You don’t actually get the ride unless you agree to pay the price. If you don’t like the price, you don’t ride. Game over.