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From: TimF8/29/2017 5:45:02 PM
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Pakistan Isn't Quite Getting The Idea Of Uber And Ride Sharing
Tim Worstall ,

That there should be some regulation of Uber and other ride sharing companies seems entirely logical. Making sure that the vehicles have insurance for example would appear sensible. Price regulation though is just not one of those sensible things, something which has escaped the regulators in Islamabad in Pakistan:
Moreover, Muzaffar suggested that facilities for issuing route permits for vehicles working for ride-sharing services would be ensured.

The app-based services would also be forced to display customised stickers on the front and back windscreens of vehicles.

“We would issue a fare list to the app-based services which they would have to follow strictly,” Muzaffar said, adding that insurance for passengers insurance would also be mandatory for their safety.
There are several innovations in the ride sharing business but from the economic point of view the most important is the ability to have variable pricing. This is very much the same thing which has driven the rise of the budget airlines, the ability to alter prices dependent upon demand. However, with taxis we've one more point to add, we can and do vary supply significantly dependent upon those changes in demand.

One of the great successes of technical economics in recent decades has been the advance in the understanding of auctions and matching. Al Roth's Nobel came in part from this. Hal Varian's work at Google on matching advertising demand and supply, varying price to do so, has made fortunes for many people. Governments everywhere are delighted with the manner in which they're making money off spectrum auctions for the mobile phone business. This is all rather the same underlying mechanism at work here. And Uber, Lyft and the rest are applying much that same mechanism to the taxi business.

We're talking very basic Econ 101 at heart, that supply and demand curve thing. In some of these cases we're saying that supply is fixed--say, spectrum. Then we should be allowing the price to keep going up until no one is willing to pay any more. Airlines have fixed short term supply capacity, much more variable in the longer term. Taxis might have fixed supply right now but can ramp it up in an hour or two. Which is where that variable pricing comes in.

If there are 10 cabs on the roads and 9 people want a ride then one of the drivers is out of luck and might as well go home. If there're 10 and 15 people want rides then 5 people are using Shank's Pony. Except, with cabs, we can raise the price being charged and some of those 15 might well decide to walk anyway. But also we'll get one or more extra drivers coming out onto the road and thus increase supply. This is the very point of the system in fact, new technology enables us to both collate and transmit supply and demand in real time, thus enabling price changes to balance them again in real time.

Which is the bit the regulators in Pakistan's Islamabad are missing--the whole economic point of Uber and the ride sharing services is that they don't have a fixed fare structure.

forbes.com

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (571)8/29/2017 7:29:08 PM
From: Sr K
1 Recommendation   of 607
 
Rich Barton was a Microsoft engineer in the early 1990s with an idea and plan, while working for Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. He talked with Ballmer about the big idea and Steve said how much money do you need?

$100,000,000.

The talks stalled.

But the history is recounted in a Masters In Business (on Bloomberg and iTunes) podcast last month.

Microsoft spun out Expedia.

I looked and Barton didn't keep much Expedia.

But he's an active venture capitalist, an early investor in Netflix, and he's still on the board of Netflix and other companies.

So there is a direct connection from Khosrowshahi to Bill Gates, and not surprising that he lives in Bellevue, WA.

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To: Sr K who wrote (573)8/29/2017 10:16:44 PM
From: Glenn Petersen
1 Recommendation   of 607
 
One of my tweets from a month ago:


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From: Glenn Petersen9/1/2017 3:14:53 PM
   of 607
 
Uber could go public in 18 months

Elizabeth Dwoskin
The Washington Post
August 31, 2017



Travelers wait at the new designated pick-up zone for Uber at Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne, Australia.
(Joe Castro / EPA)
_________________________

Uber could go public as soon as 18 months from now.

That was the news delivered to Uber's 16,000-person workforce today by the embattled transportation company's new chief executive, outgoing Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, according to an employee who attended the meeting.

Khosrowshahi wasn't definitive, the person said. In a meeting that was broadcast from San Francisco across the world, Khosrowshahi said the 8-year-old company could go public in a timeline of 18 to 36 months, but he would have to see.

In addressing the issue at his first all-hands meeting, Khosrowshahi appeared to be trying to allay one of the biggest concerns not only for investors but also for employees. With a $68 billion valuation by private investors, Uber is the most valuable startup Silicon Valley has produced over the last decade, but funders have grown frustrated by the lack of a timeline for getting their payouts. Employees have also felt pent up, as many are compensated with options in the company.

The loose timeline also gives Uber's incoming leader an opportunity to resolve many of the controversies facing the company. That includes litigation with Google in a major case in which Uber is accused of stealing trade secrets from Google's self-driving car program, as well as two pending federal investigations.

On Tuesday, the company confirmed that the Department of Justice is probing whether executives broke U.S. laws prohibiting bribery of officials in foreign countries. Uber is cooperating with the investigation, a spokesman Matt Kallman said.

Under Uber's previous hard-charging chief executive, Travis Kalanick, Uber expanded to 77 countries in just eight years and built up a reputation for rule-breaking and for a "bro" culture that has been hostile to women and underrepresented minorities. Federal officials are also probing whether the company used special software to evade authorities in places where ride-sharing services were banned or restricted.

It is not known how much it cost Khosrowshahi to take the job, but he likely did not come cheap. As the chief executive of Expedia, he was named the highest paid chief executive in the U.S. by Equilar for his 2015 compensation, thanks largely to a long-term stock option package valued at $90.8 million he would gain access to over a period of several years. He also had additional options that would be worth another $82.5 million if aggressive stock price performance targets were met, bringing his total take-home pay to at least $180 million.

Because Uber is a private company, the company will not be required to immediately release specifics on Khosrowshahi's pay, though it would become public if the company launches an IPO.

chicagotribune.com

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From: Glenn Petersen9/2/2017 6:35:53 AM
   of 607
 
Lyft extends service throughout 32 states

By TOM KRISHER
Associated Press
September 1, 2017

DETROIT (AP) — Lyft is driving into the countryside in an effort to raise ridership and steal market share from rival Uber.

The much smaller Lyft announced Thursday that it is offering service to passengers in every corner of 32 U.S. states, including hard-to-reach rural areas. The move boosts the number of states with full coverage to 40.

Uber, which controls about 70 percent of the U.S. ride-hailing market, says it has near-statewide coverage in 13 states. A spokeswoman was skeptical that any company could provide timely service in all areas within a state’s boundaries.

For Lyft, the expansion is a bold move into unserved areas and a gamble that it can carve new markets out of even the most rural areas that have ride-hailing needs but no consistent service. Until now, using a smartphone to summon a ride mainly was reserved for larger metropolitan areas with a lot of people and more potential riders.

Jaime Raczka, regional director of new markets for Lyft, said the initiative will allow the company to outmatch its rivals in terms of coverage area and the number of people with access to its platform. Before Thursday, 79 percent of the U.S. population could get Lyft service. With Thursday’s move, that number rises to 94 percent, she said.

To pull off the expansion, Lyft has been recruiting new drivers for months, many in smaller towns that weren’t previously served. The company wouldn’t say how many drivers it has added, only that it has about 700,000 nationwide.

Currently Lyft has statewide service in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Delaware and Hawaii. As of Thursday it added Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Lyft has at least some coverage in all 50 states, and decided to offer full coverage in the 40 that have consistent statewide ride-hailing regulations, Raczka said. The company said it will even offer rides in the most rural expanses of Alaska and the far reaches of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Just how long it takes to get a ride will vary by area. She wouldn’t give an average response time or fare estimate for rural areas, but conceded that initially it may take more than 10 minutes to get a ride in remote places. Those who have important trips such as traveling to an airport to catch a flight might want to use Lyft’s scheduled ride service if it’s available, she said.

In New York, where Lyft has had statewide service since June, the company’s app showed few cars in the Finger Lakes region late Wednesday night. In Corning, a small town near the Pennsylvania border, the closest Lyft ride was 74 miles and more than an hour away in Binghamton. The app gave no estimate of a pickup time like it does in urban areas.

Raczka says experience has shown that as people find out about the service, they summon more rides and more drivers usually follow. “We do improve service levels once we get into markets,” she said.

Uber says is has close to statewide coverage is in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Florida. Spokeswoman MoMo Zhou questioned whether Lyft would have drivers available for rides in areas with low demand.

There’s clearly a market for ride services in rural areas, especially from people who are older, disabled or injured, said Gartner analyst Michael Ramsey. Until it becomes established, Lyft will have to pay drivers extra to fetch passengers in rural areas, generating some big losses, he said.

“That will allow them to gain market share, but it’s not going to be free,” Ramsey said.

He expects demand to grow and eventually pay off for Lyft. “There are a lot of people who need mobility, and especially in rural communities, don’t have access to it,” he said. “Demand comes from the supply, and vice versa.”
___

This story has been corrected to show that Massachusetts already had statewide service, not Maine.

apnews.com

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From: Glenn Petersen9/3/2017 11:14:57 AM
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When Tahilianis and tractors join the sharing economy

Joeanna Rebello Fernandes
Times of India
| Sep 3, 2017, 01:00 IST



Executive coach Deepak Sawhney and his wife have furnished their rented flat in Gurgaon with rented furniture.
____________________________

Has possession become passe? A growing number of rental startups seem to think so

Ownership is overrated. It's also onerous, permanent, and expensive. So the new Indian rents: from apartments to appliances, from cars and clothes to cameras and clutches. A generation ago, renting was considered back-alley and base. Now, thanks to Uber and Airbnb which showed us how easy it is to hop into someone else's car or holiday in a stranger's car, the shared economy is steadily infiltrating the inner sanctums of our consumer life.

Like the closet. Last month, a 30-year-old Delhiite who works in luxury retail subscribed to Rent It Bae, an online clothing rental company's monthly subscription plan. For Rs 3,999, it allowed her to rent two garments and an accessory at a time, with unlimited exchanges in a month. "There's a lot of pressure in the luxury retail business to dress well and wear new clothes all the time," says the woman, asking not to be named.

The one-time-wear culture is a product of these Instagram days, where one's image can be built or broken by the getup. "This generation keeps up with trends, which requires a frequent change of wardrobe," says Aanchal Saini, the lawyer-turned-founder of Rent It Bae, who believes a shared closet saves not just money but also the planet by reducing fashion waste. The clothes are either purchased by the company or sourced from Indian designers who make use of their stagnant stock in exchange for 30-70% of the rent. A Rs 30,000 Tarun Tahiliani kaftan gown goes at Rs 1,899 for four days. The Gurgaon-based Swishlist also stocks a wide range of designers and even offers styling tips.



Illustration credit: Chad Crowe

_____________________________________

Saini's one-year-old company, which services Delhi-NCR, plans to pan out to Jaipur, Chandigarh, and Ludhiana soon. In fact, several rental companies are starting to cast out into Tier 2 and 3 cities. Fabrento, the furniture rental in NCR, is heading to Mumbai as well as Chandigarh, Mohali, and Panchkula. The 60-year-old company, which launched its rental operations last year, plans to design furniture specific to the aesthetic and spatial requirements of different cities. More storage for Mumbai, more frills for Mohali. Rent it for a minimum of three months, then recycle it when you're bored. If you like it, buy it. "Retailers call it EMI, we call it rent," says CEO Anand Suman, who recently introduced a premium line of leather sofas and recliners. A seven-piece leather sofa set for minimum three months costs Rs 7,000 a month.

Premium goods signal an older, high-earning clientele. And rental companies are aware that customers are no longer migratory millennials, but Gen-Xers as well. Rent It Bae sees women in their 50s and 60s renting clutches and jewellery.

When executive coach Deepak Sawhney relocated from Hyderabad to Gurgaon with his wife, deputy principal in a school, they decided to furnish their rented apartment with rented furniture. Sawhney's monthly outlay is around Rs 10,000 for a sofa, two beds, and a dining set. "When we eventually settle into our own apartment, we'll buy furniture suited to it," says Sawhney, 51, a customer of Fabrento.

About 20 years ago, possession was important and the need for security (through ownership) high. "People preferred to buy their own things, even loans were disparaged," says Ashita Aggarwal, who heads the marketing department at S P Jain Institute of Management and Research. However, for Gen Y, "the opportunity cost of buying is high - it includes the psychological cost of selecting, maintaining and disposing of," says Aggarwal.

It was, incidentally, pre-owned goods platforms like OLX and Quikr that paved the way for the spurt in rentals. Amit Sodhi, co-founder of Rentickle which rents out appliances as well as furniture, points out the advantages to renting over buying. "We save you the hassle of searching for the product you want, carting it home, and suffering the uncertainty of quality and the compromise on outdated designs. All our products are under warranty, and can be repaired or replaced."

His partner Vineet Chawla marks two categories of customers: Functional and Aspirational. The latter want to enjoy bigger and better things, without having to break the bank. Sometimes, they just want to give something a twirl before they commit to a purchase. "Like a treadmill, which people buy on a whim and then use as a clothesline," says Chawla.

The rental market in India is growing deep and wide, spanning new geographies and goods. For instance, Unwind Life rents camping gear and Go Pro cameras. A clutch of farm equipment rentals like EM3 Agriservices, Mahindra & Mahindra-owned Trringo and Gold Farm, are even cultivating rural markets with on-demand, pay-per-hour-or-acre tractors and harvesters. While the urban rental marketplace is online, in villages farmers can rent machines they need through call centres.

According to data tracking firm Traxcn, India has 268 rental startups. And it's only expected to grow since a sizeable chunk of the population is young and in flux.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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From: Glenn Petersen9/3/2017 11:37:58 AM
   of 607
 
As consumers become increasingly dissatisfied with traditional mass transit options, they are turning to crowdsourcing to fill their needs.

Start-ups find footing with crowdsourced bus service in cities with ailing transit

By Luz Lazo By Luz Lazo
The Washington Post
September 2 at 3:53 PM



People pass by a Chariot commuter shuttle service vehicle on Aug. 2, 2017 in New York. The 14-passenger vans serve lines created according to the needs of Internet users. (Thomas Urbain/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)
_____________________________

From San Francisco to Austin to New York, app-based services are allowing people to crowdsource bus routes, reserve rides — and take more charge of their commutes.

The Uber-for-buses variations are trending in major cities across the U.S., connecting riders to charter buses, linking neighborhoods to city centers and ferrying masses of people to major events.

“Crowdsourcing is the future of mass transportation,” said Axel Hellman, a transportation planner for OurBus, a tech start-up that has three crowdsourced routes in the New York City area, including one recently launched from Livingston, N.J., to midtown Manhattan.

“If you are a community with a growing population, a lot of traffic, and in need some kind of mass transit service … you have to rely on your transit agency to get the funding for a new route,” Hellman said. “But we are here to offer people the ability to create their own bus routes.”

The platforms allow commuters to submit route suggestions, preferred drop-off points, and departures times. If a proposal receives enough votes — some companies require 50 — then a bus is chartered for the service.

Trips generally aren’t confirmed until a good share of the seats are sold.

For daily commuters, the services generally aim to complement existing transit options — expanding capacity during morning and evening rush hours and in some cases providing service to transit deserts or underserved communities.

They also facilitate transportation to events that draw huge crowds, such as this year’s Women’s March on Washington, which drew hundreds of thousands of participants, many of whom crowdsourced bus rides through the New York-based Rally app.

As transit agencies in cities like Washington and New York face chronic breakdowns and service lapses, demand for these alternative travel options from frustrated riders is likely to grow, experts say. Rising rider dissatisfaction with traditional options is giving tech companies a good testing opportunity for innovative services, just as Americans’ discontent with the taxi industry led to the rapid proliferation of Uber and Lyft.

“The danger is that people get to like those options more than public transit. That would be a disaster,” said Jarrett Walker, a transit planning consultant based in Portland.

But more worrisome, he said, would be to have people flee transit to return to vehicles that would further clog roads.

If the services are adding capacity during rush hours and reducing the number of single-vehicle trip then experts say, they can be beneficial to cities trying to reduce congestion and struggling with their transit systems.

“Anything that efficiently gets people to travel in fewer vehicles instead of more vehicles is valuable for the functioning of the city,” Walker said.

The scope of service these companies provide is generally limited to peak-hour commutes and special events, so they are not large-scale competition for public transit systems, which usually offer a wide network of bus and rail connections.

But the services aren’t always successful. Like many app-based start-ups in the world of ride sharing, launches are frequent and shutdowns even more so.

In Washington, a similar micro-transit venture struggled to get off the ground. Bridj, which started in Boston and provided rides based on customer demand, closed abruptly two years after it launched in Washington.

“They can come and go and in a lot of markets they are still trying to figure out what works, and it doesn’t work in every market,” said Peter Pantuso, president of the American Bus Association, which has 4,000 members including motor coach operators.

Chariot, a crowdsourced commuter shuttle service that started in San Francisco in 2014, has expanded to Austin, Seattle and New York in recent months.

Acquired by Ford last year, the service can take as many as 14 passengers from home to work. Unlike other companies that only provide the technology to connect passengers to existing charter bus companies, Chariot owns its vehicles. It operates more than 200 vans in the Bay Area.

This month the company launched two routes in New York, one from the Lower East Side to midtown Manhattan, and the other in Brooklyn.

As Chariot settles in New York, company officials say they are taking votes from commuters to build new routes. Chariot’s tool allows people to pitch a new route and if the proposal gets 49 supporters within a month, Chariot will consider launching it.

“A better commute for you — and your neighbors — is in your hands,” the company says.

The services say their prices are comparable to those of public transit, and in some cases include features such as free WiFi and USB charging ports. Ourbus’s one-way trip from West Orange, N.J., on the new Livingston route is $7.75, while the New Jersey transit bus option can cost $8.55. The app Skedaddle facilitates the ride from Morristown, N.J., to New York’s Penn Station via bus for $13; New Jersey Transit’s train ride is $14. Chariot offers monthly passes ranging from $69 to $119, and it allows commuters to use their tax benefits for the service.

Tech companies have found an appealing market in the New York metropolitan area, which has faced mounting transit problems, including derailments, breakdowns and chronic delays on its subway.

OurBus’s Livingston to Manhattan route launched just in time for Penn Station’s shut down of three tracks as part of extensive repair work that is inconveniencing thousands of rail commuters this summer.

The company recently began testing trips to Washington from upper Manhattan and Paramus, N.J., providing service in underserved areas of the New York area where there is demand for bus service to the nation’s capital. It added a route from Brooklyn to Washington for Labor Day weekend. The company is exploring commuter routes from the Northern Virginia suburbs, Hellman said, where it could take advantage of existing HOT lanes and a robust demand for commuter services. Commuter buses in the region carry 10,000 to 12,0000 people every day from Maryland and Virginia, according to the bus association.

Pantuso said the surge in crowdsourcing apps is expanding the bus business in some ways and adding competition in others.

Companies that provide commuter bus services are seeing new competition, and even reporting losses in ridership. But the crowdsourcing for special events, is creating or expanding the bus market and the travel opportunities for customers who might not have known or been aware there was any kind of service available or who didn’t have a large enough group to charter a bus.

“The bus company might not have been offering that service so they are getting a new ridership out of it,” Pantuso said.

In some markets, including the popular New York to D.C. route, transportation companies could feel the pinch if more competition is added.

“Are they going to be expanding the market or are they going to take from what’s already there? I think that is the question,” Pantuso said. “They will tell you they are going to expand it, but I don’t know if they know the answer to that.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/start-ups-find-footing-with-crowdsourced-bus-service-in-cities-with-ailing-transit/2017/09/02/c8920cca-8c1c-11e7-91d5-ab4e4bb76a3a_story.html?utm_term=.99710b292d50

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From: Glenn Petersen9/10/2017 10:16:05 PM
   of 607
 
Court battle over one driver’s pay could have big impact on “gig economy”

Was Raef Lawson an employee or a business owner when he drove for GrubHub?

Joe Mullin -
ars technica
9/5/2017, 1:33



SAN FRANCISCO—The first big trial over worker rights in the "gig economy" begins today, and it could answer fundamental questions about how workers in the digital age should be treated, as well as what kinds of benefits, breaks, and pay they're entitled to.

The case that's beginning right now doesn't have a big-name, deep-pocketed defendant like Uber. Rather, the case is the lesser-known Lawson v. Grubhub. Plaintiff Raef Lawson sued Grubhub in 2015, claiming he wasn't properly paid for his work while driving around delivering food for Grubhub. If Lawson was an employee, he'd be eligible for benefits like insurance, unemployment, and reimbursement for expenses like gas and phone bills. He'd have to be paid at least minimum wage and get state-mandated breaks. Lawson was fired from Grubhub because, the company said, he didn't adequately respond to delivery requests.

Lawson can only seek damages, like back pay and additional penalties, for himself. His request to make the case a class action was denied by US Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley. Even if Lawson wins a complete victory, it's hardly enough to make much difference to a company like Grubhub, which is becoming a growing force in the food-delivery space and announced last month that it will purchase Yelp's Eat24 service.

The case is bigger than Lawson, though. Whatever precedent is set will make a big difference for Grubhub and other gig economy giants going forward. Lawson is seeking damages under a state law known as the Private Attorneys General Act, or PAGA. That law can result in high financial penalties for violations, but it only applies to employees, not contractors.

If Lawson's quest for additional pay and benefits succeeds, others will surely follow, and the "gig economy" companies could be facing additional hundreds of millions in expenses. If he fails, this new breed of employers will be able to take a tougher stand on their employment rules and will be less likely to budge in the face of worker legal claims.

More gigs, more conflictsStarting just a few years ago, a new breed of mobile app startups began to offer various types of transportation and delivery services. To do the manpower-intensive jobs like delivering food and groceries, they hired freelance workers who could start and stop their shifts when desired.

It didn't take long before a few workers became dissidents in that "gig economy" and found lawyers who would help them. They argued that they should be treated not as "independent contractors" but as employees, with all the attendant rights—including reimbursed expenses, mandated break times, and minimum wages.

Finding one of the new gig economy companies that hasn't been hit with some type of labor lawsuit is just about impossible. Caviar (food delivery), Postmates (shipping), Homejoy (cleaning), and Instacart (groceries) have all been sued. The biggest target in the gig economy, Uber, settled a lawsuit over the employee vs. contractor issue last year, agreeing to pay up to $100 million in cash to drivers but keeping their contractor status. In March, competitor Lyft settled similar claims for $27 million.

The trial started this morning and is expected to last around two weeks. It is a bench trial, meaning there is no jury involved.

arstechnica.com

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (579)9/11/2017 2:09:47 PM
From: TimF
   of 607
 
A lot of people want to put everyone in to specific boxes, have a lot of rules for whatever box someone is considered part of, and have a lot of lawsuits and regulatory enforcement if they think your box has the wrong label on it, instead of letting people and companies find new ways to deal with each other.

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To: TimF who wrote (580)9/14/2017 10:09:19 PM
From: Glenn Petersen
1 Recommendation   of 607
 
A Lawson victory has the potential to hobble a new business model that has created hundreds of thousands of mew jobs. Regulators will pile on.

The contractors took those gigs voluntarily. Regulators should let market forces determine the appropriate compensation. If it insufficient, workers will seek other employment and the companies will have to adjust their compensation packages.

If Lawson's quest for additional pay and benefits succeeds, others will surely follow, and the "gig economy" companies could be facing additional hundreds of millions in expenses. If he fails, this new breed of employers will be able to take a tougher stand on their employment rules and will be less likely to budge in the face of worker legal claims.

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