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The Taxi News for Tuesday July 22, 2014

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Taxi driver shot after refusing to let fare into cab

Democrat & Chronicle - (Rochester, New York)

Staff reports 8:26 a.m. EDT July 17, 2014

A 34-year-old taxi driver was shot early Thursday morning after allegedly refusing to let a man with a gun into is cab, according to Rochester police.

The unidentified cab driver was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital non life-threatening injuries, police said.

Police said the cab driver approached an officer about 1:10 a.m. near Lake Avenue and Lorimer Street and told the officer he had been shot while on N. Plymouth Avenue.

The driver reported seeing a gun as a potential fare entered his cab and refused to let the man into the taxi, police said. The fare, described as a man in his twenties, allegedly fired the gun into the cab and struck the driver, police said.

No arrests have been made. The investigation is ongoing.

Teen charged with killing Scranton cab driver waives hearing

The Times-Tribune - (Scranton, Pennsylvania)

Published: July 11, 2014

A 16-year-old who said he shot and killed a city cab driver for “taking the long way” waived his preliminary hearing Thursday.

Police arrested Aazis Richardson on May 23, hours after finding Vincent Darbenzio dead in his cab.

Mr. Darbenzio picked up Mr. Richardson around 3 that morning, but the teen decided the driver was taking too long to arrive at Valley View Terrace. Mr. Richardson told police he thought he was being ripped off, so he shot Mr. Darbenzio twice in the back of the head. He also told police he stole $500, but the money was not recovered.

Police found Mr. Richardson hiding in an attic after tracing the number that called the cab company. They also found a 9 mm handgun in a bag in the attic where Mr. Richardson was hiding.

Mr. Richardson is charged with first-, second- and third-degree murder, robbery and related counts and is being charged as an adult. - more....

Buffalo man gets five-year term for robbing cab driver

The Buffalo News - (Buffalo, New York)

on July 14, 2014 - 11:55 AM

A Buffalo man was sentenced to five years in prison Monday morning for robbing a cab driver, allegedly at gunpoint, in 2013,

Ramon Lopez, 19, of Woodward Avenue pleaded guilty in June in State Supreme Court to first-degree robbery and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

“I just want to say to my family, my fiancee, hopefully when I come out I’ll become a better person,” Lopez told Justice Penny M. Wolfgang.

Wolfgang cited mitigating factors, including Lopez’s personal history – both of his parents are in custody on felony crimes – in giving Lopez the minimum sentences for his crimes. The victim in the case was not injured and Lopez always maintained that he did not use a gun during the robbery, said Lopez’s lawyer, Lori Hoffman. - more....

Why I drive a taxi

San Francisco Bay Guardian - (San Francisco, California)

07.15.14 - 1:51 pm |
By Beth Powder

OPINION I left a 17-year career in film to become a taxi driver. I just wanted to be here full time, drive a taxi, and write.

I've taken cabs in several cities and countries over the last 20-odd years. When I got here in 1998, it took two hours for a taxi to get to my house on 43rd Avenue. I still never would've gotten into anyone's personal car and paid them for a ride, no matter how hard it was to get a cab sometimes. Not in San Francisco. Not in Jamaica. Not in Jamaica, Queens.

I'm from Toledo, Ohio originally. We always went on road trips. Maybe being in such close proximity to Detroit, some of that car mojo rubbed off on us. My mother is the kind of woman who, at 70 years old, will drive cross-country alone, stopping to call me at 3am from deserted truck stops outside Amarillo, Texas. You might see why I'd drive a taxi.

I have a feeling that a lot of the anti-taxi contingent now in this city haven't taken too many cabs. Cabs could never put me off because I'd taken so many of them and I knew I was safer in one than standing in a crosswalk. I've been hit by cars on foot and on my bike but I've never been in an accident in a cab. Not in London. Not in Los Angeles. Not here.

I don't drive for Lyft or Uber because San Francisco cab drivers receive workers compensation and TNC drivers don't. Because Lyft mustaches look unprofessional to me. I went to taxi school, got fingerprinted, had a background check, and got licensed.

My taxi has 24/7 commercial livery insurance. My company pays the bills if there's an accident. San Francisco taxi companies don't have bylaws stating that passengers cannot hold them liable. San Francisco taxi companies don't have bylaws stating that passengers take taxis at their own risk. San Francisco taxi companies don't have bylaws that can be legally interpreted to allow discrimination against passengers of any persuasion. We have to accept pets. And we have to be green.

San Francisco taxis pick up bartenders, sweet old ladies at the hospital who don't have smart phones, teachers, lawyers, wheelchair users, people of color, San Francisco Giants, former mayor Willie Brown, hookers, trannies, ballerinas, and limo drivers. Everybody. You don't need a smartphone, but you can always hail a cab using an app called Flywheel.

I'm not a fan of the smugness emanating from Lyft, Uber, et all. Perpetuating spurious claims that cab drivers are all scary or awful is neither cute nor clever. And it certainly isn't true. - more....

Watch An Entire Day In The Life Of An NYC Taxi, In Five Minutes

Huffington Post - (Internet)

The Huffington Post  | By Suzy Strutner
Posted: 07/18/2014 8:00 am EDT

Urban jungle or urban labyrinth? To an NYC taxi, the city is both.

And now, you can watch a taxi do its maze-tracing, money-making thing for a full 24 hours, totally uncensored.

NYC Taxis: A Day In The Life is a "civic technology project" that analyzes how taxis move around the city. On the webpage, visitors are randomly assigned a taxi and then watch, in fast-forward, a day in that taxi's life, from first passenger to final drop-off.

A map traces the route, and tickers keep track of the passengers transported and income accrued. Watching is addictive, to say the least. - more....

AFSCME to rally taxi drivers at afternoon event

Chicago Tribune - (Chicago, Illinois)

By John Byrne Tribune reporter
10:17 a.m. CDT, July 16, 2014

Union leaders are planning to push their effort to strengthen Chicago cabbies' bargaining position with the city by holding a march and rally today in the Loop.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees' afternoon event is timed to coincide with the union's annual convention being held this week at McCormick Place. Union members and taxi drivers will march east on Randolph Street to a 3:15 p.m. rally outside the Thompson Center in support of the drivers.

"The cab drivers are seeking a voice on the job through their new organization, Cab Drivers United/AFSCME, to push for justice and respect for drivers, a more transparent city regulatory process, and a level playing field with ride-sharing companies, among other goals," AFSCME Council 31 said in a news release.

Since cab drivers are often independent operators or contractors working for different companies, the new group AFSCME hopes to set up will not be a labor union with collective bargaining powers or state and federal protections under the law. It will simply be a trade organization of sorts that will seek to present a strong, unified voice to make it tougher for city officials to ignore taxi drivers when setting fees and policies, according to AFSCME 31 spokesman Anders Lindall. - more....

Why Uber has cracked the taxi market in 70 cities — but not Las Vegas

Las Vegas Sun - (Las Vegas, Nevada)

By Conor Shine (contact) Conor Shine
Thursday, July 17, 2014 | 2 a.m.

Uber is a four-letter word in Las Vegas.

Just a mention of the company’s name draws gasps from Las Vegas leaders and, especially, taxicab companies.

Uber, a San Francisco ridesharing company, uses a smartphone app to connect riders with drivers at the touch of a button.

The company has set up shop or plans to do so in more than 70 cities in the United States since launching in 2009 — from New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago to smaller outposts like Tacoma, Wash., and Ann Arbor, Mich.

Las Vegas is conspicuously absent from the list — the third-largest metro area in the country without a ridesharing service along with Portland, Ore., and St. Louis — leaving tourists and residents who pull up the app wondering why Las Vegas isn’t in on the action.

With more than 26 million taxi rides and $390 million in fares last year, Las Vegas would seem like an attractive target for ridesharing companies. But the unique structure of Nevada’s taxi and limousine industries along with a heavy tourist presence have made Las Vegas a tough market to crack.

Uber and ridesharing competitors like Lyft and Sidecar have exploded into popularity by offering a convenient riding experience that can be managed entirely through a smartphone. The companies have shied away from being labeled as taxi services, framing themselves as technology companies that connect riders to a network of independent drivers.

Nevada’s taxi and limousine regulations are among the strictest in the nation, with guidelines on everything from insurance to minimum fares to driver background checks to vehicle safety. The number of authorized taxis operating on the street is limited by a strict medallion system.

“There’s nothing prohibiting them from operating here. They simply need to go to the taxi authority and make an application like every other provider in the industry has done,” Jonathan Schwartz, director at Yellow Checker Star, said about ridesharing companies. “If they just started operating, it would be illegal.” - more....

Minneapolis joins other cities regulating Lyft, UberX

Star-Tribune - (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: July 18, 2014 - 1:40 PM

Minneapolis became the sixth jurisdiction in the country Friday to legalize Lyft and UberX, following a near-unanimous City Council vote that came amid concerns from the taxi industry.

Lyft drivers wearing pink shirts bumped fists in the hallway outside the council chambers after final passage, which capped months of haggling between the California-based companies, the taxi industry and city regulators.

Lyft and UberX, now known as "transportation network companies, essentially allow people to act as chauffeurs of their own vehicles, connecting with passengers through smartphone apps. They cannot pick up passengers who hail them on the street, but unlike taxi companies are free to raise rates.

“This ordinance takes some excellent steps towards adding to the cornucopia of transportation options that we have," said council member Jacob Frey, the ordinance sponsor, adding that more options will help people give up their cars.

The new ordinance distinguishes the companies from taxicabs, creates a process for them to become licensed and specifies what insurance they must carry. Insurance is a particularly complicated issue for the services, since they typically use hybrid plans that complement a driver's personal policy.

But taxi industry representatives weren't happy with a two-tier fee structure that will charge major taxi companies significantly more than transportation network companies. Others have concerns that changes to the wheelchair-accessible vehicle requirements could backfire. - more....

Virginia taxi companies sue Uber, Lyft

Richmond Times-Dispatch - (Richmond, Virginia)

Posted: Friday, July 18, 2014 2:23 pm
Richmond Times-Dispatch

Seven Virginia taxi cab and limousine companies filed a civil lawsuit Friday against ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft, the latest move in a fight between the startups and traditional car-hire services.

The civil lawsuit argues that Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc., whose customers use smartphone applications to request a ride and pay for it, are operating in Virginia without having obtained the required licenses and permits.

Most of the plaintiffs are based in Northern Virginia, though Stafford Limousine Inc., which does business as Love Limousine, is based in Richmond and operates in central and Northern Virginia. The suit was filed in Fairfax Circuit Court. - more....

Judge allows Lyft to keep operating in Rochester

Democrat & Chronicle - (Rochester, New York)

Len LaCara and Brian Sharp, Staff writers 5:31 p.m. EDT July 18, 2014

The Lyft ride-sharing service has been given marching orders that could allow it to continue operating in Rochester and Buffalo and begin service in New York City.

In Manhattan, Supreme Court Justice Kathryn E. Freed directed Lyft to contact officials in Rochester and Buffalo to ensure it is in compliance with city regulations, a clerk in Freed's office said Friday.

The company also will have to prove that its drivers have proper insurance that covers passengers as well as drivers.

Whether that information goes directly to the city or to the Attorney General's office was unclear.

The state sued Lyft earlier this month, accusing the San Francisco-based company of operating an unlicensed, for-hire livery service and sought a temporary restraining order to suspend its operations statewide.

City of Rochester officials wrote to Lyft back in May that the company and its drivers needed to be licensed and could face fines, but never heard back until a phone call Friday, asking to meet. - more....

Chicago treasury has lots riding on outcome of Uber-taxi war

Crain's Chicago Business - (Chicago, Illinois)

July 15, 2014

As the Uber-taxi war continues to rage — Gov. Pat Quinn's office reportedly has received "thousands" of emails and other messages on the subject — one aspect that's received little attention is the potential cost to City Hall if conventional cab companies are routed.

I'm not saying that City Hall finances ought necessarily to rule here. That's especially true since a version of new rules pushed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel is far more favorable to companies such as Uber and Lyft than an alternate measure pushed by Checker, Yellow et al., which is sitting on Mr. Quinn's desk.

But finances are a factor.

The amount of money the city collects from cab operators to transfer ownership of a medallion or to license their vehicle has been rising quickly in recent years.

As recently as 2008, it was "only" $6.8 million. But that hit $13.2 million in 2012 and $12.6 million last year, and was nearing $5 million for 2014 when I checked a few days ago. - more....

Uber brings hope to Orlando taxi drivers, fear to their bosses

Orlando Sentinel - (Orlando, Florida)

July 12, 2014|By Mark Schlueb, Orlando Sentinel

Bulldozers and backhoes working on Mears Transportation's new $20 million headquarters are grinding to a halt as nervous executives put the project on indefinite hold. The reason: Uber, a smartphone app that threatens to cut deep into taxi-industry profits.

Taxi drivers, meanwhile, are wondering whether it could mean a better life for them.

It's been only five weeks since Uber brought its UberX service to Orlando, offering app users the option to summon a driver in a personal vehicle to give them a ride for a fee often lower than what Mears and other taxi companies charge.

But those few weeks have been long enough to shake things up. Taxicab-company owners wonder how they'll stay in business — and if they do, how much business will be left.

"Uber is an existential threat to the legacy taxi industry," said Paul Mears Jr., chairman of the 75-year-old company. "Whatever hit we take will be a pretty substantial hit to us. We're going to lose 30 to 40 percent of our business."

But taxi drivers, who ferry around some of the nearly 60 million people a year who visit Orlando, aren't nearly as concerned. In fact, they think the Uber revolution could improve their lives. - more....

Taxi app company Uber delivering ice cream in Chicago today

WGN-TV Channel 9 - (Chicago, Illinois)

Posted 10:25 AM, July 18, 2014, by WGN Web Desk   

I scream, you scream, we all scream for Uber ice cream!

Today, taxi app company Uber will serve up ice cream on demand to customers in 144 cities across the globe, including

It’s as simple as ordering an Uber driver. Hit the request button for the “Ice Cream” option on the app and wait for the nearest ice cream truck or luxury Uber Ice Cream-branded car to drive up.

Uber partnered with everyone from local ice cream and gelato vendors using their own trucks, to the mega wholesale warehouse chain Costco, for the day-long delivery of frozen sweets.

Prices, ice cream selection and hours of operation vary depending on location. In Atlanta, $25 will get you five sweet treats from a local vendor or pre-packaged ice cream pops. Free Uber swag-bags are also being given out, including beach balls and sunglasses. - more....

Denver's archaic licensing for taxi and limo drivers

The Denver Post - (Denver, Colorado)

By The Denver Post Editorial Board
Posted:   07/16/2014 05:47:37 PM MDT

Denver has the legal right to demand that people jump through an astonishing array of hoops to drive a cab, car or limo for hire.

But that right doesn't mean the demands make sense if the state already requires appropriate safety and insurance requirements.

City officials say they are looking into modernizing Denver's ordinance around "herdic licenses" — herdic refers to a 19th century carriage! — that was written in the 1950s.

The city claims it is justified in requiring licenses of anyone who is doing commerce on streets and does so to ensure public safety. It also charges drivers a $50 application fee and $25 licensing charge.

Proper regulation of businesses is to be expected, but not to the point of redundancy or overkill.

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission regulates taxi companies, and earlier this year the legislature broadened the regulation to include "transportation network companies" like Uber and Lyft. - more....

Europe, Africa, and the Middle East

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Asia and the Pacific

Taxi driver shot

Tempo - (Manila, Philippines)

Posted by Online on Jul 18th, 2014

A lone gunman shot a taxi driver who was cleaning his cab in front of a gasoline station in Pasay City last Wednesday, police said yesterday.

Police identified the victim as Gaodencio Bantolino, 46, of Alos, Alaminos, Pangasinan. He sustained two bullet wounds in the body and was taken to the Pasay City General Hospital.

Police said Bantolino was cleaning his cab in front of Tiger LPG Station on the service road of Roxas Blvd. corner San Juan St. at about 4 p.m. when a man approached and shot him. The still unidentified gunman fled towards F.B. Harrison St.

Bantolino was left sprawled on the ground and was taken to the hospital by his friend, taxi driver Christopher Ragas. Recovered from the crime scene were three empty shells and two deformed bullets from a .45 caliber pistol.

Police have yet to determine the motive behind the shooting. Investigators are checking if the incident was caught on closed-circuit television cameras. (Mitch Arceo)

Taxi driver missing for four days, cops grope in dark

The Times of India - (Bhopal, India)

TNN | Jul 13, 2014, 10.51AM IST

BHOPAL: A 35-year-old taxi driver, who left home on July 9 for dropping passengers to Jabalpur, is missing since then. He used to work for a travel agent.

Sitaram Malviya, a resident of Kolar, had got the booking of Jabalpur on phone through a travel agent. The customer, who called for taxi introduced himself as Ravindra Shukla. He asked for taxi to go to Jabalpur with two others and called Sitaram to ISBT. Sitaram's family lodged a missing persons report on July 9. However, a day later, it was converted into case of abduction after it came to light that the accused forged his identity as Shukla and got the SIM card issued to call the travel agent and driver.

Since the booking of taxi was made over phone and no one knew the accused, cops have failed to make much headway. "Cell phones of Sitaram and accused are switched off. Based on the last tower location of accused, we have sent separate teams to Damoh-Jabalpur and Rewa-Satna," said police sources. Tavera taxi in question belongs to Sitaram's brother-in-law, Dinesh.

Taxi drivers stop early to avoid fee - (Internet)

Last updated 05:00 19/07/2014

Taxi drivers are flouting a new drop-off tax at Christchurch Airport by dropping people off before the airport's entrance, a cabbie says.

The claim comes after a survey by an Auckland firm showed the city's taxis topped the list as the most expensive in the world when it came to trips from the airport to the city.

The survey, conducted by Digital Hothouse on June 28, was done before Christchurch Airport dropped its pick-up fee for taxi operators from $10 to about $5 on July 1.

When the airport halved the pick-up fee, it also introduced a drop-off fee: $4.78 excluding GST.

Now some taxi drivers, determined to get around it, are dropping passengers off before the airport, a cabbie told The Press.

Robert, who did not want his last name used, said he sometimes dropped customers off in Memorial Ave, Orchard Rd or at the Sudima Hotel.

"As soon as [passengers] find out there is a fee, they say, ‘Drop us off and we will walk the rest of the way'.

"There are other [drivers] doing it too," he said.

He was aware he risked losing his licence to operate within the airport, but said his customers came first.

"When they tell me they want to go around the roundabout six times, I will. If they say, ‘I want to go to 204 Colombo St', you do not go to 172." - more....

Fake cab 'factory' busted by Shanghai police - (Beijing, China)

2014-07-18 08:39 Shanghai Daily Web Editor: Yao Lan

A fake cab "production line" has been busted by Shanghai police with 10 people held and bogus taxis and counterfeit driving licenses seized.

Most of the vehicles were abandoned cars that were repaired, repainted and illegally fitted with taxi signs, taximeters and false plates.

Airport police had reported that a gang selling illegal cabs was active in Jiading district.

They were said to buy discarded cars for about 5,000 ($806) to 8,000 yuan. After transforming them into fake cabs, they were sold for between 18,000 yuan and 25,000 yuan.

Jiading police found three old cars near a suburban house, and scrawled notices about secondhand cars, complete with contacts, on the wall.

They established that this was where gang members stored and worked on vehicles. - more....

Ender Wiggin

Updated jul 22 @ 01:47 GMT


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