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The Taxi News for Saturday September 27, 2014

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Outrage After Stolen Livery Cab Gets Ticket Hours After Driver Is Stabbed

CBS New York - (New York City, New York)

NYS Federation Of Taxi Drivers Says Car Was Covered In Blood When Ticket Issued

    September 26, 2014 12:56 PM

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There is outrage from livery cab drivers after they say a ticket was found on the bloody car of a stolen livery cab hours after its driver was brutally attacked in Queens.

Driver Fernando Crespin is in critical condition after he was stabbed seven times by a passenger early Thursday morning, police said.

Just after 1 a.m., police said Crespin was dispatched to Hemlock Street and Jamaica Avenue in Brooklyn where he picked up 41-year-old Kenneth Suden, who asked to be taken to 68-16 60th Street in Ridgewood, Queens.

As they neared 60-19 70th Avenue, police said an argument ensued and Suden attacked Crespin, stabbing him in the torso, arm and hands.

“To take a knife and stab a man seven times trying to kill him is just beyond belief,” New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers spokesman Fernando Mateo told CBS 2’s Sonia Rincon.

Police said Suden then sped off in Crespin’s livery cab, leaving the 30-year-old driver bleeding on the street.

“He ran a block, lost so much blood, fell to the ground in the middle of the street,” Mateo said. “Saw oncoming traffic, raised his hand so that they don’t run over him and what the people did was go around him and they just kept going. That’s unheard of in New York. New Yorkers don’t do things like that.”

But there was a good Samaritan who helped Crespin and Mateo says the Federation would like to find him and give him a reward. That man saved Crespin’s life by calling 911.

Hours later, Mateo said another livery driver found Crespin’s car abandoned at a bus stop with a parking ticket on it. He said the car was covered with blood inside and out.

The ticket had been written Thursday morning for being at the bus stop, Rincon reported.

“What happened to ‘If you see something say something?’ The ticket was issued at 6 a.m., four hours after the stabbing which would have given NYPD a head start on tracking down the attacker,” Mateo said in a statement. “The ticket writer should have noticed all the blood on the car and called 911 to reported [sic] the bloody cab to police.”

Livery cab drivers are planning to hold a rally in Ridgewood later Friday to protest against the car being issued the ticket. Police said the ticket, which was issued by a traffic agent for no standing, has since been voided.

Meanwhile, police are still looking for Suden.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577


23-year-old charged in murder of taxi driver

The News Journal - (Wilmington, Delaware)

James Fisher, The News Journal 1:55 p.m. EDT September 26, 2014

Police have arrested a 23-year-old man and charged him with the first-degree murder of William Toomey, a taxi driver found dead in his cab near Millsboro a month ago.

Police said Joshua J. Dutton, whose hometown was not released, used his belt to strangle the driver.

Toomey, 45, of Millsboro, drove for Delaware Beach Taxi. He picked up a male passenger at 7:42 p.m. in the Rehoboth Beach area Aug. 20, police said, and his orange minivan traveled on John J. Williams Highway toward Millsboro. It went into the Parker’s Point development, then exited and made two more turns before stopping on Country Living Road.

Police found Toomey’s body in the van there, in the front passenger seat with the doors open, after a 911 call from a passer-by at about 10 that night. His death was soon ruled a homicide.

In a news release Friday, Master Cpl. Gary E. Fournier said evidence uncovered by detectives pointed to Dutton, who was interviewed Thursday at Sussex Correctional Institution, where he was being held on a violation of probation charge.

Dutton, Fournier said, “revealed he was picked up by William Toomey” that night in Rehoboth Beach, and that Toomey drove him to Parker’s Point.

“At that time, Dutton removed his trouser belt and used it to strangle Toomey from behind,” Fournier said. The police did not describe a motive in the killing.

Dutton, police said, was charged with first-degree murder and possessing a deadly weapon during commission of a felony. He was held without bond. - more....


Taxi Company Under Investigation

Bayshore Broadcasting - (Owen Sound, Ontario)

Thursday, September 25, 2014 2:16 PM by Jon Meyer

Police Chief says offering taxi vouchers or giving any sort of discount is illegal.

Owen Sound's by-law officers are looking into complaints against an Owen Sound taxi company.

Police Chief Bill Sornberger confirmed the issue came up during Wednesday's Police Services Board meeting,

We have learned that Green Taxi has been offering a credit voucher for a discount after eight rides.

Some cab companies we spoke with said its been going on for months.

Chief Sornberger says tampering with meters or offering vouchers or giving any sort of discount is illegal under their by-law.

While the Chief has confirmed they are looking into the issue - he also says it may be a simple misunderstanding of the by-law.

But Sornberger says cab companies should be well aware that they are not allowed to off credit voucher's.

Calls from Bayshore Broadcasting News to Green Taxi have went unreturned.

The issue of taxi rates is coming back up when the Police Services Board meets again in November.


Commissioners OK repeal of Hays taxi ordinances

Hays Post - (Hays, Kansas)

By NICK BUDD
Hays Post

During Thursday night’s regular meeting, Hays city commissioners agreed unanimously to repeal some of the taxi cab ordinances in the city code. Staff told the commission there were several issues with the current licensing process, noting they did not believe it was a good use of time or city resources. The past process required the work of up to five different city departments.

Previously, when a company applied for a taxi cab license, the city began the process by conducting background checks on the drivers and owners. The time committed to this step was dependent upon the past criminal history of the applicants.

Once the background checks were complete, the city manager’s office reviewed the application and decided whether or not it was sufficient enough to forward the application to the city commission for approval. If approval was given by the city commission, the city then inspected the vehicles and scheduled semi-annual inspections. Badges were also printed for each approved driver. Once the process was complete, the city clerk then contacted the business to give them the go ahead to begin operation.

“To this day in 2014, there have been 28 driver licenses processed, which caused the city to take a step back and review the current ordinance and process,” said Finance Director Kim Rupp.

According to Rupp, there were no other businesses “regulated to the degree” that taxi cab companies were. Rupp also said the current ordinance presented liability and cost/benefit issues.

There are currently two taxi cab businesses in the city of Hays and, according to Rupp and City Manager Toby Dougherty, business is “going well” for both of them.


Taxi! Soviet-era limos that once belonged to Fidel Castro now chauffeur tourists in Havana

The Vancouver Sun - (Vancouver, British Columbia)
 
By Peter Orsi, The Associated Press June 20, 2014

HAVANA - In a former life they were the "comandante's" cars: A fleet of black, boxy, Soviet-made limousines that for years were at the disposal of the presidency in Fidel Castro's Cuba.

Today the limos have been decommissioned and repurposed as Havana taxi cabs, at the service of tourists who want a little slice of history to go with their ride across town.

"When I tell (travellers) where the car came from, they sit in the seat back there and ... stretch their legs and say, 'I can't believe it!'" said Moises Suarez, 58, who has been behind the wheel of one of the ex-presidential limos for the last three years.

The luxury automobiles were produced by Russian manufacturers GAZ and ZIL in the 1960s and '70s. Those sent to Cuba reportedly included a ZIL-111 convertible model that was the first of its kind to roll off the assembly line, a personal gift to Castro from Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.

They were often used to ferry around visiting dignitaries. At least one of the limos was used occasionally by Castro himself, though he usually preferred a military-style jeep for his own transportation needs.

When former U.S. President Jimmy Carter paid a historic visit in 2002, Castro — who always had a flair for stagemanship — picked him up at the airport in a Soviet stretch despite the fact that by that time the presidency had acquired a fleet of slick Mercedes Benzes.

Suarez, who drives for state-owned Cubataxi, said about 14 of the cars passed into the hands of the company about five years ago, and 10 are still on the road.

Many aspects of his GAZ-built Chaika — Russian for "seagull" — are original, from the camel-colored headliner to the radio with its buttons and knobs labeled in Cyrillic lettering. At some point a Mercedes engine was swapped in, however, similar to the way that 1950s Detroit classics in Havana are still running thanks to makeshift monkeywrenching. - more....


Uber driver reached under passenger's blouse

WESH-TV Channel 2 - (Daytona Beach, Florida)

UPDATED 10:31 PM EDT Sep 25, 2014

An Uber driver is accused of reaching under the blouse of a female passenger in Orlando, police said.

According to police, the woman's boyfriend requested the driver to pick up his girlfriend from the Ale House on Lee Road and drive her to a specific location Friday night.

Police said Ramy Botros, 28, drove the victim in his silver Honda Civic and "rode around aimlessly and made comments about how attractive and pretty the victim looked."

He then reached under her blouse and grabbed her breast, police said.

The woman demanded he stop touching her but said she was afraid of the driver so she stayed in the car. When he dropped her off, she reported the incident to police. - more....


S.F., L.A. prosecutors target "ridesharing" practices at Uber, Lyft, Sidecar

San Francisco Business Times - (San Francisco, California)

Sep 26, 2014, 12:56am PDT
Patrick Hoge
Reporter- San Francisco Business Times

The San Francisco and Los Angeles County district attorneys offices have jointly sent letters to "ridesharing" leaders Uber Technologies, Lyft and Sidecar Technologies demanding that they stop various "unlawful business practices" or face enforcement action.

Dated Tuesday, the letter to Sidecar co-founder and CEO Sunil Paul alleges various two major violations, including that Sidecar falsely claims its background checks of drivers screens out people who have past convictions and it illegally calculates separate fares for individuals in carpool situations, something the state Public Utilities Commission also recently warned was currently against state law.

Similar letters were hand-delivered to Uber and Lyft.

"We value innovation and new modes of providing service to the public," said Gascon. "However, we need to make sure that the safety and well-being of consumers are adequately protected in the process." - more....


Austin City Council starts paving the way for ridesharing companies

Austin American-Statesman - (Austin, Texas)

By Lilly Rockwell
American-Statesman Staff

In a meeting that stretched past midnight, the Austin City Council gave initial approval to regulations that would allow ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft to operate legally.

The Council voted 6-1 to approve the measure on “first reading,” meaning the Council will still have the opportunity to amend the proposed regulations before taking a final vote at a future meeting. Council Member Laura Morrison cast the dissenting vote amid concerns that the new rules would open the doors to a “new industry” without “integrating the taxi industry.”

Uber and Lyft, which use smartphone apps to connect passengers and drivers-for-hire, have been operating in Austin since late May, even though they are not legal under city ordinance.

As a result, the city has issued more than 50 citations to drivers for operating without a chauffeur’s permit and without a taxi franchise agreement. Most — but not all — were driving cars for services like Uber and Lyft.

The Council took up the proposal to legalize Uber and Lyft at 8:30 p.m. Thursday. This issue is hotly contested, pitting taxi drivers against ridesharing companies — or as the city refers to them, “transportation network companies.”

There were more people who showed up to testify Thursday than could fit into the meeting room at the Travis County Commissioners Court. (The City Hall meeting chambers is under construction.)

Taxi drivers say it’s fundamentally unfair to allow these ridesharing companies to operate without adhering to the same regulations as taxis. - more....


A night in the life of a student Lyft driver - (Austin, Texas)

Uber Transportation Debut - (Flagstaff, Arizona)

Uber, Lyft Fill Void of Broken Taxi System: Warren



Europe, Africa, and the Middle East

Drivers block Ragwa convoy over taxi limits

The Star - (Nairobi, Kenya)

Friday, September 26, 2014 - 00:00 -- BY DENNIS DIBONDO

TAXI operators in Chogoria town yesterday barricaded the road with their vehicles over alleged access restrictions.

The operators blocked motorists and did not spare Tharaka Nithi Governor Samuel Ragwa's motorcade.

"We have met all the traffic regulations and registered at the town administrator's offices yet our vehicles are blocked," said a taxi operator.

 The taxi drivers said they are harassed and barred from operating in Chuka and Chogoria towns by county government officials in collusion with matatu operators.

They demanded Ragwa in person to offer a long-term solution after efforts to get Urban Development executive Tabitha Mbungu failed.

Ragwa said they will appoint a task force of 10 people who will table their grievances to find solutions. - more....


Court Upholds Ban on Uber in Berlin

The New York Times - (New York City, New York)

By Mark Scott   
September 26, 2014 10:58 am

LONDON — Germany can’t seem to make up its mind about Uber, the ride-sharing service.

On Friday, a Berlin court upheld a ban imposed on the start-up that had barred it from operating across the German capital.

The decision, however, stands in contrast to a ruling earlier this month by a separate court in Frankfurt that overturned a nationwide ban against the start-up’s car-sharing service, which connects drivers with prospective passengers through a smartphone application.

As part of the decision on Friday, the Berlin court agreed with the local authorities, which ruled in August that Uber did not have the proper licenses or safety checks in place to operate in the city.

The court’s ruling followed heavy lobbying by the German taxi drivers’ associations that accuse the start-up of not complying with the rules followed by regular German taxi drivers. Uber is valued at more than $15 billion and operates in more than 100 cities around the world.

Last month, Uber won a short-term reprieve from the Berlin ban while the court took time to decide whether to uphold the local authorities’ initial ruling. The court’s decision on Friday applies only to Berlin.

Centuries-old cities in Europe have become a major battleground for the fast-growing American start-up, which has spread across both continents since the service was founded in 2009.

Earlier this year, more than 10,000 taxi drivers across Europe took to the streets to protest Uber’s ride-sharing service. - more....


Genoa puts the brakes on Uber with driver fine

The Local - (Rome, Italy)

Published: 26 Sep 2014 11:03 GMT+02:00

A driver in Genoa has been fined €1,700 and had his car seized after using the chauffeur car service Uber and offering someone a lift without a taxi driving licence.

In addition to the fine, the driver’s licence was suspended and his car seized after being pulled over by authorities on Wednesday evening, Tgcom24 reported.

The driver had used the smartphone app, which helps users locate nearby drivers, to pick up a client in the city.

But the service is at odds with Italian law, which says people chauffeuring paying customers must have a taxi licence or risk a fine of up to €7,045, having their car confiscated and licence taken away for up to a year.

But Benedetta Arese Lucini, Uber's general manager, said it was “difficult to comprehend” why the driver had been sanctioned. - more....


Rothschild makes comeback with London cab app to rival Uber

Chicago Tribune - (Chicago, Illinois)

By Jesse Riseborough, Bloomberg News, Bloomberg

LONDON — Nathaniel Rothschild, whose ancestor helped bankroll Britain's war against Napoleonic France 200 years ago, is backing London cabbies in their battle against Uber Technologies.

Rothschild and Argentine Gabriel Campos, former chief executive officer of online gaming site Pokerstars, plan to launch a taxi-sharing mobile-phone app in the next few weeks. Maaxi Ltd. aims to make traditional black cabs cheaper than public transport by grouping passengers with similar destinations, Campos said in a Sept. 23 phone interview.

Investors are pouring cash into apps that let customers order taxis and cars, or share rides using their smartphones. Uber, which is available in more than 150 cities in 45 countries, raised $1.2 billion in June, giving the San Francisco-based company a value of $17 billion. Ride-sharing app Lyft Inc. raised $250 million from investors including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in April.

The investment by Rothschild, who joins Campos as the company's major shareholder, comes after the financier took a sabbatical to finish a master's degree at King's College London.

Rothschild, 43, has used video and Twitter to market Maaxi as an alternative to car services such as Uber, which triggered protests by London cabbies who say the car-sharing service threatens jobs. - more....


GLiiDE Tesla Taxi Service Launches in London as Rival to Traditional Black Cabs

Business Review Europe - (Internet)

Thomas Wadlow

The newly-launched GLiiDE is an all-electric taxi service in London that will be ran soley on Tesla cars in a move which could undercut the UK capital’s black cab service by as much as 50 percent.

GLiiDE will base its sustainable chuaffer offering around a smartphone app and corporate portal that incorporates booking, tracking and payment.

The service is emissions-free and thus escapes Central London’s congestion charges, and offers customers the chance to ride in the Tesla Model S, one of the most highly-commended electric cars to be produced to date.

The company claims to be presenting one of the safest cars on the road with fixed taxi prices and no hidden extras.

For now the service is invitational only as it looks to iron out any issues before full rollout.- more....


London Calling, Nissan Comes Through With New Taxi Design

Desktop Engineering - (Dublin, New Hampshire)

Published September 25, 2014 | By Beth Stackpole

London’s iconic black cab, as synonymous with taxis as the yellow cab is in New York City, is about to hit the streets with a full design makeover, in part to ensure it conforms to new regulations governing the Hackney Carriage status and to serve as a launch pad for a soon-to-be-released EV version.

Nissan, which is using its multi-purpose NV200 platform as the base for the taxi redesign, is planning to release a 1.6-liter petrol engine fleet with an automatic gearbox this December, following up with a zero emissions electric version in 2015. London’s current Mayor Boris Johnson has called for all city cabs to be emission-free by 2020.



Nissan’s new Taxi for London is a bold new vision of the traditional black cab. Image Courtesy of SAC Engineering


One of the key challenges of the project was making low-volume modifications to a high-volume vehicle—the NV200 van, in this case—to ensure it complies with the strict regulations governing Hackney Carriages, which includes a required 25-foot (7.6 meter) turning radius, among other criteria.

In addition to the suspension modifications required to accommodate the new turning circle, the London Taxi specification called for a side door modified for a ramp and wheel chair access along with a front-end modification that transformed the van into a modern design that was in keeping with the London cab’s traditional look. The makeover includes round headlamps and a re-modeled grille that mirrors the traditional “face” of the original London black cabs in addition to LED light framing the taxi sign to increase visibility as well as completely redone front bumper panels. - more....



Asia and the Pacific

Auto-taxi drivers strike called off

Deccan Chronicle - (Hyderabad, India)

DC CORRESPONDENT | September 26, 2014, 05.09 am IST

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The  joint  action council of auto and taxi drivers called off the strike on Thursday evening after discussions with Transport Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan. Though the government had increased the auto-taxi fares on Wednesday, the joint action council went on a strike in protest against the increase in the minimum charge distance  from 1.2  km to 1.5  km  as per the new fare chart.

The  action council leaders phoned  Mr Radhakrishnan, who was in Kottayam,  and he agreed to hold talks with them after returning to the capital on Monday. Sources said that the strike was withdrawn following differences of opinion within the joint action council.  The  INTUC did not participate in the strike. While the CITU was for continuing with the strike, other unions, including AITUC and BMS,  wanted to strike only for a day. Other than a few isolated incidents of violence, the strike was peaceful.  Some of the autos which plied were blocked by strike supporters.



Ender Wiggin


Updated sep 26 @ 20:14 GMT

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