The Taxi News for Wednesday October 29, 2014

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Cleveland police unsure if ID left with stabbed taxi driver belongs to attacker

The Plain Dealer - (Cleveland, Ohio)

Brandon Blackwell
on October 28, 2014 at 12:40 PM

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cleveland police are uncertain if a driver's license left in the hands of a stabbed taxi driver belongs to one of the driver's attackers.

The 60-year-old driver told police a man who stabbed him early Sunday was cash-strapped and handed over his license as collateral for a trip from Public Square in downtown to the city's East Side.

A Fourth District officer on Tuesday said investigators are still working to confirm whether the attacker is, as the driver insisted, the 23-year-old man pictured in the license left behind.

According to a police report:

The 23-year-old suspect and another man hailed a taxi at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown. The men said they didn't have cash, but could pay the fare if the driver took them to a home on the 400 block of Cleveland Road, the address of the man pictured in the license.

The driver took the man's license for collateral. - more....


Multiple drivers cited within hours of Uber launch

Las Vegas Sun - (Las Vegas, Nevada)

By Conor Shine (contact) Conor Shine
Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 | 4:44 p.m.

Uber’s Las Vegas honeymoon has been short: Three of the ridesharing company’s drivers were cited by taxicab regulators within hours of its launch today.

Nevada Taxicab Authority spokeswoman Teri Williams said as of 3:30 p.m., three Uber drivers in Las Vegas and one in Reno have been cited for illegally offering rides for hire.

Uber, which allows users to order a ride from its independent network of drivers through a smartphone app, launched in Nevada today.

In a statement, Uber said it “vigorously defends the rights of our partner drivers and firmly stands by them when they are wrongly cited or impounded.” The company said it will cover any financial or legal costs associated with the citations.

Uber has run into regulatory problems in many of the hundred plus cities it currently operates in around the country. The company has persisted despite opposition from regulators and taxi cab companies and has been largely successful in lobbying for new laws legitimizing their service.

But in Nevada, the company’s business model is currently considered illegal, Williams said, because the company has not applied for the Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity required to transport passengers for hire.

Without obtaining a certificate, Uber is considered an unlicensed operator and its drivers could face fines or have their vehicles impounded if caught by taxicab authority regulators, Williams said. - more....


Uber fight with taxi regulators headed to court Wednesday

Las Vegas Review-Journal - (Las Vegas, Nevada)

By RICHARD N. VELOTTA
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
Posted October 27, 2014 - 3:51pm

A hearing has been scheduled Wednesday morning before Clark County District Court Judge Douglas Herndon to determine whether the controversial ride-sharing company Uber can continue to operate in Southern Nevada.

Regulatory enforcement officers with the Nevada Transportation Authority and the Nevada Taxicab Authority — some wearing ski masks to protect their identities because of their work as undercover officers — have continued to cite Uber drivers and impound their vehicles. San Francisco-based Uber vows to stand by their contracted drivers and say they will continue to offer legal support and financial resources for drivers whose cars have been confiscated.

A spokeswoman for the company said Uber has rented cars for drivers who have had their vehicles impounded.

Uber launched operations in Nevada on Friday, but immediately found itself in the crosshairs of Nevada regulators who said they would treat Uber as it would any other illegal operator.

Uber views itself as a technology platform and not a transportation company.

But on Friday afternoon, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto sought a temporary restraining order in Carson City on behalf of the Transportation Authority to block Uber from operating. Las Vegas attorney Don Campbell, who is representing Uber, said he was not notified of the filing and challenged whether the order was valid in Clark County.

Herndon refused to sign a similar order in Clark County setting the stage for Wednesday’s hearing. - more....


Chicago wants to roll out universal app for hailing taxis

Chicago Tribune - (Chicago, Illinois)

Jon Hilkevitch

The rapidly expanding rides-for-hire industry in Chicago is undergoing more change Monday.

Customers will no longer be able to arrange a regular taxi or a black-car pickup using Hailo, one of a number of transportation smartphone apps that have debuted in the last few years to a strong reception from consumers who appreciate shorter wait times and the ability to prearrange payment using a credit card.

Now, the city of Chicago is preparing to enter the contest. It will implement one or more universal smartphone apps to connect riders with the closest available taxi among all cabs in the city rather than a customer going online to hail a cab from a specific company. The apps are designed to provide one-stop shopping for taxis and also "can help level the playing field" between taxis and ride-sharing services, city officials said.

Some experts in the taxicab industry are wary of the Emanuel administration's motives behind the app, pointing to the mayor's strong public support of Uber X and his initial reluctance to regulate the burgeoning ride-share business.

"Government is essentially endorsing one app as the centralized dispatch," said George Lutfallah, publisher of Chicago Dispatcher, a trade publication for the taxicab industry. "My concern is that it limits choice, and that whoever wins the contract won't have as strong of an incentive to serve the drivers and the customers." - more....


Yellow Cab not embracing hailing app Flywheel

San Francisco Examiner - (San Francisco, California)

By Jessica Kwong

San Francisco taxicabs traditionally have been a disjointed industry, and that continues to be the case even as city regulators push to get all cabs on board the vehicle touted as their savior from Uber and competing app-based ride services.

Flywheel, the hailing app for taxis that has The City's blessing, has successfully installed its smartphone devices on every cab company's fleet except the largest -- Yellow Cab Cooperative. The yellow color scheme has more than 600 cabs, which is more than one-third of all taxis in San Francisco, according to Yellow Cab President and General Manager Jim Gillespie.

Meanwhile, Flywheel claims 80 percent of The City's cab drivers use the app, including 464 Yellow Cab drivers. That percentage is that high because Yellow Cab drivers are signing on to Flywheel individually, since the company won't.

Yellow Cab has been resistant to form a relationship with Flywheel because the app service installs its own smartphone device instead of integrating into the taxi company's dispatch. Gillespie also fears that his drivers would get distracted by having two devices that could offer hails simultaneously or while the driver already has a rider. - more....


Medical Patient Transportation Made Easy

Blackburn News - (Chatham-Kent, Ontario)

By Kirk Dickinson on October 27, 2014

An investment made by the Erie St. Clair LHIN has made transportation easier for medical patients living in Sarnia-Lambton, Chatham-Kent, and Windsor-Essex.

Eight agencies from across the region have come together to form CareLink, which will enable clients to call a single phone number for timely and efficient local health transportation services. The program will specifically ensure seniors and other vulnerable populations are able to access health services in their community. The $1-million investment made by the LHIN has also allowed the LHIN-funded agencies to purchase 18 new vehicles.

Volunteer driver Bob Tellier says CareLink will ensure patients needing to travel feel safe and secure. - more....


DC cab drivers storm out of meeting before Uber vote

WUSA-TV Channel 9 - (Washington D.C.)

1:09 p.m. EDT October 28, 2014

WASHINGTON (WUSA9/AP) - Angry cab drivers stormed out of a meeting Tuesday where the D.C. council is scheduled to vote on ride-sharing services like Uber.

"This is illegal," said one cab driver, who left before the vote. The D.C. Council is set to give final approval to legislation that will allow app-based car services like Uber and Lyft to continue operating in the District.

Earlier Tuesday, hundred of cab drivers were driving around Freedom Plaza to draw attention to the D.C. Council's scheduled vote.

Taxi drivers argue that the app-based services have an unfair competitive advantage because they don't have to follow the same rules and regulations as cabs, and therefore can afford to charge cheaper fares. - Video


Uber vs. Taxis: How an App Made Hailing a Cab Harder Than Ever

Auto World News - (Internet)

Oct 27, 2014 03:30 PM EDT | Matt Mercuro

Catching a cab in New York City is harder than ever, and Uber is probably the reason why.

More than 10 percent of the 50,000 men and women who drive approximately 13,000 yellow cabs around NY have switched to the app-based service since June. This means fewer cabs are being hailed down in the streets, but it also means medallion prices are plunging by an average $150,000, a report by The New York Post said, citing "industry insiders."

The Taxi and Limousine Commission are being blamed for the migration by fleet owners, who have accused the TLC and its employees of supplying drivers contact information to Uber recently.

"They're leaking it," said Tony Georgiton, of Queens Medallion, which leases its cars to some 2,000 drivers, according to the Post. "It has to be somebody within the agency, within the TLC."

He believes that the data can't be coming from his company since it "closely guards" its records.

 The charges of leaked contact information were called "baseless," by TLC spokesman Allan Fromberg. He added that the agency couldn't confirm whether there are fewer taxi-cab drivers however.

Georgiton's allegations come just a few days after it was reported that the Department of Investigation opened a conflict-of-interest probe into Ashwini Chhabra, who left his $160,000-a-year job at the TLC for a position at Uber. - more....


Detroit may raise taxi fares and rein in Uber and Lyft

Detroit Free Press - (Detroit, Michigan)

JC Reindl, Detroit Free Press 10:40 a.m. EDT October 27, 2014

The City of Detroit is looking to raise cab fares and possibly block new Uber and Lyft ride services from charging higher rates as part of the first overhaul of city's taxi regulations in a generation.

The result could be pricier meter rates, but it would also provide an incentive for cab drivers to follow the rules and not charge exorbitant flat rates for short rides, an illegal practice and common complaint among Detroit cab passengers. Drivers face a misdemeanor ticket if caught charging over the city's official rate of $1.60 per mile with a $2.50 base fare.

"I had somebody one time quote me a price to go from MGM Grand (Detroit) to Nemo's, which is not even a mile, and the guy wanted $20," said Vaughn Derderian, 37, who works downtown and lives in Madison Heights. "My buddy and I said 'That's ridiculous, we'd rather walk.' And so he pulled over right at the corner of Michigan and Third and we got out and walked."

Cab drivers say the current rates, last set in 2001, are too low to make a decent living without charging illegal, off-the-meter flat rates. "Every time we're hitting that meter, we're cheating ourselves," said Detroit cab driver William Harold Davis, 60.

Drivers are also angry over the city's current policy which allows Uber and Lyft to do business in Detroit without paying any registration fees or requiring their drivers to buy the same pricey commercial-grade auto insurance that traditional taxi drivers do.

Detroit also permits Uber and Lyft drivers to charge fare rates based on fluctuating demand, which Uber calls 'surge pricing.' But some consumers and city officials say this practice amounts to unregulated price gouging.

Uber and Lyft disclose surge pricing rates, but the size of the final bill can still startle passengers. - more....


Smartphones vs. Taxi Drivers

Reason Magazine - (Internet)

Brian Doherty from the November 2014 issue

Korengold owns a coveted city-issued medallion; it's the only way to legally drive a metered taxi around Baghdad by the Bay. If you don't have your own, you need to work for someone who does. This license to cab is currently available at the jaw-dropping price of $250,000. For years, that barrier to entry produced enough scarcity to make Korengold and his grizzled brethren a solid middle-class living.

But over the past year or so, revenues have plunged a Lombard Street-like 50 percent, Korengold and other local drivers tell me. Press reports suggest the cabbies are exaggerating, but only a bit. What happened?

New, unmedallioned drivers dominate the streets of San Francisco, Korengold complains, "competing with us for the same customers, providing the same service but allowed to play under different rules-or no rules. They undercut us because they have hundreds of millions in venture capital behind them."

In other words: It's all Danetta's fault.

Danetta (who wished only to use her first name, in order to speak more freely without offending potential customers), is a 32-year-old bookkeeper who for the last year and a half has been driving passengers around the Bay Area and later San Diego for both UberX and Sidecar, two entrants in the hot new business model of e-hailing, or providing rides via smartphone. (See page 23 for how these companies work.) Danetta also drove a while last year for a third market leader, Lyft, a self-consciously wacky brand whose drivers frequently strap whimsical giant pink moustaches to the front of their cars. "We had candy and we had water and every ride we treated like our friends," she says.

It's pretty easy to meet the basic requirements for being an e-hail driver: You must have a post-2004 model car for UberX (post-2000 for Lyft) and be able to pass a background check on both your driving and criminal records. And the pay is good-Danetta takes home 80 percent of her Sidecar fares, and when I interviewed her in March she was getting 95 percent from UberX, though the latter goes through periods of being extra generous to lure more drivers. And the work is pleasant: After more than 4,000 rides, she remembers only five even slightly negative experiences.

Medallioned taxi drivers in the Bay Area don't have it so easy. As Korengold explains, "The cost of getting a driver's permit in San Francisco is around $350, which includes a fingerprinted background check, taxi school, taxi permit, and DMV printout. To get a taxi medallion you must be next in line on the waiting list and have put in the driving requirement of 800 hours a year during at least four out of the last five years." And that's before you hand over your quarter-million dollars to the city.

Cabs in San Francisco these days are required to either be hybrids or to use an alternative fuel, and they have to be equipped with cameras. If you're renting a vehicle from a fleet, you often pay up to $100 a shift in "gate fees," in addition to having to tip dispatchers in order to get good calls-a practice that is pervasive, despite being technically illegal. - more....


Uber, But For Kids. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

The Huffington Post - (Internet)

The Huffington Post  | By Hunter Stuart
Posted: 10/27/2014 2:08 pm EDT

Parents used to tell kids never to accept rides from strangers. Now they pay for the privilege.

A new app called Shuddle, already dubbed "the Uber for kids," is designed to provide rides to children who are too young to drive themselves to sports practice and other extracurriculars.

The idea is simple. Parents download an app and ping a car and driver to come pick up their child. Rides can be booked up to a week in advance. After booking the ride, you get an email with the name and photo of the driver, along with information about the car she's driving. You choose a password that the driver must repeat when she arrives to verify that she's a Shuddle employee (rather than some miscellaneous wacko.)

Then, as your child is driven to his destination, you can watch in real time as a small icon on your phone moves across a map. Transactions get charged to your credit card, so you don't have to worry about giving your kid a fistful of cash.

"Your child is your most precious cargo," Shuddle founder and CEO Nick Allen told HuffPost. "And we've built and designed our whole service with that in mind."  - more....


UberX drivers in South Carolina covered by state-approved insurance policy

In Search of Uber’s Unicorn

Uber's legality in Salem up to city council - (Salem, Oregon)

Uber and Cabbies in a D.C. Death Match - (Washington D.C.)

Uber’s Vegas invasion sparks conflict, needs compromise - (Las Vegas, Nevada)

Uber service launches in Las Vegas & Monterrey, Mexico

Why Uber drivers can't win: they're fighting supply and demand

Why Los Angeles Uber Drivers Say It Sucks to Be Them

8 Secrets You Learn Being an Uber Driver in Los Angeles





Europe, Africa, and the Middle East

Asian cabbies end strike after taxi boss says he will no longer offer white drivers on request

Manchester Evening News - (Manchester, England)

    Oct 26, 2014 09:52
    By Dan Thompson

A group of Asian cabbies have called off their strike after their boss said he would no longer offer white drivers to customers on request.

More than 50 furious cabbies from Car 2000, in Heywood, walked out in protest after owner Stephen Campbell revealed his firm allowed callers to specify the race of their driver.

They gathered in the town on Friday night to take a stand against the policy – blasting it as ‘racist’ and ‘discriminatory’.

But, after Mr Campbell told the M.E.N. his firm would no longer offer the service, the drivers have decided to go back to work for Car 2000. - more....


Cyclist says he was 'lucky' to be hit by a taxi after doctors discovered brain tumour

London Evening Standard - (London, England)

Published: 27 October 2014

A cyclist says he feels like “the luckiest person in the world” to have been hit by a black cab — because it led to the discovery of a brain tumour.

Paul Bartlett, 37, from East Dulwich, was diagnosed by chance after being invited to take part in a research project following his stay in hospital.

He was among a group of brain tumour survivors who attended the launch of a centre of excellence set up by charity Brain Tumour Research at Queen Mary University of London.

Mr Bartlett, who teaches art and design at Kingsford Community School in Beckton, was working as a barista in a coffee shop before starting his PGCE at the time of the crash, in May 2010. He was run over by a black cab in Soho Square and admitted to UCLH.

Mr Bartlett told the Standard: “I woke up in hospital and I didn’t really know what was going on. I went back to sleep and woke up in the morning, and was confronted by a doctor who said ‘Your helmet saved your life’.”

After recovering, he was invited to take part in a research project testing cognitive behaviour. A 15-minute MRI scan revealed the tumour. - more....


Swedish doctor put 'Ebola' patient in taxi

The Local - (Stockholm, Sweden)

Published: 27 Oct 2014 12:45 GMT+01:00

A Stockholm doctor breached national guidelines by sending a girl suspected of having the Ebola virus to hospital in a taxi, it has emerged.

The child - who is understood to have recently returned from the Democratic Republic of Congo - had a fever and had been vomiting for more than a week when she was seen by the doctor at a medical centre in southern Stockholm in September, according to news agency TT.
 
After initially suspecting malaria, the doctor then contacted Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge, Stockholm, to say he believed the girl may have contracted the deadly Ebola virus that has killed almost five thousand people, mostly in west Africa.
 
After being put on hold by a nurse, he panicked that he had been cut off and decided to send his patient to the hospital in a taxi, reports TT.
 
The move breached strict guidelines that require patients to be immediately quarantined if they are thought to have Ebola, to avoid the virus spreading to others. - more....


Stockholm taxis offer free therapy sessions

The Local - (Stockholm, Sweden)
Published: 27 Oct 2014 15:45 GMT+01:00

Ever found yourself talking to your taxi driver so much that it felt like a therapy session?
 
Well over the next two weeks, that feeling could become a reality as Taxi Stockholm sends three qualified therapists out with drivers around the capital.
 
Stockholmers can book a trip in advance and air their issues while jetting across town. And they shouldn't be afraid that drivers might share their mother complexes with the world - the cabbies have all signed non-disclosure agreements.
 
No trip is too short, according to Mia Fahlén, one of the psychologists involved in the project.
 
"We don't know exactly how long each trip will be, so we have to be flexible," she told The Local.
 
She believes even a ten-minute trip could be enough to point a customer in a direction that could change their lives for the better.
 
What's more - the experience will most likely be cheaper than booking an ordinary therapy session, with Fahlén explaining that an hour-long discussion with her usually costs up to 1,200 kronor ($165).
 
The therapist says she signed up to the scheme to chase the "thrill of the unknown", but added that she could predict the main topic of worry from residents in the Swedish capital.
 
"A lot of people are lonely. There are so many single people in Stockholm," she says.
 
"And a lot of the people I meet from abroad tell me they're frustrated with Sweden. They say it's really hard to meet people and that even when they try, the Swedes can be very quiet."
 
Natalia Santos, a press officer at Taxi Stockholm, said the idea sprung from a customer survey the company recently carried out. - more....



Asia and the Pacific

Cabbie dragged drunk man for 100 meters

Shanghai Daily - (Shanghai, China)

By Ke Jiayun | October 28, 2014, Tuesday

A TAXI driver has been given a three-year suspended prison sentence for dragging a man for 100 meters behind his cab, leaving him with brain injuries.

The cabbie, surnamed Wu, was found guilty of intentional injury, Yangpu District People’s Court said yesterday.

After having dinner with friends on January 12, the victim, surnamed Song, had knocked at the window of Wu’s cab which was pulled over on Fushun Road, the court heard.

But Wu believed that Song had been drinking alcohol and could be trouble, so refused him, claiming that he was off duty. - more....


Too many taxis and too few public servants - less in the bank for Canberra cabbies

The Canberra Times - (Canberra, Australia)

Date October 24, 2014
Ben Westcott
Reporter at The Canberra Times

Taxi drivers say these are dark days for taxis in Canberra - too many cabs and public service cuts, mixed with economic uncertainty, have made people thrifty and the passengers stop coming.

It used to be when you drove a cab in Canberra, the deal was simple - you got fifty per cent of your earnings and the rest went to your employer.

The cab owner pays for registration, serving and petrol; all the driver had to do was drive the cab and count the money.

But Canberra cab drivers said everything changed in the past five years and, as public service cuts began to bite and more cabs hit the roads, business has decreased sharply.

Taxi driver 30-year-old Daniel Van de Zandt said he has been driving for four years and in that time his weekly take had dropped about a third.

"When I started it was easier to make money and now the pay has gone down significantly, for the hours working. In a car, when I started, I was doing six days a week and I could be earning $1400-1500 a week for a 12-hour shift," he said.

"Now it probably could be $400-500 less a week, or more."

Daniel said before you can drive a taxi in the ACT you have to have had your licence for more than a year, be over 21 and have a language certificate from CIT to prove you can speak English.

He said you also had to buy your uniform from the company, with shirts costing about $60 a pop and jackets setting you back more than $100.

"Then you pay to do a course, which is actually quite expensive. When I did it four years ago it was under $500, and that's just the theory test, then there's the driving test that was $125," he said.

Compared with some Canberra drivers, Daniel has barely started - 78-year-old Mick Simon has been driving a taxi in the ACT for 43 years, coming to Canberra straight from working on the Snowy Hydro Scheme in the 50s. - more....


Cabbie defends industry against detractors

Stuff.com.nz - (New Zealand)

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 05:00 28/10/2014

A Christchurch taxi driver says critics of the industry do not understand how many standards drivers must meet and the efforts made to protect passengers and drivers.

David Buckingham said he wanted to speak publicly about the requirements taxi drivers needed to meet in response to negative comments following a story published by The Press on Monday.

The story said the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) had issued a warning about unofficial sober-driver services after a person unsuccessfully tried to set up a $20 taxi service through Facebook.

NZTA said such services were illegal unless they were offered for free or the providers held passenger endorsements and underwent police checks, as taxi and other passenger service providers had to.

The story attracted criticism about the taxi industry

''People thought [closing the page] was anti-competition,'' Buckingham said. ''The reality is that actually it's pro-safety.''  - more....


Uber Finally Begins its Taxi Service in Seoul, Still Causing Controversies - (Seoul, South Korea)



Ender Wiggin


Updated oct 28 @ 15:42 GMT

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