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Driver Carjacked, Shot
WCAU-TV Channel 10 - (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
By Karen Araiza
Saturday, Dec 7, 2013
A cab driver was carjacked and shot in the face early this morning in North Philadelphia.
According to a security guard who police say witnessed the shooting, the gunman was a bar patron who had been kicked out of a club around 5 a.m. in the 3900 block of Old York Road. He hailed a cab.
When the cabbie pulled over, the bar patron allegedly yanked the driver out of the town car and shot him twice in the face.
A security guard who saw the shooting pulled out his gun and shot at the suspect. The gunman jumped into the town car, took off and then ditched the car a few blocks away at 10th and Venango.
The cab driver, 46, was rushed to Temple University Hospital where he is in critical condition. - more....
Man arrested after taxi driver loses eye in road rage attack
Chicago Tribune - (Chicago, Illinois)
By Mitch Smith Tribune reporter
4:09 p.m. CST, December 7, 2013
A cab driver who was blinded in one eye during an October road rage incident had the presence of mind to write down his assailant’s license plate number and take a picture of the fleeing car, prosecutors said, leading to the arrest of an Oak Park man on Friday.
Terrell S. Brown, 36, was ordered held on $200,000 bail Saturday after a routine traffic stop revealed that he was wanted for the West Side attack on the taxi driver.
On Oct. 20, prosecutors allege, Brown and the cabbie were involved in a minor accident in the 300 block of South Western Avenue in the Near West Side neighborhood. Brown offered the cab driver money to leave the scene without filing a report, prosecutors said. When the cabbie demurred, Brown allegedly struck him in the face with an unknown object and fled. - more....
Taxi industry doomed by city hall reform: Cab owners
Toronto Sun - (Toronto, Ontario)
By Simon Kent ,Toronto Sun
First posted: Saturday, December 07, 2013 07:30 PM EST
TORONTO - Oh dear. Here come the bureaucrats.
Listen to 10 words that will strike fear into the warm, beating heart of any Toronto small-business owner.
“Hi. I’m from City Hall and I’m here to help.”
The last time that phrase was whispered in the vicinity of Nathan Phillips Square, food truck vendors shuddered. It was 2009 and they collectively felt the full force of council meddling in their industry.
The controversial Food A La Cart program was an attempt to standardize streetside carts under the benign aegis of city hall.
It remains a monumental failure of municipal policy and an example of how the public sector should not seek to strangle the private sector with arbitrary rules, regulations and bright shining mountains of red tape.
The A La Cart scheme forced vendors to over capitalize their operations by using a single, council-mandated design that forced them out of business if not into bankruptcy.
All within 12 months.
Now, councillors are back trying to standardize yet another fiercely competitive service industry.
The city has been conducting a comprehensive review of Toronto’s taxicabs ahead of the 2015 Pan/Parapan Games. It promises the biggest shake up in a generation in the way the taxi industry is run.
In June 2013, the Framework for Change was released with the following key items highlighted for further input: how to improve customer service, increase accessibility, maintain or reduce fares, improve driver safety, update technology and harmonize the existing licensing structure.
A final staff report with recommendations will be delivered to the Licensing and Standards Committee on Jan. 23, 2014.
The proposed new plans include some of the following key provisions: All taxis to be wheelchair accessible; fire hydrants will double as cabstands, where drivers will be required to stay inside their vehicles, ready to drive or move in case of an emergency; digital screens will be installed in all cabs and drivers will have the right to ask for a maximum deposit of $25 before they start driving with the option of a $25 charge if the cab is soiled during the ride.
There are 44 changes in all but Gail Souter, president of Beck Taxi, is having none of it. - more....
Wheelchair Settlement Poses Test for Cab Industry
The New York Times - (New York City, New York)
By BENJAMIN WEISER and MATT FLEGENHEIMER
Published: December 7, 2013
The announcement on Friday that New York City had settled a major class-action lawsuit that, if approved, would result in at least half of its taxicabs becoming wheelchair accessible by 2020 drew praise from politicians, industry figures and advocates for the disabled.
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But with a new mayoral administration taking office and no details as to how to carry out the settlement, industry representatives questioned how the deal would be put into effect.
“We are left with more questions than answers,” said a statement released by the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, an industry group whose members operate about 40 percent of the city’s yellow cabs.
The deal requires that accessible taxis be phased into the city’s fleet of more than 13,000 medallion cabs as older taxis are retired. Today, only a fraction of the fleet is wheelchair accessible.
Under the agreed-upon formula, half of all new medallion cabs put into service in any year must be accessible until 50 percent of the fleet is compliant, according to documents filed on Friday in Federal District Court in Manhattan. Judge George B. Daniels must approve any final deal.
The city’s taxi commissioner, David S. Yassky, who Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has said he would replace, said at a news conference on Friday that “today is a day for articulating the broad commitment that the city is making to accessibility.” But, he added, “Job 1” is to work with the taxi industry “to craft the details for how you get there.” - more....
City turns down proposal to add two cabs for disabled – Commissioners ruled Five 6’s couldn’t change licenses
Florida Keys Weekly - (Marathon, Florida)
Dec 7, 2013
The plan for Five 6’s taxi company to switch two of its private-hire passenger van licenses for two regular cab licenses was nixed by Key West City Commissioners at its most recent meeting. Only Mayor Craig Cates and Commissioner Jimmy Weekley supported the measure.
“There are other solutions than taking CVH licenses that are worthless and converting them to taxi licenses that will generate over $100,000 a year in gross income,” said Key Lime Taxi owner Thane Gilliam, calling it unfair because of the limited number of taxi licenses in Key West. “There are other possible ways to solve the problem.”
A CVH license is a Contract Vehicle for Hire, which is a passenger van that usually requires 24-hour notice before an assigned pick up, according to Gilliam. This sort of vehicle is often used by those confined to a wheel chair. Five 6’s sought to convert this type of license to Private Vehicle for Hire licenses by Five 6’s, or a regular cab license. Glenn Stevenson, owner of Five 6’s, said the handicap vehicles are needed in the community and his proposal has nothing to do with profit.
“We bring people to dialysis three days a week. The ADA vehicle we bought on our dime for over $50,000 to help the community,” said Stevenson. - more....
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Airport taxi drivers on hunger strike
Stuff.co.nz - (New Zealand)
Last updated 14:27 09/12/2013
Taxi drivers in Auckland are staging a protest over working conditions and taxi-rank positions at the city's airport.
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An alliance of 180 Auckland taxi drivers have begun a hunger strike at the Auckland International Airport headquarters as their industrial spat with the airport company continues.
The move is a reaction to a breakdown in negotiations over working conditions and taxi-rank positions between competing companies at the airport.
The Auckland Taxi Association (ATA), a collection of smaller taxi companies, negotiated better access to toilets, drinking water and sun shade at the international terminal two weeks ago.
The group said the hunger strike would continue until further demands were agreed to, including positioning the premium taxi rank further away from the arrivals hall and discouraging discriminatory and "racist" behaviour from the airport's security contractors.
The airport said the ATA representatives walked out of negotiations last week when no agreement could be reached on the positioning of a rival dedicated taxi rank at the international terminal used by Green Cabs and Auckland Co-Op taxis.
Both sides accused the other of lying through the media and shutting down dialogue. - more....
Rogue taxi drivers are endangering passengers, investigation finds
Herald Sun - (Melbourne, Australia)
December 08, 2013 11:00PM
ROGUE taxi drivers are kidnapping passengers, terrorising hotel staff, in one case even headbutting a concierge and endangering the safety of other road users, a Herald Sun investigation has found.
A litany of physical and verbal altercations, dangerous driving, sexual advances, extortion, refused fares, meter and credit card fraud and poor service is revealed in scores of complaints from hotels, their staff and visitors released to the Herald Sun under Freedom of Information laws.
Many "tricks" used by conniving cabbies to con customers are also revealed in the complaints lodged with the Victorian Taxi Directorate in the 16 months to April 30.
In the most extreme cases passengers who stand up to bully drivers say they have been kidnapped, dumped in the dark by the side of the road or threatened with harm, while others have been subject to abuse and racial vilification.
And taxis are a major tourist turn-off, with hotels reporting drivers fighting over fares, parking positions, and even attacking staff. Scores of tourists have complained of missed flights, inflated airport fares and rude, aggressive and unscrupulous drivers.
The Australian Hotels Association says it is concerned the city's cab crisis was leaving tourists, business and convention visitors with a bad impression of Melbourne.
"It is disappointing to hear reports from guests of hotels whereby they've had an experience they would rather not have," deputy chief executive officer Paddy O'Sullivan said. - more....
Kidnappings and public urination among complaints about Melbourne taxi drivers
Herald Sun - (Melbourne, Australia)
December 09, 2013 12:16PM
KIDNAPPINGS, headbutts, public urination: Welcome to Melbourne's taxi service.
These are just some of the scores of complaints made by Melbourne's hotels, staff and guests between January 2012 and April 2013:
"Picking up my daughter and she is faced with driver urinating into the gutter using the open passenger door as cover … Disgusting I have not even seen this in third world countries." - Mother
'GO F--- YOUR FACE'
"When he refused to leave (after blocking the hotel cab rank) he told me 'what are you going to do about it'.
I then took down his number and he sarcastically said 'are you going to come find me?'.
I responded that I would report him to the VTD. It was then he was yelling at me in front of our guests and other members of the public to 'go f--- yourself' and "go f--- your face'.
This was done repeatedly until I called security and he left." - Hotel staff
HOTEL STAFFER HEADBUTTED
"(A taxi driver) - who had previously been banned from the hotel - attended the premises this morning.
It is alleged that (the driver) took a passenger's bag and when the hotel staff and passenger asked for the bag back, as the passenger did not want to travel with this driver, (the driver) headbutted (hotel worker). The matter was reported to VicPol." - Grand Mercue Hotel
"The driver then stated, "You did not pick anyone up tonight?". I said "No, I was there hanging out with my friends.".
The driver said, "So you got no d--- tonight?" I then answered back "I was just seeing my friends."
The driver then started going with comments such as "Do you sleep with random guys?" and "It's a shame you have to go home by yourself tonight with no sex".
I then changed the conversation to his culture however … the driver brought the conversation back to my sex life ... I felt very uncomfortable." - 21-year-old girl catching a taxi home by herself
"I caught a taxi home … at approximately 2am. The driver engaged in conversation regarding my marital status/sexuality.
Conversation continued throughout the journey. Upon paying with my Eftpos card and leaving the taxi the driver left the vehicle, running around to me.
I was against the passenger side of the vehicle when the driver attempted to kiss me inserting his tongue on two occasions and pushing his groin up to mine.
I managed to push him off me and leave. I have contacted police regarding this incident." - Lone female passenger - more....
Updated dec 09 @ 20:48 GMT