The Taxi News for Wednesday September 17, 2014

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Judge approves city's push for wheelchair-accessible cabs and 30-cent surcharge

New York Daily News - (New York City, New York)

BY Stephen Rex Brown
Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 2:11 PM

Under the agreement, half of the cities yellow cabs will be wheelchair-accessible by 2020. Chris Hondros/Getty Images Under the agreement, half of the cities yellow cabs will be wheelchair-accessible by 2020.

A Manhattan Federal court judge approved the city's agreement Tuesday to make half of its fleet of yellow cabs wheelchair-accessible by 2020, calling it “one of the most significant acts of inclusion in this city since Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers.”

Judge George Daniels got choked up while signing off on the city's settlement reached with the Taxis for All Campaign advocacy group.

“We should not minimize the importance of this historic moment. Decades from now, most will take it for granted,” he said.

“It makes us a better city. It is simply the right thing to do.”

The settlement, which was approved by the Taxi and Limousine Commission in April, implements a 30-cent surcharge for all fares starting in 2015 that will fund a new fleet of 7,500 wheelchair-accessible cabs. Each of the new cabs will cost roughly $15,000.

"It's a great thing for the disabled community," said Dustin Jones, 26, of Queens, who uses a wheelchair. "It's long overdue. We have the option if we like to travel around like anybody else." - more....

Uber issuing messages that it wants to roll in New Orleans but still opposes some city regulations

The Times-Picayune - (New Orleans, Louisiana)

By Mark Waller, | The Times-Picayune
on September 16, 2014 at 12:39 PM

The Uber digital ride finding company is issuing online messages indicating it plans to begin operating in New Orleans soon, while simultaneously protesting city regulations that it says remain in the way.

The New Orleans City Council earlier this month approved rule changes clearing some regulatory blocks on the much-debated service, such as a previous requirement that luxury car trips must last at least three hours. But the council kept a minimum fare requirement for premium car rides, with the lowest tier starting at $15. Uber opposes the minimum fare.

The Uber_NOLA Twitter account on Friday tweeted: "We can't wait to get rolling in the big easy soon." It linked to an article on Uber's website saying the City Council helped but didn't go far enough. - more....

Uber Drivers Cited In Fayetteville

Ride-sharing Service Not Permitted Under City Code

Benton County Daily Record - (Bentonville, Arkansas)

By Joel Walsh
Posted: September 16, 2014 at 1:30 a.m.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Two drivers for the ride-sharing service Uber were ticketed over the weekend for violating a city ordinance.

The company, which connects independent drivers with customers using a mobile app, launched in Fayetteville late last month, despite objections from City Attorney Kit Williams.

City code requires all taxicab companies to obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity, which must be approved by the City Council. All applicants have to submit to a background check. Companies must provide proof of liability insurance covering commercial vehicles. All vehicles are subject to a city inspection and must display a permit decal.

Neither Uber nor any of its drivers have met those requirements.

Fayetteville Police Sgt. Craig Stout said Monday officers arranged for a ride from Aaron Welch, 31, of Rogers through Uber's mobile app. When they met Welch at 251 N. West Ave. on Saturday evening, they issued him citations for operating without a certificate of public convenience and necessity and operating without a taxi inspection decal.

Welch was driving a 2013 Hyundai Sonata. He faces $185 in fines. - more....

Europe, Africa, and the Middle East

British hostage: Taxi driver who ‘just wanted to help’

The Daily Star - (Beirut, Lebanon)

Sep. 16, 2014 | 12:12 AM

LONDON: A British hostage who is being threatened by ISIS militants is a taxi driver from northern England who volunteered to drive a humanitarian aid convoy to Syria for a Muslim charity.

Alan Henning, a 47-year-old father of two teenage children, was shown in the same video released Saturday that documented the gruesome murder of Briton David Haines.

He was kidnapped in December as he was driving with an unofficial aid convoy to a camp for internally displaced people in Syria.

Henning’s family lives in Eccles near Manchester. Nicknamed “Gadget” for his love for new technology, he was not a professional aid worker but friends and colleagues said he was touched by the suffering of Syria’s civilian population.

He joined a group of Muslim friends who founded the charity “Aid4Syria” and had the name tattooed on his arm, said Catrin Nye from the BBC Asian Network, who met him before his trip.

She described him as a “very likable” and “funny” man and said he had been “inspired” by friends who had been to Syria.

“Alan is a man who is full of compassion,” said Kasim Jameel, a friend and fellow taxi driver from the Manchester area, who also helped organize the convoys, the Times newspaper reported.

Jameel said Henning had insisted on taking part in the convoy instead of spending the New Year’s holidays with his family. - more....

Peterborough cabbies protest following attack

Peterborough Telegraph - (Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England)

Published on the 16 September 2014

Dozens of Hackney Carriage drivers held the protest in Westgate, Peterborough at about 1pm.

The protest followed a brutal assault on fellow driver Nasar Khan on Friday, September 5 in Peterborough.

Mr Khan’s brother, Imran, said: “Taxi drivers have been left traumatised after the attack on my brother.

“The attack on my brother left him hospitalised for over 5 days and him not been able to leave the house.

“He has sustained head and eye injuries and has less movement in his right arm.

“He feels his taxi career has come to and abrupt end and left him to ponder about his future.”

Imran also called for a meeting with police and the council to improve security for hackney drivers in the city.

German judge lifts temporary ban on Uber ride-sharing

Reuters - (Internet)

By Eric Auchard and Harro Ten Wolde

FRANKFURT Tue Sep 16, 2014 12:39pm EDT

(Reuters) - A Frankfurt judge granted a reprieve to Uber, the online transportation service, setting aside a temporary injunction issued two weeks ago against the Silicon Valley company from operating a novel car-sharing service across Germany.

Frankfurt Regional Court Judge Frowin Kurth said on Tuesday that the issues in the case brought against Uber by German taxi operator group Taxi Deutschland deserved a fuller airing in court, but lacked the urgency for a temporary injunction.

"There could still be grounds for an injunction" against Uber, Kurth said in deciding on the company's appeal of the court's original decision. "But during our deliberations it became clear there were no grounds for an immediate injunction."

The lawsuit, which pits taxi operators against the fast-growing U.S. start-up recently valued at around $18 billion, has underscored Germany's mounting unease over the impact of digital technology on established businesses and institutions.

Taxi Deutschland had sought the injunction as part of a civil lawsuit to bar the company's ride-sharing service, citing what it saw as unfair competition by Uber against the professional taxi drivers whom it represents.

The original injunction barred Uber from using its Uberpop mobile phone app to connect ride-sharing drivers to potential passengers, ruling that Uber's network of volunteer drivers lacked the commercial licenses to charge passengers for rides.

Each infraction of the court's injunction carried fines of up to 250,000 euros ($323,775). Uber quickly appealed the ruling, leading to Tuesday's hearing.

Taxi Deutschland said in a statement it was baffled by Tuesday's decision.

"The taxi industry accepts competitors who comply with the law. Uber does not. That is why we are announcing today that we will go immediately to appeal," it said. - more....

German Taxi Drivers to Appeal Lifting of Uber Ban

The Wall Street Journal - (New York City, New York)

By Ulrike Dauer
Updated Sept. 16, 2014 10:51 a.m. ET

FRANKFURT—German taxi drivers will appeal a decision by a Frankfurt court removing a nationwide ban on Uber Inc.'s UberPop service, the drivers' association said Tuesday.

The ban, which put a serious roadblock in the way of Uber's expansion plans in Germany, was removed when the court lifted a temporary injunction against UberPop. The injunction had been imposed last month after the taxi drivers filed a complaint saying UberPop, which connects passengers with drivers who lack professional transportation licenses, posed...  - Subscription Required

Uber now cheaper than the Tube in London

Mareeg Media - (Internet)

Posted on September 14, 2014 by Warsame in English, World news

Uber has announced a 15% price cut on all UberX journeys effective from 3pm today (August 29).

Uber is a smartphone app that allows users to call a taxi to wherever they are.

 They are given a choice of different types of taxi, with the UberX offering being the cheapest.

The drop in cost combined with a new minimum £5 fare for journeys means that fare splitting would put UberX trips cheaper than the Tube at peak times.

The application has caused controversy of late, with the London Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) arguing that it disrupts the business model of black cabs by acting like a taxi meter, which private cars are not permitted to use.  Source New to @Uber_Lodon? Use jaxwt for £10 off your first ride. Sign up here!

E-cigarettes set to be banned from taxis

Lancashire Telegraph - (Blackburn, Lancashire, England)

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph:

SMOKING electronic cigarettes in taxis in the Ribble Valley could be banned under plans to be discussed today.

The borough licensing committee will consider the proposal to alter the standard conditions for private hire and hackney carriage vehicles.

If the idea is approved a driver shall ‘not smoke in the vehicle or permit any passenger to smoke in the vehicle, which for the avoidable of doubt shall include smoking or using electronic cigarette or any other vapour-producing smoking device’.

The idea was first discussed in March after the council received a query from a taxi driver over whether the existing smoking ban included electronic cigarettes.

The council’s conditions for taxi drivers simply state that they must ‘not smoke in the vehicle or permit any passenger to smoke in the vehicle’, with no mention of e-cigarettes.

Smoking is defined in the 2006 Health Act as ‘smoking tobacco or anything which contains tobacco’ and being ‘in possession of lit tobacco’. - more....

Asia and the Pacific

State bid to counter transport strike

The Times of India - (Kolkata, India)

TNN | Sep 17, 2014, 12.22 AM IST

KOLKATA: The government officials on Tuesday met the representatives of state transport undertakings (STUs) to work out a strategy to counter the indefinite taxi strike from September 18 and transport workers' strike on September 19.

Transport minister Madan Mitra urged the new radio-cab operating agencies like Meru Cab, Sure Cab and Mega Cab to run their full fleet. He assured that any disruptive activity by the striking taxi workers would be firmly dealt with. Leaves of the employees of five STUs have been cancelled and they will run full fleet to counter the strike.

Eight major central trade unions, including CITU, AITUC, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) and INTUC, have called the indefinite taxi strike from September 18 and transport workers' strike on September 19. Taxi operators have called strikes for several times this month. - more....

Uber drives into Singapore’s taxi-app market

Channel News Asia - (Singapore)

    By Tan Weizhen
    POSTED: 16 Sep 2014 07:11

SINGAPORE: Private car-sharing and taxi-booking app Uber, which was recently banned in Germany for violating transport laws, launched its UberTaxi service here on Monday (Sep 15), adding to an increasingly crowded market.

As commuters continue to grapple with the perennial problem of hailing a taxi during peak hours, five-year-old Uber, which operates in more than 200 cities, is joining a clutch of firms here such as GrabTaxi and Easy Taxi.

While Uber faces a €250,000 (S$409,000) fine each time it picks up a passenger in Germany and other regulators in cities around the world restrict its services on the grounds of licensing and insurance issues, unfair competition and safety risks, regional general manager Mike Brown told TODAY it gets no such resistance here.

“There are certain places in the world that are extremely resistant to technology and protecting entrenched interests,” said Mr Brown. “(But) we have an excellent relationship with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Ministry of Transport. They have been extremely supportive,” he added. - more....

Ender Wiggin

Updated sep 16 @ 21:10 GMT