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  (Source: LA Times)
Taxi unions say government regulation is essential to "safeguard" the public from itself

The U.S. isn't exactly a "free market" at times, with outright bribery -- condoned by the U.S. judicial system -- or collusive public-private cartels leading to some products and services being banned from the market.  Just ask Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) whose electric vehicles have been banned from sale in many states.  That debacle arose due to the fact that Tesla has no dealerships and fearful dealership lobbyists banded together to pay off state politicians to ban direct auto sales.

I. Carpooling Gets Digital Era Makeover

Now the same principle is being applied to stymie the emergency of another set of companies in the transportation sector -- cloud-driven ride-sharing services.

Ridesharing -- also known as carpooling -- involves members of the public contacting each other via a smartphone or PC internet networking service and arranging to ferry each other to various destinations for fees.  The practice in informal form is almost as old as the automobile itself, but in the digital age app-enabled ridesharing has seen an explosion in interest, threatening the commercial taxicab industry and the city officials who depend on that industry for revenue.

Uber is among the pioneering startups in cloud apps for paid carpooling/ridesharing.
[Image Source: Uber]

California often is characterized as a leader in onerous regulation, but at times it can flirt with being laissez-faire.  

On a state level, that has been the case with ride-sharing.  Many companies in the field are based in California and rolled out their first services in the state.  Startup ridesharing services Sidecar, Uber, and Lyft are all based in San Francisco, Calif.

Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar

After initially threatening fines against these in-state startups, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) backed down and agreed to create a new regulatory category [PDF] -- "Transportation Network Companies".  While perhaps not as good as no regulation at all, the move has allowed the service to grow within California without fear of being banned at the behest of the threatened taxicab lobby.

Ridesharing celebration
Ridesharing supporters celebrate CPUC's decision not to ban carpooling for cash.
[Image Source: Lyft]

Elsewhere, the trio are proving less lucky.  

All of the ride-sharing companies operate on the same principle, claiming that their fares are "voluntary" and admittedly fluctuating based on supply and demand.  Because they aren't charging rigid rates, they claim they are not subject to local ordinances in various cities that require taxicabs to pay per-cab tolls to city transportation departments/agencies.

Cities transportation agencies are pretty upset about not getting their cut of the pie.  They've circled the wagons in many jurisidictions, backed by the traditional taxicab industry who views these disruptive new players as an unlawful threat.

II. Philadelphia Shows Sidecar Drivers no "Brotherly Love"

The funny thing is that many cities supported ride-sharing as part of "eco-concious" initiatives when it was on a smaller scale and largely greenwashing.  But once it expanded and money became involved many cities had seen enough.

Sidecar -- a Google Inc. (GOOG) funded venture -- opened operations in Philadelphia, Penn., the "City of Brotherly Love" in late 2012.  But of late there's been little love for the disruptive startup from the city government.  

Sidecar infographic

In 2013 the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) -- a city authority that derives its revenue from taxicab licensing -- decided it was time to put a stop to the business, which hadn't paid its toll.  It conducted a sting, seizing cars, ticketing drivers, and shutting down the operation.  Marty O’Rourke a PPA spokesman told TechCrunch:

[Sidecar drivers are] passing themselves off as taxis and they’re not.  It’s clearly not about technology. This is about public safety.  [The sting] was an operation to impound vehicles because they were operating illegally. If we find them out there again, we’ll impound them again.

Sidecar vigorously disagreed.  It points out that its drivers don't claim to be taxi drivers and are simply engaging in the time honored practice of carpooling with a small fee for the time and gas.

Philadelpha, Penn. has banned ridesharing. [Image Source: Visit Philly]

This month Sidecar was in court to try to defend itself, but it has yet to win the right to deliver services again or get some of its property back in Philadelphia.

III. Gotta Ban 'em All

Likewise Austin, Texas saw outcry from taxicab drivers who successfully petitioned the Austin City Council to in Feb. 2013 send cease and desist letters to the ride-sharing service ahead of the yearly South-by-Southwest (SXSW) festival.  Sidecar took advantage of the publicity, offering rides for free to spite city regulators.  But later in 2013 it had basically ceased operations in the city.  It's trying to petition the City Council to reconsider via a petition (which closed with 3,727 signatures), and local business leaders have also asked the council to change its mind.  But so far there has been no breakthrough.

Sidecar mirror
Austin, Texas has also banned Sidecar, Uber, and Lyft. [Image Source: Yelp]

Sidecar's last opportunity for action in Austin is the courts, where it filed a lawsuit in Mar. 2013.  Company VP Margaret Ryan blogs:

This lawsuit is bigger than Austin, Texas. What happens here matters for the entire sharing economy. Sharing resources is not a crime – it’s a solution for a better and more sustainable way of life. Rideshare is good for Austin and we’re going to defend this position in Austin City Court.

Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar all operate in Seattle, but in February the city council passed an ordinance that Sidecar says will effectively ban ridesharing in the city, if it takes effect.  That oridinance does not outright prohibit ridesharing, but limits each company to 150 passengers/drivers on the road at once.

Minneapolis, Minn. in Feb. 2014 announced it would ban/ticket any Lyft drivers who did not file for expensive taxicab licenses and would do likewise for participants in any other popular ride-sharing service.

Taxicab protest
Taxicab unions protest against Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar in San Francisco -- unregulated by the government, means a product is unsafe, they say. [Image Source: AP] 

In New York City -- where taxicab licenses ("medallions') cost up to $1M USD -- crackdowns are also picking up steam.  Efforts are also under way to ban the services in Las Vegas, Nev., Washington D.C., Chicago, Ill., and Cambridge, Mass..  In short the number of cities where paid carpoolers can legal operate is dwindling at an alarmingly rapid rate.

At this point quite literally the risk of carpooling is becoming that you will get your car impounded/seized and be forced to pay steep fines.

IV. California City Officials: If Paid Carpooling is Allowed Taxi Businesses Will Fail

But perhaps the most dire sign for Uber, Sidecar, and Lyft is that in their home state -- where they supposedly "won", local officials are threatening to do what state officials would not -- ban ridesharing.

Officials at the San Francisco International Airport in April 2013 banned the ridesharers from picking up or dropping off passengers at the airport.  

In June 2013 Los Angeles also banned ridesharing.  Los Angeles Yellow Cab manager William Rouse was elated at America's "captialist" system disallowing competition via strong-handed regulation.  He comments:

These rogue taxis are bypassing all safety regulations created to protect riders and drivers. Not only are these high-tech bandit cabs unsafe, they are breaking regulatory standards and disenfranchising safe, legal taxi drivers.

Lyft Lands
Lyft landed in LA -- and was promptly ordered to get out. [Image Source: Lyft]

And in San Francisco this month, city officials and taxicab drivers were eyeing a knockout blow to the carpoolers.  Comments Supervisor John Avalos:

We’ve gotten to almost a crisis mode.  We cannot let [the taxicab] industry fail.

Mark Gruberg, a spokesman for United Taxicab Workers, claims that carpoolers are a menace to society, stating:

People are being injured while they are fiddling, and their rules do not protect the public.  These are taxicabs in every sense of the word.

Lyft is banned
Lyft is too successful a business to be permitted, regulators argue. [Image Source: SF Examiner]

Critics are using a New Years Eve incident as a rallying cry.  On Dec. 31, 2013, a 6-year old in San Francisco was struck and killed by an Uber driver.  The driver was not transporting anyone at the time, but taxicab unions and the city departments that profit off them have gleefully seized upon the death as evidence that carpooling is "unsafe".

V. Taxi Business Owner Compares Carpoolers to Napster, Implies They're Stealing and Killing

Atlanta, Geor. Checker Cab owner/CEO Rick Hewlett writes in an op-ed:

Government has no more important responsibility than to provide for public safety, and many of our laws are for this purpose, including regulations covering vehicles for hire.

Because there is a clear potential for harm to life and limb when individuals are transported in automobiles by strangers, the reasons for regulating vehicles for hire, such as taxicabs and limousines, are obvious and crucial. Accordingly, there is a compelling need for government oversight and standards pertaining to all aspects of the vehicle for hire business.

Yellow Cab
Cab unions say if cities allow a free market and allow citizens to use their cars for carpooling businesses, they won't be able to stay in business. [Image Source: LA Times]

Chris Dolan, the San Francisco lawyer who is suing Uber over the New Year's Eve death comments to Mr. Hewlett:

New technology does not eliminate well-established legal principles.
Uber accident
The Uber driver's New Year's Eve accident may have given taxicabs unions and their government buddies just enough PR firepower to kill the ridesharing market. [Image Source: SF Chronicle]

But if carpooling is illegal, the question becomes where should the government stop.  After all, what about a roommate who gives you money for a ride to the grocery store?  What about a group of friends who pool their money to go to a concert?  If app-connected carpooling is illegal, aren't those people also breaking the law?

Mr. Hewlett didn't write about such examples, but he did compare Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar to Napster, the infamous P2P company that based its business on stealing musicians' copyrighted work.  

Will Lyft and others be destined for a slow, sad ride into the sunset? [Image Source: Lyft]

No matter how crazy that comparison it is, it's not atypical.  Ride sharing and carpooling for pay in the U.S. -- once a booming field of dreams -- has been methodically shut down and beaten back by the loving hand of government regulators and taxicab industry.  Thanks to those cartels, this once thriving sector is now on the death's door, as the nation's top cities approach a ubiquitous ban on sharing, which they say is anything but caring.

Sources: SF Examiner, Lyft and Sidecar, Fox News, California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) [PDF]

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Seize your car?
By Cheesew1z69 on 4/4/2014 10:39:48 PM , Rating: 5
For letting someone ride with you? LOL, that will end in a lawsuit that will no doubt be won.

RE: Seize your car?
By Al Jalaikakik on 4/4/2014 10:43:49 PM , Rating: 5
Agreed. Also, the first time a car is SEIZED for doing this, citizens should SHUT THE CAB COMPANIES DOWN by protesting, blocking them, disabling their vehicles.

RE: Seize your car?
By JasonMick on 4/5/2014 12:37:33 PM , Rating: 5
Agreed. Also, the first time a car is SEIZED for doing this, citizens should SHUT THE CAB COMPANIES DOWN by protesting, blocking them, disabling their vehicles.
Actually, as I wrote in the article... 3 cars of the people using the Sidecar app in Philadelphia were impounded/seized.

The title wasn't speculative, it was what actually has been done several times and will likely be done again.

It's possible the people got their cars back with fees, but knowing some people who got their cars impounded in my local urban area, you often have to pay $500-1,000 USD and have only a few weeks to pay before the city takes ownership, so many people are unable to pay or can't figure it out and just lose their vehicle.

To my knowledge there was no large protest in Philly... but Americans are rather complacent about such things these days.

The sign the one guy is holding...
...sounds like some sort of April Fool's joke (GM?!?), but it's actually the attitude of a lot of people in the country. A lot of people are more than willing to surrender their property so that the government can "protect" us.

RE: Seize your car?
By Reflex on 4/5/2014 2:37:54 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know how much travel outside of the country you have done, Jason, but having just returned from China I can tell you that the regulated system we have now is far preferable to what I found there, or in India or other nations with unregulated systems. There was literally no way to know if you were getting in a 'real' taxi or not, or even if you would necessarily reach your destination or get extorted. The cabs were filthy, the driving was substandard and often frightening, and there was no fee schedule posted anywhere, it was all negotiation.

Getting back to Seattle and hopping in a cab that was clean, with a driver who had to have a license to run the cab and as a result could be held accountable, with insurance in case of a problem, and where the price was up front was a huge relief.

I do think there is a place for Uber, Sidecar and others. But I think they need to follow the same rules that other taxi services follow, because the reasons for those rules do not go away simply due to being able to book online.

RE: Seize your car?
By coburn_c on 4/5/14, Rating: 0
RE: Seize your car?
By KurgSmash on 4/5/2014 4:36:44 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, it makes you sick, does it princess?

That's such a shame. Meanwhile the rest of us will let common sense and a free market guide us. If/when there's a problem with these services then by all means add _necessary and minimal_ regulations to solve that problem.

At this point all this is about is rank protectionism of buggy whip makers.. I mean Taxi Drivers.

RE: Seize your car?
By xfortis on 4/5/2014 5:05:11 PM , Rating: 2
It's hyperbole to consider that the existing cab industry will just be completely demolished by startup ridesharing. That's like saying AirBNB will kill the hotel industry - I have used and continue to use AirBNB regularly, BUT there are times when I pay for a hotel instead.

Industries don't disappear because of competition, they re-size: they adapt. You sound like you prefer an established cab service, and that's fine. It can't be denied, however, that the current establishment is high-cost which is ultimately the source of the popularity of ride-sharing.

A point that is not addressed by your preference for regulation is the dilemma of "drawing the line". While there are certainly good reasons (you highlighted) that regulations exist in the cab industry, do the ends justify the means for protecting said industry from competition? Are you comfortable with the curtailing of "lawful" borrowing and carpooling (for everyone) that protects an inefficient and non-innovative incumbent interest, simply because your personal preference is to hire a cabbie with a license?

**Side note: It's not fair to say that cabs in India and China are the way they are because they are "unregulated". For one thing, they certainly are regulated - Enforcement varies and there are many moonlighters and exceptions and corruption etc. that degrade that system. More importantly, however, is that those countries are developing - they face a superset of problems that faced America more than a hundred years ago. Regulation was part of the road from then to now for us, but I really doubt that if all cab regulations in the US were abolished tomorrow somehow service would degrade appreciably and people would be less safe even 20 years later - Consumers expect a certain level of service and business owners would ignore that at their peril.

RE: Seize your car?
By 1prophet on 4/6/2014 10:39:13 AM , Rating: 3
**Side note: It's not fair to say that cabs in India and China are the way they are because they are "unregulated". For one thing, they certainly are regulated - Enforcement varies and there are many moonlighters and exceptions and corruption etc. that degrade that system. More importantly, however, is that those countries are developing - they face a superset of problems that faced America more than a hundred years ago. Regulation was part of the road from then to now for us, but I really doubt that if all cab regulations in the US were abolished tomorrow somehow service would degrade appreciably and people would be less safe even 20 years later - Consumers expect a certain level of service and business owners would ignore that at their peril.

Sorry but no, that is a common fallacy perpetuated by apologists for other countries (usually 3rd world) by saying and believing somehow they must go through the same process to get to where America is today,

America had no examples, no knowledge from previous countries and had to pave the way by many trials and errors to get where we are today,

thanks to the modern information systems including the INTERNET (and the ability to travel to these 1st world countries and see first hand) less developed countries have the ability to research and learn from Americans mistakes and successes without going through them

since the knowledge and previous examples are available to them they don't need to evolve but rather willingly make a choice how to move forward since they have the benefits and knowledge of 1st world countries past mistakes and successes.

RE: Seize your car?
By JasonMick on 4/5/2014 5:11:16 PM , Rating: 2
The cabs were filthy, the driving was substandard and often frightening, and there was no fee schedule posted anywhere, it was all negotiation.
Sounds like the average taxi in Vegas....

I really don't think you're understanding... it's not because lack of regulation that cabs are dirtier in China or India. It's supply and demand. Customers have less money to pay, older vehicles are used, drivers use them as storage spaces at times, people are more accustomed to clutter.

I've been in plenty of taxis in the U.S. driven by poor drivers and with a fair degree of dirt and sometimes even leftovers -- I'm assuming from previous riders?

Anyhow, if Lyft and Uber were as horrible as you suggest no one would use them. If anything I'm assuming these people are safer drivers (in general) and have cleaner vehicles (in general) than taxi fleets, given that U.S. taxi fleets in the U.S. often are comprised heavily of older, dirtier vehicles, staffed with foreigners whose driving is about as good as their English.

The market self-regulates when it comes to small-scale enterprise. When the government steps in, it's typically to favor one kind and exclude another.

RE: Seize your car?
By coburn_c on 4/5/14, Rating: -1
RE: Seize your car?
By JasonMick on 4/5/2014 6:51:30 PM , Rating: 5
If their standards are so high why are they not licensing themselves properly? Where in your article does it say they were precluded from becoming properly licensed taxi companies? The government stepped in long ago and made these laws, plenty of companies do business abiding by them. It's these and only these companies who have come along and broken them, and they are being excluded because they are unlicensed, illegal taxi operations.
You really don't get it? It's not that hard to understand...

Simple... $$

If I'm giving people rides 3-5 times a week in NYC because I enjoy the company and making up for my massive parking costs, I may be a great driver and have an immaculately clean car. But do I have $1M USD to get properly licensed?

If "getting properly licensed" was free, sure I get your argument.

But it never is. For any large city the transit authority gets thousands -- if not tens or hundreds of thousands (or in NYC's case millions) of dollars per taxicab per year. It has very little to do with good driving or clean cabs, or safety.

Cabbies hit people all the time. Cabbies have killed people. Many cabs are filthy. Many cabs are old. Many cab drivers are horrible drivers.

That's not what "licensing" is about.

Licensing is a protectionist racket. City officials agree to ban and exclude casual competitors (no matter what their merits), taxicab businesses pay up for their local anticompetitive protections.

Of course any time you rig the market quality suffers.

The reason why Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, Heyride, etc. are doing so well is that their drivers mostly actually speak English well, have clean, new cars, are friendlier, and drive safer than cab drivers.

But because they aren't willing to pay more money than they earn to get in on the licensing racket, they're getting banned.

You tell me how that is fair or ensures "quality", in your eyes?

RE: Seize your car?
By coburn_c on 4/6/14, Rating: -1
RE: Seize your car?
By JasonMick on 4/6/2014 4:52:09 PM , Rating: 5
Your xenophobia is hilarious. How dare those immigrants come to our country and get jobs driving people around?
You couldn't be more off base. I'm a strong support of diversity and the right to immigrate -- a foundation of this nation.

Exactly where did I say immigrants should not get jobs or that I opposed immigration??

I support immigration. I don't think you have to oppose immigration, just because you believe that employees in occupations that require a lot of human interaction should have reasonable proficiency in the language of the land.

If I moved to Sweden, I'd expect people would be irritated at me if I became a taxi driver and didn't bother to learn the local language fully.
Earning money for driving people around should be reserved for internet startups and rich white people with free time on their hands
Again you're making ridiculous leaps from what I actually said. What does being white have to do with speaking English and being friendly and approachable?

I know plenty of African, Asian, Hispanic, and people of a variety of other ethnicities who can all speak English clearly and interact with people in friendly fashion.

It is entirely accurate that my opinion is that human services jobs are best staffed by citizens who have strong conversation skills in the primary language of the land. However, I have no biases when it comes to the race of the employees. To suggest otherwise is a pure bullsh-t.

In the U.S. the primary language is English. If you can't speak English well (which is true of at least a third of the cabbies I've encountered personally) I'd advise you not to take a job that requires a high level of banter and interaction skills i.e. the transportation sector.

It'd make a lot more sense to go to technical college and go into IT or some other job that requires less human interaction, giving you the time necessary to learn the language of the land and properly immigrate.

Do you honestly think that's it's xenophobic to want people to proficiently speak the majority language of their nation of choice?

If you think that's unreasonable, too bad I guess, because most people around the world think you're wrong.
Why should we prevent the average Joe from using his minivan as a bus? Why should we prevent any average man with a hammer from being a carpenter? Those laws are just there to protect carpenters.
Really, you believe the government should ban people from using hammers to do their own carpentry?

That has to be one of the most alarmingly outlandish statements I've ever read here... and that's saying something

It appears you are truly insane.

People like you make me worry about the country.

RE: Seize your car?
By Mr772 on 4/7/2014 12:37:20 PM , Rating: 4
Jason you just fell prey to the typical liberal\progressive attack strategy. Insult you, lie about what you said and use abusive language in the process. Saul Alinsky playbook 101 followed perfectly. Xenophobe is one of their favorite name calling cards. They come out of the wood work when you question the government controlling every part of your life, or trying to suck every penny out of you to line the pockets of their friends and supporters.

RE: Seize your car?
By xti on 4/7/2014 12:42:54 PM , Rating: 1
It is entirely accurate that my opinion is that human services jobs are best staffed by citizens who have strong conversation skills in the primary language of the land. However, I have no biases when it comes to the race of the employees. To suggest otherwise is a pure bullsh-t.

In the U.S. the primary language is English. If you can't speak English well (which is true of at least a third of the cabbies I've encountered personally) I'd advise you not to take a job that requires a high level of banter and interaction skills i.e. the transportation sector.

interaction is optional with a cab driver. You give them the address or the passenger punches it in the screen and then the driver starts driving.

They dont have to ask about your trip the same way a hairstylist doesnt havent to ask you about how crappy your day is.

The problem is everyone overcomplicates everything now a days. Now we have to make sure our drivers can understand english? This is a cab driver, they aren't running your portfolio.

Just know what stop/green-yellow-red/ main street means, take me there, take your 10 bucks from me and that is all I really need you for.

You may know a bajillion people of hundreds of different races or creed, thats great. What no one ever states is that they know a family who doesn't know a lick of english but they can see they use every resource, energy or ounce of intelligence they have everyday to make up for the social handicap. Let alone say that it is admirable.

believe me, if they were given an option of what nationality vagina they wanted to be pushed out of,they would have all said 'merica.

RE: Seize your car?
By MrBlastman on 4/7/2014 2:54:57 PM , Rating: 4
Don't you DARE try to screw in a lightbulb, Jason! Didn't you know you NEED to be certified to do that? They are hooked up to electricity for heaven's sake! You might get electrocuted or worse, slip on your footstool and injure yourself!

Call your electrician immediately! He needs to be licensed, bonded charge a minimum fee of 350.00 for the service call. But no worries. Your lightbulb will be replaced perfectly with no risk to yourself and you can go about your day focusing on more productive things...

... Like figuring out how you're going to pay a damn electrician 350.00 to screw in a ten dollar bulb.


Nanny-State mentalities are scary.

RE: Seize your car?
By Just Tom on 4/6/2014 12:14:31 PM , Rating: 2
But it never is. For any large city the transit authority gets thousands -- if not tens or hundreds of thousands (or in NYC's case millions) of dollars per taxicab per year.

You'd make a more convincing argument if you actually understand how taxi medallions worked in NYC. A medallion is a one time price, the T&L does not get 'millions' of dollars per taxicab per year. That would be economically impossible, since an average cab grosses maybe 100K/year.

When a medallion is sold NYC only releases whatever taxes are due it as if it was any other sale. The only time it receives money directly is when it actually auctions off new medallions. I believe NYC has not had a medallion auction since 2011.

RE: Seize your car?
By MightyAA on 4/7/2014 8:06:48 PM , Rating: 4
And it's also the difference between a company with a ton of employee's (taxi drivers) versus Joe Blow heading that direction anyway and wants some gas/parking money where both the driver and the passenger win. About the only thing to regulate is those that are trying to earn a undocumented living just doing this stuff. At that point, it looks like a duck and an IRS audit or your tax forms would clear it up whether or not this is your 'job'.

Just because I make a pot of coffee in the morning in which my co-workers pitch in so we can get some decent brew doesn't mean I need corporate license and a Starbucks franchise license. Yet if I construct a kiosk in the lobby... it's a different beast.

RE: Seize your car?
By drycrust3 on 4/6/2014 1:29:58 PM , Rating: 2
Licensing is a protectionist racket.

At one time there was no regulation of taxi drivers, and then along came some extra horrific crime or other, and everyone went "Eeeek ... that driver has a criminal file as long as your arm, how did he get to be a taxi driver for 10 years" or such like, and so the US lawmakers would have followed other countries and introduced laws that said taxi drivers have to be regulated.
The problem with this type of internet car pooling is it enables people who are providing a taxi service to do so without abiding by the statutory obligations that a taxi has to.
For example, in New Zealand, where I live, a taxi driver has to have police approval before they are allowed to carry passengers "for hire or reward". They have to display a photo ID with a unique moniker (I think that is the word) on it in a prominent place in the cab, they have to have video surveillance cameras operating inside the cab, they have to display their fares outside the cab, they have to have an area knowledge certificate to operate in that area, their taxi company has to be registered with the police, etc.
Now the important part in all this is the "for hire and reward", which means that even a convicted criminal can carry friends in his car without fear, but if he wants to carry "for hire or reward", e.g. charge "petrol money", he can get charged by the police if he doesn't have their approval.
So, here we have companies organising a taxi service without meeting the statutory obligations a taxi company does. For example, do these companies that organise these rides do a proper background check on the drivers they use? I'm guessing "no".

RE: Seize your car?
By Schrag4 on 4/7/2014 1:39:08 PM , Rating: 3
So is it your position that craigslist should be shut down, since sellers and buyers haven't gone through a background check before they posted ads and responded to them? They meet face-to-face, after all, and occasionally one murders the other.

If I'm afraid of being murdered during a craigslist transaction, I won't use craigslist (and I wouldn't be the only one). Similarly, if I'm scared of random drivers, I can take a cab. Otherwise, why should I pay more for a service (background check for drivers) that I don't necessarily want? You're saying I shouldn't be able to do something, and it's for my own protection. Why can't I decide how much danger I want to put myself in?

I'm with those that believe that this has nothing to do with anything other than protecting the taxi industry as it exists today.

RE: Seize your car?
By cab498 on 4/12/2014 9:50:45 AM , Rating: 3
No "horrific crime" came along to cause regulation of the taxi industry. What came along was a Depression. During the last Depression (as opposed to the one we are living through now) in the 1930s, the taxi industry was completely unregulated. Many unemployed people, in order to survive, turned their own personal cars into cabs. The number of taxis on the road in New York city jumped dramatically. The existing major cab companies, fearful of the competition, pressured the city government of New York City to limit the number of taxicabs on the street and protect their business interests. In exchange, the taxi companies agreed to let the taxi and limo commission regulate the industry. It was a deal between two devils with the consumer and the independent drivers as the sacrifices.
Other cities, seeing what New York had done, adopted regulatory regimens themselves.
The worst element of these taxi regulation schemes is the limits on the number of taxis allowed on the road by various city councils.
The solution to the problem is to entirely deregulate the taxi industry and get the government as far away from it as possible.

RE: Seize your car?
By Reflex on 4/5/2014 7:28:47 PM , Rating: 1
No, this was far worse than anything I have seen anywhere in the US ever. It may 'sound' like Vegas to you, but having done both no it was not. It was bad on a level you apparently cannot imagine.

I also think that your stereotypes of China and what they are 'used to' are pretty ignorant. China has a middle and upper class as well, and when leaving an international airport a significant number of the travelers are either foreign or middle to upper class, yet there was no real service for them outside of very expensive limousine services, which were likewise risky in different ways due to a lack of regulation (seriously, organized crime there operates limos as well as those are often high value targets).

I do not suggest that Lyft, Uber or others are horrible. I rode in Uber down in San Jose and it was clean, professional and well done. But that is missing the point. Once the standard is set others will enter that market, and a race to the bottom will begin. I have seen the end results of that.

What amazes me most is how foreigners I know who come here are stunned that they do not have to worry about the safety of a transportation option here. That our vehicles are relatively uniform, that drivers know where they are going, and that prices are up front without negotiation. Yes of course there are bad stories, outliers, and areas with poor cab services(usually the less regulated areas). But in general if you get out of an airport in the USA you can hop in any cab waiting and go where you want to go without any sense of concern. That is NOT the case in most of the world, and it is something others envy us over. Why you want to see that go away I do not understand, I can only guess that you haven't travelled much.

As for your last point, citation needed. No one has blocked Uber, Lyft or others. If they are already exceeding all of the standards of taxi services, they should have no problem simply registering as a taxi service. Based on other aspects they offer, they would likely clean up in my opinion. Why they are avoiding that I can only assume has to do with maximizing profit rather than competing on a level playing field. I have never seen any real world evidence that markets self-regulate, and in my state we have had several recent examples of deregulation at the behest of industry that have gone horribly awry.

RE: Seize your car?
By Mint on 4/6/2014 6:30:40 AM , Rating: 2
You make some good points, Reflex, particularly regarding safety, but your concern about the "race to the bottom" isn't warranted, IMO. Official taxis have distinguishing markers, so there's no need to worry about ridesharing tainting their industry.

Still, there needs to be a different registration system for ridesharing. Taxi licences are very expensive, and are only worth it for full time taxi drivers.

RE: Seize your car?
By Reflex on 4/6/2014 12:45:01 PM , Rating: 2
The 'official markers' you mention are widely copied in Asia and India. There is no way to distinguish official from unofficial assuming that you as a traveler even know what the official marker is. The standard recommendation is to only get in a taxi called from your hotel or by airport staff. The problem with that advice is that you have no way of knowing if the staff member themselves is on the take from someone.

RE: Seize your car?
By JasonMick on 4/6/2014 11:06:23 AM , Rating: 3
As for your last point, citation needed. No one has blocked Uber, Lyft or others. If they are already exceeding all of the standards of taxi services, they should have no problem simply registering as a taxi service.

You can't just "register as a taxi service".

It's really nothing to do with safety, cleanliness, or standards.

For example in NYC you pay anywhere from $100K to $1M USD to operate a cab, depending on city district.
I do not suggest that Lyft, Uber or others are horrible. I rode in Uber down in San Jose and it was clean, professional and well done. But that is missing the point. Once the standard is set others will enter that market, and a race to the bottom will begin. I have seen the end results of that.

So all this regulation (aka, "payola") must be leading to some great accountability right?


Of 16 fatal or serious crashes since 2009 examined by The Post, only two of the drivers had their licenses revoked, according to a review based on a Freedom of Information Act request.
The industry regularly hires shady consulting groups to manipulate the data to try to make it look as if taxi drivers are safer that normal drivers. But they actively resist the actual accident numbers being made public, as do the traffic authorities.

Taxicab drivers that killed people are still allowed to continue operating on the streets in New York City.

Pay-to-play protection regulations rackets have very little to do with public safety and everything to do with both local officials and the businesses in on the racket maximizing profits.

You seem to be unaware of how much dirty dollars are involved, how little the regulators care about actual public good, and how services can't just "register" as "freedom to drive" isn't free.

"Freedom to drive" is fee.... sometimes a million dollar one.

RE: Seize your car?
By Reflex on 4/6/14, Rating: 0
RE: Seize your car?
By RedemptionAD on 4/7/2014 10:42:09 AM , Rating: 2
To be fair about all this, a permit of $50 a year per driver for up to 150 passengers a year would be a fair way to take care of this issue. It really isn't only about the money in this case although it does play a role as it does in everything, it is a case of accountability in case bad stuff happens, like getting car insurance.
The article you quoted is simple incompetence at work in the system which is definitely an issue that the government needs to fix, however that is an internal issue and therefore not relevant to this issue at hand.

RE: Seize your car?
By RedemptionAD on 4/7/2014 10:45:10 AM , Rating: 2
Edit: I should have wrote 700 passengers a year for the permit.

RE: Seize your car?
By msheredy on 4/7/2014 11:48:58 AM , Rating: 2
don't know how much travel outside of the country you have done, Jason, but having just returned from China I can tell you that the regulated system we have now is far preferable to what I found there, or in India or other nations with unregulated systems.

And in other news, water is wet.

RE: Seize your car?
By grant3 on 4/13/2014 7:13:22 PM , Rating: 2
You suffer some crappy cabs in a foreign country and you think it's relevant to USA *how* exactly??

Clearly you've never actually used the ride sharing services *here* .

1- Every driver has to submit pictures of their newer-model car before getting approved.
2- The cars are nicer, cleaner, and usually newer than any taxi
3- The drivers are MUCH friendlier than most taxi drivers.

How you may ask? Because every driver on every ride gets a rating, and any driver who doesn't keep a high average rating is kicked off the system.

When was the last time you ever heard of a taxi driver being forced to sell his medallion for being surly and driving a beater?

All you people with apocalyptic whining about safety/cleanliness/whatever are either idiots or shills for taxi companies. Every single Uber ride i've taken has been better than every single taxi ride, and that's even before we account for the $ that's added on to every taxi ride by fatcats who milk the artificial-scarcity by renting out their licenses and doing no work.

RE: Seize your car?
By EricMartello on 4/7/2014 10:40:38 AM , Rating: 2
This is "protectionism" plain and simple. An industry with little or no bar to entry lobbies state and local govts to require bogus licensing or certification under the notion that the service can only be provided by "professionals".

In addition to taxi companies, there are other low-bar industries that continue to lumber along under a shroud of protectionism, like hair styling, moving companies and no one's favorite - lawyers.

Although the proponents of these industries will argue otherwise, there is no warrant for any type of licensing to perform the respective services of these "protected" industries. In a free market, the government will not interfere with commerce by requiring certification and/or licensing where there is ZERO evidence that doing so improves public safety.

RE: Seize your car?
By Reclaimer77 on 4/7/2014 12:19:57 PM , Rating: 2
Add real estate agents to that list too. Seriously how goddamn hard can it be? But they have licences and tests and certifications galore, it's absurd.

RE: Seize your car?
By coburn_c on 4/5/14, Rating: -1
RE: Seize your car?
By purerice on 4/5/14, Rating: 0
RE: Seize your car?
By toast70 on 4/5/2014 10:09:02 AM , Rating: 1
Why do you come here? Just to be a prick it seems because everything I see you post is nothing but garbage spewed from the mouth of a "cunt"

RE: Seize your car?
By Cheesew1z69 on 4/5/2014 10:24:25 AM , Rating: 1
Why do you come here?
He would be what they call a troll. And hopefully, soon, he will be banned.

RE: Seize your car?
By Dorkyman on 4/5/2014 1:58:09 PM , Rating: 3
I am mystified by the coarseness of language by some people. Are they trying to show how "adult" they are? Or are they just crude?

RE: Seize your car?
By Cheesew1z69 on 4/5/2014 2:27:56 PM , Rating: 2
They are just crude trolls. And hopefully, Jason has banned him.

Coburn is just a blatant troll regardless.

RE: Seize your car?
By coburn_c on 4/5/14, Rating: -1
RE: Seize your car?
By Cheesew1z69 on 4/5/2014 2:41:27 PM , Rating: 1
oblivious morons.
The fucking irony is strong with this one.

RE: Seize your car?
By muIIet on 4/7/2014 9:43:24 AM , Rating: 2
If you like your JasonMick you can keep your JasonMick.

RE: Seize your car?
By EricMartello on 4/7/2014 10:46:26 AM , Rating: 1
Riiiight, because letting someone ride with you is totally the same as running a taxi business with your personal car.

Jason, carpooling doesn't charge by the mile you hyperbolic cunt.

There is no requirement that a taxi charge per-mile to be considered a taxi, or vice versa. The case could be made either way as far as an argument in court goes - that charging a fee at all is considered at "taxi" service.

The problem is local governments caving into lobbyists whose seek to limit competition by requiring licensing and certification for industries that require minimal skill and have virtually no barrier to entry. Anyone can slap a "taxi" sign on their car and give people rides for cash.

RE: Seize your car?
By bug77 on 4/5/2014 7:21:32 AM , Rating: 3
Do you seriously think you can enter a court and win simply based on common sense?

RE: Seize your car?
By Motoman on 4/5/14, Rating: 0
RE: Seize your car?
By FaaR on 4/5/2014 12:20:41 PM , Rating: 2
Right, ban unions, because people engaging in the freedom to associate is bad, dangerous and threatens...well, I don't know what, really.

For someone screaming constantly about nanny stating and so on, you sure want big brother the government riding to your rescue whenever it suits you, to ban whatever gets your ire. Seems your middle name is Double-standards-'r'-us.

RE: Seize your car?
By Motoman on 4/5/2014 2:32:24 PM , Rating: 2
Unions don't exist as a function of people exercising their right to associate.

Unions exist to do 2 things:

1. Force companies/industries to pay vastly more for labor than the market would bear on it's own.

2. Block others from engaging in said labor market.

Point #2 is most relevant here.

This has nothing to do with nanny stating or not. Unions are abusive...period. There's no place for them in a modern society. Your cluelessness is truly inspiring.

RE: Seize your car?
By Nfarce on 4/5/2014 5:21:25 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. But you forgot #3:

To prevent companies from firing employees from negligence and/or incompetence.

RE: Seize your car?
By deltaend on 4/5/2014 3:52:11 PM , Rating: 5
All in all, this is just one more example of why unions should be illegal.

There is no black and white with the union issue. Some unions have too much power and have become corrupt and dangerous to the health of the company, the client's interests, and the employees that they supposedly represent. Others are not nearly powerful enough to protect their employees from the unlawful things that their employer is doing to them. We need unions but we need to find ways to keep them from becoming too corrupt, too powerful, or damaging the companies that they operate inside of like a cancer.

RE: Seize your car?
By Dorkyman on 4/5/2014 1:54:26 PM , Rating: 2
Even if you "win," keep in mind that you lose big-time financially (many thousands of dollars). The U.S. needs to adopt the system commonplace in most other countries where the loser pays the winner's fees.

RE: Seize your car?
By Omega215D on 4/6/2014 3:39:58 AM , Rating: 2
Not sure how regulation means safety. Come to NYC and watch how the taxi drivers handle their cars. We've had too many crashes involving taxis within the past year and the commission isn't really doing anything to curb their reckless driving. Many yellow cab drivers are also prone to road rage and a notable incident is when a cabbie lost control and slammed into a tourist on the sidewalk causing her to lose her foot.

So cry me a freaking river cabbies. Even with regulation you guys are still unsafe.

RE: Seize your car?
By Constitutionalist on 4/6/2014 7:55:04 AM , Rating: 2
Car pooling who's car pooling. Oh no officer I would never......

RE: Seize your car?
By stimudent on 4/6/2014 11:45:34 AM , Rating: 1
It's a free country. Big corporations and unions are free to do whatever they want to to inhibit the freedoms of the average person.

RE: Seize your car?
By Arsynic on 4/7/14, Rating: 0
RE: Seize your car?
By GotThumbs on 4/7/2014 10:11:15 AM , Rating: 2

Thats the government mentality for you.

Each year, this country is less and less "Land of the Free".

Pretty sad.

There just needs to be an open market and everyone understand buyer beware.

More and more you see Atlas Shrugged signs of the upcoming downfall of this nation.

Rome fell, so can the USA if we continue down this path.

Adapt or die
By vXv on 4/5/2014 10:07:17 AM , Rating: 5
This yet another case of the "market did change but we can't adapt, so lets bribe for some legislation instead" ... seriously either find ways to stay relevant or go out of business.

Sounds harsh but that's how the free market is supposed to work.

RE: Adapt or die
By Denigrate on 4/5/2014 11:15:27 AM , Rating: 4
Absolutely. Cabs have essentially priced themselves out of the market, but have bribed enough public officials to ban competition that pops up. Typical union crap.

RE: Adapt or die
By sorry dog on 4/5/2014 9:39:41 PM , Rating: 3
It's government sponsored monopoly.... what could go wrong??

One of the few licenses that I support is my state's hunting fishing license. The state's game laws and enforcement of those laws are largely supported by the sales of licenses and not a whole lot else. The minute that the license fees become a general budget revenue stream, then the motives of the government and lawmakers is suspect.

RE: Adapt or die
By bobcpg on 4/5/2014 11:00:38 PM , Rating: 2
Actually license fees for hunting fishing are not the majority of funds that support the management effort for states. I believe most of the funds come from federal dollars.

RE: Adapt or die
By Levi.littlehand on 4/7/2014 12:47:28 PM , Rating: 2
Do not Underestimate Sportsman. You want to talk economic force? how about 76 BILLION. Conservation efforts derive a big part of their revenue from licensing fees, and all the goodies that go with it.

If taxicab companies can't stay in business...
By quiksilvr on 4/4/2014 10:08:54 PM , Rating: 5
There's the door; don't let it hit you on the ass on the way out.

RE: If taxicab companies can't stay in business...
By bug77 on 4/5/2014 7:24:35 AM , Rating: 3
I believe there should a federal law banning any and all progress if it hurts one existing business. That would simplify things a lot.

Car insurance
By Fujikoma on 4/4/2014 11:25:16 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think the insurance companies are going to pay out if the car is being used for business purposes, as opposed to the individual policies that the cars are probably covered under. I'm pretty sure that any insurance policy I've ever had spells out that my vehicle and residence are not being used by a business.

RE: Car insurance
By chµck on 4/5/2014 1:01:41 AM , Rating: 1
And that's why we can't have nice things from insurance companies.

RE: Car insurance
By DocScience on 4/5/2014 4:21:21 PM , Rating: 2
That's why the Uber guys provide insurance in the contract.

RE: Car insurance
By sorry dog on 4/5/2014 4:36:10 PM , Rating: 2
Which seems appropriate considering the great liability and potential claims from paid carpooling.

I think it would be quite reasonable for insurance to charge a reasonable premium option if the vehicle is to used for occasional ride sharing.

1% solution
By DocScience on 4/5/2014 4:17:22 PM , Rating: 3
Keep in mind that government granted monopoly/scarcity taxis are a HUGE business.

Taxi's are seldom owned by drivers as medalions (licenses) for big cities routinely sell for over $1 million per taxi.

Look behind taxi owners and you will see well connected people with hands deep within city government leaders.

RE: 1% solution
By sorry dog on 4/5/2014 9:23:45 PM , Rating: 3
Bingo! Winner! Take two tokens from pretty cash.

This is what happens when government relies on backdoor revenue or use taxes that only tax a minority of the population. More often than not, this creates an economic dis-incentive that is contrary to what would otherwise be popular policy.

Same problem with gas tax. It's good if people drive less, but bad for revenue. Ditto smoking... It's good if people smoke less, but bad for revenue. It's good if people drive drunk less...bad for revenue.... wah-laa! let's redefine being drunk, and revenue will go back up!

Ridesharing is *NOT* carpooling!
By CharonPDX on 4/5/2014 1:28:30 AM , Rating: 1
I'm sorry, the terms refer to COMPLETELY different things.

If money changes hands at all in "carpooling," it's solely to cover costs, not to make profit.

"Ridesharing" is about making a profit.

(I think ridesharing should be legal, but it certainly isn't carpooling.)

RE: Ridesharing is *NOT* carpooling!
By Solandri on 4/5/14, Rating: 0
By sorry dog on 4/5/2014 9:52:23 PM , Rating: 2
But if you're driving in your car solely to give someone else a ride, that represents an additional person on the road. If you're driving around looking for someone to give a ride to, that represents an additional car on the road. The roads only have a certain capacity, so beyond a certain point any unnecessary driving is detrimental to other drivers who have a legitimate reason to be on the road. That's why taxi services are regulated - to limit the number of taxis on the road.

a good point, yet I'd bet that the number of cars reduced from those already going will outweigh the number make the trip solely for revenue that add to traffic. Also keep in mind the benefit of reduced parking needs since under either scenario, as well as pollution reduction. Most auto pollution is created in the first five minutes when the engine is cold, and most trips are only a few minutes in duration.

By KurgSmash on 4/5/2014 4:41:18 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure why you god modded down, you are correct.

Ridesharing is when a group of people all going to the same destination "share" a "ride" with one of those people. E.g. if you're going to work, or you're all going downtown, etc...

I too agree with the tone of the article and think it's silly we're coddling these taxi drivers like this, but I think calling it ridesharing or car pooling is a pretty cynical attempt to manipulate words.

By Fdarby82 on 4/5/2014 12:55:18 PM , Rating: 5
I understand where the taxi lobby is coming from, seeing these new technologies eat their lunch, but the simple fact is that taxis don't do that great of a job. Ask anyone who has experienced both taxis and uber -- Uber simply offers a far superior experience, and is now significantly cheaper than taxis.

As economies scale, getting around the city in an uber will just continue to get cheaper, and this is a good thing. It will encourage *fewer* private vehicles on the road, because fewer people will need to own their own car to get around. As a person who has taken Uber hundreds of times around San Francisco, I can tell you Uber drivers are friendlier, safer, have cleaner, nicer cars, and unlike cabs, *you can always get one to show up when you call one*. Plus, you can see them on the way over to your pickup location. These Uber drivers actually like what they do, unlike many taxi drivers who treat you as an inconvenience if you aren't going where they want or can only pay with a credit card. We can't force reliance on old, outdated systems just because the taxi lobby doesn't want to change.

I'll close with some advice for taxi drivers: sign up to drive for Uber! You'll probably make more money, and as long as you maintain a 4.6 star average with your riders, you'll keep your job. If you can't deliver a 4.6+ star experience, maybe you should find other work.

Safety of Sharing a Ride the Problem?
By drevas2528 on 4/7/2014 11:47:59 AM , Rating: 3
They hang their hat on the issue over the death of a 6 year old child by a driver that wasn't even giving someone a ride? The absurdity is obvious, but in an article about NYC Cabbies from last August there is this:

Nov. 9, 2011: A cyclist is struck and knocked unconscious by a cab driver at the Hudson River Greenway and 43rd Street. No criminal charges were filed.

April 4, 2012: A cyclist is struck and killed by a livery cab driver on Greenpoint and Borden venues. No criminal charges were filed.

April 14, 2012: 5-year-old Timothy Keith is struck by a cab driver in Cobble Hill and dies three days later from his injuries. No criminal charges were filed.

April 30, 2012: Dan Fellegara, 29, is struck and killed by a cabbie at Sixth Avenue and Watts Street. No criminal charges were filed.

Feb. 27, 2013: Amy Fass, fifty-something, is hit and dragged 40 feet by a cab after attempting to cross W. 181st Street and Haven Avenue. No criminal charges were filed.

Over the past 15 months, New York City cab drivers have killed eight pedestrians.

Makes the argument of Spokesman from the Cab/Taxi Industry a little weak, wouldn't you say?

By tamalero on 4/7/2014 1:06:34 PM , Rating: 2
Question: where they in the right or in the wrong?
where the cyclists driving incorrectly or in the road and not in their side or way?
Where they trying to cross while the road was on green?

By Samus on 4/4/2014 11:51:59 PM , Rating: 2
I must be missing something, because from what I just read, these apps are basically just digital hitchhiking.

RE: Hitchhiking?
By coburn_c on 4/5/14, Rating: -1
RE: Hitchhiking?
By verteron on 4/5/2014 3:48:19 AM , Rating: 3
Right, if by "called" you mean "stick your thumb out," because communication gets easier with digital apps. Don't hitchhikers always ask you to go someplace you were not planning on going? It may be along the way, but it still is not your current destination. And not all hitchhikers are bums, some actually compensate for the courtesy of a ride. I did when I ran out of gas for instance.

Try to understand both sides before you pass judgement. I am on the fence on this still. I don't think that it should be outlawed, but it does basically provide the same service.

I think the real problem is the fees and corruption of the taxi industry. If it did not cost $1 million for a medallion in New York, then maybe cab rides would not be so expensive and there would be no need of these apps. But this is certainly not as big a problem everywhere.

Taxi cabs should be banned
By AdamAnon on 4/5/2014 7:29:29 AM , Rating: 3
No week goes by in NYC without a yellow cab or black limo jumping curbs, crashing into shops and bus stops, maiming people. They blow red lights and speed limits routinely. If anyone, it's the taxi business that needs to be more heavily regulated or banned outright. They're a top public menace in NYC right now.

RE: Taxi cabs should be banned
By AdamAnon on 4/5/2014 7:39:38 AM , Rating: 1
So like, a taxi crashes onto sidewalk and cuts woman's legs off. The driver gets away sctott-free. The maffi... I mean the union portrays him as THE victim because the poor guy was upset with a cyclist who flipped him a bird or something. So imagine if you run a person over on a sidealk and tried to use that that line of defense: sorry judge, I was pissed of at a cyclist. The taxi unions are criminal organizations twisting the laws to their needs, like most other unions. That driver should never be allowed to drive again. He proved beyond any doubt that he is incapable of operating a vehicles. As far as I know he's still a taxi driver and drivers around the city. There were numerous other cases like that.

Ride Sharing
By iglick on 4/6/2014 1:49:21 AM , Rating: 1
The Ride Shares are not true Ride Shares. They are not really part of the Sharing Community. They charge significantly more than their expenses. They are clearly making a profit. They are running a business. They are running illegal Taxicabs.

I am philosophically against these TNCs just because of their arrogance about obeying The Rule of Law. If you have a great innovation for a business, but it is illegal, you work to change the law, but don’t break the just because you are a Billionaire. I love the Technology in itself; of course I proposed the concept 15 years ago.

TNCs have been breaking City, County, State, and Federal Laws especially, especially the no texting and Driving Laws. At least One Child has been killed by a texting TNC Driver. Now they complain when Government enforces the Laws. They complain when Government passes Laws to legalize them. They complain they asked to show proof of Insurance. Now they are suing Cab Drivers for trying to level the playing field.
This is like the Prostitute Suing the Housewife for loss of income, because a Husband is having Sex with his Wife for free instead of paying the Hooker. Does this mean that a TNC is nothing more than a Billion Dollar Brothel which takes it cut of the Service Fees?
In a City where TNC Drivers have had their cars seized for operating illegal Taxicabs. If you are committing a Crime you have to face the consequences of your crime. If you want to change the Law I am sure those Billion Dollar Companies you drive for can buy the votes to change them.

RE: Ride Sharing
By bigolbitties on 4/7/2014 2:50:58 AM , Rating: 3
You're an idiot. Your idiotic hooker example is a testament to that. You're a wolf in sheep clothing trying to pretend that you're for the greater good.

People hate cabs, with a passion, because they suck. Plain and simple. The TNC's have about as much insurance as cabs do,the driver must be insured, whatever their insurance wont cover the TNC collision insurance will, and there's the overall general liability insurance. So there is insurance. Is it perfect? No. Because pea brains like you and the insurance companies don't want to make it work. It's illegal because idiots like you want it to be. The TNC's are trying to find a way to make it all legal but can't get any help from the true billion dollar lobbyists which are the cab and insurance companies that are in bed with each other. That's fact not fiction. They've been making tons of cash sans innovation or investment for years and the PUBLIC is waking up to that.

I'm on the taxis side for now
By ET on 4/6/2014 8:32:57 AM , Rating: 3
"But if carpooling is illegal, the question becomes where should the government stop?"

That's exactly what needs to be determined. There has to be a line drawn. If the government regulates public transportation, making certain requirements of drivers, people can't simply become public transportation drivers without going through that. So a line has to be drawn regarding what public transportation is (and I think that most reasonable people would accept that people who charge money for driving strangers are providing a public transportation service).

Until such a line is drawn, it's reasonable to disallow these new public transportation services or require drivers to conform to existing practices.

By kalizec on 4/6/2014 5:22:53 PM , Rating: 3
To me this whole 'mess' seems like yet another example of outdated laws being abused to protect broken business models. If the companies in the private sector can't compete they should just wither and die.

And if there's a legitimate concern for road safety (and average drivers are unable to drive safely) those people shouldn't have been issued with driving licenses in the first place and people should focus on what then is the real issue (too low a standard for driving licenses).

There is no reason whatsoever for tolerating different safety regulations for regular cars & drivers versus taxi-cab's & taxi drivers. But at the same time there is no reason for laws protecting private sector companies from competition.

Only in America!
By BZDTemp on 4/7/2014 3:57:31 AM , Rating: 3
So much freedom that guns are everywhere, but selling cars is regulated by state laws and sharing ones car can lead to it being taken away. Logic and common sense is certainly not what is guiding the Nation :-(

Once Again
By mgilbert on 4/7/2014 7:57:00 AM , Rating: 3
Once again, the government needs to mind its own effing business. I'm SO sick of these types of government abuse...

Missing an Observation
By Levi.littlehand on 4/7/2014 12:36:32 PM , Rating: 1
So I see on here "oh safety this Honest that, this is why they should be regulated" Well, The TAXI service is Heavily regulated, and they're safe. Nobody wants to eliminate them, they can still Operate. By allowing Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar, you are not banning those. They still offer that "safety Guarantee" So, Hail that cab if you want, so will Millions of others, that don't trust Uber,lyft, and Sidecar. But some of us think Taxis are totally Bullshit. I won't take a cab if I can avoid it, I simply Cannot afford the INSANE fees. I'd rather Hire a single mother of 2 trying to put her children through college by driving around during the week and stripping on the weekends. 1/2 the cost, AND she drives a Prius, so, green! YAY! FREE MARKET, if too many creepers, start driving for lyft, they crumble, period. Whose going to hire a driver whose known for creeps, but if they keep the creeps out they succeed. Competition, drives quality.

RE: Missing an Observation
By cab498 on 4/12/2014 9:35:59 AM , Rating: 2
A couple of things about your post: First, regulations do NOT make you safer. And taxis are safer than regular automobiles only because the drivers have a ton more experience than people who do not spend hours a day behind the wheel. In fact, some of the taxi regulations out there make taxicabs MORE dangerous. A prime example of that is the cities that require a partition between the driver and the passenger. Literally dozens of people are hurt every year in New York City alone by being thrown into the stupid taxi partition during a heavy braking scenario.
The purpose of the regulations in the taxi industry are to limit the number of taxicabs on the streets, and thereby drive up prices and increase the number of customers per cab. It's protectionism plain and simple, and has NOTHING to do with safety.
As for the "insane fees" you obviously don't know what you are talking about because Uber charges roughly the same amount as a regular taxicab.

By Belegost on 4/4/2014 11:57:22 PM , Rating: 2
"We’ve gotten to almost a crisis mode. We cannot let [the slide-rule] industry fail."

Atlas Shrugged?
By Morg72 on 4/5/2014 2:04:58 AM , Rating: 2
Anyone else find this eerily similar to the scenario in A.S.?

By zerocks on 4/5/2014 7:22:40 AM , Rating: 2
Why not shut down public transportation entirely then, only cabs (private fares) are allowed. no more saving money. it's illegal.

Better yet...
By wordsworm on 4/5/2014 11:26:05 AM , Rating: 2
make it illegal for non-professional drivers to drive. Would clean up the environment and encourage the taxi business. They had this problem in Quebec about 14 or so years ago. The bus company was the one complaining. Their monopoly was protected, ultimately.

By masamasa on 4/6/2014 3:31:18 PM , Rating: 2
Another frivolous lawsuit. Welcome to the real world cabbies. No longer competitive because you're not keeping up with the times? Aww....too bad so sad. Down you go in smoke and flames.

The real world
By Gunbuster on 4/7/2014 2:15:09 PM , Rating: 2
Having a family that was in the Detroit Taxi business I know that it's not uncommon for drivers to be robbed or murdered.

I think ride sharing entrepreneurs should have the right to take that risk just like the official taxi/sedan drivers. You wont see me signing up for it though. Thugs have smartphones just like everyone else.

not about carpooling
By Murloc on 4/7/2014 4:13:33 PM , Rating: 2
the problem here is the difficulty in applying the law:
because organizing a daily commute or a random pick up when you're passing by and sharing cost (just cost) is one thing, but traveling around the city aimlessly with the aim of getting customers and money like the girl in the video says she does is being an abusive taxi and is illegal.
Also if the companies in question are managing the transactions themselves it's even murkier.

Since there is no way to catch the abusers in a cost-effective way, these cities did the wrong thing and banned the service completely.
They should have a more cooperative approach. Of course this will hurt taxis anyway, just like public transportation.

This is not carpooling
By bsd228 on 4/7/2014 7:53:03 PM , Rating: 2
I'll make this clear on top, since these threads (at least in SF) are full for emotional shills from both the uber and taxi side:

I am not on the side of the cabbies. I've happily used Uber on several occasions, and even before they existed took unscheduled rides (iow, taxi ride) from the town cars, and even from randoms at the baggage terminal looking for fares to drive home.

But, this is not about carpooling or ridesharing. JasonMick - you know this and the way your words dance around that fact shows some pretty blatant bias.

Casual carpooling has been long established in the Bay Area, particularly around the Bay Bridge commute. There are signed pickup areas on each side where driver get extra people in order to take the carpool entrances to the bridge (3 people required). It used to be no toll coming into SF, now it's a reduced tool, which may have decreased some of the appeal. My understanding is that passengers kick in a couple bucks. This is carpooling.

Uber (which I'll collectively use to describe all of the various services) advertizes that people can make up to 95k driving people around. This isn't sharing the expenses of a common transit. This is acting as a livery service. And as such, invalidates your personal car insurance. Since the New Year's death, companies are starting to assert they provide supplemental coverage, but it is exactly that and thus far been at a much lower level that what is required of true livery drivers.

Part of the appeal of being with Uber or Lift is that you can do it part time, during peak demand periods. But that also means it's not cost effective to get commercial insurance. To date, I haven't seen any quality difference between the two classes of drivers. In many cases taxi drivers (particularly those who rent a medallion), are crossing over. I'd say that the uber drivers are more professional, both in showing up when expected (you can track their car coming to you), and in actually taking you to where you want to go, but in an accident, there is a serious coverage gap.

I hope they can find the way to solve this problem. Right now they're under relentless attack by the cabs who want to protect the low number of valuable medallions and the illegal right to reject unprofitable would be fares.

Meanwhile, no carpoolers are at risk of losing their car. That's sensational bullsit.

By BaRbArIaN1 on 4/9/2014 9:24:50 AM , Rating: 2
Damn those purveyors of dangerous electricity, light your house with whale oil, nomatter how harder it is to pay for.

facts about Uber
By cab498 on 4/12/2014 2:37:16 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps a few facts about Uber are in order here, and will bring a bit more clarity for the debate. First, I have been a cab driver in Phoenix for 20 years now, and currently own my own fleet of cabs. We have 3 taxis, 3 town cars, and 2 SUVs on our fleet. When Uber first came out, I signed up my ops manager, and myself to use Uber as an experiment, and to help fill in the gaps. Here are some facts people should know: First, Uber approves all drivers. Part of that is a driving history check to see if you have any traffic violations. Too many violations and you don't drive for Uber. Second, Uber also checks criminal backgrounds. If you have a felony conviction in the last seven years, you don't drive for Uber. Third, Uber inspects all vehicles on their fleet before they are authorized Uber vehicles. If your vehicle is older than 2005 and/or not in perfect shape, you don't drive for Uber.
But last, and most important, is the Uber rating system. After each trip, the iPhone app prompts the user to rate the driver on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. If a driver maintains an average of anything less than 3.5 stars, he is gone. Uber dismisses them unceremoniously.
Now, your passenger rates you on cleanliness of the taxi, driving habits, dress, interactions with the passenger, etc. And if you get a bad rating, Uber emails you what went wrong, and a few pointers on improving it. ("Your passenger complained you were on the phone & driving. It is best not to do that.")
In 20 years of driving and managing companies, this is the first system I have ever seen that gives 100% instant feedback on the quality of your drivers. If used correctly Uber is a powerful quality control tool. For this reason alone, driver managers and company owners should embrace Uber as a godsend. Instead, for some wacko short sighted reason, they reject it, and see Uber as competition. It is stupidity on stilts on the part of the cab company owners if you ask me.
The solution to this problem is simple: Don't regulate Uber. Instead, DEREGULATE the cab industry.

How ironic!
By Twitch26 on 4/15/2014 12:05:12 PM , Rating: 2
Okay, now we actually have a choice of which fringe Leftist group to anger:
Carpool and piss off the unions, or don't carpool and piss off the Eco-Nuts.

They just won't let us catch a break.

By djdjohnson on 4/5/14, Rating: 0
Tesla isn't banned.
By jmarchel on 4/7/14, Rating: 0
“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls

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