YPSILANTI TWP., Mich. - Two men are accused of calling a
taxi to help dispose of a woman's body, reports CBS Detroit.
Police say the situation unfolded last Saturday morning when
a man contacted BWB Transportation and requested a ride to
an address in Ypsilanti Township, Mich. A taxi driver
responded and waited as the man came out carrying an unknown
object that he placed in the back of the van, reports the
The driver took the man to the requested address and then
called her boss, 47-year-old Derrick Campbell, after the
customer exited the vehicle "because of her concern as to
what was placed in the rear of the car," according to CBS
Campbell arrived, began talking with the male customer and
apparently was told he'd been trying to dispose of a body,
police said. But instead of calling police, or otherwise
intervening, authorities say Campbell actually helped the
man remove the body from the taxi and conceal it alongside
the road. - more....
PSC cites lack of reliable revenue data in decision against
rate hike in years-long case
By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun
10:10 p.m. EDT, July 29, 2014
State regulators on Tuesday rejected rate increases for
taxis and ordered all operators to install new
credit-card-reading smart meters by the end of the year.
The Maryland Public Service Commission said the new meters
will bring more predictability and better service to
customers hailing cabs in Baltimore city and county, while
providing better financial data for use in future rate
The commission cited the lack of reliable data as a major
reason for rejecting rate increases. The commission's staff
had proposed an 18 percent city fare increase and a 14
percent county fare increase but based that analysis on
With "spotty, unreliable, and inconsistent data," the
commission said it was unable to reach "an adequate
determination of revenues sufficient to enable common
carriers to provide transportation services under honest,
economical, and efficient management."
It rejected increases because of that, it said — a decision
made easier by the fact that many city taxi drivers didn't
Several months ago, drivers who hold their own permits but
work under Veolia Transportation, which operates the city's
Yellow, Checker and Sun fleets, began opposing rate
increases in the face of increasing competition from
car-for-hire apps such as Uber and Lyft, said Dwight Kines,
a Veolia official involved in negotiations with the PSC.
In response, Kines sent the PSC a letter indicating that
Veolia — the largest operator of taxis in Baltimore — was
ending its support for a hike. - more....
Now that convention attendance has started to rebound,
regulators who oversee the city’s taxi industry have become
more receptive to allowing additional taxis on the streets
during large trade shows, much to the chagrin of cab drivers
who would prefer that the number of cabs stay the same.
The latest example: Tuesday’s unanimous approval by the
Nevada Taxicab Authority to allow as many as 160 additional
cabs during August’s Men’s Apparel Guild in California
fashion trade show.
MAGIC Marketplace, as the show is commonly known, will bring
an estimated 80,000 conventioneers to the city Aug. 18-20.
The board approved five additional cabs per 12-hour shift
for the three days. Since there are 16 companies operating
in Southern Nevada, that could mean an additional 160 cabs,
although some of the smaller companies probably won’t take
their full allocation.
Only the Industrial, Professional and Technical Employees
union voiced opposition to the allocation plan. Every cab
company representative supported the increase. - more....
Grand Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune - (Grand Prairie,
By Braeden Jones, Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune Staff
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 6:41:28 MDT PM
Getting a taxi in Grande Prairie just got easier.
Toronto-based tech company Gata Labs has partnered with
local cab business Wapiti Taxi to provide a totally new cab
Calling might not even be the right word. That’s because
Wapiti Taxi will be using Gata’s new cab hailing smart phone
app: Gata Hub.
“We took advantage to be the first business to work with
them, it’s a good app,” said Wapiti Taxi system manager,
“At the same time, it’s the service that makes a difference.
Having both good service and the technology makes a lot of
Olana said the new app makes things easier for the
dispatchers, drivers and especially the clients waiting for
After opening the app for the first time, it gathers the
user’s location with GPS permission. It then proposes a cab
company, and offers information about the company along with
a button to “request a taxi.”
Hitting that button gives users options. It shows the
current location on a map and tags it as the “pickup
location.” From there, users can choose to reveal a fare
estimate by entering the desired “drop off location.”
After checking out the estimated cost, users can select
“order taxi,” and be updated in real time of the taxi’s
estimated time of arrival. - more....
Hansu Kim, the embattled co-owner of DeSoto Cab Company,
made headlines last week when he announced plans to defect
from the taxi industry. Rather than continue operating under
the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, Kim would
enter the gray market generated by Uber, Lyft, and other
app-based transportation services. He'd turn in all his
medallions (aka permits), remove the meter and taxi light
from each of his cars, and obtain charter transportation
(TCP) licenses for all of them. He'd recast himself as a
limousine sedan service.
The benefits would be astronomical. Kim currently leases 204
medallions. The city charges him $1,000 a month for 32 of
them (down from $2,000 last year); the rest come from
private drivers who extract a going rate of $2,100 a month.
By trading them for TCP permits (which cost $100 every 3
years, plus a one-time fee of $1,000 per vehicle), he'd save
almost $5 million annually. He'd be overseen by the state,
rather than the city, which would allow his drivers to pick
up fares in neighboring areas — like Oakland or San Mateo —
with impunity. And he'd have to solicit pre-arranged rides,
rather than street hails, which would make DeSoto look more
like a tech startup than a cab business.
"The point I've made to the city is, 'You leave me no
choice,'" Kim says, explaining that he's found himself in an
untenable position — squeezed, on one side, by the strict
set of fees and regulations for taxi drivers, and on the
other, by a new crop of competitors who aren't playing by
the same rules. Uber and its ilk have reinterpreted the
state's definition of a "chartered" vehicle to include any
hired gun with a Prius.
Meanwhile, the labor pool for cab companies is shrinking,
and many of them are hemorrhaging thousands of dollars a
month. - more....
Committee Looks to Further Tune Up For-Hire Vehicle
by Ashley Rouen
A New Orleans City Council committee waved on a proposal
Tuesday (7-29) that would amend for-hire vehicle regulations
to allow on-demand companies like Uber into the New Orleans
market. The committee sent the proposal to the full City
Council for further consideration, and did not make a
In its second hearing before the committee, Uber continued
to drive controversy among members of the community as they
try to break into the local luxury car service market with
their Uber Black platform. Members of the Transportation and
Airport Committee met at City Council again Tuesday (7-29)
to discuss Chapter 162 of an ordinance that concerns
vehicles-for-hire and, specifically, to consider how the
city will regulate the inevitable introduction of smartphone
transportation applications, like Uber Black and Uber X,
into the local economic climate.
While the committee members are in favor of bringing new
technologies in to help the city evolve with the rest of the
country, they are primarily cautious of sanctioning Uber
Black because of its counterpart, Uber X, which conveniently
allows drivers to use their personal car and the company’s
mobile outlet to find nearby passengers.
Uber Black and Uber X come together on one mobile platform.
In other cities where Uber Black has been introduced, Uber
is known to unleash Uber X, illegally, at the same time.
Once Uber Black is available in New Orleans, users will
presumably also have access to Uber X, which members of the
incumbent taxicab industry say would pose a huge threat to
their work. - more....
HOUSTON -- It s a transportation company that s growing at
record speeds, but some are saying slow down and put on the
brakes because when it comes to insurance coverage you may
not be safe.
It does concern us, said Mark Hanna with the Insurance
Council of Texas as he spoke of Uber. We have 20 different
states looking at this and no one really has come up with a
Uber connects a passenger to a driver via an app on a cell
phone. That s the only way the driver and passenger are
supposed to communicate. All fare transactions go through a
credit card already on file.
But rivals of Uber, such as local cab companies, say that
isn t always happening and that can put everyone in danger.
And that has the insurance industry concerned.
You ve got gaps, said Hanna. In fact, there may not be any
insurance coverage whatsoever.
According to Uber, unless you go through the app and abide
by Uber s platform, Uber s insurance policy does not apply.
By: Stephen Schlickman July 29, 2014
Today's Headlines 7/30/2014
If you've lived in Chicago for longer than a week, you have
to shake your head when listening to the taxi industry's
arguments against ridesharing.
The cab companies contend — with a straight face, mind you —
that they offer safe and secure rides and serve every
neighborhood in the city. In other words, that they're
meeting consumers' rights and transportation needs.
Ridesharing services like Lyft and UberX are popular in
Chicago and in nearly 100 other cities across the nation for
good reason. Available via the touch of a smartphone button,
affordable, and accessible day or night in neighborhoods
typically underserved by taxis, ridesharing fulfills a
market need that has existed for decades.
Ridesharing wouldn't exist if these companies were not
responding to consumer demands for more convenient,
affordable and reliable transportation choices that employ
the latest user-friendly technology. But rather than adapt
to provide better service and a more innovative product, the
taxi monopoly, whose few medallion holders already benefit
greatly from government involvement, has gone “Full
Illinois” in an attempt to put the ridesharing services out
of business by imposing overly burdensome regulations. - more....
The Post and Courier - (Charleston, South Carolina)
Jul 30 2014 12:01 am
Lately I have noticed a trend that is causing me to shake my
not-so-bony fist in righteous indignation.
The city of Charleston has taken a turn to what looks to
this casual observer like stiff opposition to entrepreneurs.
The latest example is the proposed tightening of the hours
for new bars and restaurants in a certain area (although an
outcry from the business owners has been sufficient to cause
the city to rethink the issue).
And now sting operations are being planned on private
homeowners offering accommodations to tourists, rickshaw
drivers for unlicensed tours and most recently, a new
alternative to taxi cabs, UberX.
The bar owners took a risk with private funds and hard work
to open businesses in a part of town that not long ago was
not a safe place to walk at night. The homeowners are
seeking to lessen their tax burden by opening their homes to
visitors on a limited basis.
Rickshaw drivers? Come on, can't you make conversation with
"Sports and weather, sir, that's all I can comment on. No
sir, I cannot tell you where Rhett Butler's house is." - more....
As Uber digs ever deeper into taxi territory, Boston’s
simmering livery war comes to a boil.
By Luke O'Neil | Boston
Magazine | August 2014
he city’s taxi battle is about to go into overdrive. In May,
taxi drivers protested outside Uber Technologies’
headquarters near South Station, claiming that because
Uber’s drivers weren’t as heavily regulated, they had
distinct economic advantages. A couple of weeks later, the
Cambridge License Commission held a hearing to determine
whether the city should impose stricter regulations on the
Uber-kinds (a decision was delayed pending further review).
Then in June, a Boston labor lawyer filed a suit against
Uber, claiming that it classifies its drivers as contract
workers to avoid offering health benefits, and is illegally
withholding a portion of their gratuities.
“You have one industry that is highly regulated that has
established rates,” says Boston Taxi Drivers Association
spokesperson Donna Blythe-Shaw, “and another industry that
has saturated the streets of Boston with unlicensed,
unregulated vehicles—illegal vehicles—that determine
whatever the rate is based on the day and time or whatever
they feel like.”
Whatever the rhetoric, who’s really being affected by the
rise of app-based liveries? “At the end of the day, it’s the
big taxi industry that’s slinging the mud,” Uber spokesman
Taylor Bennett says. - more....
Fifteen thousand taxis drivers in Colombia’s second largest
city, Medellin, went on strike to protest the arrival of
ride-share company, Uber, as well as other forms of
so-called “transportation piracy,” Colombian media reported
The decision to protest the San Francisco-based mega
ride-share company, along with other enterprises that
undermine taxi services, has since spread to other areas of
the country such as Bogota and Barranquilla.
The complaint: Uber could take 40% of customers
In mid-July, Colombia’s Ministry of Transportation reversed
their earlier decision declaring Uber’s operations in
Colombia as illegal. The ministry also announced that at the
end of July a decree would be established that would
regulate the uses and application of ride-sharing and
specialty vehicle services such as Uber, according to
Colombia’s Semana news magazine.
“Recognizing that that the community requires a different
service, and for this reason Uber was born, there will be
several different conditions of service and characteristics
particular for these types of vehicles and drivers, and for
this reason they will have a special rate,” said Deputy
Transport Minister Nicolas Estupinan.
However, taxi drivers are furious with the decision to allow
the ride-share company to operate in Colombia, citing an
inevitable drop in work and the questionable legality of a
taxi-like service that has a separate rate structure than
“All we’re waiting on now is for Deputy Estupinan to call a
meeting with our union, and formally report to us the decree
that favors Uber,” said Free Taxi general manager Uldaric
“We are concerned because Uber uses a different rate system
that that the the authorities put on us,” Pena continued.
“We demand that there is a consensus.”
Pena estimated that Uber may take away as much as 40% of
regular taxi work, Semana reported.
Uber uses a mobile app that connects users to drivers for
hire and rides-haring services. Users send a text to request
a ride, and the fee is payed by their credit card linked to
the Uber app instead of cash.
Uber’s Colombian units will have a starting rate of around
$1.50, with a minimum fare of $3, according to their
A ride to Bogota’s airport, for example, will have a flat
rate of $20. - more....
By Nick Heath in European Technology, July 30, 2014, 9:16 AM
PST // @nickjheath
A look at the possible future of autonomous vehicles as the
UK gives the go-ahead for trials of computer-controlled cars
on public roads.
Self-driving cars are on their way, and while they might not
be sitting in your yard in the near future, they may soon be
your taxi ride.
Driverless cars will take to the road in three UK cities
from January next year as part of government-funded trials
of autonomous vehicles.
For Tim Edwards, principal engineer in the future transport
technologies group for automotive consultancy group Mira,
the announcement is a small but important step towards
getting driverless cars on the roads.
"What it's about at this stage is moving from the
controlled-test track and putting vehicles on the road. It's
still going to be quite a long development before you start
to see these cars really accessible to the public," he said.
Edwards doesn't think the next stop is everyone owning an
self-driving car, but instead sees these computer-controlled
vehicles beginning to crop up as local taxis - perhaps
restricted to areas where there is infrastructure with which
they can wirelessly communicate to guide them through the
"It's very unlikely that you'll be able to go and buy your
own driverless car in the next 10 years, but what I think
you will experience in that timeframe is using some
driverless vehicles for part of your journey. Maybe just a
connection from an airport to a train station, for example.
You will start to use driverless cars in that time as a
transport system, rather than seek to replace your personal
car with it."
Others believe that as the benefits of self-driving cars
become more apparent they could help affect a shift from
vehicle ownership to rental, particularly in metropolitan
areas. The price of hiring these self-driving vehicles could
be offset by new business models: by advertisers paying car
rental companies for data on where and when people
travelled, to build more detailed customer profiles; through
brick-and-mortar businesses subsidising journeys to their
premises and by travellers splitting costs through
ridesharing services like Uber. If the cost of hiring
autonomous vehicles drops far enough, then paying per
journey may eventually seem preferable to the expense and
hassle of running a car. - more....
Taxi company Uber has launched its controversial UberPOP
system in Amsterdam in which private citizens can offer taxi
services to others for around half the price of a
traditional taxi service.
The introduction of UberPOP in other cities has led to
protests, with some drivers having their cars confiscated in
Brussels. The system was banned in Hamburg although that was
later overturned in court.
In the Netherlands, taxi drivers are required by law to have
a diploma and licence. ‘The current law is old,’ Uber
Nederland director Niek van Leeuwen told broadcaster Nos.
‘Later this year it is being re-evaluated and I expect there
to be room for services like this then.’
Drivers who want to use their own cars to offer UberPOP
services must be at least 21, follow a short training
programme, have an approved and insured car and a
certificate of good behaviour. - more....
Unauthorised transport providers earn up to Dh5,000 a week
BY Anjana Sankar, Senior Reporter
Published: 16:00 July 30, 2014
ABU DHABI: Despite regular crackdowns, illegal taxis are
thriving in Abu Dhabi. Unmindful of the law, they are making
the most of the extended Eid break, ferrying hundreds of
passengers to neighbouring emirates and back.
“We make five times more than what we normally do in a week.
Eid holidays give us the best business,” said Mohammad
Haneef, who operates such illegal taxi.
Another illegal taxi driver, Mustafa Khadim, said he earns
up to Dh5,000 a week during Eid. “It is a windfall for us.
Most people plan to visit friends or family staying in
far-off towns for Eid,” said Khadim.
Drivers can be seen brazenly calling out destinations and
fares to woo passengers near the city bus terminal. Their
cars, mostly with Dubai and Sharjah registration numbers,
were parked nearby when XPRESS visited the place.
The industrial area of Mussfah is also a hub for illegal
taxis, mainly because of the concentration of blue collar
“It is risky. But this is how I earn a living,” said Haneef.
“To avoid suspicion, we dress up well. Passengers are
instructed to pretend they are our friends or roommates
hitching a ride,” he added.
Taxis in Abu Dhabi are regulated by the Abu Dhabi Centre for
Regulation of Transport by Hire Cars (TransAD), a government
organisation established in 2006. Running an illegal taxi
service is a punishable crime and can invite a fine of
between Dh5,000 and Dh10,000 or a 30-day jail term, or both.
NAVI MUMBAI: The involvement of fleet taxi drivers in two
recent cases of crimes — a house break-in theft and a chain
snatching case — has alarmed the police. They are alerting
the taxi service companies to conduct background checks of
all drivers employed by them.
Last week, the Vashi police arrested a couple — Aslam Shaikh
(37) and Sonali Jatap (18) — for breaking into a flat in
Vashi and stealing Rs 5,000, in a plot reminiscent of
Bollywood blockbuster Bunty Aur Babli. Later, Akhtar Ibrahim
Khan (25), driver of the fleet taxi was also nabbed for
helping the couple flee.
In another incident last week, Nerul police held fleet taxi
driver Teklal Mohanto (25), who had teamed up with a chain
snatcher, Irfan Khan (26), to loot senior citizens and
morning walkers in Nerul.
"Following incidents of chain snatching at knife point in
the region, we noticed the presence of a particular fleet
taxi around 50 metres away from the crime scene. After
jotting down its registration number, we nabbed Mohanto and
eventually the other robber," said Sangeeta Alphanso, senior
inspector of Nerul police station. - more....