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The Taxi News for Thursday July 24, 2014

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Taxi Driver Found Murdered In Oldham County

WLEX-TV Channel 18 - (Lexington, Kentucky)

Questions remain in the murder of an Oldham County taxi driver after his body was found in a driveway.

Police say 34-year-old Adam Gregg was last seen at a local hotel picking up a fare. While it's not known who he was picking up, police say finding his car may lead to his killer.

Gregg was reported missing Thursday after his family says he didn't pick up his wife from work. His body was found late Thursday off Highway 42 near Goshen.

Police are now looking for the car he drove, hoping it leads to the suspect.If you have any information, call police.


Man charged with murdering Louisville cab driver faces New York judge

WLKY-TV Channel 32 - (Louisville, Kentucky)

UPDATED 6:42 PM EDT Jul 21, 2014

An Indiana man charged with murdering a taxi cab driver from Louisville is being held without bail after facing a judge in New York.

Oldham County police say with help from multiple law enforcement agencies, they were able to capture 27-year-old Miles Matthews in Watertown, New York, during a traffic stop.

“I was going to get a haircut this morning and saw about nine police cars pulled over a car with weapons drawn. It was pretty intense,” said witness Rudy Rodriguez.

A cellphone video of the arrest was taken by a witness on Watertown's North Meadow Street Sunday morning.

New York State Police say Matthews was still driving the victim's 2007 silver Chrysler Sebring.

Adam Gregg, 34, was found dead Thursday night in the driveway of a home in the 5400 block of Highway 42 in Oldham County.

His throat had been cut. - more....


Trial begins in 2008 Clearwater cab driver killing

Tampa Bay Times - (St. Petersburg, Florida)

By Katie Mettler, Times Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 10:37am

LARGO — Jury selection began Tuesday morning in the trial of a man accused of killing a Clearwater taxi cab driver in 2008.

Tisen KaShawn Washington, 25, of Port Richey, was arrested last year in connection with the shooting death of Yellow Cab driver Jack LaGrand, 50.

LaGrand picked up his last fare on Sept. 17, 2008, at Fat Daddy's, a Dunedin bar. Later, police found him slain inside his cab behind a shopping center at U.S. 19 and Enterprise Road. - more....


Attacker in cab stabbing leaves cellphone with selfies behind

WSB-TV Channel 2 - (Atlanta, Georgia)

COBB COUNTY, Ga. —

Marietta police are looking for the man who repeatedly stabbed a taxi driver.

Cecilio Garcia is doing as well as anyone would be who has 14 stitches in his face, about half of that number on the back of his head and two on his chest, after being attacked by a passenger.

The Rayo cab driver says he picked up a man on July 11 in Marietta. Police have since identified the passenger of the 2-mile trip as Harold Clinton.

Garcia, a long-time taxi driver, told Channel 2’s Erica Byfield when he pulled up on Juliet Lane, Clinton pulled out a knife with a 5-inch blade and stabbed him repeatedly. - more....


Bloomfield man sentenced to 23 years for carjacking taxi in Newark

The Star-Ledger - (Newark, New Jersey)

By Bill Wichert | The Star-Ledger
on July 18, 2014 at 6:13 PM

NEWARK — A Bloomfield man was sentenced today to 23 years in prison for carjacking a taxi in Newark in September 2010 and then eluding police in a high-speed chase.

Slightly more than two months after being convicted at his trial of carjacking and eluding charges, Homer Andrews, 45, said in court today that he has a history of shoplifting, but said he did not commit the carjacking. His mother, who later declined to provide her name, also maintained his innocence.

But Superior Court Judge Martin Cronin said “very reliable evidence” was presented at trial and that it was “troubling to the court” that Andrews has failed to accept responsibility for his actions.

In handing down the sentence, Cronin also noted Andrews’ criminal record, which includes 35 arrests and five prior convictions for indictable offenses. Given how Andrews committed many offenses after he had been released on probation, the judge said “incarceration is appropriate in this case.”

Under the sentence, Andrews must serve about 19 and a half years before he becomes eligible for parole, and he will receive credit for 599 days of time served. - more....


City lifts taxi cab cap, paves way for ride-sharing programs like Uber, Lyft

WJDT-TV Channel 58 - (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

by Matt Doyle
Story Created: Jul 22, 2014

MILWAUKEE -- Taxi drivers are ecstatic with the ruling.  They cheered when it passed the Milwaukee Common Council Tuesday morning.

The vote was unanimous across the Milwaukee Common Council - 15-0.  The new ordinance eliminates the cap on taxi permits, and gives companies like UBER and Lyft the ability to operate legally in Milwaukee.  Taxi cab companies are not happy about the change because it basically breaks up a monopoly.  They will likely file a lawsuit to try and challenge the ruling.

The Common Council patted itself on the back somewhat for what they called open discussion over the past several months.  The ordinance puts UBER, Lyft, and taxi drivers under the same regulations. - more....


Boston taxis: Treat cabbies as employees

The Boston Globe - (Boston, Massachusetts)

Editorial
July 21, 2014

Marty Walsh vowed on the campaign trail to help taxi drivers, and there’s one simple way the mayor can make good on that promise. In the 1970s, the city began allowing taxi companies to classify cabbies as independent contractors instead of employees, depriving them of some legal protections. That opened the way for many of the abusive practices that now dominate the industry, a pattern of mistreatment that was documented by a series of Globe Spotlight reports last year. By requiring cab companies to treat drivers like employees again, the city could give taxi drivers more legal protections and the leverage to demand better pay and benefits.

Changing drivers’ status shouldn’t have to wait for the findings of a commission on the future of the taxi industry, which former mayor Tom Menino promised after last year’s Spotlight report but which has been slow to materialize. The commission, which is expected to take a broader look at all the regulations governing hackney service, is certainly needed. But the way drivers are paid warrants independent action. - more....


Taxi group unveils plan to boost fares, fees to help drivers’ plight

Chicago Sun-Times - (Chicago, Illinois)

BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter July 21, 2014 11:57AM

Mileage and waiting times that drive up Chicago taxicab fares would rise by 25 percent under a 10-point plan proposed Monday to put more money into the pockets of struggling cabbies.

“We’re trying to fix a broken taxi industry. Drivers are not making enough money and they see the city and big companies using us like an ATM machine . . . and freezing fares for nine years,” said Peter Enger, secretary of the United Taxidrivers Community Council.

“The taxi industry is losing drivers because of lack of income and over-regulation. ”

Three months ago, the United Taxidrivers Community Council signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Taxi Workers Alliance, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, hoping to unionize Chicago cabdrivers and bolster their political clout.

To do that, the UTCC must double its members — from 500 to more than 1,000. - more....


Myrtle Beach officials reassure taxi drivers they will work to regulate Uber driving service

The Sun News - (Myrtle Beach, South Carolina)

By Maya T. Prabhu
July 22, 2014

Myrtle Beach officials issued a stern warning to those who participate in the Uber ride-sharing service: drivers who are caught operating without the proper licensing could be arrested and riders likely will not be covered by insurance if they are involved in an accident.

City attorney Tom Ellenburg told Myrtle Beach City Council on Tuesday that by using a personal vehicle to pick riders up for a fee, drivers turn their car into a delivery device.

“They need to have either a taxi or a [charter limousine] tag,” he said. “But the real issue is from a public safety standpoint. Their personal insurance in no way protects a delivery passenger. ... There is nothing to protect you in terms of payment for your injury.”

UberX, the low-cost wing of Uber Technologies Inc., allows those needing a ride to connect with local drivers at a price the company says is cheaper than those offered by taxicabs. As of noon July 10, uberX said drivers would be available in Myrtle Beach and three other S.C. cities – Charleston, Greenville and Columbia. - more....


TLC Wrongly Accused Hundreds of Being Illegal Cabbies in Past Year

DNAinfo New York - (New York City, New York)

By James Fanelli, Rosa Goldensohn and Gustavo Solis  on July 21, 2014 7:38am

NEW YORK CITY — Kareeal Akins still gets chills thinking about the long, frigid walk home that he and his then-pregnant wife were forced to make this past winter after the city seized his car. 

At about 9 p.m. on Jan. 24, he drove his white 2002 Honda Accord from his Sheepshead Bay apartment to the corner of Church Avenue and Ocean Parkway in Kensington to pick up his wife, Natalie, from her friend’s home.

He remembers pulling up to the intersection, his wife getting into his car and then a vehicle behind them flashing its sirens.

It wasn’t police officers stopping them. It was two Taxi and Limousine Commission inspectors, enforcement agents tasked with policing livery cars and yellow taxis to protect New Yorkers from dangerous and uninsured illegal cabbies.

What many New Yorkers don’t know is TLC inspectors also have the power to seize a vehicle they suspect of operating as an illegal cab.

The inspectors separated Kareeal and Natalie. They accused him of being an unlicensed hack. They asked Natalie whether she was a paying passenger and, if not, to prove how she knew him.

“She told them my name, address, Social Security number,” Kareeal, a Barclays Center security guard, recalled. “They didn’t want to hear it. They still took the vehicle.”

The Akins aren’t the only ones to have their lives upended by TLC inspectors. - more....


Death of the taxi medallion: SF cab company ponders major change

The Examiner - (San Francisco, California)

By Jessica Kwong

DeSoto Cab Co. might not like the under-regulated and fast-emerging alternative-ride service industry, but company President Hansu Kim knows an opportunity when he sees one.

If Uber, Lyft and others are allowed to expose loopholes in the regulatory process -- which boost their bottom lines exponentially -- then so too can the traditional taxi industry, he realized.

During public comment at many recent San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors meetings, Kim has explained that his 204-vehicle operation is "bleeding money" due to competing ride services subject to a different set of rules enforced by the state, not The City.

If DeSoto were to change the model of its operations, it would cut its highest cost -- nearly half a million dollars in monthly payments to taxi medallion holders -- but not become another Uber or Lyft (the app-based ride services dubbed transportation network companies). Instead, DeSoto -- The City's third-largest cab company -- would seek charter-party carrier, or TCP licenses, intended for limousines and Lincoln Town Cars but legally obtained by nonluxury vehicles.

"Uber isn't putting me out of business," Kim said, speaking hypothetically. "What Uber is making me do is retool -- and given the same rules, I'll beat them all day long." - more....


DeSoto Cab Might Leave Taxi Game to Compete with Uber, Lyft

SF Weekly - (San Francisco, California)

By Rachel Swan Mon., Jul. 21 2014 at 4:50 PM

DeSoto Boss: "I'd be a big hypocrite ... But I have to survive."

It's July, smack in the middle of tourist season, supposedly one of the hottest months of the year for San Francisco taxis.

And yet, at any given time of day, you'll see about a quarter of every cab company's fleet idling in its lot.

That's a sad state of affairs, says Hansu Kim, co-owner of DeSoto Cab Co. and vociferous critic of predatory practices within the industry. He's long bemoaned the liberties bestowed on so-called "TNC" services like Uber and Lyft, which seem to operate in a deregulated environment. He also decries new rules for state-regulated livery vehicles, which allow any driver to apply for a limo license, slap it on an ordinary Prius, and turn the car into an on-demand "rideshare" service.

"Here's my dilemma," Kim says. "I see a driver pool that is shrinking fast. I see the city has a completely deregulated industry. And I see 'limousine' vehicles acting like taxi cabs." Kim adds that because he's playing by a stricter set of rules, the competition is threatening to put him out of business.

So now he's adopted a different credo: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

"I'll give my medallions back to the city and put TCP [charter transportation] licenses on all my vehicles," he says. That's $250 per cab, as opposed to $2,500 per medallion, per month." - more....


Meet the Cab Drivers Who Want Uber and Lyft in Miami

Miami New Times - (Miami, Florida)

By Sabrina Rodriguez Wed., Jul. 23 2014 at 8:30 AM

In the months since Uber and Lyft have set up shop in Miami and sparked a war of fines and impounded cars with the county commission, the battle lines have seemed fairly obvious. Commissioners -- backed by a powerful union of cab owners and medallion-holders -- oppose changing regulations to let in the app-based ride-sharing companies in. Taxi owners have lined up at commission meetings to argue that Uber and Lyft would put a stranglehold on their highly regulated and taxed industry.

But that doesn't mean all cab drivers feel the same. The New Vision Taxi Drivers Association of Miami, a group of 1,200 cabbies, has taken an official stance in favor of Uber and Lyft. Its president tells Riptide his members believe the competition would help everyone.

See also: Uber Car Service App Versus Miami Taxis

The association, which has been around since 2003, is advocating for ride-sharing apps as an opportunity to force improved regulations in the taxi industry.

"With Uber in Miami, taxi companies will have to change," Raymond François, the association's chairman, says. "Customers and drivers will go toward wherever the best service is."

François, a cab driver for the past 17 years, has seen the industry remain relatively unchanged during his time. Ride-sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft have the power to shake up the system in a good way, he says.

That's the exact opposite of the view taken by the South Florida Taxi Association, which has openly opposed the service and claimed it could take away the taxis' highest-paying customers. That association, made up of cab owners, has been concerned about the county granting Uber and Lyft the right to run virtually unregulated.

"These cab drivers now are not only losing because they've got all these unregulated vehicles competing directly with them, but then they're also losing the cream of the crop of the business," Diego Feliciano, president of the association, told Riptide in April. - more....


Taxi commission OKs changes, but waits on $25 minimum fare for luxury car service

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - (St. Louis, Missouri)

By Nicholas J.C. Pistor

ST. LOUIS • The St. Louis Metropolitan Taxicab Commission approved code changes on Tuesday meant to accommodate the ride-sharing app Uber’s luxury service but stopped short of imposing a $25 minimum fare that threatens to keep Uber away.

The commission voted on a series of changes over a three-hour session while listening to feedback from taxi drivers and cab company owners, all of whom voiced opposition. Uber’s representatives weren’t present at the meeting but issued a statement on Monday night saying they would stay out of the St. Louis market if the commission adopted a proposal to impose a $25 minimum fare on luxury car services.

That specific proposal was tabled until the commission’s next monthly meeting.

The commission has aggressively sought to regulate ride-sharing apps such as Uber and rival Lyft. So far, they’ve had luck only in discussions involving Uber’s black service, which allows users to tap a mobile app and hail a ride from a professional driver in a luxury sedan.

Uber’s lower-cost service, UberX, along with Lyft, are not part of the commission’s considerations now. Lyft remains mired in a legal battle with the taxi commission. On Monday, a court order extended proceedings into 2015 attempting to address whether Lyft can operate outside the regulations of the taxi commission.

Lyft has declined negotiations with the commission; Uber has had discussions with area leaders. - more....


Columbus imposes insurance rules on car services UberX, Lyft,

Columbus CEO - (Columbus, Ohio)

By Rick Rouan

App-based car services that dispatch drivers using their personal vehicles will have new insurance requirements, and their drivers will have to submit to background checks, under regulations that the Columbus City Council approved tonight.

The new rules will govern UberX and Lyft, which launched in Columbus earlier this year.

Both companies use smartphone apps to connect riders with drivers who use their personal vehicles as a taxi. Customers pay for the ride using a credit card that’s registered through the app.

The two companies have been operating despite city lawsuits that sought to shut them down and objections from the local taxi and livery industries.

In April, Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor issued an alert warning drivers and users of potential insurance gaps.

Columbus’ new regulations, which were approved unanimously by the council, sought to close those gaps and ensure that drivers are vetted in the same way as other city-licensed drivers.

With the new regulations, companies will have to carry $1 million in liability coverage and $1 million in uninsured- and underinsured-motorist coverage, and match whatever comprehensive and collision coverages a driver carries on a personal auto policy. That part of the company’s policy must be in place while the driver is providing rides. - more....


Denver police open investigation into bizarre UberX incident near DIA

The Denver Post - (Denver, Colorado)

By Andy Vuong
The Denver Post
Posted:   07/21/2014 04:00:10 PM MDT

The Denver Police Department said Monday it is investigating an incident in which a passenger in an UberX ride-sharing car claims he was harassed about the service by an officer during a traffic stop.

In a firsthand account published on the tech news site GeekWire, the passenger, Dave Cook, said his driver was pulled over for speeding Friday about a mile from Denver International Airport.

After receiving the driver's information, the cop opened the car door to the backseat and asked Cook whether he was paying for the ride to the airport and what the charge would be.

Cook, a Seattle resident and the brother of a GeekWire co-founder, alleges that the cop later declared ride-sharing was illegal in Colorado and he would "educate" them on the matter.

In truth, Colorado last month legalized ride-sharing, where drivers use their personal vehicles for the taxi-like service and connect with riders via a smartphone app. - more....


Newark taxi medallion lender sold to New York firm

NJBIZ - (Somerset, New Jersey)

By Eric Strauss
July 21, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Medallion Financial Corp., a New York-based finance company, announced Monday that it has acquired the assets of a Newark taxi medallion loan brokerage.

Medallion, which serves the taxicab industry and other specialty markets, is expanding its medallion lending with the purchase of Newark Funding Corp., it said in a news release. - more....



Europe, Africa, and the Middle East


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Asia and the Pacific

8 convicted for murder of two taxi drivers

The Hindu - (Chennai, India)

Staff Reporter

The Special Court for Bomb Blasts Cases, here on Tuesday, convicted eight persons on charges of abducting and killing two taxi drivers in two separate cases besides attempting to rob another cab driver at Pollachi in a third case in 2006 and 2007.

Sessions Judge Suresh Viswanath imposed multiple life sentences on John Anthonysamy alias John, the prime accused, for the murder and kidnap besides seven-year and ten-year sentences for concealment of evidence and other offences in the three cases. According to J. Amalanathan, Special Additional Public Prosecutor for the Bomb Blasts Court, John, also a taxi driver at Pollachi, and four others had hired a taxi driven by Kunjan alias Rajan on May 23, 2006 for a trip to Udumalpet. The others were identified as Muthumanickam alias Muthu, Ganesh alias Ganesh Kumar, Chinnaraj alias Chinnapan and Arunagiri alias Arun. - more....


Wollongong taxi app launched

Illawarra Mercury - (Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia)

By GLEN HUMPHRIES
July 23, 2014, 3 p.m.

Forget about ringing for a cab – there’s now an app for that.

Wollongong Radio Cabs have just launched an app for Android and iPhones which means people won’t have to wait in a queue for the next available operator.

Instead, once they’ve downloaded the app and registered, booking a cab is just a few clicks away.

Wollongong Radio Cabs general manager George Isiklar said the Android app had been running for about two weeks while the iPhone version became available on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr Isiklar said preference wasn’t given to app bookings over those made on the phone as they all had to go through a supervisor in the dispatch office to be assigned.

‘‘So the supervisor in charge for the day will see the job come in and get it dispatched,’’ Mr Isiklar said.

‘‘It’s the same as one of our call centre operators actually taking the booking. So it still goes through our dispatch system, still goes through our supervisor’s screen and goes through the system without any input from the operators.’’

One big advantage for users, Mr Isiklar said, was it put an end to waiting in a call queue on a Friday or Saturday night - or even on New Year’s Eve.

The app also includes a map which will show you the location of the taxi that will pick you up. - more....


Afghanistan’s first female taxi driver a disgust to male passengers

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

COVER ASIA PRESS
Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 1:31 PM

Afghanistan's first female taxi driver is a hero to other women in her city, while men who jump into her cab are disgusted.

Sara Bahai, 40, has been a taxi driver on the streets of Mazar-i-Sharif, the fourth largest city in Afghanistan, for 10 years since the fall of the Taliban.

She grew up in a world where women were not allowed the freedom to go to school, work, have a career or dream.

But Sara always believed there was an independent life for her to live.

As soon as the opportunity came for her to do a professional driving course she signed up, passed and bought herself a car. Now, she is earning £5 a day driving members of the public around her bustling city.

And in a country where the first democratic presidential elections are currently being counted, Sara is excited about a new positive future for herself and other Afghan women.

Sara said: 'When women get into my car and see a woman driver they start smiling and giggling, they say they're very proud of me. I think they're glad at least one woman is living an independent life. In my taxi, they talk freely. They feel comfortable and talk about families, husbands and crack jokes.'

But not all Sara's customers are as accepting.

'My male customers are never happy with me. They believe it's very un-Islamic for a woman to drive - they still have very primitive thinking. They accuse me of setting a bad example for women and nasty things come out of their mouths. But I do not get depressed; I tell them exactly what I think. A woman driving a car is not nonreligious and their opinions are ludicrous.' - more....


Uber, a threat or wakeup call to local cab industry?

The Korea Herald - (Seoul, South Korea)

Cab unions, Seoul seek to eliminate ride-sharing despite growing demand

Published : 2014-07-22 21:10

Controversy over Uber’s car-booking services is spreading like wildfire here following Seoul City’s decision to team up with related government bodies including the Korea Communications Commission to keep the U.S. firm out of the local transportation market.

The city government has said it would try to stop Uber’s operations in Seoul, claiming that the services are illegal.

“Seoul City will push for stricter measures, including fines for more Uber drivers, in order to ban the illegal ride-sharing service,” said an official from the city government’s taxi and logistics division, declining to be named.

He added that it plans to cooperate with the Korea Communications Commission ― a government authority overseeing mobile and Internet services ― to completely shut out the application. The KCC declined to comment. - more....



Ender Wiggin


Updated jul 23 @ 01:22 GMT

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