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The Taxi News for Saturday August 30, 2014

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City study paints rosier picture of cabdriver wages

Chicago Sun-Times - (Chicago, Illinois)

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 11:19pm
Fran Spielman

The average Chicago cabdriver earns $12.14 an hour and $33,857 a year after expenses, according to a city consulting study that, an influential alderman said Thursday, could set the stage for the city’s first fare increase in nearly 10 years.

Chicago cabdrivers have produced a series of studies to highlight their financial plight and build momentum for their drive to unionize to bolster their clout.

One cabdriver study claimed Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s overhaul of the taxicab industry has snatched $7,531 a year out of the average cabdriver’s pocket, dropping annual income to $20,234 or just $5.40 an hour.

Another claimed that half of Chicago cabdrivers are earning less than the state’s $8.25-an-hour minimum wage — and more than 10 percent are losing money — in a taxi industry that’s generating $30 million in annual city revenue.

On Thursday, City Hall produced its own, more comprehensive study of cabbie incomes, and it paints a somewhat rosier picture — though the $12.14 average hourly pay figure is lower than the $13-an-hour city minimum wage Emanuel supports.

After surveying 414 drivers and analyzing eight months of records for 10.6 million trips taken last year, before the taxi industry felt the full brunt of ride-sharing, city consultants concluded that:

◆ The average driver earns $21.79 an hour, or $60,767 a year, before expenses — and $12.14 an hour, or $33,857 a year, after.

◆ Lease costs are by far the biggest expense for the 94 percent of cabbies who lease vehicles; the  average driver pays $24,000 in annual lease fees. That’s 39.2 percent of driver revenue.

◆ 40 percent of cabbies work 11 or more hours a day and earn $12.50 an hour or $46,614 a year.

◆ 20 percent of drivers work seven hours or less a day and earn $10.05 an hour or $15,374. Overall, 58 percent of all cabbies earn more than $10 an hour. - more....

Major overhaul of taxi industry proposed

San Diego Union-Tribune - (San Diego, California)

Proposal would open door to more taxi owners

By Lori Weisberg7:02 a.m.Aug. 28, 2014

A proposal to overhaul San Diego’s taxi industry by removing a decades-long cap on the number of permits that can be issued will be unveiled Thursday morning by San Diego City Councilwoman Marti Emerald and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith.

Motivated by what they say is the soaring “gray-market” value of cab permits that have led to high operating costs for taxi drivers, Emerald and Goldsmith acknowledge they’re in for a pitched battle with the local cab industry.

Not only will the removal of a cap ease the financial burden for drivers, they say, but it will also mean safer rides for passengers because cars will be better maintained and drivers won’t feel the need to work longer hours to make ends meet.

Meanwhile, cab owners believe that any effort to lift the cap could flood an already struggling local market with more operators, diminishing the value of their investments. The proposal also comes at a time when cab companies are facing growing competition from ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, which tend to undercut the rates of taxis.

“What I’ve witnessed is a disturbing dispute between permit holders and lease drivers, and over the last several years it’s become apparent that we really do need to make some serious reforms because there’s a flourishing gray market in taxi permits in the city of San Diego that have been bought and sold, we’re told, for figures upwards of $100,000,” Emerald said Wednesday in an interview with the U-T San Diego editorial board. “And the cab owners who purchased these say I’ve got to get my money back so they charge, according to the drivers, outrageous lease prices for the privilege of driving these cabs.”

She cited a 2013 study by San Diego State University and the Center on Policy Initiatives, which found that 90 percent of licensed taxi drivers rent their cars from individual or business owners, with some lease rates averaging $400 a week for 12 hours a day. Citywide, there are currently 993 taxi permits. - more....

See also:  San Diego Councilwoman Proposing A Taxi Permit Free-For-All

San Diego’s Taxi-Turned-Uber Drivers Get A New Lease On Life

KNPR-FM 88.9 - (Las Vegas, Nevada)

By Megan Burks

The city of San Diego will take up measures this fall aimed at reforming the existing taxi industry. But cab companies are urging them to turn their gaze toward mobile rideshare companies. They insist they aren't losing customers to Uber. But they are, in fact, losing money. Fronteras reporter Megan Burks says the money is following cab drivers, who are making the jump to Uber in droves.

Megan Burks: So we're standing here on Fairmount Avenue in City Heights. Let's see if we can call up Uber. So you just click 'Set up pick-up location' and it looks like there are two really close to us, about seven minutes away. And there's our driver right there. And he's actually texting me right now.

The text was automated, as is just about everything with Uber. The driver's photo pops up on your screen when he's on his way. You key in your credit card information to pay. There are no tips. Receipts are emailed. Leave a sweater behind? Just text the driver.

The convenience is winning over tech-savvy millennials. And it's also winning over taxi drivers. - more....

Iqaluit cabbies still waiting for $7 fares

CBC News - (Canada)

'It's not a lot, it's $1, but if we don't have that dollar, we lose money every year,' cabbie says

CBC News Posted: Aug 29, 2014 6:16 AM CT

The drawn out debate over a taxi fare increase in Iqaluit is leaving some frustrated.

Cab companies in Iqaluit are still pressing to move fares from $6 to $7, but last night the city's taxi review board tossed the matter back to city council.

“I feel like the ball's being thrown back and forward,” says Michael Gilbert, co-owner of Caribou Cabs. “It's the third time we come for this summer and... nothing moved so far.”

City councillor Noah Papatsie says citizens should get a say on the issue.

Alan Weeks, a member of the taxi review board, says a public consultation over a $1 fare increase would be too expensive.

He says a price increase is only fair.

“Gas has gone up considerably. Taxi drivers have maintenance, they have rent to pay.” - more....

3 Lyft drivers cited in Omaha area; more tickets coming, PSC says

Omaha World-Herald - (Omaha, Nebraska)

Posted: Friday, August 29, 2014 9:10 am
By Barbara Soderlin / World-Herald staff writer

Lyft drivers in Nebraska can expect a state investigator to come knocking on their doors after three Omaha-area drivers were cited on suspicion of violating state law by driving for the smartphone-based ride service.

The Nebraska Public Service Commission plans to issue additional citations in the next several days, for a total of between 15 and 20, with more possible in weeks to come, as a result of a weeks-long sting operation, said Mark Breiner, transportation director for the agency. Some of those to be cited drive for Uber, a Lyft competitor. The first three citations were issued in Sarpy County

“The law is on the books,” Breiner said Friday. “It’s our obligation to enforce the statutes.”

He said he hopes the enforcement discourages other drivers from working for Lyft until the service is operating legally. That could happen if drivers apply for authority through the commission, or if state law were changed to allow services like Lyft and Uber.

The Legislature’s Transportation and Telecommunications Committee will take testimony on the issue at a Sept. 11 hearing in Lincoln.

Breiner said the drivers are being cited for four violations: charging a rate not approved by the commission, operating without commission authority, operating without a commission-registered license plate and operating without having proof of insurance on file. - more....

Pennsylvania lawmakers push PUC for ride sharing

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

August 29, 2014 12:00 AM
By Kate Giammarise / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau

HARRISBURG — Before a hearing of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s full five-member board, several Pittsburgh-area legislators testified Thursday to their constituents’ desires for new ride-sharing services to continue operations in Allegheny County.

Rep. Erin Molchany, D-Mount Washington, said this is “the No. 1 topic of interest in my district” as measured by recent constituent emails and other feedback.

Ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft have raised a host of new issues for the PUC and for other regulatory agencies wherever the companies have gone.

The companies match drivers in their own vehicles to passengers via smartphone apps, and have been met with staunch resistance from taxi companies in Pittsburgh and elsewhere.

Both companies have won short-term approval to operate in Allegheny County, after first being ordered to cease and desist operations in June. - more....

Ride-sharing firms defend business while taxi company objects

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - (Honolulu, Hawaii)

By Dan Nakaso
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Aug 29, 2014

Members of the City Council on Thursday continued to explore Honolulu's nascent paid ride-sharing industry and openly asked whether it should be up to the city or state to impose regulations similar to the rules required of the city's 1,500 taxicab drivers.

The Council's Transportation Committee onThursday requested the creation of a working group made up of police and taxi representatives, among others, then heard from app-based ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber, who said they each currently use "hundreds" of independent contractors to drive passengers around Oahu after starting operations only this summer. Login for more...

Column: lawmakers shouldn’t regulate Uber to death

Illinois News Network - (Chicago, Illinois)

Scott Reeder    |    August 29th, 2014

SPRINGFIELD – Awhile back I took a cab to Chicago’s Navy Pier and attempted to pay for my ride with a credit card.

My effort was greeted with a torrent of obscenities..

The driver didn’t want to take my card despite a placard of regulations in the cab that said he must do so.

When I pointed out the stack of credit card carbons on his dashboard, he hollered even louder.

It seems some drivers want the taxicab business to be strictly cash.

In the last year, or so, an alternative to cabs came on the scene. It’s called Uber.

Folks can use an app on their cellphone to get a ride. No cash changes hands. It’s all done online.

The drivers for Uber and its competitor, Lyft, have been screened by those companies and are driving their own cars. The pair get high marks for customer service.

But the competition had the owners of some big-time Chicago cab companies hopping mad.

The firms operate what economists call an oligopoly, that’s when a handful of big businesses control the market.

In June, the median price for a Chicago taxi medallion was $339,625. There aren’t too many cab drivers who can fork over that kind of dough. So these big taxi outfits buy the medallions and rent them out to drivers for a portion of the day.

The medallions are issued by Chicago City Hall.

So, the bureaucrats like it because it keeps money pouring into city coffers. The cab companies like the system because they can continue to control the market. And the politicians like it because they get campaign contributions from the cab companies.

That’s crony capitalism at its worst. - more....

Why is Uber so scared of a much smaller competitor?

Quartz - (Internet)

Written by
Tim Fernholz
August 27, 2014

Uber, the online car service, is reportedly running a secret operation to recruit drivers from competitor Lyft that involves canceling thousands of ordered rides, and wasting drivers’ time. While some are outraged at the dirty-tricks aspect of the hiring campaign, there isn’t enough attention to being paid to why Uber is going to such lengths to add drivers to its network—and what it means for the company’s future.

After all, Uber has raised $1.5 billion dollars and operates in 92 North American cities, not to mention its numerous outposts around the world, while Lyft has raised $350 million and only works in 64 US cities. Uber is more well known, and it seems miles ahead of Lyft, with its dreams of expanding beyond car services into logistics and hopes of replacing everything from car rental to car ownership.

The company’s cut-throat tactics indicate that if there is an Achilles’ heel somewhere, it lies in the drivers the car service platforms rely on to provide service. These companies make noise about “ride sharing,” but it’s not the heart of their business, as Uber’s stated goal of ending private car ownership suggests. They require professional drivers to meet the demand for car service at a reasonable price.

Drivers, however, don’t need Uber: - more....

Uber adds UberXL ride-sharing service in Charlotte

Uber taxi service gets rolling in South Bend

Uber arrives in Fayetteville, legality unclear

Europe, Africa, and the Middle East

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Asia and the Pacific


Daily Sabah - (Istanbul, Turkey)

Taxis in Istanbul, Turkey's most populated city, will see a series of reforms with the implementation of a new system to centralize their control in light of a string of complaints over scams and reckless driving

    Daily Sabah
    Published : 29.08.2014 01:45:10

ISTANBUL — Taking a taxi in Istanbul is the easiest way to get around and the most comfortable means of transportation, as buses, minibuses, and trams are often packed during most times of the day. However, taxis may sometimes prove troubling particularly for foreigners or Turkish citizens new to the city who often complain about drivers overcharging. Reckless drivers endangering traffic, old cabs and drivers refusing to give a ride to customers seeking a short-distance also add to woes. A new system, whose tender was concluded this week, will see a centralized system for over 18,000 taxis, and may end the customers' futile attempts to hail a vacant cab particularly during bad weather.

First announced in 2012, the Taxi Management System is expected to be fully implemented in two years. The taxis will be controlled from one center instead of separate taxi rinks scattered across the Asian and European sides of the city. They will be equipped with GPS systems, and the nearest taxi to a customer's location will be relayed after customer calls a hotline to order one. The system will put an end to the practice of taxi drivers recklessly racing through the streets to find customers, and will lead to a reduction in fuel consumption and heavy traffic. More importantly, passengers will not have to wait for minutes to hail a cab. Taxis will also be equipped with payment terminals, enabling customers to pay by credit card instead of cash. Currently, only 600 taxis in the city are equipped with credit card payment terminals. - more....

Malaysians Scared By False “Uber” Ban - (Internet)

by BrianAugust 29, 2014, 1:11 pm   

The ever popular Uber ride share program and other similar programs have been facing fierce resistance from established taxi companies and unions. Simply put, these established organizations don’t want Uber, Lyft, or anyone else entrenching on their turf. And now the status of these ride share programs in Malaysia is coming under question.

Malaysian Uber fans suffered quite the scare yesterday when reports came out that the national government had banned the ride sharing program. The government did in fact rule that Uber’s current operations were illegal but it now appears to be more of an issue of getting the correct permits.

Uber’s future in Malaysia, however, is now debatable. How Uber will adapt to local regulations and whether it will be able to obtain the necessary permits remains to be seen. Outside of Malaysia, ride sharing programs are being examined for their legality in the United States, Germany, and elsewhere. - more....

Ender Wiggin

Updated aug 29 @ 22:13 GMT


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