Why would you do that?

By Don McCurdy

Reports are that Uber CEO has suggested a solution to the New York City taxi medallion “crisis”. He suggested that the NYC TLC place a fee on each Uber or Lyft trip. Call it a “hardship” fund he is reported to have said.


Photo: Buck Ennis in


Well, wouldn’t that be just right? Pass the taxi tax onto the Uber and Lift customers. The regulations limiting the taxi industry are a big part of what is breaking the back of the medallion owners. The diminished value of the medallions themselves adds greatly to the crisis.

I wonder if Frigidaire recommended a tax on their units to help support those ice delivery men that were put out of business?

That aside, the medallion value collapse is not only the result of the loss of passengers to Uber and Lyft, it is the fault of thepeople who allowed the taxi/car service system to be violated by those not in possession of medallions.

Yes, Uber probably greased the correct palms to get their business handled at the state level rather than the city level, and they may be feeling some corporate remorse a la Starbucks, but forcing Uber Customers to pay for Uber’s crushing its competitors seems counter productive. I don’t understand it. Do you?

Stick a fork in ‘em. Taxicabs in New York were as good as dead when the state authorized Uber and Lyft to operate without medallions or, at least, a special license. I guess the new, kinder, gentler CEO of Uber just can’t stand watching the body twitch.

You’re on your own out there.

Reports out of NYC are that “officials” are investigating a driver who said he doesn’t drive gays. An Uber driver was reportedly suspended for allegedly kicking out two kissing women. Are these events true? Nobody except the participants actually knows the truth. I can say from my experience that the truth can go both ways.

From the driver’s perspective they are almost automatically disbelieved. I recommended voice actuated recorders to my drivers and play to the tape. They did and rarely did they have
issues with complaining customers after that.

It never ceased to amaze me the lies customers told to get revenge on the driver for the smallest imagined slight, everything from groping to failing to explain waiting time.The recent interesting police body camera extravaganzas remind me that not everyone is up front on either side of the mic.

No, wait, not that!

It would appear that the taxi protection racket, that is the franchise system in Austin, Texas, is about to come to an end. The city is on the verge of removing the cap on the existing taxi franchises allowing them to set their own rates. You know, like Uber.

Well, that’s not exactly being well received by the taxicab franchise holders who have come out against the plan. There’s nothing in the report about how to start your own franchise
which, I would think, the current franchise holders would also protest.

The franchise system, like the medallion system, placed an artificial value on the ability to operate a taxicab. Along with creating a value for the franchise, a cost was created when the
franchises were bought and sold.

According to the report, the taxicab industry has had a 76% drop off in ridership. What the companies are doing to combat Uber and Lyft who are regulated at the state level, does not appear to be working.

There will, no doubt, be much wailing and gnashing of teeth during the transition, but lightening the regulatory load taxicabs bear can’t hurt them. The protection offered by franchise ownership is gone. Time to figure out how to survive. The same old game of city protection isn’t working.

Good night sweet prince.

According to reports, the taxi of tomorrow is being piled on the ash heap of outstanding ideas gone bad. This offers this month’s opportunity to rant against unnecessary regulations.

The idea goes back to Michael Bloomberg who thought the idea of an iconic New York City taxicab would put NYC taxicabs on the world taxicab map. We wouldn’t want to use anything like the London Black Cab, well, because that was London’s iconic cab. It simply wouldn’t do to allow the industry to select vehicles that it preferred when there was a business genius readily available to make the decision for them.

These types of regulations are why I oppose all but the most basic of taxicab regulations. I grasp the need to specify a vehicle with sufficient doors, leg room and such, but how about allowing the industry to make its own selection? This decision making option by the Taxi and Limousine Commission certainly can’t hurt the industry They’re in a fight for their very existence and every little bit helps.

If you follow the history of taxicab service in New York City it can clearly be seen that it is regulation that stifled innovation in the industry. While cities around the country dispatched taxicabs via GPS you could only flag one in New York City.Just that one regulation dramatically changed the industry and left it vulnerable to the malaise it now suffers.

“Hey Google, get me a cab home.”

Reports are that this scenario is closer than drivers, companies and regulators think. Waymo, a sister company of Google, is reported to be doing 400 rides a day in their autonomous vehicles.

While we all read about Uber backing off autonomous cars due to their recent issues Waymo has been quietly been working out the issues and moving the industry forward. According to the report 60,000 vehicles are in the works and the big question seems to be where to expand to from Phoenix?

GM and Ford are also expected to have their versions of autonomous vehicles on the street in 2019. It may take a while for the riding public to hop a Johnny Cab, but the technology is fast approaching.

If you have any comments regarding this or any of my articles please feel free to contact me at: - dmc

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