By Don McCurdy
Reports are that the Tampa International Airport (TIA) wants Uber to pay a fee for pickups, the same as taxis. Uber says fine, no problem. TIA says great, now install these bar codes on all of your vehicles. Bar codes? Uber says no dice. They’re now hammering out the details of how this is all going to work.
TIA doesn’t trust Uber’s ability to correctly report the number of loads there. They have a point, Uber has claimed their dispatch numbers were "proprietary information" when the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission wanted their dispatch statistics. Uber points out that they currently do business at other Florida airports and they don’t require any special equipment and routinely offer audits to prove the number of Uber trips from the facility. All good stuff, both sides have a point.
The point that I see as missing is the Uber driver’s. If I happen to drive part time for Uber and I go pick up my Aunt Dorothy at the airport in my Uber car will the bar code say the trip must be paid? Most Uber drivers use their personal cars to live their normal lives and drive part time while the majority of taxicabs do not.
And while we’re figuring out what "Uber" will pay let’s all take a minute to remember that this is a tax on the passenger, not Uber. The payment Uber makes to the airport will most certainly be added to the fare.
Let’s stick to the plan.
It’s been reported that the San Diego Airport Authority has decided to stick with the number of airport permits it currently has, 360. The remaining permitted taxicabs in San Diego are allowed to drop off at the airport but cannot pick up there.
We might all remember that San Diego lifted the cap on their permits which allowed whoever wanted a permit to get one. The city has been reported to have issued an additional 269 permits which puts the resale value of permits at zero. The action of the airport authority assures the value of the airport permits which are reported to be selling for $25,000 to $30,000.
I found one of the comments on the article interesting. The writer claimed to have used an airport van the last time he flew into San Diego instead of Uber because he "doesn’t ride with strangers." I can only assume that he knew all of the other passengers in the van along with the driver. Sometimes I wonder what people are thinking when the offer up some talking points they’ve heard.
"When you’re down on your luck and you ain’t got a buck"
New York former taxi king is reportedly getting sued by one of his former staff for sexual harassment. According to a female assistant, Mean Gene Freidman would come on to her and commit sexually harassing acts in front of other staff. Mean Gene is also reported to owe the state of New York 8 million and the city with the same name 13 million in taxes. Along with all of that he is getting sued in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia. He did manage to stay out of jail for contempt of court so all is not lost. I’m not sure what amount of money his former assistant is expecting to get, but she’d better hurry. Apologies to Gary P. Nunn.
Well, that didn’t work out.
Much hay has been made about Uber not wanting to have its drivers fingerprint background checked. Uber claims they background check their drivers and that’s sufficient. Taxicab companies claim it’s unsafe to ride with people who haven’t been fingerprint background checked, even though many cities didn’t background check drivers for decades until recently.
When I first signed on to drive a taxicab, my background check was conducted by the local police department and only covered what I might have done in their jurisdiction. Charles Manson could have driven there providing he wasn’t on the city’s blotter.
The taxicab industry has even put up an all Uber all the time website
What’s missing from the website is the constant barrage of violations committed by licensed, fingerprinted taxicab drivers. A recent report from Everett, Washington State, who background checks its drivers, accuses a driver of beating two of his female passengers with a baton. The driver is reported to have no criminal record.
So, while you can claim those Uber drivers are more dangerous than taxi drivers there isn’t anyone conducting a real study of the situation. Like news outlets, these taxi fingerprint stories only seem to cover the part of the information supporting the slant of the website.
I’m not a researcher. Can’t do complicated cost analysis models. But, I can read.
A recent University of Oxford study is reported to have arrived at the conclusion that Uber has not reduced taxi jobs. Disregard the number of taxicabs parked in New York City, the constant whining from taxicab company owners, the crash and burn of the New York taxi king, the bankruptcy of the west coast companies, none of that has anything to do with Uber. How about that?
I wonder exactly how they define a taxicab driver? According to the report the introduction of Uber "means an increase in the overall number of taxi jobs." Further the report states that "that city typically sees an increase in the number of self employed taxi drivers by about 50%." Very interesting.
The only way that information jives with what’s going on in the taxi business is if they’re counting Uber drivers as taxi drivers. If so, science has determined what regulators couldn’t seem to figure out, Uber drivers are taxi drivers.
Speaking of medallions
A recent presentation on medallion loans from Capital One to their investors is reported to claim that 81% of their medallion loans "are at risk of default." According to the report, medallions in New York City that were selling for a million dollars in 2014 and now selling for half that. Really? Does anyone know who would buy a New York City medallion for half a million?
So, the investment that barged through numerous down turns of the economy has finally been brought to its knees by the very people who made it of value in the first place, politicians. If I owned a New York City medallion I would be quite upset that my investment is trash, and that, as a medallion owner, I could no longer make a living with the tin and promise that I bought from the city.
It is a rare event that hits bankers and taxicab drivers at the same time, but de Blasio and Cuomo have managed to pull it off. Can’t get enough good government.
Do as I do or die!
Unless you live in a cave you’ve heard that the president ordered a suspension of immigration from seven countries. Aside from this order being described as being legal by several respected constitutional scholars, there were protests. Protests at the New York airports. Why wouldn’t there be. Half of the drivers are probably from one of those seven countries.
Noting a surge in rider requests, Uber instituted surge pricing. I love capitalists. Suddenly there’s a "delete Uber" hashtag and Uber dropped their surge pricing. Sorry, not good enough.
One article even led with "why everyone is deleting their Uber app." Everyone? Sure they are. Lyft, who also picked up fares at the protested airports, seemed to have escaped unscathed and is even getting a boost in customers.
Uber was so freaked out they sent a letter to their drivers looking to help anyone affected by the order. Lyft is reported to have donated a million dollars to the ACLU.
We have made the "peaceful transfer of power" a joke. It would appear that our country has been fundamentally transformed. It may be wild speculation, but that might just be the reason the election turned out the way it did. Perhaps, taxicab ridership will increase now that "everyone" has a rash at Uber.
If you have any comments regarding this or any of my articles please feel free to contact me at email@example.com. - dmc