By Don McCurdy


Need a Lyft?

Uber is reported to be headed public or headed under, depending on who you believe. The “in” fighting is hardly “in,” more like an upper management MMA cage match being done in Times Square.

While the investors are interested in showing Kalanick the door he still maintains some clout since appointing himself to the board of directors. That was certainly a neat trick which resulted in a lawsuit.

Things are so bad that their nearest competitor, Lyft, is having their best year ever. Lyft is reported to have added 10 cities, all in the US.

They’re doing so well they even added Valerie Jarrett to the board of directors. I’m not sure what transportation experience Val has but she certainly has political experience. Since most city administrations are run by democrats you can
expect Val to bring serious political clout to any attempt to regulate Lyft or its ilk.

Uber is still top dog in the “shared ride” industry, but they are also their own worst enemy. I get the idea that cutting loose your baby is hard, but Kalanick needs to decide: go down with the ship or help it go public and get stinking rich.

It would probably help if Uber wasn’t losing money. Beyond just the financial issues with Uber their legal issues are reported to be vast. The Justice Department is working at least five reported angles and lawsuits over their break all the rules approach to the business.

Reports are that Uber’s rule breaking philosophy came directly from the top with the former CEO Kalanick being the instigator of their bad boy approach to entering markets. This has been commented on here on numerous occasions.

Apparently, some of Uber’s investments in good government are being viewed in some circles as bribes. How very narrow minded. Uber has hired some serious political talent, but they seem to be on the other side of the fence from the current Justice Department. Oops. Will it matter?


The once million dollar New York City taxicab medallion has fallen on hard times. The recent auction of the former “taxi king’s” assets are reported to have sold for the paltry sum of $186,000 each.

The downfall of the taxi king and his treasure are indicative of the free for all in the regulated ground transportation business that the shared ride companies have brought to the table. With the issues reported to be dogging Uber, the investment company that bought these medallions for less than 20% of their previous value may have made a very wise

The problem is that the door was opened by Uber and there are other players who have entered who aren’t toting quite as much baggage. The magical piece of tin that was once worth ten times its weight in gold may once again rise to the previous value, however, it has a long road to travel before that time. If I were advising the city I would encourage them to assist it as much as possible.


Reports are that DC taxicab drivers who took advantage of the city’s $10,000 grant to go all electric are having an issue or two. They want the government to change the rules so that they can use a hybrid instead of the all-electric vehicle their permit and grant required.

It seems that the vehicle is reported to get 107 miles per change under ideal driving conditions. Now, I am certainly no expert on DC driving conditions, but I would speculate that electric cars are not “ideal.” Along with the short range issue there is the issue of where to charge their electric only cars.

While electric cars are the rage of the age, I don’t think quite enough people have thought through the infrastructure issues that the conversion to electric cars is going to require. While there are gas stations within a mile of most locations there are not charging stations within every five miles leaving recharges to be done either at home or pre-planned charging stops.

Electric cars may be the wave of the future, kind of like all electric homes once were, but the future is not quite here. The drivers made a foolish choice, but not near as stupid as the idea that California is slated to ban gasoline powered cars by 2040.

Now, think about the infrastructure issues related to the tiny island that is DC and then compare that to the potential costs of the same necessary infrastructure that will be required to cover the state of California. Got that pictured?

First, who pays for this? California is broke, they can’t pay. Perhaps, the Sierra Club could chip in a trillion or two. Second, where do you put the charging stations? The gasoline
engine has been our preferred mode of transportation for a century, those gas stations didn’t spring up in twenty years. Third, where is the electricity to charge these cars going to come from?

How long ago was it that California had rolling blackouts to deal with their electrical problems? So, it would seem a bit farfetched to believe they’re simply going to suddenly have enough power to support their homes and their cars.

Perhaps, a few nuclear plants, or perhaps some good old coal fired electrical plants. My advice for taxicab drivers who are getting something for free from the government is the same as getting something free from a casino. Run from it!

How do you figure that?

A recent article out of Tampa Bay reported that the state is abolishing the Public Transportation Commission. Well, that didn’t sit quite right with Hillsborough County so they’ve come up with a replacement plan.

Under the new plan, which looks very much like the old plan, the cap on the number of taxicabs would remain. The scheme is reported to be supported by Commissioner Ken Hagan who is quoted as saying “it’s not to protect the company and market share, it’s to protect the drivers.”

Seeing as how the permits are reported to be owned by the limousine and taxicab companies it escapes me as to how paying rent on the permit is going to improve the driver’s lot. Allowing companies to own the permits allows the companies to rent this city issued piece of paper for whatever the market will bear.

One of the highlights of the scheme is reported to be in cheaper fees to the taxicab and limousine companies. I’m sorry, but the idea that saving the company money is somehow going to equate to the driver making more money isn’t logical.

Has the features of the Uber dismemberment of the highly regulated taxicab industry clearly demonstrated that the oligarchic nature of taxicab regulations is bad for the industry as a whole, the companies and drivers in particular?

One of the definitions of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. That Ken, what a wild and crazy guy.

Is this possible?

A Maryland taxicab company is reported to be suing Washington DC Metro, its sub-contractors and the federal government for alleged illegal activity in the assignment of taxicab paratransit trips.

There was a reported drop in on-time performance last year that was attributed to a driver shortage. The plaintiff in the case was available and attempted to sign on as a subcontractor but was obstructed and delayed.

The entire affair made me wonder who made the decision to transfer the dispatch service to the company that had the ability to divert trips? Is this a case of the swamp feeding itself or just somebody’s brother in law wanting to wet their beak?

Perhaps, the FBI could investigate the entire affair and leak some stuff to the media about it. This could possibly be corruption in DC. What? Corruption in D.C.? Hey, it’s only a $100 mil, it’s no big deal.


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









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