By Don McCurdy
Reports are that the taxi king and Trump's former wingman have deserted their medallion free taxicabs in a closed gas station in Queens. The neighbors have complained to the city and the city has fined the owner of the property several thousand dollars, but the situation hasn't been resolved. Why not? If it's against the law for them to be stored there, getting vandalized, why hasn't the city simply impounded them?
While it may appear to be an insurmountable problem for the former owners to claim them, it should be simple for the city to impound them and sell them for scrap at some future point after proper notifications. Would it help if the neighbors periodically dragged one into the middle of the street and called in an abandoned vehicle?
Is it nobody's job to look after the well being of the city's citizens? Should the citizens of Queens be forced to stare at these vehicles for five years, not just the one they've already endured? Where's the Taxi and Limousine Commission on this? Hey, it's not my job. Uh huh.
End of the year?
Reports are that Waymo is ready to hit the streets with an autonomous fleet of for hire vehicles by the end of the year. Well, it's November, how much more "end of the year" are we looking at?
Wayne's Chief External Officer, Tekedra Mawakana, is reported to have stated that Waymo has logged ten million actual miles and six billion miles in simulation driving. It's also reported that the only collisions Waymo vehicles have been involved in have been the fault of people, not the vehicle. Now that would have to get any veteran of the taxicab world to be wondering how many at fault collisions live drivers have been involved in during that same number of miles?
If we're comparing Waymo driving to perfection maybe it falls short. If compared to live taxicab drivers I would think they're way ahead of the curve. It's also reported that the "safety driver" will be eliminated, eventually. I especially like Mawakana's reported comment that once people experience the technology they will have a "personal transformation."
I wonder if my wife would mind if we vacation in Phoenix next year so I can have a "personal transformation?" My nephew wondered that with all the autonomous vehicles on the road how long would it be before there was a country song about a cowboy whose pickup truck left him? Jerry Jeff you wanna get on that?
Tell them what they've won, Don Pardo!
A recent Uber driver suicide in New York City is reported to have prompted some of the attendees of a memorial service to verbally abuse TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi. Drivers shouting, "how many more" and "get out" can be heard on the recording of the debacle.
As Doctor Scott Peck observed, "life is difficult." People commit suicide essentially because they are unwilling to deal with life's difficulties, emotional, financial, spiritual and physical.
All that said, in our ‘blame somebody world' it has become trendy to be abusive of others who are either not doing what you want or have different opinions than you.
"Get in their face" or "kick them" is the mantra of the more ignorant, more ideologically violent. However, is that the means to their end? I don't think so.
Encouraging hostile discourse or violence, as seen in riots pretending to be protests, isn't going to win friends and influence people. Regulators, including TLC Commissioners, are governed by laws which are written by legislators, city councils and the like. These laws are when they or the people who elected them to office feel a need to act on an issue.
When your behavior obscures the real problem you become the problem. Google, through its subsidiary Waymo, is about to solve your problem of not enough income. You won't have any.
Here is your warning, it's coming, prepare. When you don't prepare you can blame Google for the suicides instead of the TLC Commissioners. Congratulations on your big win, I hope it was worth it to you.
What do you suppose that means?
I recently read an article about an Uber driver who raped a woman in Miami. She was seriously drunk and he took advantage of that situation, according to police. The article was fairly graphic and contained the sentence "The driver—Fredrick Gaston, 51—had a history of predatory behavior, despite being hired by the ride hailing company."
Depending on the basis behind that report it would seem that the woman in question should be on her way to winning the Uber lottery. In an earlier paragraph, the virtues of Waymo's autonomous vehicles were mentioned with a quote from that article being that 21% of potential riders approved of the chauffeurless taxi idea.
I would speculate that there will be a much greater approval rate when female passengers realize they don't have to be concerned about aggressive male drivers taking advantage of them. Uber has been the death of the taxi industry and Waymo is shaping up to be the death of Uber. Based on some of their driver's behavior it may just be good riddance.
It's being reported that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in Uber's favor in a class action lawsuit brought by drivers wanting to be classified as employees rather than independent contractors. The court ruled that the contract drivers sign when they sign up with Uber specifically states that the driver will agree to arbitration rather than sue. The ruling overturns a decision by a lower court that the drivers could sue.
If you have any comments regarding this or any of my articles please feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. - dmc