By Don McCurdy


So, which is it?

Reading reports from Boston, the taxicab drivers have dodged state regulations on Uber/Lyft style background checks because the state does not have the resources to administer the background checks. A reported Boston taxi owner said he believes that cities and towns should regulate taxicabs because the cities and towns have a better “sense” for how to manage their streets.

He is reported to have turned around and said officials should work on addressing competitive issues like insurance and vehicles.

So, which is it? Should the state stay out of the taxicab business and leave it to the cities or should they regulate taxicabs at the state level?

Well, if they’re in my favor yes and if they’re not in my favor no. I get it.

That couldn’t hurt, could it?

Philadelphia taxicab drivers are reportedly suffering from the Uber flu. To attempt to stem this seeming epidemic the Philadelphia Parking Authority has decided to raise fares.

Now, it’s not a huge increase, but isn’t there some economic law about price going up and demand going down? While Uber is using global positioning smart phones to deliver fast service what is the taxicab industry using?

According to the report taxicab drivers are averaging three missed fares a day. Why is that we wonder? Uber is using full GPS dispatch without operators or dispatchers and yet they’re competitive everywhere. I’m not sure the Parking Authority isn’t hastening the demise of the taxicabs.

What difference would that make?

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is mandating credit card machines be mounted in the rear of the taxicab. Taxicab drivers are up in arms complaining that the fees are too high and they’re already suffering from the Uber flu. Well, that’s a convenient excuse, but what the drivers are really upset about is a result of their own poor choices.

What business traveler hasn’t heard the “my credit card machine is broken” story after a ride in from the airport? The cities mandate that the drivers take cards but the drivers resist by unplugging the machines or simply lying about their function.

I wonder if Uber drivers ever pull that stunt? Oh yeah, it’s all done by a card not even by hand when you ride in an Uber car.

Wanna compete? Best get your house in order; the same old story just isn’t going to carry the day anymore.

Of course they play hardball there.

St. Louis Lambert International Airport has decided on the fees that Uber and Lyft drivers will have to pay for each drop off and pick up at Lambert. The fee is $3.00 for each pick up and drop off. The price is less then what taxicab drivers have to pay to pick up, but taxicab drivers don’t pay to drop off.

So, do all of the Uber cars get a transponder to tell the airport when they drop off, or do they just take Uber’s word that the driver was or wasn’t there?

Naturally the rider will be the ultimate payer of any airport tax Uber drivers pay, but this certainly doesn’t sound like the airport was leveling the playing field.

Since Lyft has already agreed to the scheme the only question is when will Uber agree. My favorite part of the article is the comment by the airport director as to what would happen if Uber failed to agree. Her response, “they can’t operate here and we will aggressively ticket them on our drive.” Seems like hardball to me.

Uber is leaking!

In the political cesspool that is Washington DC a leak is, yawn, just another day at the office. Is it fake? Is it real? Well the best lie is one that is partially true, I’m told. All that said, Uber is under siege by potential investors, with various groups wanting to buy shares from current owners of those shares.

The report goes on to describe some of the infighting that is going on with the various groups. Has that magic newspaper line, “people close to the process, who spoke on the condition of anonymity” apply here?

The problem with these types of “sources” is that you never know their credibility, their axe to grind, their dog in the fight or their motive. Somehow everyone who “speaks on condition of anonymity is suddenly “deep throat” and has some kind of instant Mother Theresa credibility.

It seems to me that these “anonymous sources” lack credibility and accountability. Since we don’t get any kind of identifier like “source 47b” we never know if they’ve ever produced viable information or are themselves being fed garbage because everybody already knows they can’t keep their mouths shut?

Do reporters keep score on these people or do they just make up the stories themselves? How do we know? In reality we don’t.

If you’ve had any dealings with the press you know they often don’t get the story straight. I guess it’s no surprise that young people get their news from Comedy Central, at least you know it’s not real. Maybe.

Is that all?

Reports are that Uber spent 1.2 million dollars, about the pre Uber medallion price for a single NYC taxicab medallion, to “influence” lawmakers.

Since the big prize was somewhat free reign in the big apple I would have thought good government would have cost more. Less than half of the cash was spent on advertising designed to convince New Yorkers they would be under privileged if Uber wasn’t allowed free reign. The rest went to the political bag men that are lobbyists.

“Influencing lawmakers” has been Uber’s shtick all along. If you can’t convince the city to play ball you simply go to the state level. What does the representative from Herkimer care about the price of New York City taxicab medallions?

So far their plan has been pretty much fool proof. Let’s give a ten grand lobbying contract to somebodies brother-in-law and see how much they’ll see the need for us taxi drivers. Sadly, that’s about the state politics. Now what was that Dylan line, “money doesn’t talk, it swears.” Still holds true.

Speaking of which…

I’m pretty much nobody from nowhere. Joe average small businessman who has an interest in following the taxicab industry since I worked in it for twenty years. All that said I’m a father with a collage graduate daughter and a US Army veteran son, both of whom are having problems finding full time work because of the unintended consequences of a nifty bit of legislation called the Affordable Care Act.

Any large employer is required to have health insurance for their employees under the act and the big companies, including such well knowns as the YMCA, now hire part time employees so they don’t have to cover them. Good for them, bad for the American work force.

Well the ACA has crippled the party that foisted it upon us because they knew we didn’t want it. Well now we have the perpetrators of this fiasco holding the line and the bumbling idiots we chose to replace them worry that someone might get hurt if they dump this garbage in the can.

This just in, it is hurting Americans every single day. Next year my small company will no longer be able to afford the health insurance we have provided for our staff for the last seven years. Thanks Sue, Lisa and of course John for continuing the suffering of your fellow citizens.

In whatever land you’re from you may dream that it’s not hurting us out here in never, never land, but that just ain’t so.

As for maverick John McCain, I can assure you, sir, that your petty ego tirade cost you what little respect I had for you.You may be a hero to the people who didn’t vote for you, but you sure aren’t for those of us who are embarrassed to report that they did.

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








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