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NYC Taxi Commission Nixes Cab-Hailing Apps 264

Posted by Soulskill
from the taking-cues-from-the-music-industry dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Uber is a company that creates apps to connect taxi and limo drivers with potential passengers. They've been rapidly expanding their service to cities across the country, but they're now getting pushback from New York City. This week the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission issued a public notice saying, 'A driver must not use any electronic communication device (PDF), including a cell phone or smartphone running a hail or payment app, while operating a taxicab.' The commission says its current contractual obligations forbid the use of such technology."
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NYC Taxi Commission Nixes Cab-Hailing Apps

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  • Uber is awesome (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 08, 2012 @07:04PM (#41276877)

    I use it all the time in DC. I probably use it more because of the fact the DC government doesn't like it.

    • I probably use it more because of the fact the DC government doesn't like it.

      Why don't they like it? Maybe I am dense, but I don't see why they should care one way or the other.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Because the asshole that cuts you off within millimeters to make their fare happy is now worrying about how many fares they will miss if they aren't driving and fucking around on their cell phone
        • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @09:38PM (#41277547) Journal

          ... A driver must not use any electronic communication device ...

          I am not from New York, but I had been to New York (and NYC) many times, and have lost count of the times I took NYC cabs
           
          I remember that in the NY cabs that I were in, even during pre-cellphone era, there was already an "electronic communication device" - a CB-radio
           
          And the cabbies were using it to communicate with their HQ and to others, even while they were zig-zagging in and out of the city traffic!!
           
          It's totally ridiculous to place a ban on the use of "electronic communication device" while they were already using "electronic communication devices" !
           
          Unless of course, the CB radio they were using were not electronics - maybe they are still using vacuum tubes in their CeeBees
           

          • by fm6 (162816) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @11:06PM (#41277901) Homepage Journal

            I'd say RTFA, but since not even the editor or submitter seems to have done so, it's seems a little lame. Suffice to say that this is not a new regulation banning Uber, but simply a memo reminding cabbies that they're not supposed to use cell phone apps while driving.

            • by Maximus633 (1316457) on Sunday September 09, 2012 @03:15PM (#41282463)
              Not to be a jerk here... But the memo doesn't state that they can't use the cell phone apps while driving (that line is at the end). The memo states that those type of apps like Uber are not allowed due to a contractual obligation that they (The commission) has made with payment processors. It also points out that it could also cause problems with the rules for prearranged rides provision in the law.
          • by tsotha (720379) on Sunday September 09, 2012 @12:37AM (#41278163)
            Maybe so, but you can use a radio without taking your eyes off traffic. How many of those cab-hailing apps are the same?
            • by anubi (640541) on Sunday September 09, 2012 @06:50PM (#41283731) Journal
              I think this app is great if implemented properly.

              Its the customer, not the cabbie, who should be fiddling around with a cellphone.

              The fare would be given the opportunity to link to a routing computer over the phone. The routing computer would know the status of every subscribing cab, its availability, location, and direction, and be able to notify the proper cab of an awaiting fare.

              The cabbie gets a GPS display, much like the existing ones, but this one would be linked to the routing computer and flash where his fare is waiting. There is no reason to annoy the cabbie with anything more than where his fare is, and select one cabbie so they all don't do a mad rush. The cabbie may be given a few seconds to accept the fare, else the routing computer will select another cabbie. The computer would know which cabbies are busy delivering, which are idle, and the idea is to keep the idle ones busy and minimizing non-passenger distance. The routing computer will then inform the caller which cabbie it has arranged to pick them up, along with estimated time to arrival.

              Note: This is how I would do it - exactly how they intend to implement this, I am quite ignorant. The whole concept looks great to me - it puzzles me as to why anyone would object.
      • by milkmage (795746)

        city government. not the Feds.
        City gets money. Thus the situation in NYC.

        some perspective (taxi medallions. one meeeeelion dollars)
        http://www.npr.org/2011/11/15/142301617/nyc-taxi-medallions-fetch-unbelievable-returns [npr.org]

      • by arth1 (260657)

        Well, if tourists are discriminated against, I can see it being bad for both the city and long term business even if it's good for short term business.

      • by jcr (53032)

        DC cabs pay a shitload of money to local DC politicians to limit their competition. Uber is competition.

        -jcr

  • by Culture20 (968837) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @07:05PM (#41276885)
    They can use it while they're parked waiting for a fare, but not while driving. Makes sense for safety.
    • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @07:20PM (#41276957) Homepage Journal

      No I think this is about who controls the allocation of taxis. Somebody has to pay for their call center. Can't have it replaced but a couple of thousand lines of code.

      • by stephanruby (542433) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @07:50PM (#41277063)

        The article says it's because their current contract with their payment processor gives them exclusivity until February. In February, the ban will no longer be in effect, and they'll be free to experiment with new payment systems and taxi-related phone applications that accept payments.

        And yes, I know I cheated. I knew I wasn't supposed to read the article, but I just couldn't help myself.

        • by Cylix (55374) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @08:48PM (#41277341) Homepage Journal

          ....

          And yes, I know I cheated. I knew I wasn't supposed to read the article, but I just couldn't help myself.

          We tend to be fairly forgiving here so I'll let you off with a warning this time. Just be more cautious in the future and mistakes like this won't happen again.

          *Hops back into the RTFM Patrol Car and speeds off down the information super highway.

      • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @08:09PM (#41277143)

        Somebody has to pay for their call center.

        This makes no sense. The call center is a cost sink for the taxi company. They should be glad to be rid of it.

        I think the real reason may have something to do with independent taxis competing on an equal footing with bigger fleets.

        • by Nemyst (1383049)

          I believe that's the point the GP was trying to make. The call center is what gives taxi companies an edge, but somebody has to pay for it. If the call center is made redundant by a simple mobile app, then taxi companies lose much of their advantage.

        • by gr8_phk (621180) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @08:23PM (#41277229)

          This makes no sense. The call center is a cost sink for the taxi company. They should be glad to be rid of it.

          Dude, the call center IS the taxi company. When it's replaced by an app, licensed cab drivers could use their own taxi and keep the full fare. Someone will have to figure out how to handle taxes though.

          • by jmauro (32523) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @10:14PM (#41277697)

            Yes and no. In NYC to operate a taxi legally you need a medallion on the cab. The current prices for the medallions run about $1 million and as such the industry is heavily concentrated among just a few operators who then lease the medallion to the driver (at a price of roughly $130 per 12 hour shift [slate.com]). Getting rid of the call center would not change the dynamics of the industry at all since the medallion regulation defines the industry more than the call center.

            At least in NYC. Cities without medallions like DC it would definately effect them, but the cities without medallions already have large numbers of owner operates (and have a completely different set of problems).

            • By "medallion", is it meant a "virtual" medallion, like say, a medallion number, and all your info is on record with the city, and you can get a new certificate if you lose yours?

              Or is it really a gold/copper/bronze/whatever chunk of metal, and you're supposed to hang this $1 million item off your rearview mirror so the police can easily verify you have it? That's pretty crazy, considering that it's only a, what, $50 piece of glass between a thief and $1 million?

        • by rtb61 (674572)

          With computers bigger fleets will not definitely out compete small players. Using computer street maps and GPS, they will be able to accurately and efficiently distribute fares, based upon current locations and destined location of cabs including future bookings. The computer can efficiently allocate all fares to keep the taxi as busy as possible and to build up business based upon reliability of pick up.

          Using computers with location and destination incorporated into programming, shared fares will be pos

      • by jamesh (87723)

        No I think this is about who controls the allocation of taxis. Somebody has to pay for their call center. Can't have it replaced but a couple of thousand lines of code.

        I wonder how 'self drive' cars will change the taxi industry, once such cars are truly allowed full autonomy on the road... then drivers will be replaced by a couple of million lines of code. Until someone needs a hand with their luggage or needs help out of their wheelchair etc.

        • needs help out of their wheelchair

          Thats where the automonous electric wheelchairs come in.

        • by Shadow99_1 (86250)

          Should I insert the first 'Johnny Cab' comment now? I know that's from the old version of Total Recall and all, but it's very apt.

      • You cant call for a yellow cab in NYC, unless they come from a large private garage. But no one I know has ever done it.

        This app wont work well in Manhattan anyways, since there are so many cabs. And in the outer boroughs, most people know which street to go to to hail a cab trying to go back to Manhattan.

  • by doug141 (863552) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @07:08PM (#41276897)
    might not mean can't use while pulled over. Ambiguous.
    • by Georules (655379)
      Except it's not ambiguous. Most definitions of operating a motor vehicle include doing anything that is any part of a sequence of using the motive power of the vehicle, or being in a position to operate the controls. Simply sitting behind the wheel, even with the engine off, usually qualifies for operating a motor vehicle.
      • 1. Stop the cab.
        2. Get out.
        3. Operate the phone application.
        4. ?????????
        5. Profit.

      • by Sabriel (134364)

        Oh, joy. So if you've got one of those remotes that can start the car, don't get drunk while the remote's in your pocket. After all you're "in a position to operate the controls".

        And the stupidest part is that if we applied the same reasoning to rape laws then every single non-castrated human being would be auto-magically guilty of rape. We have the equipment and the controls are built-in, after all. Yet despite it being obvious this is faulty logic, it's still considered (motor vehicle) law.

  • radio (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bob zee (701656) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @07:11PM (#41276911)

    is the radio considered an electronic communication device? it is one-way communication for sure, but "communication" nonetheless.

    • by artor3 (1344997)

      If you want to get pedantic, brake lights are an electronic communication device. But it's pretty clearly not what they mean.

  • TLC (Score:5, Insightful)

    by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @07:12PM (#41276913)

    Why is there a commission to decide whether I can drive you from A to B for a fee and whether you can call or text me on the phone to arrange it and to whom I have to pay a very substantial annual fee for the privilege of doing so? The answer: its a legalized racket, just like all business licensing.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 08, 2012 @07:28PM (#41276993)

      This is all about turf wars between limo services and cab services in NY. Basically a cabbie in new york, according to regulations, HAS to stop for anybody that hails them. Where as a limo service is appointment only and CAN'T stop to pick people up on the road ... they have to only pick up the appointment.

      So bascially, this app makes cabbies into a pusedo limo service. They by pass people on the street hailing them, and go pick up the appointment.

      There is a bunch of noise about discrimination against people without smart phones ... but what is boils down to is, once again, government regulations stopping free enterprise. They need to drop this silly non-sense about limo service vs taxi service.

      • by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @08:42PM (#41277317) Journal

        Basically a cabbie in new york, according to regulations, HAS to stop for anybody that hails them.

        So bascially, this app makes cabbies into a pusedo limo service. They by pass people on the street hailing them, and go pick up the appointment.

        but what is boils down to is, once again, government regulations stopping free enterprise. They need to drop this silly non-sense about limo service vs taxi service.

        If you don't understand why taxis are legally required to pick up anyone hailing them,
        then I guess this doesn't make sense and you can shoehorn this into the traditional
        "government regulations are stifling free enterprise" world view.

        There's a reason that the police and Taxi & Limosine Commision conducts sting operations to make sure that drivers are following the law.
        The main ones being: you can't charge handicapped passengers more, you can't kick someone out for wanting to go to a hospital,
        you can't discriminate based on race, and you can't refuse service based on destination.

        More often than not, regulations are there because "free enterprise" misbehaved,
        not because the big bad government is out to stop free enterprises from making money.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          More often than not, regulations are there because "free enterprise" misbehaved,
          not because the big bad government is out to stop free enterprises from making money.

          More often than not, these well-meaning regulations are twisted to serve special interests once the regulations have outlived their useful purpose. Then the misbehaving party *becomes* the government. The difference is, with free enterprise, you can opt out of a corrupt or discriminatory business or even create your own competing one. There is no such option when government gets involved, which is why you should *always* be wary of government assuming such powers, no matter how trivial.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 08, 2012 @09:14PM (#41277455)

            Yeah, 'cause the absolute first thing I do when a capital intensive business pisses me off is to start my own competing business. You should see my empire now. I've got my own cell phone company, taxi and limo company, electric power utility, food distribution service, and of course health care system. Oh, wait, I can't just start those things up on my own, so my choices are to have a society with rules or just take whatever corporations and business owners think I deserve. Guess which one serves my interests better?

            Libertarian types can be such dumbasses sometimes,

            • by Loosifur (954968)

              I know, we're such assholes for not responding to government subsidized monopolies by saying, "Well, what can you do? That's how the pseudo-free market works!" It's just like how the Iraqi elections under Hussein resulted in his winning 99% of the popular vote, thus proving that democracy is impossible and hopelessly broken.

            • I've got my own cell phone company, taxi and limo company, electric power utility, food distribution service, and of course health care system.

              Me too, I downloaded open-source plans and printed them myself.

            • by Z34107 (925136)

              You may find it as inconceivable as the horseless motorcarriage overtaking the buggy, or that dangerous electric lighting displacing the proven reliability of gas lamps, but I assure your most unimaginative Lordship that people start new businesses all the time. Yes, m'lord, even "capital intensive" businesses like airlines

              It's harder, though, when your "society with rules" decides you should have to give the local monopoly $1 million to drive a taxi. Or when your "society with rules" made modems and answ

              • by Kijori (897770)

                The problem here really is that people don't start capital-intensive businesses "all the time", and even if they did that isn't the real measure; the real question is whether people start successful and competitive capital-intensive businesses "all the time". Your example of airlines is particularly capital-intensive, and the pattern is entirely predictable: today's biggest airlines were largely formed from mergers of old airlines, rather than upstarts coming in; a few airlines carry a very high proportion

          • by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @09:18PM (#41277465) Journal

            More often than not, these well-meaning regulations are twisted to serve special interests once the regulations have outlived their useful purpose.

            Are you claiming that the regulations requiring taxis to pick up all passengers has outlived its useful purpose?
            I cannot deny that regulations can end up serving special interests instead of the general public.
            My rebuttal is that we should have better regulation, not no regulation.

            In this particular case, the regulations governing taxis generally serve the public and the regulations should remain that way.

            The difference is, with free enterprise, you can opt out of a corrupt or discriminatory business or even create your own competing one.

            The balance of power is not equal between someone who wants a service and someone who provides a service.
            This is why we have regulations.

            Without regulations, there are monopolies and oligopies, not competition and free markets.
            This is what history shows us and ideology frequently strives to ignore or deny.

            • by Loosifur (954968)

              In a word: bullhockey.

              Government regulation is fully capable of creating monopoly and oligarchy, and that, in fact, is what history shows us. Case in point: any socialist nation. Shit, as much as I like Doctor Who, the BBC. And, as much as the idea of big scary companies frightens you, at least you have the option to not use that companies service or product in a free market. You can choose a competing company, or a competing product. If the government controls that service or product, and forbids competiti

          • In this case, this regulation is in response to previous misbehavior. NYC cabs used to accept so-called 'radio calls', where one could call a cab's central office to schedule a pickup. Cabbies would flip the 'radio call' flag on when they didn't want to pick up a minority, go to a distant destination, or charge more during rush hour. Cab companies are jumping at this app, since it gives them the ability to again discriminate against undesirable customers and inconvenient destinations.

            The free market prov

        • But this is an example of where regulation is getting in the way. At least Bloomberg seems willing to get this resolved.

          See, government is good in regulating at times as a neccessary evil (I can think of how the world collapsed after Glass-Steagal was repealed), but other times regulation just gets in the way. A way to discriminate is looking at motives: is this business trying to fuck over customers by the discriminations you mentioned? No, they are just trying to reach customers and be more convient. Were

        • by MobyTurbo (537363)

          There's a reason that the police and Taxi & Limosine Commision conducts sting operations to make sure that drivers are following the law. The main ones being: you can't charge handicapped passengers more, you can't kick someone out for wanting to go to a hospital, you can't discriminate based on race, and you can't refuse service based on destination.

          They need to do more of these sting operations, because I've been refused service countless times trying to get a cab from Manhattan to Brooklyn - even t

        • by 21mhz (443080)

          If you don't understand why taxis are legally required to pick up anyone hailing them,

          I don't, at least I know it's not a universal requirement for taxis.

          In Helsinki, Finland, taxis can be ordered by phone or SMS, or found at taxi ranks. You'd be lucky to hail one on the street, and I think it's against their regulations so only very "enterprising" drivers would do that.

    • by trout007 (975317)

      I'd say it's more of a cartel. If it was just licensing than anyone could go to city hall fill out a form and become a taxi driver. But they keep a cap on how many taxis there are. Then they have price controls on the fares to prevent competition.

      • Re:TLC (Score:4, Insightful)

        by guises (2423402) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @08:12PM (#41277163)

        I'd say it's more of a cartel. If it was just licensing than anyone could go to city hall fill out a form and become a taxi driver. But they keep a cap on how many taxis there are. Then they have price controls on the fares to prevent competition.

        You've got it backwards - the price controls are there to keep fares from rising too high, they prevent gouging. That's a danger whenever you limit competition by restricting who can perform a service. It's like how every country in the world (except the US) which allows drug companies to patent drugs also sets limits on how much the companies can charge for those drugs. It's there to prevent abuse of their monopoly. [azcentral.com]

        If they removed the state granted monopoly on taxis, then they could also remove the price controls and the fare price would likely fall. The reason they don't do this is probably mostly because of the company lobbyists, but there's some good reason to believe that this scenario wouldn't work out as well as you'd hope. Just a few years ago pedicabs (bicycle taxis) were completely unregulated in New York. There were tons of them and it was rather difficult to make a living that way, particularly if you weren't a very good salesman: the largest pedicab company in the city was (still is) run by a turkish man who would bring in people from turkey on a three month visa with the promise that they would be able to pay their way, and pay their way back home, as pedicab drivers. Since their English wasn't very good in general they had a lot of trouble getting rides, they would fall deeper and deeper into debt since there was no other way (legal way) for them to make money here and no way to get back home, etc. Just a bad scenario.

        Anyway, the point is that they limit the number of cabs in order to keep rates high enough that drivers can make a living wage, and they restrict what the cabs can charge in order to keep the drivers from gouging people. It's not ideal, but a simple solution based on ideals rather than facts is not going to improve the situation.

    • by artor3 (1344997)

      Well for starters, I much prefer that we have some sort of body regulating taxis, if only to ensure the driver of the car I step into isn't going to rape me, murder me, and dump my body in a ditch.

      I know, I know, the free market could handle that! If my driver murders me, I should just not hire him in the future!

    • by DogDude (805747)
      There's a commission in order to be sure that people don't get screwed over by taxis. Safety. Public good. You know: Socialism.
    • by fm6 (162816)

      Because we evil socialists want to control everything! But then, you already knew that, so why did you bother asking the question?

    • Re:TLC (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Hazel Bergeron (2015538) on Sunday September 09, 2012 @04:07AM (#41278677) Journal

      Because the people own the street so choose how their property is used, i.e. property rights. If the people want to restrict taxis on the street so not any rapist or conman can respond to a hail, that's up to them.

      It takes a particularly stupid sort of libertarian (but I repeat myself) to go around blaming The Government for absolutely everything wrong in the world. So, for your sake, imagine that The Government is actually a private business - let's call it The Corporation. Imagine that The Corporation owns everything "public" and has an contractual interest in everything else in the country, allowing it to collect fees for certain operations.

      There. That's the whole country, unchanged, but now libertarian.

      Happy?

  • Lame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @07:15PM (#41276927)

    So if you can't use electronics, how do you dispatch them? Do they return to the depot after every pickup to receive little strips of paper? (-_-)

    Another case of capitalism gone full retard -- "We forbid you to use anything that could make your job more efficient and convenient for your customers!"

    • Re:Lame (Score:5, Informative)

      by alen (225700) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @07:19PM (#41276943)

      NYC has a different types of cabs and they all have different rules on picking up.

      Yellow is street hails
      Then there limo services where you call them to schedule a pickup. Not real limos but that's what they are called
      I think there are one or two other kind of medallions as well

      The medallions are owned by Regular people and very expensive so there are lots of interests in keeping the system as it is

      • Re:Lame (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @08:10PM (#41277151) Journal

        The medallions are owned by Regular people and very expensive so there are lots of interests in keeping the system as it is

        The medallions are owned by Really Rich people and are extremely expensive so there are lots of interests in keeping the system as it is.
        In 2012, the lowest winning bid for a medallion was $1.201 million [nyc.gov]
        The Regular people who drive cabs have to lease from millionaires who can afford the medallion.

        The NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission screwed things up in in the early 80s when it allowed cabbies to be treated as independent contractors, which broke the taxi union and changed the balance of power.
        Combine that with the few (if any) new medallions issued and you essentially have a cartel of medallion owners that are screwing the drivers and the public.

        • by Teppy (105859)
          I'm curious what the penalty is for operating totally unlicensed. If accused, can do demand a jury trial? Because if I was a juror on such a case I'd deadlock that trial for a month if it meant fucking up the current system.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission screwed things up in in the early 80s when it allowed cabbies to be treated as independent contractors, which broke the taxi union and changed the balance of power.
          Combine that with the few (if any) new medallions issued and you essentially have a cartel of medallion owners that are screwing the drivers and the public.

          A similar problem exists in most cities where taxi services are available. In the metropolitan area where I reside the city council and a special board determine the number of taxi licenses to be issued for a particular time period. The situation is so perverse that smaller taxi businesses have been bought-out by their competitors because the smaller taxi companies cannot afford the licenses any more. It is organized crime approved by the government.

    • Re:Lame (Score:4, Insightful)

      by BlueStrat (756137) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @07:29PM (#41276997)

      Another case of government corruption & cronyism gone full retard

      FTFY

      These regulations have nothing whatsoever to do with capitalism, except that they contribute to distorting, corrupting, abusing, impeding, and destroying capitalism.

      Strat

    • by DogDude (805747)
      This isn't capitalism, doofus. This is the government regulating capitalism. RTFA.
  • by thatskinnyguy (1129515) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @08:00PM (#41277101)
    They nixed it and rightfully so. Think of all the damage caused by hail. Their insurance premiums would go through the roof in no time!
  • by pcjunky (517872)

    This is silly. Cabs have been using twoway radios for decades.

  • Big Government (Score:4, Insightful)

    by websaber (578887) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @08:23PM (#41277231)

    This is why people have trouble trusting the government, their only interest is to sell Medallions for their own profit.

  • that you have a spare seat and are leavig from one location in say 20 min and heading to another. That way you carpool and save money.

  • No electronic communication devices? I thought my new invention, the Electric Middle Finger (or EMF for short), would be a big hit with the cabbies, but now I guess I'm screwed! Flickoff Industries is RUINED!

    • by fm6 (162816)

      You have a bionic middle finger? Most impressive. Still, there's something to be said for the old-fashioned biological finger, which is not subject to the regulations of advanced technology.

  • Fucking over the consumers for the benefit of the cronies who pay them off.

    -jcr

  • The TLC aims to take a new approach by contracting with a developer to create an app with one or more functions that would enhance the city's for-hire vehicle services and improve both customer and driver experiences

    Uber already did exactly that. WTFUCK makes these apparatchiki think anyone needs a government agency to spend tax money on reproducing something that's already available in the market?

    -jcr

  • by LodCrappo (705968)

    you can stand in the way of progress, but you'll probably end up left behind.

  • This happens in every city Uber operates in. SF tried to shut them down and so did DC. But so far nobody has been able to stop them, and I hope it stays that way. While I can't say I'm a fan of their prices (Uber fares tend to be about 1.5x-2x a normal taxi fare), they're solving real problems in a calcified industry that treats its customers like crap.
  • by CuteSteveJobs (1343851) on Sunday September 09, 2012 @12:12AM (#41278093)
    > The commission says its current contractual obligations love of money forbid the use of such rival technology.

    Fixed that for you.

    > "The TLC is eager to pave the way for taxi riders to take advantage of the most up-to-date technology, including smartphone apps that may help passengers locate available taxicabs more quickly," said TLC chairman, "once we work out how to get a piece of the action".

    Oh wham!

    All over the world taxi licenses earn government ridiculous amounts of money. The poor bastards that drive the cabs see little of that, with the licences purchased by wealthy investors. Government workers (or quasi-government commissions) forget their mission is to ensure the public has access to taxis. Unfortunately whenever large sums of money are waved under a government workers nose they focus on getting some for themselves. Sure they can't legally pocket it themselves, but organizations bringing in cash get star treatment and some of that cash hangs around as benefits for government workers. https://www.npr.org/2011/11/15/142301617/nyc-taxi-medallions-fetch-unbelievable-returns [npr.org]

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