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Taxis

WNYC News

Report: Taxi Medallion Prices Drop 17%

Friday, November 28, 2014

Apps like Uber may be changing the economics of being a driver-for-hire.

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Transportation Nation

Wait Until Next Year: Bill to Increase Accessible Cabs in D.C. On Hold

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Only 20 of D.C.'s 7,000 cabs are wheelchair-accessible. And that number won't be increasing in 2014.
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Transportation Nation

All D.C. Taxis May Soon Support E-Hailing

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The D.C. Taxicab Commission is floating a proposal that would require the city's 7,000 taxicabs to do what has made Uber so popular: use an app that allows riders to e-hail them.
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Transportation Nation

Cab Pass You By Because Of Your Race? D.C. Streamlines Complaint Process

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

D.C. officials say they've made it easier to report taxicabs that discriminate against potential riders based on race.

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Transportation Nation

Yellow Cab Blues: Learning The Ropes as a New Cabbie in the City

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

BBC

We visit a school for new cabbies in New York, where immigrant drivers learn to navigate the city streets and charm passengers for better tips.

We want to hear from you: What's the most interesting thing you've learned from a cab driver? Cabbies, what's the most interesting thing you've learned from a passenger?

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Transportation Nation

De Blasio Wants to Revisit Green Cabs — But Why?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio said he wants to go "back to the drawing board" when it comes to outer borough taxis. But why? And what would this plan entail?

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Transportation Nation

By Oct. 1, Most D.C. Taxicabs Will Take Credit Cards

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

WAMU

As a deadline approaches for D.C. taxi cabs to accept credit cards, the city's top regulator says most drivers will be in compliance. But despite threats of impounded vehicles, up to 2,000 cabs won't be ready.

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Transportation Nation

Uber's Referee: This D.C. Politician Keeps Mediating Between Uber and D.C. Taxi Commission

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

WAMU

One week after D.C. regulators effectively banned the new sedan-for-hire service UberX from operating in Washington, a District council member who has refereed the many disputes between the D.C. Taxicab Commission and the tech startup Uber said she would intervene again.

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Transportation Nation

D.C. Has Already Outlawed Uber's New Taxi Service

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

WAMU

Two weeks after launching a new taxi service in Washington, the popular tech start-up Uber says regulators are shutting it down because the cars are too small.

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Transportation Nation

D.C. Taxi Regulators Vs. Uber — Again!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

WAMU

In Washington, D.C. Uber livery cabs have been a separate category from regular, metered taxi cabs. That has changed. And it is sparking a new round of regulatory showdowns

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Transportation Nation

In California, They're Not Taxis, They're "Transportation Network Companies"

Thursday, August 08, 2013

WNYC

California is considering a new regulatory approach to deal with—not ban—taxi industry disruptors like Uber and Lyft but established taxi companies are crying foul.

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Transportation Nation

D.C. Cab Drivers Say They Can't Add Credit Card Readers By City Deadline

Thursday, August 08, 2013

WAMU

As the deadline to apply for a 30-day extension looms, some Washington taxi drivers are petitioning the D.C. Taxicab Commission for more time to install credit card readers in their vehicles.

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Transportation Nation

Uber Dispatching Ice Cream Trucks Like Taxis Friday

Thursday, July 18, 2013

WNYC

You can order an ice cream like a taxi Friday, and the truck will show up with it. 

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The Brian Lehrer Show

The Outer Borough Taxi Explained

Friday, June 14, 2013

We know you're wondering. Kate Hinds, reporter for Transportation Nation, discusses the new outer borough taxi plan and answers the basic questions: how does it work, who can ride, and who can drive? Cabbies, Livery Drivers, Passengers: What do you want to know about the new plan? Call 212-433-9692 or post your comment here.

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WNYC News

An E-Hailing Debate

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

“There are all these traditions about where you stand, how you raise your hand and if you can’t find a cab, where you go to get ahead of the other people who might be standing on your corner,” Kiernan said

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Transportation Nation

San Francisco Airport Bans Rideshare App Companies from Taxi Line

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Last month, San Francisco International Airport issued cease-and-desist orders to six different app-based rideshare companies like Lyft, SideCar, and UberX.

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Transportation Nation

Maryland County Approves Millions More for Troubled Transit Center

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Maryland's Montgomery County Council approved an additional $7 million to pay for construction work already completed at Silver Spring Transit Center, which is already two years behind schedule and about $80 million over budget.

The $7 million approved by county lawmakers has nothing to do with major design and construction problems detailed in a county report released two weeks ago.When it comes to who will pay to repair those problems, county officials say it will likely be determined in litigation with the project’s contractors.

“We will move expeditiously to make sure that we make the necessary repairs and that the taxpayers of Montgomery County will not have to pay for the flaws of the contractor,” says County Executive Ike Leggett, who has threatened to cancel the county’s contract with Foulger Pratt and other contractors and sue to recover any funds paid to fix the transit center’s construction issues, like inadequately thick concrete.

“Whatever we spend we will get back because we are going to pursue to the ultimate degree of the law and the legal process to make sure the county is reimbursed for anything we may have to put out in advance,” says Leggett.

Council President Nancy Navarro echoed Leggett’s vow to go to court, if necessary, to protect taxpayers but left open the possibility the county is also responsible for the mess at the transit center.

“I have not said at any moment that the county could not have some responsibility in this. It is possible,” says Navarro, who says the transit center could open to the public while any litigation proceeds. 

No lawsuits have been filed yet.

Contractor Foulger Pratt has said the county’s design plan was flawed from the start. Company executive Bryant Foulger has said any safety issues concerning concrete and reinforcing steel bars are the county’s responsibility.

 

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Transportation Nation

D.C. Taxis to Take Credit Cards June 1

Thursday, March 21, 2013

(photo by Rebecca Sheir)

(Washington, D.C. -- WAMU) If the effort to modernize D.C.’s taxicab fleet has moved at a snail’s pace, the snail crawled another couple inches on Wednesday.

Officials revised a proposal to install credit card payment machines in all cabs this summer at a special meeting of the D.C. Taxicab Commission. Barring any further setbacks, commission chairman Ron Linton expects the amenity that has been the norm in other major cities to start appearing in D.C. June 1.

“I thought originally by last November we would have had credit card machines in every taxicab. The big disappointment was losing the contract we had,” Linton said in an interview with WAMU 88.5.

In November the District's Contract Appeals Board overruled a contract awarded to Verifone Systems to install the credit card machines, setting the District's modernization plan back several months.

The new proposal protects cabbies by increasing customers’ fares $.50 to cover the costs associated with installing and maintaining credit card payment technology.

The base fare will increase from $3.00 to $3.25; the driver will keep that extra quarter. A proposed per-ride surcharge was decreased from $.50 to $.25, a fee that will be collected by the District. Drivers will be allowed to charge an extra dollar per ride if more than one passenger climbs into the cab. About 20 percent of all rides currently involve more than one passenger, Linton said.

”Numbers two, three, four, doesn’t make any difference how many you got, you only get one additional dollar for any additional passengers,” said Linton, who said the District will allow drivers to choose from one of nine possible payment processing vendors.

While most District residents have called for credit card payment options in taxis, some cabbies have resisted them.

“Because of the fee,” explained cabbie Solomon Nessibu as he took a break in Tenleytown. “The credit card company charges you and you have to pay for the machine, pay for repair, extra receipt. It's cost-related. Other than that it's no problem.”

If the taxicab commission’s new proposal clears the final regulatory hurdles, Chairman Linton expects every cab in the district to have credit card payment machines by the end of August.

Related:

  • Smartphone App Offers What DC Cabs Can’t Yet — Ability to Take Credit Cards (link)
  • Proposal Would Put Smart Meters In D.C. Cabs By End Of Year (link)

Follow Martin Di Caro on Twitter.

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Transportation Nation

Following Public Pressure, Metro Will Add More Bus Service to DC's Busiest Corridor

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Commuters at 16th and U Streets NW

Commuters at 16th and U Streets NW

Additional morning rush hour service is coming to Metro’s busiest bus corridor in Washington after the Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission took commuters’ complaints to the transit authority.

The S bus line on 16th Street NW, a historic gateway into downtown D.C., is struggling to meet ridership demand. Buses are often packed before reaching the southern stretch of the route and cannot squeeze additional passengers aboard, leaving rush hour commuters waiting in long lines at bus stops in Columbia Heights, Adams Morgan, and near Dupont Circle. Some commuters eventually give up and hop in taxis.

“I went out to the bus stops and I saw taxicabs pull up to the long lines, seeing a business opportunity and offering to take them downtown, because the buses weren’t working for our city,” says Kishan Putta, a commissioner on the Dupont Circle ANC.

Putta tried to solicit commuters’ concerns on Facebook and Twitter but drew his largest response the old fashioned way: he put up posters at bus stops asking commuters to contact him.

“We took those stories and those complaints to Metro and they agreed to meet us,” in January, Putta says. “They had to admit in public this is a big problem.”

Putta provided the following example of a typical commuter complaint about crowding on the S line.

“I actively chose to walk 45 minutes to work during every day this week rather than take the bus despite the temperatures in the teens and howling winds,” the commuter’s complaint said. “On the one day when I decided it would be better for my health and well-being to take the bus I waited at the bus stop for 20 minutes.”

“Just this week it has taken me 45-50 minutes to get from 16th & V to 14th & I, and anywhere from 4 to 6 buses have passed the stop each morning because they are too crowded to accept any more passengers,” another complaint said.

Metro has been aware of S line bus crowding for years but its efforts haven’t kept up with growing ridership. In 2009 the S9, which makes limited stops on 16th Street NW, was added during morning and evening rush hours to alleviate crowding.

“Bus ridership remains strong especially with all the new residents moving into the district,” says Metro spokesman Dan Stessel. “There are new residential units along this corridor and so we want to make sure we are providing service for the folks who want it.”

Stessel says Metro has yet to decide on a name for the new S service, but says it will begin on Monday, March 25. An additional bus will arrive at 16th Street and Harvard NW every 12 minutes from 7:30 to 9:15 weekday mornings. A total of nine additional trips will go down 16th Street, then left on I St to 14th Street. Then the buses will head back to Columbia Road NW. The extra capacity will carry between 400 and 500 commuters on a busy morning.

“This issue didn’t just crop up two months ago. We’ve been working on the S line and broader issues related to the S line for more than a year now,” Stessel says. “That said, the relationship we’ve had over the last two months with the ANC has been nothing but constructive.”

“I will take my hat off to Metro,” says Putta. “They were responsive. We worked together on coming up with possible options.”

Still no answer to 16th Street traffic

Putta concedes that while the additional morning rush hour bus service will help move commuters south on 16th Street, the district faces a bigger task in mitigating the corridor’s notorious traffic congestion.

“As with a lot of these long-term solutions, you would need to do a transition so that you would hopefully get less people driving. And of course, the physical limitations of the road are definitely an issue,” says Putta, referring to the possibility of creating a bus-only lane on 16th Street during rush hour.

Metro’s Stessel says the transit authority is working on a solution.

“It’s an ongoing dialogue that we have not only with DDOT but with all of the jurisdictions,” Stessel says. “A major milestone will be achieved about a year from now when we launch what is true BRT (bus rapid transit) in the region for the first time. That will be on the Virginia side of the river in partnership with Alexandria and Arlington.”

The Route 1 Transitway will run buses every six minutes in dedicated lanes from Braddock Road in Arlington north to Crystal City.

“We hope that will spark other jurisdictions to consider, if not true BRT, perhaps traffic signal prioritization or more bus lanes,” says Stessel. “From a public policy perspective, if you have a vehicle that has 50 people in it, that really should get priority over a car that has one person in it.”

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Transportation Nation

FTC Sticks Up for Taxi Apps in Colorado

Friday, March 08, 2013

Taxi hailing apps may have a new ally. Amidst the national shake-up of the taxi cab industry, the Federal Trade Commission took the unusual step on Thursday of issuing written comments against a Colorado taxi regulation, and in effect, supporting smartphone applications for arranging taxi pickups, such as Uber and Hailo. The FTC said the proposed regulations "may significantly impair competition."

After the mobile app Uber, which allows its customers to hail a cab by showing drivers their location, launched in Denver last summer, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission proposed new rules for car services. Under the changes, car services would have to prearrange the price they charge passengers for every ride. Uber currently charges based on trip distance, and prices can fluctuate based on time of day and levels of passenger demand, a feature that has caused price shock to passengers when they learn how much they pay after the fact. Uber says this pricing method encourages more for-hire vehicles to stay on the roads when demand is spiking.

Under the proposed regulations, Colorado car services would also not be allowed offer service within 200 feet of taxi stands, airport pick-ups, restaurants, hotels--pretty much anywhere a taxi or private car service normally look for customers. Both of the proposals would amount to a significant competitive edge for the traditional taxi companies in the area over the more expensive car services category that include limousine rentals.

In its comments, the FTC addressed each of the proposed Colorado rules directly. "Demand-based pricing can be more responsive to consumer preferences than some traditional flat-rate models," and in regard to the 200-foot rule, the “CPUC should avoid unnecessarily restricting the ways that consumers can be picked up by passenger vehicle transportation services.”

This broad phrasing is being hailed as a victory by the e-hailing app makers. The FTC's comments are somewhat unusual in that they target a particular industry in a specific region of the country. But, taxi and limousine companies and state and local governments are likely to keep a close eye on what transpires in Colorado. Uber and other apps like it have caused legal battles in other markets, such as Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, Boston and New York City.

Here's the FTC letter to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, and the official FTC release.

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