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NYC Taxi Commission Nixes Cab-Hailing Apps

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the taking-cues-from-the-music-industry dept.

Transportation 264

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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Uber is awesome (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Uber is awesome (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#41277121)

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:Uber is awesome (2, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 2 years ago | (#41277201)

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

Defnition of "Electronic Communication Device"? (4, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#41277547)

... 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
 

Re:Defnition of "Electronic Communication Device"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41277629)

Vacuum tubes are electronic components too.

Re:Uber is awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41277423)

I think that's the legal line that separates taxis from livery cabs. One gets to pickup anyone they want off the street, the other requires you to call ahead first.

Re:Uber is awesome (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#41277785)

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.

Re:Uber is awesome (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41277305)

I live in San Francisco and Uber is the reason I don't have a car anymore, and never want to have a car ever again. Yes, it's expensive. And yes, it might be "throwing money down the toilet" compared to owning a car, but I don't care. The convenience is well worth it. No payments, no insurance, no gas, no parking, no maintenance, no traffic stress. Took a trip to LA, used Uber there too. One click and a nice clean car shows up in 10 minutes or less.

"while operating a taxicab" (5, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 years ago | (#41276885)

They can use it while they're parked waiting for a fare, but not while driving. Makes sense for safety.

Re:"while operating a taxicab" (5, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 2 years ago | (#41276957)

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.

Re:"while operating a taxicab" (5, Informative)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:"while operating a taxicab" (4, Funny)

Cylix (55374) | about 2 years ago | (#41277341)

....

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.

Re:"while operating a taxicab" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41277067)

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.

Then connect with the dispatch center and the dispatch center connect with the cabbies.
Is it really this difficult? I assume there will need to be agreements between the dispatch center and Uber, yes?

Re:"while operating a taxicab" (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:"while operating a taxicab" (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 2 years ago | (#41277221)

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.

Re:"while operating a taxicab" (5, Informative)

gr8_phk (621180) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:"while operating a taxicab" (5, Informative)

jmauro (32523) | about 2 years ago | (#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).

Re:"while operating a taxicab" (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 2 years ago | (#41277603)

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 possible and more readily calculable. Likely shared fares will be strictly account customers, so cheaper cab fares. There is not need for the cab driver to communicate with the call centre unless there is a problem. There current fare should be up on there sat nav screen, showing destination and route and their next fare should simply be added to the output, showing route to pick up and route to destination and even future booked pick up near that destination with a time for pick up. All fully automated, leaving the cab driver to listen to music and just regularly note changes in sat nav screen output.

Re:"while operating a taxicab" (2)

jamesh (87723) | about 2 years ago | (#41277479)

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.

Re:"while operating a taxicab" (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 2 years ago | (#41277567)

needs help out of their wheelchair

Thats where the automonous electric wheelchairs come in.

Re:"while operating a taxicab" (1)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | about 2 years ago | (#41277573)

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.

Re:"while operating a taxicab" (1)

fistfullast33l (819270) | about 2 years ago | (#41277503)

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.

can't use while operating... (2)

doug141 (863552) | about 2 years ago | (#41276897)

might not mean can't use while pulled over. Ambiguous.

Re:can't use while operating... (1)

Georules (655379) | about 2 years ago | (#41277273)

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.

Re:can't use while operating... (1)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | about 2 years ago | (#41277461)

1. Stop the cab.
2. Get out.
3. Operate the phone application.
4. ?????????
5. Profit.

Re:can't use while operating... (1)

Sabriel (134364) | about 2 years ago | (#41277797)

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 (4, Insightful)

bob zee (701656) | about 2 years ago | (#41276911)

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

Re:radio (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41277041)

Your unions at work

Re:radio (1)

drkich (305460) | about 2 years ago | (#41277243)

incorrect, read the article. It is a contractual agreement with the payment processor that gives them exclusivity until February. Nothing to do with unions.

Re:radio (4, Funny)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 2 years ago | (#41277271)

read the article

You must be new here.

Re:radio (1)

artor3 (1344997) | about 2 years ago | (#41277265)

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

Re:radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41277597)

Or possibly Satnav?

TLC (5, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:TLC (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41276919)

Why educate yourself about the issues with unregulated taxi services when you can spew stale talking points instead!

Re:TLC (4, Informative)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 2 years ago | (#41276965)

Why not consider a possibility that licensing and regulation are two different words because they mean two different things before you start writing knee jerk posts you anonymous coward.

Re:TLC (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41277005)

Yeah, and the Soviets killed thirty million of their own citizens, so that means government regulators are even worse than unlicensed taxi drivers.

Can we drop the derp yet? Taxi regulation is a racket, plain and simple. Educate yourself.

Re:TLC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41276983)

Fun. And then when New York's streets are chocked cabs and congestion sucks we can all give a prayer of thanks to the market.

Re:TLC (5, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#41277193)

And then when New York's streets are chocked cabs and congestion sucks

You probably just described New York City for the past two hundred years. While I admire someone who can actually find a problem and recognize it is a problem, who seriously believes that rigging the cab market so that it is deliberately overpriced and uncompetitive is in any way solving congestion?

Turf Wars ... limo vs cabs (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Turf Wars ... limo vs cabs (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 years ago | (#41277317)

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:Turf Wars ... limo vs cabs (2, Insightful)

prisoner-of-enigma (535770) | about 2 years ago | (#41277379)

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.

Re:Turf Wars ... limo vs cabs (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#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,

Re:Turf Wars ... limo vs cabs (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 years ago | (#41277465)

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.

Re:TLC (2)

trout007 (975317) | about 2 years ago | (#41276999)

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 (3, Insightful)

guises (2423402) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:TLC (0)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#41277255)

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

Sure, they do. I guess nobody in charge of such things recognizes that making taxis more expensive has the unintended consequence of raising the cost of living, thus, increasing the minimum so-called "living wage". Hurting millions of people so that a few can profit considerably is SOP.

Re:TLC (1)

guises (2423402) | about 2 years ago | (#41277491)

It only raises the cost of living if you ride around in cabs all the time. You're talking about what's basically a luxury service, New York does have a rather extensive public transportation system. Even though they keep raising the rates, it's still less than $2.50 to get almost anywhere in the city on the subway.

The same argument has been made about minimum wage: unintended consequences, raises costs for everyone, etc. Most economists agree that we'd be wealthier, on average, if the minimum wage were eliminated. The question is, is an increase in average wealth really what we're looking for? Neither you nor I, with our fancy computers and internet connections, would likely suffer if the minimum wage were removed. We would probably be slightly wealthier as a result, as would the majority of people. There are a small number however, quite poor right now, who would be in a very bad situation indeed if they could no longer make even minimum wage. I think it's worthwhile for the majority to be slightly inconvenienced if it means that the small minority aren't rendered destitute.

Re:TLC (3, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#41277815)

It only raises the cost of living if you ride around in cabs all the time. You're talking about what's basically a luxury service,

Sincerely, fuck you. When I hop around on crutches, public transportation isn't a real choice, and taking a taxi isn't luxury.

Taxis serve a useful public service.

Re:TLC (0)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about 2 years ago | (#41277285)

Why would we care about some obscure issue with Turkish immigrants? Instead of a convoluted solution, how about just let it work itself out and address the other issues, like how visas are issued and tracked?

You could make the same arguments about almost any aspect of our economy. Oooh, too much demand here, too much supply there - let's centrally plan everything. I know some people want to actually do that but there is a word for those people: Morons.

Re:TLC (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41277015)

Because the people of New York City find it in their interests to regulate and license the people using their roads.

Re:TLC (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41277045)

the people

. Whenever I hear this phrase in association with government regulation I know it's really about the benefit of anything but.

Re:TLC (-1, Flamebait)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#41277159)

I drove a taxi for three years, you are full of shit.

Re:TLC (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | about 2 years ago | (#41277795)

Sorry. I modded incorrectly.

Re:TLC (1)

artor3 (1344997) | about 2 years ago | (#41277287)

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!

Re:TLC (1)

prisoner-of-enigma (535770) | about 2 years ago | (#41277403)

Please explain how any "sort of body regulating taxis" is going to prevent a taxi driver from raping you, murdering you, and dumping your body in a ditch if said taxi driver suddenly develops the desire to do so? You can't regulate free will. Screening potential psychopaths is not a perfect science. At some point you have to take responsibility for your own skin and quit delegating it to some bureaucratic entity that is more interested in getting forms stamped in triplicate than preserving your life.

Re:TLC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41277435)

Michael Bloomberg thinks he lives in the days of organized crime bosses. Oh wait! Now I understand completely...the contractual obligation be damned if he thought he could profit from breaking the agreement.

Re:TLC (1)

DogDude (805747) | about 2 years ago | (#41277515)

There's a commission in order to be sure that people don't get screwed over by taxis. Safety. Public good. You know: Socialism.

Taxi companies slide lots of payola to City Hall (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41276917)

Of course City Hall isn't going to let just anybody muscle in on their graft.

The 20% mandatory tip did it (0)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41276921)

Nyc has a rule that you don't have to pay anything more than what the meter says.

Along with the rules that all fares have to be paid through the taxi billing system and there are rules for what kind of taxis can pick up where and how. Yellow cabs can only do street hails.

Uber is just a dumb company and the real issues in NYC like having a cab take you out of manhattan and sketchy neighborhoods are not addressed by their service

Re:The 20% mandatory tip did it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41276953)

Uber isn't necessarily dumb, they just have an extremely aggressive strategy for dealing with the government. Rather than try to change regulations, they openly flaunt them, and then have their fans mount aggressive campaigns against any agency that tries to punish them.

It's risky, but it did work out in DC.

Re:The 20% mandatory tip did it (1)

SvnLyrBrto (62138) | about 2 years ago | (#41277177)

It also worked here in San Francisco.

Thing is though... that tactic *wouldn't* work if Uber weren't so astoundingly superior to the alternative. We have the same problems as New York... a corrupt medallion system that leaves too few cabs on the roads to the point that it's sometimes faster to walk than to take a cab somewhere. Calling a cab to be dispatched to you is a sick joke unless you're going to SFO. And the cabbies scream bloody murder whenever City Hall tries to improve the system... even if it's something as simple as issuing more medallions.

It should be no wonder to anyone with half a brain that people who actually need to move about town applaud the company that's done an end-run around such a stupid, dysfunctional, and corrupt system; and created a "cab" system that actually works.

Re:The 20% mandatory tip did it (2)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | about 2 years ago | (#41276961)

So the real issue is that, as usual, the cabbies don't want to go to Brooklyn (cause that's where all the hipsters likely to use this app live).

I wonder if the conflict of interest is with "black" car livery service? They can't pick up hails (don't know if that changed, it was always reserved for medallion carrying "yellow" cabs), but this might enable them to if an app "requests" their services.

Re:The 20% mandatory tip did it (2)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41277037)

Almost no chance of a fare back to manhattan means wasted time and money
I know a few a few cab drivers.

Re:The 20% mandatory tip did it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41277621)

Any city has this problem; in DC I used to live in a quiet neighborhood a whole 2 miles away from the city center, and would regularly be (illegally) refused cab service to get out there at night. I learned you had to get in, take down the license number, and refuse to get out until your fare was honored. Made for some tense cab rides. I get it, no return fare, but suck it up.

The DC taxi comission got all hot and bothered by the Uber service, but the happy customers (such as myself) basically demanded that city hall accepted their ongoing service. It's great.

Admittedly, NYC is double plus annoying, even before you add on the fleet change at 4-5p

Lame (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41276937)

fire sticks and rocks

Re:Lame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41276939)

Yeah -- they're the idiots.

  Have you ever been to New York? Typically we stand on the street an stick our hands up, and the cabs stop. Cabs are never in a "depot".

Re:Lame (5, Informative)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#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 (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 years ago | (#41277151)

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.

Re:Lame (1)

Teppy (105859) | about 2 years ago | (#41277245)

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:Lame (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41277481)

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 (4, Insightful)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#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

Re:Lame (-1)

DogDude (805747) | about 2 years ago | (#41277531)

I hope you have some good kneepads. It sounds like you spend a lot of time in front of the Altar of Capitalism. These regulations are about preventing out-of-control capitalism, silly.

Re:Lame (1, Insightful)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#41277633)

These regulations are about preventing competition, lower fares, and about protecting the gravy train for, and lining the pockets of, the politically-connected cronies and the politicians while removing/limiting the choices people have, silly.

FTFY.

Strat

Re:Lame (1)

DogDude (805747) | about 2 years ago | (#41277525)

This isn't capitalism, doofus. This is the government regulating capitalism. RTFA.

Dear NYC: (0)

pla (258480) | about 2 years ago | (#41277025)

Dear NYC:

Kindly FOADIAF, 'kay?

We don't care what you "want". If you block us from using your services as we want - Not as you see the maximum opportunity for profit from us - We will go somewhere else. NYC has nothing notable that Boston or LA or London doesn't. Get the hint?

Cheers.

Re:Dear NYC: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41277185)

This isn't about blocking people from using the services they want, it's about making sure that cabbies don't break existing laws. Yellow cabs can only pick up street hails, they cannot be dispatched. Lincoln's can be dispatched, but they can't be hailed. These laws exist to keep people safe from gypsy cabs that may extort or kidnap you.

This app was basically letting people dispatch yellow cabs, which bypasses these quite sane restrictions.

And seriously, as a resident of lower Manhattan, I can tell you that Boston and LA have nothing on NYC! Night life, arts, fashion, theater, public transportation, etc. are all better here.

Re:Dear NYC: (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about 2 years ago | (#41277307)

Only they are not sane restrictions. You seriously think that convoluted, corrupt system you have is the only way to prevent kidnappings? Lol, what a fucking joke.

Re:Dear NYC: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41277365)

It's not a perfect system, but it's pretty fucking simple: You want to hail a cab, look for the medallion. If you want to dispatch a cab, call a reputable company. Either way you're safer than jumping into some random car that happened to stop when you raised your arm.

LOLs aside, I imagine if you actually had a better system in mind you would have posted it rather than trolling with your OMG GOVNRMNT SUX post.

Re:Dear NYC: (1)

pla (258480) | about 2 years ago | (#41277717)

LOLs aside, I imagine if you actually had a better system in mind you would have posted it

We have this really radical system where I live... You open this magical yellow book, turn to the "T"'s, and find a "Taxi" company in the area. You call them, they send a car, and you get in.

Some of them charge a bit more than others. None of them, not even the worst of the worst, charge as much as a NY taxi. They take you where you ask them to, you pay them, and the Earth continues spinning on its axis.

That about do it for ya?

Re:Dear NYC: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41277809)

Either way you're safer than jumping into some random car that happened to stop when you raised your arm.

Wow. Just wow. Do people in NYC actually believe that? If so they have some AMAZING propaganda.

Re:Dear NYC: (1)

jcr (53032) | about 2 years ago | (#41277833)

Oh, you can't imagine how amazing NYC propaganda is. Their mayor is the biggest nanny-state asswipe you can imagine, and they've re-elected him.

-jcr

Re:Dear NYC: (2)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#41277839)

It's not a perfect system, but it's pretty fucking simple: You want to hail a cab, look for the medallion.

That would work much better if NYC didn't arbitrarily restrict the medallion supply. If medallions were available to anyone who met a basic set of requirements (legal residence, good driving record, regular inspection of vehicle) then that would be sensible regulation. Refusing to issue any new medallions since 1937 [iwu.edu] is not.

Re:Dear NYC: (3, Interesting)

pla (258480) | about 2 years ago | (#41277687)

These laws exist to keep people safe from gypsy cabs that may extort or kidnap you.

Umm... Come again?

Forgive me for suspecting you as an NYC "Taxi and Limousine Commission" shill, but seriously? Kidnapping???


And seriously, as a resident of lower Manhattan, I can tell you that Boston and LA have nothing on NYC!

Yeah, no kidding! Apparently, they lack the same risk of kidnapping, that taxi companies can have a government-sponsored monopoly as a way to minimize the risk to people in need of a ride. Daaaamn, remind me never to visit NYC again!


I realize that in some parts of the world (Middle East, Africa, Central America) you may well end up kidnapped and ransomed. I've taken plenty of unregulated cabs in the US, however, and at worst, I've found they take a slightly longer route than optimal - Which still comes out way cheaper than the average NYC cab ride. Can you sense my lack of sympathy here?

It's the reverse here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41277039)

In taxis over here, every cab has a galaxy tab with such software running on it, which also lets them know how many other taxis are in the area as well, how many are busy, how many are free, and also serves as a GPS map/navigator.

Rightfully so.. (2)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | about 2 years ago | (#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!

Silly (1)

pcjunky (517872) | about 2 years ago | (#41277197)

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

Re:Silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41277407)

The radio dispatchers get a chance to weed out criminals. Most armed robbers don't talk like honest white Americans. Cabbies don't like to be spooked when they arrive to pick up a fare.

cool (1)

beatmaker (2725841) | about 2 years ago | (#41277211)

This is crazy coool.

Big Government (3, Insightful)

websaber (578887) | about 2 years ago | (#41277231)

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

Re:Big Government (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41277291)

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

FTFY. Large companies own nearly all the medallions in NYC.

Here's a good example: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20120617/TRANSPORTATION/306179971

Re:Big Government (2)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#41277591)

FTFY. Large companies own nearly all the medallions in NYC.

Yes, because government set it up that way intentionally with their medallion system.

Government doesn't want a bunch of independent operators and small companies. They're too hard to regulate/tax/control, and too difficult/time-consuming for government to obtain details of passengers' travels that they want to track, and they don't provide the kickbacks the medallion system generates.

Strat

gotta know who you're picking up. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41277355)

You would have to be a suicidal moron to pick up random riders in NYC. There's no way to be 100% safe but shit like this would make it a safe bet that any given cabbie will be murdered by certain undesirable types. They know who they are.

OTOH, who care. NYC residents are all cunts.

How about an app that announces (1)

future assassin (639396) | about 2 years ago | (#41277381)

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.

Advertising in Florida - re: NY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41277409)

I'm in Florida, and we have all sorts of caveats at the end of our TV and radio commercials that have something along the lines of "void/prohibited in the state of New York".

This strategy of prohibition on business must attract business, investment and capital into the state. ++

Re:Advertising in Florida - re: NY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41277505)

Yeah, but at the same time, Tampa (or Tampa's county) laws forced Uber to have a minimum fare of $50 while in town for the RNC.

Uber thought .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41277545)

... they were going to put something in place without paying off the TLC and various other NYC power brokers? How dare they!

Well, so much for my invention... (1)

jjeffries (17675) | about 2 years ago | (#41277557)

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!

What government is all about.. (1)

jcr (53032) | about 2 years ago | (#41277825)

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

-jcr

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