Tag Archives: Austin Taxi

After years of trying to catch up to competitors Uber and Lyft, lesser-known ride-hailing startup Sidecar is ceasing operations.

Another taxi drama

Another taxi drama

The company will stop offering all rides and deliveries on December 31, 2015 at 2 pm PT. Sidecar founder and CEO Sunil Paul announced the decision in a Medium post on Tuesday.

Sidecar was an early competitor in the ride-hailing app world. Launched in 2012, it raised $35 million in funding from major venture capital firms, including Virgin’s Richard Branson.

It branched out to a number of U.S. cities, but never managed to find the same loyal following, or funding, as Uber and Lyft. Uber has become the most valuable private company in the world.

Sidecar has claimed it invented the concept of ride-sharing, in which a smartphone app is used to connect people with drivers using their personal cars. Though Uber existed first, it only worked with limos at first.

“We are the innovation leader in ridesharing despite a significant capital disadvantage, continually rolling out new products that set the bar for others to follow,” said Paul in the post.

The struggling company was dabbling in other business models to help drum up business. Starting in 2014, Sidecar started doing same day deliveries for e-commerce companies like EAT24. Uber launched its own delivery business in April 2015.

In May, Sidecar announced it was teaming up with medical-marijuana delivery startup Meadow to handle its same-day deliveries in the Bay Area. The drivers needed to be medical marijuana patients themselves and members of the dispensary sending out the packages.

The company is not disappearing completely. The remaining team will “work on strategic alternatives and lay the groundwork for the next big thing,” said Paul.

New York taxi owners are suing the city for letting Uber destroy their business


taxi_vs_uber

taxi_vs_uber


New York City taxi owners and credit unions are suing the city and its Taxi and Limousine Commission for letting Uber expand despite the harm it has caused their business. The lawsuit, filed today in Manhattan federal court, accuses city regulators of easing the pathway for ride-hailing services to operate with fewer burdens, according to a report today from Reuters. The lawsuit could represent one of the last dying gasps of the country’s largest taxi industry, which has moved on from its losing fight against Uber in hopes of extracting damages from the city itself.

The complaint states that medallion prices, which help artificially restrict the supply of city cabs, have fallen 40 percent from an all-time high of more than $1 million between April and June of this year. Meanwhile, the number of cab pickups fell by 3.83 million. Uber rides in Manhattan increased by 3.82 million in the same time period, the complaint says. The complaint also cites Uber as a primary contributor to the July bankruptcy filing of 22 taxi cab companies run by mogul Evgeny Freidman and the state’s seizing of a credit union that specializes in medallion loans back in September.
TAXI MEDALLION PRICES HAVE FALLEN 40 PERCENT
The plaintiffs include the Melrose, Progressive and Lomto Federal credit unions, which have loaned upwards of $2.4 billion for more than 4,600 taxi medallions; individual medallion holders; and the Taxi Medallion Owner Driver Association and League of Mutual Taxi Owners, both of which collectively represent more than 4,000 medallion holders.

“Defendants’ deliberate evisceration of medallion taxicab hail exclusivity, and their ongoing arbitrary, disparate regulatory treatment of the medallion taxicab industry, has and continues to inflict catastrophic harm on this once iconic industry and the tens of thousands of hardworking men and women that depend on it for their livelihood,” the complaint reads. Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

How Paris united against terror: Eiffel Tower as peace symbol, la Marseillaise, free shelters & taxi


Taxi in Paris

Taxi in Paris

The city of love turned into the city of anguish after several attacks rocked central Paris on Friday night. At least 127 people died, and many more were injured. The tragedy sparked an unprecedented response, with thousands sending their prayers and condolences.
The unprecedented tragedy has shocked the world. People from around the globe sent their condolences and brought flowers to French embassies.

In solidarity against the violence, crowds of French football fans sang ‘La Marseillaise’, the French National Anthem, as they were evacuated from the Stade de France during a series of attacks that rocked Paris on November 13.

“Peace for Paris”, an illustration by the French graphic designer Jean Jullien, has been widely shared on social media in the wake of the tragedy. The iconic Eiffel Tower has become a symbol of support for people worldwide, many unable to get to grips with what happened.

Americas Got Talent

america got talent in Austin

america got talent in Austin

Friday

Nov 13, 2015 – 8:00 PM

“America’s Got Talent,” NBC’s top-rated summer series from producer Simon Cowell’s Syco Television and FremantleMedia North America, celebrates its landmark 10th season with the hottest performers from across the country competing for America’s vote.

With the talent search open to acts of all ages, “America’s Got Talent” has brought the variety format back to the forefront of American culture by showcasing unique performers from across the country. The series is a true celebration of the American spirit, featuring a colorful array of singers, dancers, comedians, contortionists, impressionists, jugglers, magicians, ventriloquists and hopeful stars, all vying for their chance to win America’s hearts and the $1 million.

Take advantage of our %20 OFF for the taxi rides, The best Austin Taxi.

 

 

Why We Don’t Wear Seat Belts in Cabs (Even Though We Know Better)

Buckle up, Be safe

Buckle up, Be safe

Please Buckle up when you ride TAXI IN AUSTIN :

Buckling up is the easiest way to stay safe in a car. So why is it so easy to “forget” to do it in a cab? (Photo: Alamy)

Some risks are so obvious, just thinking about them sounds alarm bells: Driving in a blizzard or smoking cigarettes are just a couple that immediately come to mind.

But while there are the obvious risky situations, there are others that even the most diligent among us walk right into.

Say you’re about to head out on a work trip, so you call a cab to the airport. You get in the car and don’t bother buckling up. Maybe you take a little snooze before getting dropped off at your terminal. “By the time you arrive in the cab at the airport, the most injurious part of your journey is over,” Andreas Wilke, PhD, an associate professor at Clarkson University, tells Yahoo Health. After all, driving is far more dangerous than flying — especially if you didn’t bother to put on the seat belt. The thing is: We just don’t see it that way.

We’ve all been there: We skip the seat belt in a cab, text when we’re stopped at the red light, lay out by the pool without sunscreen, and get behind the wheel even though we’re totally sleep-deprived. To figure out why we do these, well, stupid things, we first must understand how we come to make decisions in the first place.

There are two different modes for thinking our way through decisions: Through experience (running away when something is scary, or lashing out when you’re angry), and through deliberation (knowing that UV rays cause skin cancer, so making the logical decision to avoid the rays).

“The deliberative mode is based more on numbers,” Ellen Peters, PhD, a psychology professor and director of the Decision Sciences Collaborative at The Ohio State University, tells Yahoo Health. The problem: Numbers don’t always carry much meaning, particularly to people who aren’t naturally mathematically inclined. And that’s when the first mode — decision-making based on experiences — takes over.

Here’s an example: Wearing a seat belt is the No. 1 way to protect yourself in a motor vehicle accident; doing so saved an estimated 75,000 lives between 2004 and 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “And while we might have some idea about this, we also might think, ‘Well, I didn’t wear one last time and it was OK,’” she says. “In this case, our experience is working against us.”

The same goes for texting and driving — we all know it’s super dangerous to type away behind the wheel, but we also may have shot off a few texts earlier at that red light and lived to tell the tale.

What throws our perceptions of risk out of whack?

We Misunderstand the Real Risk

We tend to perceive risk based on how someone has described it to us — and not because we have actually experienced it, explains Ann Bostrom, PhD, a researcher at the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance who studies risk perception and communication.

Take someone who’s afraid of flying, after watching all the recent news coverage of planes that have crashed or disappeared. The reality is, plane crashes are rare: There were 73 commercial airline accidents, 12 of which were fatal, in 2014 — or about one accident for every 4.4 million flights, according to the International Air Travel Association. To compare: In 2013 alone, there were 30,057 fatal motor vehicle crashes.

But plane crashes tend to be described in horrific ways, and “that evokes a feeling that sticks with us and could make us very precautious,” Bostrom tells Yahoo Health.

Of course, familiarity is also a factor in how we make decisions, adds Wilke. Frequent flyers might not be as nervous about being in the air — and might even be more likely to fly than drive. The opposite can also be true: Someone who never flies may be more nervous and thus stick to the roads. Also, if you’ve lost someone close to you in a plane crash or a car crash, you may be more likely to avoid that mode of transportation.

We Think We’re in Control (Even When We’re Not)

Experience and information about risks aren’t the only factors at play in decision-making, though. Feeling in control or out of control can also alter the way you take risks, says Bostrom.

Back to the seat belt example: You may think that because taxi drivers are professionals at what they do, you’re safer when riding in a cab than when you’re driving yourself or are a passenger to a friend or family member. You’re in a controlled environment. Therefore, you may be more likely to skip the seat belt when riding in a cab.

 

24-year-old man shot and killed in Bronx street after getting out of cab

taxi fatal accident

taxi fatal accident


You can see the video here: http://pix11.com/2015/10/17/24-year-old-man-shot-and-killed-in-bronx-street-after-getting-out-of-cab/
SOUNDVIEW, The Bronx — A 24-year-old man was shot and killed in the street after leaving a taxi cab early Saturday morning.
Minutes before 4:37 a.m., surveillance video shows Francisco Rodriguez, 24, getting out of a livery cab at the intersection of Bruckner Boulevard and White Plains Road.
The video shows the suspect pull up in a dark four-doored sedan, get out of the car, then shoot at the Rodriguez.
Rodriguez was seen trying to flee the scene while the suspect got back into the vehicle and fled.
EMS transported Rodriguez, who suffered from gunshot wounds to torso and right wrist, to Jacobi Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
No arrests have been made. The investigation is ongoing.
Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577

Getting Over Taxis

Taxi Austin

Taxi Austin

I find Susan Crawford’s arguments in Getting Over Uber puzzling and unconvincing on a number of fronts.
First, consider the statement:
Uber drivers have a tough time making a living; they’re responsible for their own cars, fuel, benefits, maintenance, tolls, and certain insurance as well as the kickback to Uber that takes a substantial slice out of every fare they pick up…. Uber consistently squeezes its drivers as tightly as it possibly can; new drivers are paying an even higher cut to Uber than the first generation did.
Most taxicab drivers also have a tough time making a living. They aren’t responsible for their own cars, maintenance, and some insurance, but they do have to pay for their own fuel, tolls, benefits (because 87% of all taxi drivers in the US are independent contractors), and they pay a daily rental fee that is far higher than any possible slice of every fare that an Uber or Lyft driver picks up.
The charged language “kickback to Uber” is particularly loaded and inappropriate, given that the slice of a driver’s daily revenue that is taken by Uber is actually less than that taken by the typical taxicab owner, albeit in the form of a daily rental fee for the taxi rather than a percentage of every fare.
I’m not going to bother rebutting Susan’s statement:
“[Uber drivers] may or may not know where they’re going, and they may or may not be driving cars that are safe.”
given the experience that I have had (and Susan herself must have had) in taxis whose drivers don’t know where they are going, driving old rattletrap cars that wouldn’t pass an Uber or Lyft inspection.
Do the Math: Taxi vs Uber
A taxi driver typically rents his or her taxi from the owner, usually for a fee of $100 to as much as $130 a day (or, assuming the driver works 5 days a week), a total of $2000 to $2600 a month.) This is referred to as “the gate.” The driver keeps 100% of all fares and tips over that amount, but that is the cost of entry.
Now, compare Uber: you provide your own car, but you pay no daily rental fee. You keep 70–75% of every fare (Lyft gives the driver 80%, and if you’re a full time driver with Lyft, you keep 100% of every fare.) For the 25–30% share that Uber keeps to equal a $100 Gate fee for a taxicab, the driver would need to generate $400 per day in fares. That’s the equivalent of $2000/week or $100,000/year!
Given the enormous pushback when Uber claimed that some of their drivers could make as much as $100,000/year, this number seems unlikely. (felix salmon had glowing things to say last year in The Economics of “Everyone’s Private Driver.” After a scathing rebuttal from Tom Slee, Salmon wrote another, somewhat apologetic correction about having misinterpreted Uber’s projections of possible driver income.) That means that the share of the driver’s income taken by a taxi company is far greater than the amount taken by Uber.
This comparison isn’t entirely fair, because the taxi driver does not have to provide his or her own vehicle. But what does that cost?
A quick internet search shows that I could lease a 2013 Toyota Camry from Uber’s leasing affiliate for payments as low as $109/week, and Allstate told me I could insure a similar vehicle for $103/month. That works out to about $25 per day, assuming that the vehicle is driven 5 days a week. That is probably on the low side, but the point remains: it is a fraction of the cost of the daily rental that most taxi drivers pay.
There is one other simple thought experiment that you can make to understand the fallacy of Susan’s argument. And that is to ask how taxi owners make their money. They rent their cars to drivers. If the rental income they received from drivers weren’t higher than the costs of owning, insuring, and servicing the car, not to mention the cost of purchasing the medallion (which can cost many hundreds of thousands of dollars), they would be out of business.
The Path To Ownership
Using this back of the napkin math, it appears that on the cost side, being an Uber driver is a better deal than being an independent taxi driver. And while the amount that you can make as an Uber driver is a matter of considerable debate (see Felix Salmon vs Justin Singer), it is almost surely higher than the median income for taxi and limousine drivers in 2012 reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
So why don’t more taxi drivers switch? Many do. But I suspect that the reason others do not is the same reason that many low wage workers can’t get better jobs: they can’t afford to. Buying a new car of your own may be cheaper than renting a taxi by the day, but you have to have good credit to make the purchase. As is so often the case, the poor pay more because they can’t afford to pay less.
Uber recognizes this problem, and has been trying to make it easier for potential drivers to acquire their own cars. Their first foray into vehicle leasing was a disaster, with many drivers getting in over their heads with cars they couldn’t afford, paid for with leases they couldn’t get out of. Recognizing this problem, Uber has been working hard to make car leases both more affordable and more flexible.
There is one set of taxi industry players that is particularly hard hit by disruption from Uber and Lyft, and that is medallion owners. (I am particularly sympathetic to the plight of individual medallion owners, many of whom worked their way up from being drivers.) They paid a lot of money for the exclusive right to operate taxis in a particular city, without competition, allowing them to keep fares high, and they are being challenged by upstarts not just with better technology and better user experience but with a different economic theory: that if you can drive down fares sufficiently, you will increase utilization to the point where people choose on-demand transportation over the alternative of owning and driving their own car. And further, they are betting that that increased utilization will provide better income to drivers despite the lower fares. (See my previous piece, Improving Uber’s Surge Pricing, for more details.)
There is no question that there was a path to ownership of a valuable asset in the previous regime of taxi medallions that is no longer available in the Uber era, but that opportunity was available to few, and most taxicab drivers are simply low-paid independent contractors with high costs and little ability to grow their income.
Tim O’Reilly