Friday, March 23, 2012

Assorted Taxi Links from Around the World

A federal appeals court ruled in favor of New York's taxi expansion plan:
A federal appeals court gave the city on Thursday a green light to roll ahead with its taxi reform plan, despite objections from advocates for the disabled.
The advocates were upset 2,000 new taxi medallions are about to be given out to a fleet that is not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and they wanted the Taxi and Limousine Commission to produce a detailed plan on how to remedy the problem.

On Wednesday, the federal appeals court froze the order after the TLC argued it would have prevented the city from implementing a key part of the reform plan.

The city maintains a large part of that fleet would have been wheelchair-accessible.
 Nissan is using the Taxi of Tomorrow as an entry into taxi markets worldwide. The company is about to launch an ad campaign about this. Here is one understated response:
“This is the greatest moment for taxis since Danny DeVito played Louie De Palma on ‘Taxi,’ ” said Rob Schwartz, chief creative officer at TBWA/Chiat/Day Los Angeles, which is the Playa del Rey, Calif., office of the TBWA/Chiat/Day unit of TBWA Worldwide, a division of the Omnicom Group. 
Reports from the public hearing about the NYC taxi rule changes:
Several livery base owner groups and individual bases said they were concerned that the rules as written would penalize livery bases with fines or a point system when drivers with these new permits break the law.
“The base would be held responsible for an action the base cannot control or be privy to or have no ability to stop in the future,” said Tarek Mallah, general manager of Dial-7 Car Service.
Richard Emery, with the trade association the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, was among the yellow taxi industry stakeholders who said there is already a problem of illegal poaching within the industry.
“Now the law and these rules seek to add up to 18,000 livery hail licenses that will compound, not alleviate the poaching scourge,” he said.
(I think poaching is a plausible problem, but I don't think this program will make it worse, and will likely improve service all around.)

On to Uganda, where there is disagreement about whether buses or jitneys should be used (this is an interview with a Mukono MP):
I'm not opposed to bus services in the country and, particularly, in the capital city. I think that's the way to go. But what we're demanding is transparency in awarding the concession agreement and in its making, and sharing of revenue and management of buses' operations among the local governments that make up Greater Kampala Metropolitan: Wakiso, Mukono, Mpigi and Kampala.
We are asking for a consideration of the people who have been offering transport services in Kampala -- the matatus (taxis). We can't afford to simply eliminate young men from employment for the sake of introducing a modern transport system.
We're also questioning our [technical] ability to manage such a grand project in terms of infrastructure and are opposed to the statutory instrument that provides for the operations of buses in Kampala.
First of all, this instrument was made by the former minister of [Works and] Transport, John Nasasira, deriving powers from the Traffic and Road Safety Act. It provides for many things that have to be provided before buses begin operations. It also says that once buses start operating in the Greater Kampala Metropolitan area, taxis and other public transport vehicles shall be phased out.
There are also several other issues. For example, PEB is being given monopoly without an alternative means of transport. This means that if we have a demonstration in Kampala, [PEB] can refuse to take people out of Kampala and to bring them back. A legislator has to look out for any clause likely to be abused.
There is also a clause that says that if you have taken alcohol or, if in the opinion of a driver or operating officer you're tipsy, you're not supposed to be taken on the bus.
But our laws provide that when you drink, you must not drive; you should be driven!
And the rest of the way around the world, details of the world's longest taxi ride:
When three Englishmen wondered how high a taxi fare could go while stumbling home after a few pints, they later decided to buy a cab and find out for themselves.
Fast forward four years to Monday, when the trio found themselves driving a London black cab through New York City's Times Square just as the meter hit $100,000.
Starting out in London, Paul Archer, Leigh Purnell and Johno Ellison, have traveled 32,000 miles across the world over the past 13 months in a 20-year-old classic cab named "Hannah," the Wall Street Journal reports.
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