Saturday, August 10, 2013

Big Week in Taxi and Jitney News

There was lots of stuff the past few weeks about taxis and jitneys. Here are a few links to the action with brief comments below each:

"All-Borough Taxis (Like Yellow, But Green) Hit the Streets" NY Times
(Anyone see one of these out in the wild yet? I will post if I see one in northern Manhattan)

"Ending the Jitney Menace"
(There are a lot of calls for jitney reform as an 8-month old was killed with one recently. Sounds like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration may get involved. See next link.)

"Bayonne Police Have Issued Jitney Buses 200-plus Tickets in Last 18 Months"
(However, enforcement doesn't seem to be the problem. The driver that crashed and ultimately caused the death of infant was on the phone at the time, it seems. Perhaps this is a problem specific to jitneys, but I suspect the real problem here is with letting people drive.)

"Taxi hailing apps off to slow start in New York, but could still accelerate" The Verge
(This isn't surprising. The apps will allow taxis to find new markets, not serve existing ones, so it will take time to develop. You don't need an app to find a taxi in Midtown, which is where the Yellows are already. People and drivers in areas where Yellows are not pervasive will ultimately benefit.)

These next links are all about ride-sharing and the legal  and economic challenges that must be overcome. There is a lot here. The status quo is untenable but a fully deregulated environment isn't likely to work, either. I think part of the problem facing cities and planners (and entrepreneurs and others) is that few have a firm understanding of the intent of regulations within the taxi/ride-sharing industry. We've been regulating these services so long that the purpose of regulation is not clear. Regulations don't appear in a vacuum. Somebody wants them, designs them and fights for them. Now, many are fighting to keep what we have while others want to tear them down. It seems that this has caught many planners and regulators off guard, and we need new models of how to think about transport supply and regulation. I actually think the California utility model is promising and can maybe be expanded to bus services and conventional transit agencies.

"City Taxi Systems Struggle with Change"

"Taxi drivers sue, claim monopoly" Atlanta Business Chronicle

"Proposal Offered for County to Take Over City's Taxi Regulation" Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Seattle's ride-sharing debate reaches it's boiling point"

"Sharing economy drives into trouble with ride-sharing arrests"

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

"California's New Rules Could Change Rideshare Game" NPR

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