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TAXI,UBER,TRANSPORTATION DEBATE

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Anyone know anything about this:

 

 

The head of Metro’s Transportation and Licensing Commission will seek new regulations covering popular mobile-based ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft. Nashville Public Radio reports that the services are technically illegal under existing laws. Billy Fields, the commission official, tells the station that he will go before the Metro Council this summer with a proposal requiring rideshare services to be licensed, inspected and insured.

 

It popped up today on my RSS feed but the article was taken down by the time I went to click on it.

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/morning_call/2014/06/official-promises-new-regulations-for-uber-lyft.html

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I don't know anything specific but I do know that the Council is working on this issue, which has been controversial since Metro passed the legislation allowing Uber and Lyft to operate in Nashville. 

 

Billy Fields is a long-time Metro employee who has served in a number of capacities under several Mayors.  I know Billy well and I think that he has a good handle on how to balance the needs of citizens and businesses.  He is often called in to help resolve sensitive issues for Metro government, of which the transportation licensing issue is certainly one.

 

As someone who works in the transportation industry, I can say that having across-the-board standards in place for licensing, inspections and insurance is good for everyone in the long run. 

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None of my friends use cabs anymore. Uber and lyft are better in every single way. I feel safer, environment is cleaner, and typically my driver gets us to our destination faster. Cab companies need to adapt or they will vanish

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None of my friends use cabs anymore. Uber and lyft are better in every single way. I feel safer, environment is cleaner, and typically my driver gets us to our destination faster. Cab companies need to adapt or they will vanish

I haven't tried either one, but several people have made similar comments to me about Uber and Lyft.  But the customer service experience doesn't seem to be the question that is being addressed by the Council.  My understanding is that Metro government is simply looking at the licensing, inspection and insurance requirements for Uber and Lyft drivers to compare them with those in place for traditional taxis.  It is plausible that there would be a fairness issue in applying one set of standards to traditional taxis and another set of standards to Uber and Lyft drivers. 

Edited by bwithers1

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I haven't tried either one, but several people have made similar comments to me about Uber and Lyft.  But the customer service experience doesn't seem to be the question that is being addressed by the Council.  My understanding is that Metro government is simply looking at the licensing, inspection and insurance requirements for Uber and Lyft drivers to compare them with those in place for traditional taxis.  It is plausible that there would be a fairness issue in applying one set of standards to traditional taxis and another set of standards to Uber and Lyft drivers. 

Yes of course, but if licensing and inspection and insurance requirements have given us the current cab system, is that really what the people want?

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Yes of course, but if licensing and inspection and insurance requirements have given us the current cab system, is that really what the people want?

I doubt that the licensing, inspection and insurance requirements are to blame for the pricing and poor customer service that seem to be the main consumer complaints about the current taxi service providers.  No one at Metro is telling taxi drivers that they need to have dirty cars, be rude, and to take longer than is necessesary to get somewhere.  Quite the opposite, in fact. 

 

My perspective on this arises from my experience working in the transportation industry.  My employer is a private transportation company that serves federal, state and local government customers.  We have all kinds of licensing, insurance and inspection requirements, not the least of which come from the US Department of Transportation.  Those requirements may be tedious, but they are meant for everybody's safety.  But as an employee of a private company in that parcitular (albeit niche) space, it would seem unreasonable to me to have one set of requirements for my company but not for other companies providing essentially the same service to the same customers in the same jurisdictions. That is all I am saying.

 

I really don't have a dog in the Uber/Lyft vs Taxi fight.  But I think that Metro government is acting appropriately in examinating licensing, inspection and insurance requirements for businesses that operate in Davidson County.  I will be interested to learn what recommendations are made.

Edited by bwithers1

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The largest contributor to poor taxi performance, in my opinion, is that they limit medallions to a predetermined number. The limits essentially prevent any one operator from going out of business completely because the city is able to fix the supply. If there wasn't that barrier to entry then better companies would succeed and poorer companies would disappear.

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I doubt that the licensing, inspection and insurance requirements are to blame for the pricing and poor customer service that seem to be the main consumer complaints about the current taxi service providers.  No one at Metro is telling taxi drivers that they need to have dirty cars, be rude, and to take longer than is necessesary to get somewhere.  Quite the opposite, in fact. 

 

My perspective on this arises from my experience working in the transportation industry.  My employer is a private transportation company that serves federal, state and local government customers.  We have all kinds of licensing, insurance and inspection requirements, not the least of which come from the US Department of Transportation.  Those requirements may be tedious, but they are meant for everybody's safety.  But as an employee of a private company in that parcitular (albeit niche) space, it would seem unreasonable to me to have one set of requirements for my company but not for other companies providing essentially the same service to the same customers in the same jurisdictions. That is all I am saying.

 

I really don't have a dog in the Uber/Lyft vs Taxi fight.  But I think that Metro government is acting appropriately in examinating licensing, inspection and insurance requirements for businesses that operate in Davidson County.  I will be interested to learn what recommendations are made.

I am not disagreeing with anything you say, but perhaps the fact that the taxi business only allows a certain number of licenses, thus reducing competition, is really the reason for the terrible state of taxi service in Nashville. That's my issue, you've got cab companies attempting to use legislation to reduce competition. That is what it boils down to. And this debate is happening across the world, not just here.

 

Technology is a beautiful disruptor.

The largest contributor to poor taxi performance, in my opinion, is that they limit medallions to a predetermined number. The limits essentially prevent any one operator from going out of business completely because the city is able to fix the supply. If there wasn't that barrier to entry then better companies would succeed and poorer companies would disappear.

 

Agreed, took the words out of my mouth.

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I have no idea how the current licensing/inspection process for taxi's work, but obviously it's failing. 

 

I also have no idea how the similar process works for Uber/Lyft, but obviously it's working.

 

Seriously, no one that i know even bothers with cabs anymore. I was on Division St. this weekend with friends. When it was time to go, there was quite literally a line of about 20 taxi's out front. But still, we hailed Uber and were picked up in about 30 seconds.

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Yeah, I wonder about that.  I am told by East Precinct officers that some cabs with medallions work from a dispatch, but many others do not.  So apparently some cabs are more "free agents" than others, and yet they register with particular cab companies with licenses.  So at some point I wonder what is in it for those drivers who perhaps use their own vehicles.   I am wondering whether the benefits of affiliation with a cab company outweigh the Lyft/Uber option.  In other words, if there is no dispatch sending business to those drivers, might they not be better off simply taking their chances as Lyft/Uber drivers? 

 

Again, I am not a frequent user of taxis/Uber/Lyft, so I do not have a lot of experience with this issue either way.  But I am open to learning more about this examination from Metro's perspective. 

 

Assuming that there is a level playing field from a public safety perspective in terms of insurance and inspections, I am wondering what difference the two approaches make to Metro.  If Uber/Lyft record credit card transactions, then surely payroll taxes are being withheld similar to the way that income taxes due are recorded with Kickstarter.  I can't see why the apps couldn't be engineered so that any fees or revenue that go to the state/Metro for taxi fares (and airport surcharges) could not also be withdrawn from Uber/Lyft drivers.

The largest contributor to poor taxi performance, in my opinion, is that they limit medallions to a predetermined number. The limits essentially prevent any one operator from going out of business completely because the city is able to fix the supply. If there wasn't that barrier to entry then better companies would succeed and poorer companies would disappear.

Edited by bwithers1

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For what it's worth, the few taxis I've been in recently in Nashville have typically also been equipped with an Uber cell phone mounted on the dash. I'm not surprised that even the taxi drivers are getting on board.

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bwithers1 is right on the money in his assessments. If  you want to see what the new regulations  might look like google what the State of Colorado passed recently and you will get an idea. Any public conveyance apparatus should have some safety and security guidelines for the general public.

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bwithers1 is right on the money in his assessments. If  you want to see what the new regulations  might look like google what the State of Colorado passed recently and you will get an idea. Any public conveyance apparatus should have some safety and security guidelines for the general public.

And on a side note much of the poor service issues with taxis stem from the fact that they typically do not roam beyond the areas that have tourists, etc. Why you ask? Probably because they were not smart enough to come up with an app that requires you to pay in advance for them coming to you like Uber does. The current system finds them in a scenario where most folks will call more than one cab company and go with the first one that shows up. Not a good business model if you ask me!

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"Taxi Magic" app works here. Works reasonably well, and every time I use it I get a cab with a credit card swipe reader, which I appreciate very much.

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If the service isn't going to change because these companies already self regulate enough then why do we need the regulation again? Can we compare the quality of the regulated vs the unregulated and see which is better?

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