Monthly Archives: April 2014

Uber Bill HB 1389 Florida examined

UBER’s HB 1389 IS BIASED AND flawed:

 

Florida State senate’s new bill HB 1389 is filled with flaws and does not address public safety, public interests, and is aimed in advancing interests of venture funded Uber that wants to operate on their own terms. So I will begin by brief introduction of the bill, examining the bill and question some issues that require questioning and cross examination.

First the bill wants to void county government  control (taxi  and limousine Commissions, and take on the role of county governments. In another words, the state creates, amends, modifies, and enforces all  rules as they see fit for each and every county within state of Florida for the Limousine industry. This no similar as if the  federal government marched in and took control of state motor vehicle department and decide to make ONE Universal set of motor vehicular rule for all states- and even tell you that the federal government is responsible for all audits and enforcements. This is exactly what the state senate of Florida wants to do.

My first question is that do residents of Miami desire the same rules for their transportation as ones who reside in Orange County? My next question can the state government micro manage and handle consumer complaints for every county within the state of Florida? Now let us further examine the vaguely written bill.

The bill cites that limousines should be made on a pre-arrangement without specifying how far in advance shall reservation be made. The prearrangment rules were made to separate taxis from limousines, because shady operators wore limo outfit while operating a  taxis without paying for taxi permits and registering and licensing of a taxicab. Most counties taxi and livery commissions have  made prearrangemt rules 30minutes to an hour, and set minimum fares to resolve these conflicts. So what is a an advance reservation time? Bill 1389 being vaguely written seem to a disadvantage for legitimate taxi transportation companies and be in support of Uber which has been offering on demand transportation with 2minute eta, 8 minute eta’s.

 

In addiition, Bill 1389 fails to protect consumers from overcharges and abuses of price gouging, whereas the county commissions have set strict and clear language about overcharges. The bill vaguely writes about fare calculations to be on basis of distance and time and flat rates where necessary. The bill does not outline  devices are to be used for chauffeured cars. County commissions clearly did not allow metering instruments in chauffeured limousines to separate conflicts of interest.

The bill being vaguely written seems more intentional and in best interest of Uber.

Uber fares are being measured similar to taxis metering, and has undercut taxi rates on the UberX service. In addition, Uber has been abusing customers by price gouging them at busier times.

So the Florida Senate  needs to clarify the advance time to make a reservation just as the county taxi commissions have done. In addition, they shall set fare minimums and establish a clear policy on price gouging and overcharges. Does the state intend on a universal one size fits all minimum reservation time for all?

The bill then goes onto states that all vehicles shall be no older than ten years in service. Well this seems to be more of a taxi service, because anyone who is operating a car that old can compete with taxis.

The bill goes onto minimizing the liability insurance requirements, and replace a commercial for hire vehicle policy to a personal auto liability coverages and driver/owner of car may purchase supplemental umbrella insurance policy. Again, these rules do not mirror chauffeured luxury limousine industry. Rather it is pretty much more of a taxi disguised in a limo outfit.

This is exactly why Uber wants deregulation at state level so they can operate private driver owned cars on UberX, These private cars on UberX do not have to pay for permits, commercial for hire vehicle insuarnce policies, drug tests, and all the other costs that associated with for hire vehicle. Given them having these advantages, they can undercut taxis and operate outside rules and regulations. With taxis becoming almost extinct, then UBER can price gouge when hey want, how they want and whenever they want.

Will consumers file price gouging, driver and ompany complaints with state? Can state handle every counties needs in a timely manner as the county taxi and limo commissions do? Does the one size fits all work for all Florida? Bill 1389 should not be ratifies because it is written poorly and does not work in best interest of public, laborers, and industry.

Uber has always claimed that the industry in anti technology and does not want competition. Well why did Uber sabotage another mobile car service ordering app in November 2013 in New York by ordering cars and then canceling rides?

New Jersey Uber Driver Says He Gets ‘Short-Changed In Virtually Every Way Possible’

New Jersey Changed In Virtually Every Way Possible’

david-fagin

N.J., resident David Fagin tells us that much of this progress may be coming at the expense of Uber’s drivers, particularly in Northern Jersey, where it borders New York City. Due to New York City’s requirement for those providing for hire services to be licensed in accordance with NYC licensing  Taxi regulations has led to an excess of unlicensed for hire drivers and unlicensed for hire vehicles in New Jersey  — and  saturating unlicensed unregulated driver in New Jersey than the Big Apple.

Fagin says, works against Jersey Uber drivers, especially if they have to ferry passengers into New York. They’re banned from picking up fares on the way back and can get their vehicles impounded by New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission for operating unlicensed for hire vehicle and unlicensed for hire driver — and so to lose valuable driving time while stuck in traffic at the Hudson river crossings. “To drive for Uber in New Jersey is to be short-changed in virtually every way possible by an unfair and under-developed system in immediate need of revisions,” he says.  New York City TLC should allow us to pickup passengers in New York City to transport them back to New Jersey.

His comments were similar to many we’ve heard from other Uber drivers.  the folks on UberX, the cheapest of Uber’s services. Professional drivers trying to earn a full-time living have grumbled that the money is not as good as licensed  taxi cabs and licensed  livery cab service.

Josh Mohrer, general manager for Uber NY//NJ, declined to address Fagin’s claims specifically. He gave us this statement:

Since launching in November, drivers have been flocking to uberX in NJ as a flexible and lucrative way to make income without having taxi and livery insurance and plates. In the weeks and months ahead, we will continue to deliver that option to even more NJ riders and drivers – expanding the service throughout the state.

Who is Mathew W. Daus?

Who is Mathew Daus?

Mathew Daus is a friend of the transportation industry who also served as a Commissioner of the New York Taxi & Limousine Commission. Many within industry and the New York Taxi and livery market found that he served as a competent commissioner who heard the voice of the industry and made rules and regulations equitably to serve public and industry.

Matthew W. Daus

Matthew W. Daus’ practice focuses on transportation law, counseling clients on a broad range of matters including regulatory compliance, strategic planning, procurement, litigation, administrative law and public policy. Within this area Mr. Daus coordinates representation on a wide array of legal needs and services representing ground transportation and related businesses. Mr. Daus also practices in the area of employment law, advising employers concerning the hiring and discharge of employees, employment discrimination laws and general personnel and policy matters.

Before joining Windels Marx to lead its Transportation practice, Mr. Daus served as Commissioner and Chairman of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (“TLC”) for eight and one half years, appointed by Mayors Giuliani, Bloomberg and the New York City Council. Prior to his tenure as the TLC’s longest serving Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Daus served as General Counsel to the Commission and Deputy Commissioner for Legal Affairs since 1998, and before that, as Special Counsel to the TLC Chair – supervising over 75 lawyers and Administrative Law Judges. Mr. Daus also served as General Counsel to the New York City Community Development Agency (now the Department of Youth and Community Development), Special Counsel to the New York City Trade Waste Commission (now the Business Integrity Commission), and as a Prosecutor for the New York City Commission on Human Rights.

In 2010, Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City Council appointed Mr. Daus as a Commissioner of the New York City Civil Service Commission, an independent quasi-judicial agency that hears and decides employee candidate, disciplinary, and involuntary medical leave appeals under the New York State Civil Service Law. Additionally, the President of the New York State Bar Association appointed Mr. Daus to serve on its Committee on Civil Rights.

Mr. Daus serves as a Distinguished Lecturer with the City University of New York’s (“CUNY’s”) Transportation Research Center (“UTRC”) at The City College of New York. In addition to lecturing at CUNY on sustainable transportation, transportation policy, and business law. Mr. Daus speaks internationally on a broad range of transportation topics. He also is currently the President of the International Association of Transportation Regulators (“IATR”).

Mr. Daus is a member of several non-profit boards serving as President of Community Understanding for Racial and Ethnic Equality (“CURE”), as Co-Chairman of the Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation and board member of Big Apple Greeter and the 2011 World Police and Fire Games. He also served for over eight years on the Board of NYC & Co. (the City’s tourism, marketing, convention and visitors bureau) and for several years on the Board of Brooklyn Dreams Charter School.

Setting a driver standard for your corporate Car service, Limousine service, Van service and Corporate transportation service.

Setting a driver standard for your corporate Car service, Limousine service, Van service and Corporate transportation service.

I’ll know the applicant when I see him!
Statements like this were fine just 50 years ago, but the process of hiring his changed more than a little. You must ensure that you get what you want, and only what you want, and only when you hire new employees.

The job description is essential for each and every position in your company.  It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it should list the essential duties of the job. An essential duty is a job task that cannot be shared, given to someone else to do, or eliminated from the work. For example, a professional limousine chauffeur must ” get out of the car and opened the passenger door” or “carry client baggage up to 500 feet”. These essential duties and others should be listed in your driver job description.

Prior to hiring, job qualifications must be established. Obviously, the standard you set for your chauffeurs must relate to the chauffeurs job, as the standards will be the basis on which you eliminate poor chauffeur applicants so they must be fair and relate to the work. Avoid the irrelevant conditions as they are inappropriate at probably illegal.

Standards should itemize tasks that the driver must do. If you require a driver to lift and carry heavy baggage, you might set the standard such as must be able to lift carry load and unload a 75 pound suitcase without injury five or more times a day or shift. It might be helpful to state how far the driver is required to carry the bag.

It is also important that you establish safety standards. These might include the elimination of drivers under a certain age, as data show that younger drivers are more often involved in accidents: elimination of careless drivers, those with multiple violations under the driving record: and elimination of drivers with alcohol or drug related motor vehicle violations, as such drivers have demonstrated their inability to recognize risky driving behaviors.

Setting standards before you hire makes it easier for you to more fairly select candidates for employment. By measuring applicants against a predetermined standard, you eliminate bias and sure that the people you do hire will truly be the best available to you.

Uber and Lyft face Scrutiny

By Susan Rose:

Last year when we published our first article on Uber, the media (outside our industry) was almost unanimously positive about the smartphone app.  Back then I said it was going to take a person or people getting hurt—or worse, killed—to really thrust Uber into the regulators’ crosshairs. Sadly, it did happen, and now Uber is currently facing some serious questions.

My prediction came true simply because of the laws of nature. After all, why are taxis and limousines so heavily regulated in the first place? It’s for the same reason that California will require a fifth door on a limousine—passenger safety was called into question. Fight it, and you run the risk of excoriation from a safety-sensitive public. Uber is starting to feel some of that pressure for the first time.

It’s probably become part of your conversation as well. Just to be clear, Uber offers several levels of service: Black, SUV, UberX, and Taxi. Black and SUV are meant to act like upscale taxi services, but are the two that compete most directly with our industry. Uber Taxi and UberX, its lower-cost ridesharing service, are in far fewer cities than the first two, but drivers use their personal vehicles and are less regulated than any of the apps. Other companies like Lyft and Sidecar compete for rideshares as well.

It’s important to note that while Uber may be in the spotlight due to the New Year’s Eve pedestrian death, the majority of the regulators have shifted their attention away from services like Uber Black to ridesharing apps like UberX, Lyft, and Sidecar. While our industry hasn’t let up on the fight, it’s clear that the focus has been redirected to the more contentious, less insured, and woefully unregulated rideshares.

Where Are We Now?

Trevor Johnson, director of The San Francisco Cab Drivers Association probably said it best in The New York Times: “Uber may be the next Amazon, but Amazon doesn’t have the same potential capability to leave a trail of bodies in the street.” Johnson is, of course, referring to the death of 6-year-old Sofia Liu who was hit in a San Francisco crosswalk by Uber “freelancer” Syed Muzaffar on New Year’s Eve. The driver was promptly removed from active service with Uber and the company distanced itself immediately from the case. The problem is, the California Public Utilities Commission created a new category for these apps called “transportation network companies” or TNCs. Uber and others were required to comply within 45 days of the September ruling, which included $1 million insurance policies on drivers, background checks with fingerprinting, and thorough vehicle inspections. Uber is fighting the classification and has vowed to fight any responsibility in the wrongful death lawsuit as well. Sadly, after Liu’s death (and injuries to some family members), it was reported that Muzaffar had a record of reckless driving in Florida. It later was revealed that Uber was lax on conducting background checks, especially through the tougher Live Scan fingerprint checks that are also run through FBI databases for a more thorough and up-to-date record. In January, Uber extended its background check nationwide.

cd-0314-uber-rideshare-lyft-apps-article See a full list of international cities and the latest information here: chauffeurdriven.com/apps
Matthew Daus, president of the International Association of Transportation Regulators (IATR) and former head of the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission, has some theories about where things are heading with Uber. With Google as one of its biggest investors (through Google Ventures), Daus says that it’s all about collecting data, which the massive search engine/all-around technology giant craves. “Google wants the data, while Uber wants to sneak in and deregulate the industry so that it can get its [initial public offering]. Once that happens, they’ll turn around and say, ‘Of course we need regulation.’ That will lead to increased prices.” That would mean driving some out of the industry altogether while possibly devaluing the pricey taxi medallions. (Others speculate that the Uber-Google relationship will lead to a platform for autonomous vehicles, which Google is investing in.)
That IPO could mean big—and I do mean BIG—paper. If you live in or around Silicon Valley, you already know that Uber is the hottest thing going. The investors just keep piling on, so there are high hopes for the company’s upward trajectory. Uber’s most current valuation is $3.5 billion (yes, with a “b”), but there are many who feel that is highly undervalued. Some estimates say Uber could be $100 billion within 5 years. An IPO would keep the cash following.

Big money and flashy, one-percenter names attached to Uber could have bigger consequences than just an endless pool of marketing dollars and expensive lobbyists. This means that regulators and politicians could be having a harder time standing up to the app. When your position relies on donors who have deep pockets, combined with an intense public love for the service, it becomes very difficult to say no. The taxi industry isn’t immune to this type of politicking, but there’s a new game in town and there’s more money than ever at stake. And for the record, we are not suggesting nefarious backroom deals are taking place (like Uber does in the next paragraph), but we’re also not stupid. Money and politics are the oldest friends in the world.

Uber has clearly joined the “if you can’t beat them, join them” club. For example, Uber’s Corey Owens blogged about his experience in Portland last summer in a post called “On Consumers, Competition & Collusion.” The blog read: [L]ast week I testified before the Portland Private-for-Hire Transportation Board of Review, which regulates taxis and limousines in the Rose City. I was asking this official government body to do away with rules that force sedans to wait 60 minutes before picking up the requesting passenger, that explicitly prohibit the use of cost-effective vehicles, and that artificially inflate prices for sedan transportation. I was requesting these changes of a regulatory body made up of taxi companies and their allies. The marriage between government and industry in Portland is hardly the only example. In Dallas, Yellow Taxi’s lawyer worked with city officials to organize a fruitless sting against Uber. In Colorado, Public Utilities Commission staff proposed anti-Uber regulations after a local taxi lobbyist wrote to them pleading for ‘rules changes’ to address the Uber ‘issue.’ In Missouri, the chairman of the Metropolitan St. Louis Taxicab Commission is a lobbyist who walks the halls of state government on behalf of the Commission, which is primarily made up of—you guessed it—taxi companies. This is regulation by the taxi industry for the taxi industry. Consumers’ interests are getting bulldozed by lobbyists, campaign contributions, and cronyism run amok.”

read the entire article at Chauffeur Driven:

Disney Gay Days Orlando- 2014

Since 1991, gay men and lesbians from around the world have converged in and around Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida for the Disney Gay Days, an entire weekend of exciting events centered around area theme parks and attractions.

Gay Day Orlando attendance has grown considerably, attracting more than 100,000 gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, family and friends since 1998.

This year Gay Days 24th Gay Days Orlando at The Parliament House on Tuesday, June 3rd. Enjoy music, a fashion show, and special performances by Parliament House entertainers and this year’s Miss Gay Days Pageant contestants. General admission tickets are for cash bar. VIP tickets include open bar and food and are available by advance purchase only. All tickets include admission to The Parliament House late night parties that same night.

The 24th Annual Gay Days Orlando is adding an exciting new event on Wednesday, June 4, 2014, the Miss Gay Days Pageant.

Contestants will be vying for the crown, cash prizes, and the opportunity to represent Gay Days®, Inc. at parties and festivals throughout the following year.  Coco Montrese, of RuPaul’s Drag Race and Frank Marino’s Divas Las Vegas fame, will be hosting this phenomenal evening filled with glamour, villainy, sickening performances and the crowning of Miss Gay Days 2014

Presented by Gay Days Orlando at the Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld.  A taste of beer. wines and foods is  another “tasty” evening celebrating the flavors of Central Florida.  Sip your way though fine wines, beers, and spirits and nibble on hors d’ouerves, while enjoying music, a dance floor, and silent auction.

More importantly while attending the Gay Day 2014 in Orlando Florida, drink responsibly and avoid drinking and driving. Make advance reservations for taxi, shuttle, car service or limo while enjoying visit in Orlando Florida.