Technology

Uber, Lyft, Limos, & Taxis: Let's Be Frenemies!?

Posted on July 25, 2014

I hate surge pricing, said Former Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Matthew Daus (L). Photo: Buck Ennis
I hate surge pricing, said Former Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Matthew Daus (L). Photo: Buck Ennis

NEW YORK -- A panel discussion among New York City regulators and taxi industry officials nicely sums up the dilemma facing the various forms of ground transportation in the high-tech era of apps: Can they be competitive friends and practical enemies, what every high school girl would call "frenemies?"

Here is this week's Transportation Network Company-related news round-up, with an eye toward everyone being fremenies who can get along. Maybe. Sometimes.

FRIEND? ENEMY? New York's yellow cab king insists apps like Uber aren't the enemy. "Uber is a friend," said Evgeny Freidman, speaking Wednesday at Crain's Business of Taxis conference. "Uber has made us move in a direction that we would not have moved before." Crain's New York Business article here

FRIENDSHIPS TAKE WORK: Having a wide array of transportation options is typically a positive attribute for most cities. But while ride-sharing companies provide residents with an easy way to get around town using their smartphones, regulating the activity has been a challenge. GovTech article here

LET'S JUST BE FRIENDS: Of all the taxi companies pissed at how their business is suffering at the hands of Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, and others, DeSoto Cab Co.’s president Hansu Kim has been one of the most vocal. But now, as he tells SF Weekly, he’s sick of fighting his techie rivals and ready to transform his fleet into a limousine sedan service to compete with them. SFist.com article here

TALK TO THE HAND (APP)? Calgary’s mayor isn’t uber-thrilled about new regulations that prevent curbside limo pickups and is calling for more investigation of whether restrictions should be lifted on a controversial “e-hailing” app. Metronews.ca article here Calgary’s largest luxury-ride provider could launch its own app in a matter of days, should laws governing customer pickups and minimum charges ever be relaxed, says the company’s head. Metronews.ca article here

NEW RELATIONSHIP: The Nevada Transportation Authority has given the green light to an e-hailing app that enables customers to summon a limousine with a smartphone. Las Vegas Review-Journal article here

BITCH SLAP? A group of eight taxicab and limousine companies operating in Northern Virginia have asked a judge to order ride-sharing app companies Uber and Lyft stop operating in the state, alleging that they have not secured the necessary permitting and have ignored a cease and desist order from the state Department of Motor Vehicles. Washington Times article here

NOT PLAYING NICE: Uber, the popular car-service app, is being targeted by the black car and livery cab industries for alleged regulatory infractions. In complaints filed this week with federal, state and local officials, the black and livery cab groups claim that San Francisco-based Uber, which was recently valued at $17 billion, is in violation of multiple regulations. Crain's New York Business article here

PUBLIC ENEMY: Police in South Carolina might start writing tickets for drivers for the smartphone app Uber, saying its drivers don't follow city codes for paid drivers. WTLX-TV/Channel 19 video and article here

MAKING FRIENDS: Ride-share company Lyft will launch in all five boroughs of New York City beginning at 7 p.m. Friday. Washington Post article here

-- Compiled by LCT editor Martin Romjue

Rides for frenemies at the Heathers App!
Rides for frenemies at the Heathers App!

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