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UBER - as seen in the NEW YORK TIMES and other N.E. USA newspapers

Retired Senior

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Good Morning... (Good God! It is 5:AM Sunday... decades ago I would be going to sleep about now... These days I am just waking up and squinting at the PC while sucking down some "Wake Me Up" tea.)

It has become obvious to me over the last 3 months that the UBER experience on the West Coast, as well as in the South Eastern States, is vastly different than what I deal with here in lower Fairfield County, Connecticut.
So I wanted to put together a collection of Uber stories in the news media that originate within roughly 100 miles of my base of operations. New York City, Northern New Jersey, Hartford Ct and Boston Ma. Providence Rhode Island too. I have lived in all these places and have maintained an interest in cultural and political news from these areas.

So... here we go!
 

Retired Senior

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http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/09/your-money/with-uber-and-lyft-nearby-rental-cars-may-be-ripe-for-a-comeuppance.html?hpw&rref=technology&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well

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Passengers at Los Angeles International Airport waiting for Uber drivers, an alternative to cabs and rental cars. Credit Monica Almeida for The New York Times























http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/09/your-money/with-uber-and-lyft-nearby-rental-cars-may-be-ripe-for-a-comeuppance.html?hpw&rref=technology&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well


With Uber and Lyft Nearby, Rental Cars May Be Ripe for a Comeuppance



The day before Election Day, even the most frequent of travelers may have missed the bad news about Hertz. After a disappointing earnings release, its stock fell by 23 percent.

The trouble seemed to come mostly from too many of its cars losing value too quickly, but revenue fell, too. Which could not be less surprising, given the enormous user experience problem the car rental industry faces.

Every time I’ve traveled since Lyft and Uber achieved near ubiquity — whether for work or pleasure, trips long or short — I’ve tried my level best to avoid renting a car. And there’s no better way to explain why than to catalog every negative feeling the industry inspires on any given itinerary.

1. There is probably a bus at the airport to get to the line to get your keys, so you can get to the lot, so you can get to your car, so you can get going. You don’t know when the bus will come — your company’s bus will surely come last, and it is crowded and lurching and too cold or hot.

2. Or perhaps there is one train or bus to a central facility far from the terminals. Shorter wait for the transport. Longer ride.

3. The wait once there is also totally unpredictable, and when you get to the counter you will endure Faustian refueling options and a scary insurance upsell. That’s “hate-selling,” as the folks at the travel news and research company Skift have memorably termed it. If you are a loyalty program member and can go straight to your car, lucky you. But beware of confused drivers while you wander the lanes looking for your vehicle.

4. You will inspect the car’s exterior carefully, and it won’t be easy in the dark or the rain or the snow — or all three simultaneously. Don’t skip this step. If you do, you may spend months trying to keep the car company from charging you for damage you didn’t cause.

5. Perhaps now you will head back to the terminal to pick up your family and luggage and car seat, because who wants to move that whole scene via airport train or bus? You will install the car seat at the curb near arrivals, while cars inch around you, horns honking, and the toddler wails and the cops get irritated because you’re taking too long.

6. Or maybe you’re traveling solo. Much easier. Or so it seems until you get to the toll plaza, where there are no humans and you can’t use cash or credit cards. Did the car rental company tell you whether you have a transponder or how the system works? No. What does it cost? Hmm. Is it working? Later, you’ll find that if you used a toll transponder once, for a single $2 toll over a three-day rental at Hertz or Avis, you’ll be charged a usage fee for all three days on top of the toll. Oh, and you probably won’t get your toll bill for days or weeks afterward, because that comes separately, though you may be able to look up its status by typing a reservation number into a third-party website somewhere. So good luck getting your expenses done quickly.

7. You dodged the refuel upsell, so good for you. But now comes the range anxiety. Is there a gas station near the airport? Will I have time to find it at the crack of dawn and refuel? Will the rental company notice if I drove 12 miles after refueling? They might at Thrifty, where the company demands receipts.

8. Return the car. And read the receipt really, really carefully, since the insurance charges you declined loudly so as to avoid this very moment (because you’ve been to this rodeo before) will sometimes show up anyway. You will not be able to get them removed without waiting in a line somewhere else while the countdown clock to your flight ticks away and you worry about the length of the security line.

9. Repeat steps 1 through 3, except this time heading back to the terminal buildings.

Or here’s another alternative: You can press a button on your phone when you get off the plane, climb into a Lyft or Uber and go.

This won’t be a real choice on many trips. You don’t want to install that car seat in multiple Lyfts on a weeklong vacation. Plus, Uber is not helpful in most rural areas and can get expensive if you’re going long distances each day. And there can be less rental-car hassle at smaller airports

But in an increasing number of areas and situations, the Lyft and Uber experience for both business and leisure travelers is simply worlds better than turning to a rental car. It’s superior to taxis, too, since they are generally harder to call or hail than a Lyft or Uber vehicle unless you’re at an airport. Plus, not having a rental car means no parking fees or tickets and no distracted driving while trying to hear Waze spit out directions in unfamiliar environments while you dodge trucks and watch for bikers darting about.

How do you figure out which ground transportation option will work best for you? It isn’t always easy, since you want to be sure you can hail Lyft or Uber wherever you are, in any random destination.

The companies are trying to reduce this range concern by allowing people to book rides in advance. That way, you won’t have to wonder whether a car will be near you 12 miles from the center of Orlando when you push a button at 6 p.m. on a Thursday.
Lyft will give you a firm price quote, which may include a surge premium if it thinks one will be warranted based on historical data. Uber won’t lock the price in until right before your trip.
 

tohunt4me

Well-Known Member
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/09/your-money/with-uber-and-lyft-nearby-rental-cars-may-be-ripe-for-a-comeuppance.html?hpw&rref=technology&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&



Passengers at Los Angeles International Airport waiting for Uber drivers, an alternative to cabs and rental cars. Credit Monica Almeida for The New York Times























http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/09/your-money/with-uber-and-lyft-nearby-rental-cars-may-be-ripe-for-a-comeuppance.html?hpw&rref=technology&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well


With Uber and Lyft Nearby, Rental Cars May Be Ripe for a Comeuppance



The day before Election Day, even the most frequent of travelers may have missed the bad news about Hertz. After a disappointing earnings release, its stock fell by 23 percent.

The trouble seemed to come mostly from too many of its cars losing value too quickly, but revenue fell, too. Which could not be less surprising, given the enormous user experience problem the car rental industry faces.

Every time I’ve traveled since Lyft and Uber achieved near ubiquity — whether for work or pleasure, trips long or short — I’ve tried my level best to avoid renting a car. And there’s no better way to explain why than to catalog every negative feeling the industry inspires on any given itinerary.

1. There is probably a bus at the airport to get to the line to get your keys, so you can get to the lot, so you can get to your car, so you can get going. You don’t know when the bus will come — your company’s bus will surely come last, and it is crowded and lurching and too cold or hot.

2. Or perhaps there is one train or bus to a central facility far from the terminals. Shorter wait for the transport. Longer ride.

3. The wait once there is also totally unpredictable, and when you get to the counter you will endure Faustian refueling options and a scary insurance upsell. That’s “hate-selling,” as the folks at the travel news and research company Skift have memorably termed it. If you are a loyalty program member and can go straight to your car, lucky you. But beware of confused drivers while you wander the lanes looking for your vehicle.

4. You will inspect the car’s exterior carefully, and it won’t be easy in the dark or the rain or the snow — or all three simultaneously. Don’t skip this step. If you do, you may spend months trying to keep the car company from charging you for damage you didn’t cause.

5. Perhaps now you will head back to the terminal to pick up your family and luggage and car seat, because who wants to move that whole scene via airport train or bus? You will install the car seat at the curb near arrivals, while cars inch around you, horns honking, and the toddler wails and the cops get irritated because you’re taking too long.

6. Or maybe you’re traveling solo. Much easier. Or so it seems until you get to the toll plaza, where there are no humans and you can’t use cash or credit cards. Did the car rental company tell you whether you have a transponder or how the system works? No. What does it cost? Hmm. Is it working? Later, you’ll find that if you used a toll transponder once, for a single $2 toll over a three-day rental at Hertz or Avis, you’ll be charged a usage fee for all three days on top of the toll. Oh, and you probably won’t get your toll bill for days or weeks afterward, because that comes separately, though you may be able to look up its status by typing a reservation number into a third-party website somewhere. So good luck getting your expenses done quickly.

7. You dodged the refuel upsell, so good for you. But now comes the range anxiety. Is there a gas station near the airport? Will I have time to find it at the crack of dawn and refuel? Will the rental company notice if I drove 12 miles after refueling? They might at Thrifty, where the company demands receipts.

8. Return the car. And read the receipt really, really carefully, since the insurance charges you declined loudly so as to avoid this very moment (because you’ve been to this rodeo before) will sometimes show up anyway. You will not be able to get them removed without waiting in a line somewhere else while the countdown clock to your flight ticks away and you worry about the length of the security line.

9. Repeat steps 1 through 3, except this time heading back to the terminal buildings.

Or here’s another alternative: You can press a button on your phone when you get off the plane, climb into a Lyft or Uber and go.

This won’t be a real choice on many trips. You don’t want to install that car seat in multiple Lyfts on a weeklong vacation. Plus, Uber is not helpful in most rural areas and can get expensive if you’re going long distances each day. And there can be less rental-car hassle at smaller airports

But in an increasing number of areas and situations, the Lyft and Uber experience for both business and leisure travelers is simply worlds better than turning to a rental car. It’s superior to taxis, too, since they are generally harder to call or hail than a Lyft or Uber vehicle unless you’re at an airport. Plus, not having a rental car means no parking fees or tickets and no distracted driving while trying to hear Waze spit out directions in unfamiliar environments while you dodge trucks and watch for bikers darting about.

How do you figure out which ground transportation option will work best for you? It isn’t always easy, since you want to be sure you can hail Lyft or Uber wherever you are, in any random destination.

The companies are trying to reduce this range concern by allowing people to book rides in advance. That way, you won’t have to wonder whether a car will be near you 12 miles from the center of Orlando when you push a button at 6 p.m. on a Thursday.
Lyft will give you a firm price quote, which may include a surge premium if it thinks one will be warranted based on historical data. Uber won’t lock the price in until right before your trip.
They left out the additional $100.00-$150.00 weekly " airport fee" for rental cars. The same rental away from the airport is that much cheaper.
 

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http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/travel/uber-lyft-rideshare-tips-budget-travel.html?action=click&contentCollection=Your Money&module=RelatedCoverage&region=Marginalia&pgtype=article
Site Navigation
  • How to Use Uber and Other Ride-Shares

    Lucas Peterson

    FRUGAL TRAVELER NOV. 16, 2016 to

    Credit Toby Melville/Reuters
    Ride-sharing has become a multibillion-dollar business over the last several years. The traditional taxi industry has been upended and is now forced to compete with drivers using their own automobiles, sometimes as a side job, summoned by the tap of a smartphone.

    Millions of us now use these apps regularly, but some still have questions. One thing is certain: These apps are popular because the rides are usually considerably cheaper than a taxi (when prices aren’t surging, that is). Here are a few ride-share tips for the uninitiated, and some pointers for the casual user.

    There’s More Than Uber
    With its $62.5 billion valuation, Uber remains the 800-pound gorilla of the ride-share apps with a presence on every continent except Antarctica. But there are other options. Lyft, the service founded in 2012, is in most major American cities as well as a handful in Southeast Asia. It has billed itself as “your friend with a car,” encouraging passengers to sit in the front seat in a spirit of community and friendliness.

    Gett, an Israeli-based start-up, is available in only one American city (New York) but has a solid presence in Russia, Britain and Israel. (I used the service in Russia and found it reliable.) Juno is another service new to New York; it hopes to attract drivers with incentives and lower commissions. In China, the popular Didi Chuxing app is jockeying with Uber for dominance in a highly prized market.

    Photo

    Credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images
    Beyond Ride-Shares
    Zipcar works as something of a bridge between ride-shares and the traditional car rental. It functions as a car club where, for a fee, drivers can use vehicles strategically placed around a city. In Los Angeles, for example, drivers can buy a yearlong membership for $35. In return, they are able to reserve and use cars (gas, insurance and up to 180 miles are included) at rates from $10 an hour to $78 a day, depending on the car. Rates are slightly higher on weekends.



    Communicate With Your Driver
    If you’re worried about being able to find your driver, you can text or call your them through the app to communicate any further logistics. This is particularly useful when you’re in a high-traffic area or at the airport. Communication is key. Make sure to double-check your destination with the drivers when in the car and if you have a preferred route, let them know.
  • You Can Always Cancel a Ride
    You can cancel your ride if you realize you don’t need it. If you cancel more than five minutes after requesting one, however, you will typically be charged a fee ($5 or $10). Be careful, though. I’ve noticed apparent changes in the UberPOOL cancellation policy in New York. I tried to cancel an UberPOOL ride a couple of minutes after requesting one (I was matched with a driver on a poor route), but was warned I would have to pay a cancellation fee. I checked with Uber and confirmed that the policy had changed — the UberPOOL cancellation window has shrunk to two minutes.

    Car-pooling’s Challenges
    Both Uber and Lyft offer car-pooling options, called UberPOOL and Lyft Line. (The navigation system Waze is also testing a car-pool service in the Bay Area.) The idea — that riders going in the same direction are matched together, resulting in a cheaper fare — is great in theory, but while selecting a car-pool option can save you money, I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re on a tight schedule.

    While I’ve had many seamless, efficient pooling experiences, I’ve had some horrendous ones as well: the time I called an UberPOOL from Manhattan to Kennedy Airport and was routed through LaGuardia, for example. If you’re only saving a few dollars, I would recommend getting a car for yourself. Compare the car-pool pricing, which is presented up front, with what you might pay for a regular car (Uber and Lyft provide estimates). If you’re taking advantage of UberPOOL’s $5 promotion for commuter rides below 125th Street, well, it’s hard to pass that up.

    Photo

    Many ride-share drivers use Uber and Lyft simultaneously. Credit Richard Vogel/Associated Press
    Speak Up if Something Goes Wrong
    Between Uber, Lyft, Gett and Sidecar (now defunct), I’ve taken hundreds of trips via ride-share service. I’ve never had an accident or an aggressively bad experience, but there have been occasional problems. The most common is a driver who accepts rides seemingly without any intention of picking up the passenger. This can happen with drivers who operate both Uber and Lyft simultaneously; they will accept rides on both platforms to keep their acceptance rate high (necessary to get incentive bonuses) but complete only one of them. The stranded passenger, they hope, will simply give up and cancel the ride (sometimes granting the driver a cancellation fee).

    If you request a ride and see that your driver is actively driving away from you, take a few screenshots on your phone to prove that the car is moving away from the pickup location. Call or text the driver and request that they cancel the ride. If they refuse, say you will dispute any cancellation fee and email the ride-share company detailing what happened (I have always been refunded fees when this occurs).

    Be Safe
    I have never felt in danger while in a shared car, but I am a sizable man. There have been many safety incidents, including drivers charged with sexually assaulting female passengers. While there are no comprehensive statistics comparing the threat of assault in a ride-share with that of a regular taxi, there are a few things riders can do to stay safe. First, always verify the car make and license plate number. That information is provided in-app when you request a ride. You can also ask the driver who they’re picking up. Don’t say, “Hi, Uber for Lucas?” but rather, “Hi, who are you picking up?”

    Second, you don’t have to enter your home address as a pick-up or drop-off point. Some passengers may feel more comfortable being dropped off or picked up at a nearby business or intersection. Finally, if at any point you feel unsafe, tell the driver to pull over, end the ride and send a report to the company.

    To Tip or Not
    One of the many appealing things about ride-share apps is that they provide a cashless experience — no fumbling around for loose bills when you’re exiting the car. When you arrive at your destination, you simply get out. But many riders wonder if it’s actually that simple. Some drivers have decried the lack of tips openly on online driver’s forum. Lyft and Gett allow tipping within the app and advertise that drivers keep 100 percent of their tips. Uber does not offer in-app tipping, and has recently adopted a policy of “you can, but you don’t have to” with regards to gratuities.

    My opinion? If your driver has been particularly helpful (loading groceries, handling heavy luggage, driving to an out-of-the-way location), there’s no harm in slipping them $5 at the end of the ride. Rates are so far below that of a traditional taxi (Lyft, for example, is 70 cents a mile in Detroit and 90 cents a mile in Chicago; UberX is $1.75 a mile in New York City) that you’re still saving. And your passenger rating will certainly benefit from it.

    A version of this article appears in print on November 20, 2016, on page TR4 of the New York edition with the headline: How to Use Uber and Other Ride-Shares. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe
 

Retired Senior

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  • #5
http://www.courant.com/business/hc-uber-connecticut-20160412-story.html
Connecticut Cab Companies Drop Lawsuit Against Uber
Associated Press
April 12, 2016

HARTFORD — More than a dozen taxi and limousine companies have dropped their federal lawsuit accusing ride-hailing company Uber of failing to follow state laws and regulations on taxi services, their lawyer said Tuesday.

The company owners have "no faith" that state lawmakers will pass regulations governing Uber and similar companies, attorney Mary Alice Moore Leonhardt said. Many taxi companies have lost a lot of business because of Uber's unfair advantage of not having to follow the same rules, she said.


"It appears that the state has decided to allow Uber to run cars all over the state while restraining taxicab drivers from competing with Uber drivers on a level playing field," Moore Leonhardt said. "Many of these businesses which are being destroyed by state officials are owned by minorities and women. It is very disturbing."

The lawsuit filed in May 2014 in federal court in Hartford alleged Uber was violating racketeering, unfair trade and other laws because it essentially is the same as a taxi service but doesn't follow taxi laws and regulations. A judge on March 31 approved Uber's motion to dismiss the lawsuit after the taxi companies missed a document filing deadline.


General Assembly last year.

Uber officials previously said that many of the safety measures in the failed bill were already being followed by the company. Uber, for example, does background checks on drivers and requires drivers to have insurance, company officials said.

San Francisco-based Uber, which allows people to schedule rides via a cellphone app, has thousands of drivers in Connecticut.
 

Retired Senior

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Uber Says It Will Begin To Accept Drivers In Connecticut With Minor Criminal Records
http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-uber-connecticut-criminal-records-1118-20161118-story.html

David OwensUber Technologies is changing its screening requirements to allow some people with nonviolent criminal convictions to drive for the company in Connecticut.

Uber's change in policy, which goes into effect early next year, will allow people with convictions for nonviolent misdemeanor offenses such as passing a bad check, resisting arrest, petty theft, prostitution, harassment and causing minor property damage to drive for the company.


Previously, applicants with such records were automatically rejected if the offense occurred within the past seven years. Uber said it will continue to reject applicants who have felony convictions within the past seven years, as well as applicants with convictions for misdemeanor offenses that involve violence, sex crimes and serious motor vehicle violations.

Uber made a similar policy change in California earlier this year. In addition to Connecticut, the change will affect Rhode Island.


[URL='http://www.courant.com/business/hc-uber-expands-initiative-to-connecticut-20150623-story.html']
[/URL]
[URL='http://www.courant.com/business/hc-uber-autonomous-cars-20160914-story.html'][URL='http://www.courant.com/business/hc-uber-expands-initiative-to-connecticut-20150623-story.html']Uber Launches Urban Initiative In Connecticut[/URL]
[URL='http://www.courant.com/business/hc-uber-autonomous-cars-20160914-story.html'][URL='http://www.courant.com/business/hc-uber-expands-initiative-to-connecticut-20150623-story.html']ZACH MELVIN[/URL]
[URL='http://www.courant.com/business/hc-uber-autonomous-cars-20160914-story.html']

[URL='http://www.courant.com/business/hc-uber-expands-initiative-to-connecticut-20150623-story.html']
[/URL]
[URL='http://www.courant.com/business/hc-uber-autonomous-cars-20160914-story.html'][URL='http://www.courant.com/business/hc-uber-expands-initiative-to-connecticut-20150623-story.html']Uber is expanding its urban partnership program to urban regions across Connecticut, the transportation network company announced Tuesday.[/URL]
[URL='http://www.courant.com/business/hc-uber-autonomous-cars-20160914-story.html'][URL='http://www.courant.com/business/hc-uber-expands-initiative-to-connecticut-20150623-story.html'][/URL]
[URL='http://www.courant.com/business/hc-uber-autonomous-cars-20160914-story.html'][URL='http://www.courant.com/business/hc-uber-expands-initiative-to-connecticut-20150623-story.html']The ride service touts the initiative, called UberUP, as a way for communities to overcome transportation issues many workers face when seeking employment opportunities....[/URL]
[URL='http://www.courant.com/business/hc-uber-autonomous-cars-20160914-story.html'][URL='http://www.courant.com/business/hc-uber-expands-initiative-to-connecticut-20150623-story.html'][/URL]
[URL='http://www.courant.com/business/hc-uber-autonomous-cars-20160914-story.html']

[URL='http://www.courant.com/business/hc-uber-expands-initiative-to-connecticut-20150623-story.html'](ZACH MELVIN)
[/URL]
[URL='http://www.courant.com/business/hc-uber-autonomous-cars-20160914-story.html']Dianne Jones, who was named Hartford's director of re-entry services by Mayor Luke Bronin in December, said Uber's move is good for people who are trying to rebuild their lives, and for Uber.

People who have criminal records struggle, she said. "They're trying to do well, to get their lives on track," Jones said. A criminal record can be a barrier to employment, housing and even getting into school.

Jones said she's working with at least two men who might benefit from Uber's new policy. One man already runs a ride business on his own to supplement the income from his day job, she said. Being able to drive for Uber could be a step forward for him, she said.

"I think it will help a lot, especially if Uber wants to expand," Jones said. "More and more college students are using Uber. It's really a vital part of transportation here in Hartford."

David McGuire, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, said Connecticut is a leader in the movement to help former prisoners get their lives back on track. A law goes into effect Jan. 1 that bans employers from asking prospective employees about prior arrests, criminal charges or convictions on their initial employment application. There are exceptions to the law for when employers are required by state or federal law to inquire, or for positions that require bonding.

Uber's move, McGuire said, appears to strike a balance between maintaining public safety and giving people a chance at obtaining employment.

"It's good for everybody and it's good for public safety too," McGuire said. "When people with a criminal record are able to get employment, it stabilizes their lives … and they're less likely to offend again."

That's one of Uber's motivations, Sullivan said. "One of the primary reasons people commit new crimes is because they have no economic opportunity," he said. Giving people convicted of minor crimes a chance could help cut recidivism, he said.

If an applicant's criminal felony record is older than seven years, he or she will not be excluded. Uber also only uses convictions, not arrests, when making decisions, Sullivan said.

Uber checks applicants through a contractor called Checkr that relies on public databases to check an applicant's background. Checkr also sends representatives to courthouses to examine records if necessary, Sullivan said.

Uber has been criticized for not using applicants' fingerprints to check criminal records, but Sullivan said using fingerprints has limitations. In Connecticut, to obtain a taxi license an applicant must be fingerprinted and pass a criminal background check, according to state Department of Motor Vehicles regulations.

District attorneys in Los Angeles and San Francisco sued Uber, charging that its criminal background check process was inadequate because it failed to use fingerprints. And the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association, a trade group that represents Uber's competitors, maintains a website called [URL='http://www.whosdrivingyou.org/']whosdrivingyou.org
that lists news stories about crimes and crashes involving Uber drivers. Uber and the district attorneys ultimately settled the lawsuit.[/URL]
[URL='http://www.courant.com/business/hc-uber-autonomous-cars-20160914-story.html']
Sullivan said Uber is confident its background check process is adequate and said its use of technology helps keep drivers and riders safe. Uber tracks feedback left by riders and drivers, has trip-tracking as part of the Uber app and allows drivers to be easily identified if there is a problem.


LAUREN SCHNEIDERMAN | lschneiderman@courant.com
[/URL][/URL][/URL][/URL][/URL][/URL][/URL][/URL][/URL][/URL]
 
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Retired Senior

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  • #7





Published November 28. 2016 10:30PM

RS note: It is the final sentence in this article that I found of interest.
I have read many comments in these forums where people speculate that the UBER experience for drivers is going to get worse in 2017, but without any details it all sounded like a conspiracy theory to me.

Now I see that the new State law in Mass. is going to lead to some type of changes... Be interested in having more concrete details.

http://www.theday.com/statenortheast/20161128/massachusetts-uber-lyft-screenings-called-toughest-in-us
By BOB SALSBERG, Associated Press

BOSTON — Drivers for ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft will undergo what state officials call the most comprehensive background checks in the U.S. under agreements announced Monday by Gov. Charlie Baker's administration.

The screenings will begin on Jan. 6, with both companies guaranteeing that every driver on the road will have passed a thorough state criminal background check by April 3, according to the separately negotiated deals. The timetable, officials said, is about a year ahead of the schedule contemplated under a law approved this year by the Democratic-controlled Legislature and signed by the Republican governor.

The new Massachusetts protocols establish a "national standard" for screening those who drive for the ride-hailing firms, Baker said.

"With the signing of these agreements, consumers who take advantage of the innovative technology services provided by transportation network companies can have confidence that the driver has undergone a thorough background check that includes both criminal and driving records," Baker added, using another term to describe companies such as Uber and Lyft.

The criminal background checks, to be conducted by a newly created division of the Department of Public Utilities, will include verification that the driver is not a registered sex offender. The companies will be required to perform twice annual checks of driving records.

While the agreements announced Monday were termed voluntary, the law that established the state's first operating rules for ride-hailing firms envisioned the two-tiered driver screening system, with one check performed by the company and the other by the state.

The law does not mandate that drivers be fingerprinted. Boston cabbies, who are fingerprinted under city rules, sharply criticized the omission of a fingerprinting requirement for the app-based services.



Besides the new state tests, San Francisco-based Uber said in a statement it would continue background checks currently performed on drivers by a third-party vendor.

"Uber's technology ensures safety before, during and after every trip with features that improve transparency and accountability," it said.

Lyft, also based in San Francisco, said in a statement it had "consistently supported and implemented comprehensive background checks that prioritize passenger safety."

There have been a handful of criminal allegations made against drivers for ride-hailing companies in Massachusetts in recent months. In September, a driver was charged with raping a Boston-area woman who had asked for a ride to her home; the driver pleaded not guilty.

Besides tougher background checks, the state law also sets new insurance standards and pricing guidelines for the companies.
 

Karl Marx

Well-Known Member
Good Morning... (Good God! It is 5:AM Sunday... decades ago I would be going to sleep about now... These days I am just waking up and squinting at the PC while sucking down some "Wake Me Up" tea.)

It has become obvious to me over the last 3 months that the UBER experience on the West Coast, as well as in the South Eastern States, is vastly different than what I deal with here in lower Fairfield County, Connecticut.
So I wanted to put together a collection of Uber stories in the news media that originate within roughly 100 miles of my base of operations. New York City, Northern New Jersey, Hartford Ct and Boston Ma. Providence Rhode Island too. I have lived in all these places and have maintained an interest in cultural and political news from these areas.

So... here we go!
With all the changes rippling through society the one constant thing that never changes is our need to move in and around cities. For the last decade public and private transit systems have not improved and are now seriously failing us everywhere.

The one sure thing we can count on is that before public transportation improves it will continue to lag the needs of rich and poor alike. Public policy is sadly lacking in both imagination and substantive infrastructure spending and is now one of Neoliberalism biggest failures.

The reason Uber defines so much of what is wrong with market capitalism is that it doesn't solve problems but rather accentuates them. Many ride share drivers will now deliberately avoid driving/working in rush hours, at the present rate ride share renumeration simply doesn't come close to minimum wage. Most of the readers on this forum probably live in suburban areas and can attest to the now over crowded suburban streets between 7 and 10 AM.

My neighbourhood was up until several years ago a quiet street, it is now a thoroughfare and even has a red light at the corner. Cueing onto the QEW can take a half hour or more and a commute into the city an hour and half. Twenty years ago I could make it to my downtown office in 20 minutes with traffic!

Everywhere I go I hear how what was once a 15 minute drive is now an hour or more. We need to totally rethink modernizing public transportation. Autonomous vehicles and the fantastical amounts of investment in AI is not going to solve our physical transportation dilemmas. The first and most obvious change we need to do is eliminate at least 50 % of the vehicles that are already on the road and that includes trucks. The most obvious industry that is the most inefficient has to be trucking. Professional drivers can attest to the majority of trucks in the city that don't come close to being utilized to full capacity. Here is an AI problem for Uber that would be worth solving.

I read in the The Guardian this morning that the British Labour party is proposing legislation to eliminate petrol cars within 10 years and to allow residents to generate and sell renewable energy to neighbours. We need progressive thinking and policies here in North America if we are to avoid gridlock and ever more polluting transportation polices.

Watching the people squeezed onto ever more crowded and uncomfortable TTC vehicles will reach a tipping point if we haven't done so already. Some of my former colleagues in NYC have told me that they now have problems recruiting people for entry level jobs because of inadequate public transportation. Consultants this past summer recommended a 5 K increase in salaries which they have just implemented to avoid high turnover and to attract new hires. The two biggest reasons firms have difficulty hiring now, is lack of affordable accommodation and inadequate public transit.

As we create even more bullshit jobs, we will need to adapt and keep people working from home, rather than have them sucked into a congested transportation vortex. Making public and private transportation into a digital app has failed us and made the transition slower to a more Digital centric workspace society.

The people that really do "work" should be the priority on our public roads. Roads for the near future should be for trades people, teachers, doctors, police ( they don't even attend accidents anymore), nurses, EMS workers, care givers, food providers, students, truckers, delivery drivers and people who work in shops. For the rest of us we will need to be, dare I say it, rationed personal transportation times. The end of the car as a personal transportation pod is over. Go to any city like London ( the worse traffic jams to be stuck in because of all the diesel lorries) , NY, LA, Beijing ( taxi drivers wear masks and where my father and I almost chocked to death inside a taxi) , Delhi ( a smoggy nightmare and would highly recommend not to visit), Sydney ( take a good novel with you), Paris ( now officially a stinking filthy city), Toronto ( don't even think of driving a motorcycle here) and its the same the world over.

As a global society we have simply become too wealthy and successful as species. We must adapt and evolve to stop polluting our over congested cities. The bigger question is what to do about suburban sprawl, the hallmark of the car, or as the economists like to say, the tragedy of the commons.

The transition to a sustainable and viable way of moving people and goods around is the worlds second biggest existential threat after climate change. Self driving Uber cars are in no way a rational part of the solution and discussion of our transportation challenges.
 
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