Author: Taxi Truths

25 May

Uber knows when your phone is running out of battery

Taxi Truths News, Race to the bottom, Safety Issues, Story, Surge pricing

‘We do have access to a tremendous amount of data’
Uber knows when the battery on your phone is running low – and that you are more likely to pay higher “surge” prices for a car as a result.

The taxi-hailing app captures a huge amount of data on all its users, and the company’s head of economic research Keith Chen has revealed how Uber uses that to inform its business strategy.

Speaking to NPR’s Hidden Brain programme, Mr Chen said the amount of battery users had left was “one of the strongest predictors of whether or not you are going to be sensitive to surge” – in other words, agree to pay 1.5 times, 2 times or more the normal cost of a journey.

Uber knows whether a user is on low battery because the app needs to use that information to go into power saving mode.

“When your phone is down to 5 per cent battery and that little icon on the iphone turns red, people start saying I’d better get home or I don’t know how I’m going to get home otherwise,” he said.

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Source: Independent

30 Mar

Toronto plans to introduce new regulations that may end conflict between taxi drivers and Uber

Taxi Truths Insurance, News, Regulation, Safety Issues, Story

 New regulations to govern rideshare services are coming, bringing hope of a possible truce to Toronto’s taxi wars.

Rideshares like UberX, operated by Uber Canada, have led to a revolution in the transportation marketplace: using a smartphone, one can summon a ride within minutes and travel across the city for less than the price of a traditional taxi cab. While proponents of the so-called sharing economy hail rideshares for their innovation, the services have met considerable resistance from taxi drivers, both internationally and locally, not to mention from government.

The taxi drivers claim they are being pushed out of the market by being forced to follow strict regulations governing who can or cannot provide transportation services.

“Drivers’ livelihoods are being taken away from them,” said Kristine Hubbard, operations manager for Beck Taxi, which is one of the city’s largest licensed cab companies.

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Source: Inside Toronto

28 Mar

Airport wants fingerprint check of Uber drivers

Taxi Truths News, Regulation, Safety Issues, Story
March 28, 2016 – A battle over background checks for Uber drivers at the world’s busiest airport comes as cities like Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, consider more thorough screenings to prevent criminals from getting behind the wheel.
Uber has objected to the Atlanta airport’s plan to use fingerprints to check criminal records of its drivers, saying its own record checks are sufficient.

But the district attorney in Uber’s hometown of San Francisco has called the ride-booking firm’s process “completely worthless” since drivers aren’t fingerprinted.

In Houston, city officials say they found that background checks without fingerprints allow criminals who have been charged with murder, sexual assault and other crimes to evade detection in a variety of ways.

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Source: Canadian Security

24 Mar

Uber vehicle inspections get a failing grade

Taxi Truths Insurance, News, Race to the bottom, Regulation, Safety Issues, Story

First, let me make this very clear: I am neither for the taxi industry, nor am I for the ride-sharing companies. I am writing as an Automotive Service Technician, and I have real concerns about Uber. So far, most of the debate has been about driver and rider safety, following bylaws and getting the right insurance. But there’s another issue that isn’t being discussed: Did you know that an UberX vehicle can pass the company’s vehicle inspection, yet fail the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s (MTO) minimum safety standards? And this isn’t just in Ontario – I’m confident that if I put Uber’s inspection form up to any province’s standards, it’s possible to have the vehicle pass UberX and fail the provincial inspection.

There are many vehicles on the road that don’t meet the Ministry’s minimum standards. We advise our clients about their unsafe vehicle but it’s their decision whether they want to fix it or not (that issue in itself warrants another article). As a private citizen, you make that choice. The concern with Uber is that a paying customer can ride in a potentially unsafe vehicle; that vehicle is being used to directly generate income and, as such, I believe it should be considered commercial in nature.

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Source: Driving.ca

23 Mar

Unionizing Uber: New front in battle over wildly successful ride-hailing app

Taxi Truths News, Race to the bottom, Regulation, Safety Issues, Story

There’s a four-wheeled workers’ revolution spinning through the streets of Seattle that could end up rolling over one of the most profitable business models of the so-called “sharing economy.”

Uber playbook: Why the ride-hailing app will be coming soon to a city near you
Uber should be regulated like taxis, say Canadians in poll
Rise of Uber forcing Canadian insurance to adapt

Drivers for the ride-hailing service Uber have been given the right to unionize by Seattle city council, the only jurisdiction in North America to do so.

The union drive brings the potential to achieve what regulators in cities around the world, including in Canada, have been mostly ineffective at doing — imposing local rules and labour standards on how Uber relates with its drivers.

“We have no say,” Seattle Uber driver Don Creery told CBC News on a recent visit to the city. “We can email the company about issues, but they just get ignored. It seems the company has an agenda to push the prices as low as they can.”

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Source: CBC.ca

21 Mar

Ottawa cabs team up with eCab mobile app

Taxi Truths News, Story

March 21, 2016 -eCab-Features-Ottawa OTTAWA – A mobile app is Ottawa taxi drivers’ latest tool in the fight against Uber.
ECab launches in the capital, later this week.

The app is similar to Uber, in that it lets you order a Blue Line or Capital Taxi cab, track it in real-time, and pay through your mobile device.

The app is already in use in seven countries and more than 30 cities.

The announcement comes as the taxi union waits to find out if a court will grant an injunction effectively shutting down Uber operations in Ottawa.

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Source: 1310 News

18 Mar

Aviva has introduced a new insurance product for ridesharing programs. But we’re predicting most drivers won’t even bother

Taxi Truths Insurance, Race to the bottom, Regulation, Safety Issues

A prediction, and a challenge.

As promised, Aviva Canada, one of Canada’s largest insurers, now has a plan in place for ridesharing programs in Ontario, and are currently with regulators in other key markets, such as Alberta, Quebec and the Maritimes. They don’t call it the Uber plan, but it’s the Uber plan. While acknowledging they want no part of ongoing legal gymnastics taking place over the legality of Uber in centres across Canada (Uber is not legal in most centres across Canada), they do want to make sure their customers are protected should they sign up to drive for a ridesharing program.
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Source: Driving.ca

16 Mar

Uber drivers often unaware of tax obligations

Taxi Truths Driver Satisfaction, News, Race to the bottom, Regulation, Safety Issues, Story, Surge pricing

Income tax, GST/HST and company’s commission cut deep into drivers’ take-home pay

March 16, 2016 – It’s been said there’s no such thing as a free ride and, at tax time, that’s as true for Uber drivers as it is for their passengers.

The controversial app-based ride-hailing service, and its competitor Lyft, are a source of income for tens of thousands of Canadians. But some of them are operating under some misconceptions, tax experts say.

The most common misconception is that their earnings are tax-free.

“And that’s obviously not true,” says Allan Madan, who heads a small accounting firm in Mississauga, Ont.

Drivers must report their earnings, as well as fill out and include Form T2125 with their personal tax returns. And if they made more than $30,000 on the road during the year, they must register with the CRA to charge GST/HST.

Getting the paperwork right is one of the biggest challenges faced by Uber drivers, according to Madan, because they’re often new to the responsibilities of self-employment.

“They may not necessarily be business people with exposure to business taxes,” he says. “They need education on their filing requirements, on what they can claim and what their obligations are to the CRA.

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Source: CBC News

16 Mar

Uber safety a source of concern, Toronto-area survey says

Taxi Truths Insurance, News, Race to the bottom, Regulation, Safety Issues, Story

When it comes to Uber, Toronto-area residents are less concerned with what the ride-sharing company is doing to the taxi industry than they are with their personal safety in the absence of municipal regulations.

An independent Environics Research Group survey found 56 per cent of residents support Uber with the support being stronger among those who use the service. Only 49 per cent of non-users support it.

But 60 per cent of respondents overall were concerned about the lack of municipal licensing and the implications for their safety with unlicensed Uber drivers.

The results were released Wednesday in conjunction with an online discussion platform designed to gather residents’ thoughts on regulating the app-based service.

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Source: Toronto Star

11 Mar

Quebec may buy back taxi permits, sell them to Uber

Taxi Truths News, Regulation, Safety Issues, Story

The provincial government is considering buying back taxi permits — and offering them to Uber.

Transport Minister Jacques Daoust said Thursday that he is mulling over the idea as a way to legalize the app-based car service.

He said that details are still being worked out, but one idea is to sell permits outright to Uber, while another would be to rent them to Uber drivers on a day-by-day basis.

The government dictates how many taxis are allowed to operate in each territory, with roughly 4,500 taxis allowed on the road in Montreal.

The government has not issued new permits in years, but they are often sold by drivers who leave the industry, or as a way to finance retirement. One permit in Montreal is being sold for $150,000, while an owner in St. Donat is selling two permits at $10,000 each.

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Source: CTV News