Cambridge cabbies go on strike; shut down one side of Mass. Ave. Bridge

Taxi drivers protest Uber on the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge between Boston and Cambridge

Bridge protest this morning. Photo by Lee McGuire.

Upset over Uber, natch. Shortly before 9 a.m., cab drivers blockaded the Mass. Ave. bridge into Cambridge. "Completely gridlocked traffic downtown," Christine Peterson reports.

About a half hour earlier, Bikeyface reported a salutary effect of the strike, when the cabbies were protesting in front of Cambridge City Hall:

Hey can I have a taxi protest block car traffic every AM commute? Felt so safe biking in on a nearly empty Mass Ave.

The scene in Central Square:

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Comments

Foot, meet gun

Thought about that myself earlier. What if the strike just shows the public that taxis are not need and we're just fine using alternative services...

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Do you know...

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...what the word "gridlock" means?

IOW, not on that bridge they wouldn't.

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Block the bridge so people

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Block the bridge so people have a hard time getting to work. Hurt the working folks. Dumb move.

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That had to have been murderous on cell phone signals

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To have all those cabbies screaming into the phone at their relatives back home in such proximity and going through the same cell tower? Pity anyone who needed to make an emergency call anywhere in the area.

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Hey maybe if cabbies hadn't

Hey maybe if cabbies hadn't been screwing their customers over for decades they wouldn't be in this pickle now. Uber uber alles.

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Yep. They screwed their

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Yep. They screwed their customers and now they've screwed themselves. I've had enough drivers take me all over hell's creation, refuse a card (and best of all, tell me they don't have change when I pay them with cash), wait in vain for a taxi I'd called for that never shows up, etc.

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Agreed. The cabbies in DC

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Agreed. The cabbies in DC pulled this same strike crap, but it was already too late. No one liked them, so no one cared they were suffering financially. I don't care for Uber either, but I am not sorry to see the cab industry begin to fade out.

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Logic

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So the lack of available cabs inevitably pushes people to use Uber (some for the first time). People realize how much of a more pleasant experience it is for the passenger and never look back. Heckuva job, cabbies.

If cabs weren't such a third world quality experience, people wouldn't be clamoring to use a company that is undeniably pretty morally corrupt (but providing a higher quality service).

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> third world quality

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> third world quality experience

I have visited two "3rd world" countries and my experience with taxis there has been excellent: on time, friendly and cheap.
It is in the USA where i feel like an intruder when i take a cab.

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It's funny how recently the

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It's funny how recently the go-to criticism of Uber is their treatment of drivers (though not without merit) and glossed over is the fact that the 6 people who seemingly own all the medallions in the greater Boston area are no better, and probably in many cases worse to _their_ drivers.

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Zero Opportunity Cost

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It's not like they were going to be getting fares anyway. This as their best response speaks volumes. Maybe instead they could try improving their customers' experiences.

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Oh the irony

Who, exactly, thinks they are above the law?

Do they really think that nobody sees their marked vehicles parked over bike lanes, parked at hydrants, parked across bike lanes, blocking the roadway at hotels when the cab stand is full, obstructing driveways while the driver grabs a sandwich (rather than parking in an open space and walking), driving through red lights, etc.? I think a few dash cams would get that sorted out.

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A while back when a protest

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A while back when a protest was held and blocked traffic on 93, people were all angry and said that it was a public safety risk. The protesters were arrested and Lawmakers were pushing to increase penalties for blocking traffic.

Will the taxi drivers be punished for blocking traffic? They are putting public safety in just as much risk. They creating more traffic so ambulances and fire trucks can't get through.

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We can only hope they all

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We can only hope they all receive fines, just as your I93 protestor friends should have been fined.

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Quick question

Too many people trying to use the roadways at once block traffic. This happens twice a day.

Who shall we arrest and fine first?

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Perhaps you should look up

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the word "deliberate". Then you might understand why what the cabs did is totally different than a normal rush hour.

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Hope there were arrests

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You have the right to protest, but not the right to block traffic. These cab drivers really need to figure out a better way to get their message across. I used to use cabs, but switched to using Uber after I got annoyed at a protest last year where cab drivers honked outside my window for a couple hours.

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I used to vote Democrat, but

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I used to vote Democrat, but got annoyed when sitting Presidents stopped up Boston traffic everytime they came to attend a fundraiser give a speech in Cambridge.

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Umm, yeah?

It's a good thing no republican president ever came to town for any reason.

You are aware they shut down the local roads whenever the president of either party comes to town, right?

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Anon must be 22 years old

He's not old enough to remember how Republican presidents and vice presidents wanting to visit the USS Constitution fouled things up every bit as much.

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It is kind of a strange concept though.

A president comes to Boston to raise 1 million dollars for his campaign and spends 1.1 million dollars on a security detail (plane/helicopter/motorcade/etc).

Probably be better to pay for everyone to fly into the white house.

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I appreciate a good protest

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I appreciate a good protest as much as the next person, but I don't think they thought this one through. Even announcing it gave commuter time to arrange alternate transportation via Uber & Lyft.

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No Sympathy

See all comments above.

Also that time Ambassador tried to pick me up near the Aquarium (illegal) and refused when I told him I was going to Eastie (illegal).

Also, fun story relevant to the big picture argument: A few months ago, some flight delays got my GF and me home from a cross country trip a little after 1am. Usually I won't take cabs home from the airport because I live in the neighborhood and within relative walking distance to Airport station (albeit up a hill). I learned this lesson the hard way once when I took a red eye home from California, got in a little after 6am, and just didn't want to deal with the shuttles and the hill. The cabbie was a complete asshole the whole way, and while I sort of felt bad, I got to the point where I flat out just said "Dude, it's your job. Deal with it." So on this last trip, there was no way we were lugging all of our stuff up the hill, and knowing how a cab would respond to the short trip, I requested an Uber. The driver told me to wait in the designated pickup lot, where there were also a bunch of North Shore cabs and other car services waiting. One of the cab drivers asked if we were all set, and I said yeah. He paused a second, looked at me, and said "Oh, Uber" in a very condescending tone. I immediately shot back with "yeah, you guys give me a hard time about going to Eastie, so I don't bother trying to give you my business anymore" in a tone pretty much equivalent to holding up both middle fingers without actually having to, and he goes "Oh yeah man I HATE East Boston. Everyone hates going to East Boston man, use Uber" Now mind you, this wasn't a Boston cab in the normal line so I'm not sure what the deal is with Eastie for him unless he WAS a Boston cabbie at one point, because the return trip tolls into the city that they "can't" ask for are usually the issue.

TL;DR: This one time, a cab driver at Logan was condescending to me about using Uber until I told him where I was going, then told me to keep using Uber because they all hate fares to my neighborhood.

But I'm supposed to feel bad for them. Good times.

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ya I feel your pain

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Same with Chelsea.. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've had cabs drive off or try to charge me well over 30 bucks to get from in town to Chelsea.

A few weeks ago, I came home sick from a trip and didn't wanna take the T home.. I just wanted to go home. Got into one cab, cabbie told me it was going to be 35 dollars. I promptly got out and said "that's illegal, you will be reported because I know it's less than 20 with tolls". He got all pissed off at me. Whatever.

Waited about 10 more minutes, got into another cab, where I didn't get any lip. Cost 22 dollars with tip. I was totally being taken advantage of by the previous cab.

And Cabbies wonder why I will walk from Maverick than take a cab...

(and btw my Uber account didn't work.. I've never used it or tried to until that day and they shut it off for verification so I was forced to take a cab)

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Uber

admittedly can be kind of a pain, my roommate went through some crazy issue with them where the driver picked up the wrong people and somehow it was "his fault." On the trip in question, I had actually used Lyft all week in SF and prefer it. They don't have as many drivers in Boston as Uber does though, and there were none available at that time. Neither here nor there, but I'd recommend trying them if you end up using ride sharing at all.

Also, the "I just want to get home" part is what has gotten to me in the past with cabs. I'd get to a point where after being turned down 3 times I'd just say "Eastie, I'll pay full toll and tipping 25%." Thankfully, late night T service took care of those rare occasions where I'd be stranded on the mainland. It has to really suck dealing with that for Chelsea though, you're pretty much at the mercy of a few busses otherwise, right?

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I agree

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Uber can be a pain. When I came back from Ptown a few weeks ago, I tried to get one at the ferry dock. And once again, all I wanted to do was go home (I was sick again!). I had three ubers 'cancel' on me, so I hopped on the BL and got one at Maverick.

I usually don't take cabs unless I can help it. The late night service also works well for me since the 111 and 116/117 buses are apart of this service extension so its rare I have to cab it home after going out (if I leave on time)

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Same for the North End and South Boston

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Any time I get in a cab at the airport and tell the driver South Boston (and was the same when I lived in the North End), I get all kinds of attitude, the driver swearing under his breath, etc. Sorry buddy, I didn't make the Massport rules, and I'm not swimming home, so do your job and I'll tip you well.

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What's the issue with going

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What's the issue with going from the airport to South Boston? Don't they collect the $5.25 round trip toll from the passenger, the same as any other trip through the tunnels?

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Hate on the Medallion holders, not the cabbies....

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Stipulating that blocking any part of Mass Ave is abject stupidity, right up front...

It's the Medallion holders and the system that are the problem, not the cabbies per se. Most of them are working for the Medallion owners. And those guys treat the cabbies pretty much how they treat the public--like crap. Up until Uber it was a closed system and they could get away with it. Not now. And the non-owner drivers are getting screwed on both ends.

I drove a cab during the 70's in Boston. Dealing with the Hackney Bureau (BPD) and the Cab company was a truly Dickensian experience.

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Incorrect

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Up until Uber it was a closed system and they could get away with it.

It's still a closed system. Uber's "contractors" simply operate completely outside the system...also known as "in violation of the law".

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Incorrect

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Uber is essentially a car service which have been legal in all/most areas forever. Uber just took the service virtual rather than by telephone.

There may be some argument over whether or not Uber drivers are employees or independent (and mostly so far the courts seem to be siding with Uber), but that's not an issue about whether the service is legal or not.

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Just plain wrong

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Uber is not a car service. They are a software company. This is the legality they draw. They don't operate the cars. They sign up contractors. They just write the software that connects contractors to patrons and take a cut off the top for having done so.

Uber itself is legal because it doesn't operate a cab company, needs no medallions or licenses as anything other than a business, and pushes ALL of its legalities onto the contractors...who either already have a license/medallion (Uber Black/Uber Taxi) or ignore the law (Uber X).

If you drive for Uber X and you don't go get yourself licensed and sign up for livery plates, etc. then you're acting illegally and lying to Uber who have in their work contract with you that you're responsible for any local laws.

From Uber's driver contract (Nov 2014) ( https://www.dropbox.com/s/rlp3o4oylh0zt4n/Partner%... ):

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/MfRksgX.png)

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So out of curiosity I just

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So out of curiosity I just looked this up. Livery and taxi medallions are two different system. so let's just say

Mass RMV charges $90 per seat for a Livery plate. So a 5 seat Uber X would be $450. Which doesn't seem unreasonable. Also the city of Boston has some strange requirements:

To operate as a Livery or Limousine service within the City of Boston you must file a Business Certificate with the City Clerk's Office. You must be a resident of the City of Boston and provide proof of residency such as a current utility bill; your driver’s license and both addresses must match.
Once registered, you may apply for your Livery or Limousine plates with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, 617-531-4500.

However, if you wish to drop off or pick-up at specific stops within the City of Boston, such as the Airport, MassPort areas, Convention Centers, and/or hotels, you must apply in addition for a Jitney license. Applications must be conducted in person at the Office of the City Clerk.

Cambridge has another set of rules: https://www.cambridgema.gov/permitsandapplications/detail.aspx?path=%2Fs...

Not sure if you just need to do this for your place of residence / where your business is registered or if you have to do this in each city you potentially operate in. Seems like a lot of hoops to jump through.

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Each city

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You have to do this in each city if you're intending to stay legal. Because of Boston's piecemeal growth and nature, more than most other cities that Uber operates within, it's a lot harder for you to either stay within your city limits or have to sign up for all of the different city's operating licenses. You also need to register with the DMV as a livery (pay extra for special livery plates) and pay tolls at livery rate on your EZPass instead of normal rates.

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If you want to go there - fine

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No argument that they are a software company. Although I'm guessing a lot of car services over the years were essentially the same - a phone number that had a number of people with cars that they called when someone needed a ride - and the driver got a piece of the action. Sure there were some where the cars were owned and/or operated by the company as well.

Bottom line to your original post - in either case - car service or Uber isn't doing anything illegal. Personally, I have no problem with the cab or black service. I think you're taking a chance with UberX though - never used it and not likely to.

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thanks,

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thanks,
if this is true, then why are more cabbies not turning to Uber?

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Because...

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...in order to be an Uber driver, you need to own your own car.

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A few reasons

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As mentioned already, you have to own a certain type/size of car to be an Uber driver.

Many cabbies agree to long term lease arrangements on their medallion rentals so the cab/medallion owner is guaranteed long-term sustainability (and indentured servitude).

Because the government does have a vested interest in keeping cabs around, but does not have the same interest in Uber (especially if the drivers aren't paying their appropriate taxes).

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Missing the point...

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It's important to remember that this is an apples to dump trucks comparison. 80% of the fare goes to an uber driver whereas taxi drivers receive (I believe) less, but taxi drivers are also employees of a company, members of a union (with the protections that entails), and most importantly assume little to no risk wrt the car they drive.

The company pays for the car, cost of repairs, insurance... With Uber, they offload those costs and risks onto the drivers and their personal insurance (which, btw, frequently doesn't cover serving as a car service so if they have an incident and they may well not get paid out and have their policy cancelled).

Both are pretty bad for the drivers, imo. I agree that the hackney system is outdated and arcane, but the right answer is some level of regulation and worker protections between the two, not fully unfettered ride sharing services.

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Um

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Pretty sure that's not how it works at Boston Cab.

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They thought they had it made

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Government creates a racket: cab licenses. Cabbies pay the cab company that owns the limited licenses. Everyone profits from the government-protected industry.

Uber enables ordinary citizens to violate the law without much effort. The government doesn't step in to do much of anything about it. Cabbies and cab companies wonder where their highly valued protection has gone.

So, the protest and ordeal isn't about competition. It's about the government not enforcing its own laws. And enforcement would be very easy. You have a few cops start doing stings where they book an Uber and then request the person's cab license, paperwork, etc. After a few of those, nobody will want to risk driving for Uber.

OR you have government change the laws so that anyone can be a cab. Maybe even make a more progressive model where those people still have to pay fees to the state to remain legal so the cab industry doesn't become so unregulated as to be a free-for-all.

But this intermediate bullshit we have now, where we profess to regulate the cab industry but only some of the people driving others for hire are being regulated and the rest are free to do as they please just because they've become more popular or have provided the better experience, needs to end. The same goes for airbnb and any other "sharing" model that is literally just letting anyone break the law freely.

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There are licenses, and then there are licenses

Uber and then request the person's cab license, paperwork, etc. After a few of those, nobody will want to risk driving for Uber.

I'm all in favor of uber being held to the law requiring that anyone providing commercial livery service have a livery vehicle and a livery license -- quite a bit easier than obtaining taxi licenses, though.

If a Uber driver got a commercial driver's license and duly registered and insured his or her car as a commercial livery vehicle, I believe the driver would be 100% legit, no? No taxi license required because the driver isn't using cab stands or taking hails from the street.

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Yeah, no medallion needed

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I edited a few of my comments above in another thread because I forgot the distinction between "car for hire" and "taxi" when it comes to medallions. However, all of the Uber X drivers are only making any profit at all because they're bypassing all of the livery/"black car" requirements too. The only way Uber saves their ass from the most pain is by not allowing users to request Uber X when they're located at the airport (walk a little ways and the app works again though).

So, should an Uber X driver set themselves up as a true independent contractor and get themselves livery-ed up and plan out their estimated tax payments, etc., then great. More power to them and Uber. However, they'd probably never make enough money to make it worth the hassle by playing cabbie on the weekends...and suddenly Uber's entire model falls apart because nobody wants to deal with doing this completely above the board.

Uber's contract says they can request to see that you have all the necessary licensing/paperwork/etc. to be a legal contractor at any time. Have they EVER done that for ANY driver EVER? I'm betting on only those drivers that someone planned to sue them over so that they could legally rip up that person's contract by pointing out the person violated it and then leaving that driver high and dry.

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I think there was a loophole in the law Kaz.

I may be a little off here, as the livery/personal car regulations are very vague in this state, but Uber was operating as a company that basically organized private contractors. These private contractors were able to use Uber's technology to conduct their private business. This private business (picking up people who needed rides after a "contract" was made through Ubers tecnology) seemed to operate within the law.

And the laws regarding cars picking up passengers were regulated by cities and towns, not the state, and these laws left open a lot of loopholes for Uber to operate.

I know that wasn't really your main point above, but I think it's part of the reason why Uber was able to "break the law" as you said. Other wise, the BPD hackney division could make tens of thousands of dollars fining these cars (which they do fining out of town cabs for picking up in Boston)

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Legally, yes

the law is vague on people using their own cars to transport people for money. The insurance industry is less vague: don't do it if you have a personal policy. You will not be covered by them if they find out you were driving for money if you don't have commercial insurance and aren't registered with the state as both a livery company and have livery plates.

California is starting to experiment with hybrid polices that cover you as commercial when you're on the Uber clock but not here.No way.

The way Uber Black works is you have livery plates, a luxury black auto, commercial insurance and Massport permitting. UberX drivers that have registered corporations and livery plates can pick up at Logan if they register also. No special license is required by the state to drive livery and UberX drivers are the guys in Camrys and Accords.

This will all be moot when two things happen: Uber drivers are declared employees and they have to raise rates to pay living wages and the IRS putting the kibosh on their keeping their drivers on 1099 when they see how many of them aren't paying their taxes.

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Nope

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https://help.uber.com/h/1bf76075-7fe3-4c15-ac58-a4bef827e017

Uber doesn't do withholding and makes their "partners" (drivers) do all their own taes. How many of them do? Anyone's guess. They aren't getting livery plates, so what makes us think there aren't other areas of law that make it more fiscally viable for them to be Uber "partners" that they aren't willing to shirk?

Also, Uber makes it even harder for their "partners" by using a 1099-K for reporting their payments instead of a 1099-MISC that's more established and cleaner in terms of net pay.

http://www.sfgate.com/business/networth/article/Here-s-why-Uber-and-Lyft...

So, you could even have some sympathy for an "independent contractor" attempting to navigate the Uber land mines and do the right thing but ultimately getting bogged down in the disaster that is "partnering" with Uber.

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The amusing thing is

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The politicians and aide themselves on Beacon Hill use Uber/Lyft because they can't/won't increase funding to the MBTA, and they all know how terrible taxi service is. Same with many of the large corporations paying taxes to the city / state from the innovation district to MGH, and west.

Apparently either Edward Tutunjian hasn't been doing his due diligence in campaign contributions / lobbying, or he's just too toxic now that he's been / is involved in multiple investigations.

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Hmm...wanna know why I don't

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Hmm...wanna know why I don't take cabs?
1) my 3 mile ride up the Jamaicaway doesn't need to include a "time saving" drive-by of scenic Lower Framingham and a $13 Mass Pike toll 'fee'
2) your car has a soul-crippling 'eau-de air freshener / tuna salad / fart / cigarettes'.. mmmm, yummy
3) I'm either in a huge rush to the airport or hammered, so learn the streets, look on your phone, or call the dispatch for directions .. that's your job not mine ....
4) try taking a fucking shower sometime, it works wonders

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No

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Hmm...wanna know why I don't take cabs?

Not particularly, no.

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My distaste for Uber lies not in their poor drivers

but in their parasite of an owner and his crew of social media Scientologists.

That being said, I see no issue with them operating in Cambridge because without a doubt Cambridge cab drivers are lower than pond scum. They're rude, they drive like maniacs and when you call them out on it, they think everyone in Cambridge is a Warren voter so they pull the old racist card out of their hats.

Yes, the medallion system is broken, but in this case I have more sympathy for a guy who is shelling his hard earned money out to drive for Uber, money that they will still have to pay if they get enough negative feedback and kicked from the system. And good luck complaining to either the Cambridge cops or cab management. Management will pull the old "we can't tell independent contractors what to do, let alone discipline them" routine.Cambridge cab drivers wouldn't even make it as Uber drivers, they're that rude and stupid.

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1% Ers

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We have Travis Kalanick, an egomaniac that treats his contractors like crap but offers an awesome service.

Or we have Edward Tutunjian, a psychopath who treats his renters like crap and offers a terrible service.

Take your pick, the iceman does. I don't weep for private transportation kingpins, just get me from A to B without the bullshit.

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UGH THEY MAKE A LOT OF MONEY!

UGH THEY MAKE A LOT OF MONEY! SO EVIL! Why can't they just earn $30,000/y and donate the rest to poor orphans? Lord Sanders-christ help, we've got wealthhavers here that may also be Jewish too!

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Except they haven't

made a penny in profit since they opened. Also, their valuation at 50bn is ridiculous as all they own is nothing.

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Huge Public Safety Risk!

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This is a huge public safety risk! The ambulances can't get through and what if there were a fire somewhere?

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Stupid

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This is just about as stupid as those white hippies blocking 93, claiming they were doing it for "black lives matter".

There's protesting, then there's attention whoring and thuggery. This isn't protesting.

Time to get rid of the antiquated medallion system, and just require safety regulations and certifications. The medallions are from a time before digital documents when that wasn't possible. Hell, there weren't even telephones when some of these systems were instituted.

And while I feel for the very few that bought a medallion and run a independent show, the system is utterly corrupt and captured by little cab fiefdoms that get away with terrible service, because what ya gonna do about it?

IMAGE(http://img.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/files/2014/06/medallions.jpg)

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Old chart

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There's some data coming in that they're finally falling, which is why you're seeing the freak outs like this. Sadly there's going to be some small operations owners that hold onto these things too long, but if they're smart they'll dump them.

Then again, if you have 700K to blow on one medallion, are you really a small business?

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well

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That does cut off at 2013...

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The cited data ends at 2013

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It's likely because that data ends at 2013, just as Uber was expanding. I'd be interested in seeing how taxi medallions have fared in 2014 and 2015.

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how

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How do I short this market?

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short TAXI

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Medallion Financial Corp. is a specialty finance company that originates and services loans financing the purchase of taxicab medallions and related assets. The Company also originates and services commercial loans financing small businesses in other targeted industries. In addition, Medallion operates a taxi cab rooftop advertising business.

Stock is down about 50% since august of '13.

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Cabbies are a mess

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So protesting and clogging up mass ave is supposed to win customers back?!? Sorry that won't work.

If you want your business back please try the following:

1) when we call you and you say 5 minutes try showing up somewhat on time

2) accept credit cards always and don't give us the evil eye when we go to pay with them. I don't want to go to the ATM before getting a ride

3) smile and be polite to your customers - talking on the phone, loud music, grumbling and stale cigarette smoke do not make for an enjoyable ride. This goes for your call center operations too!

4) take us the shortest and most direct route to our destination

5) consider modernizing and always improving customer service!

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I'd add #6

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Rip out the idiotic and insulting video screens in the passenger compartment. Sorry, but we're already subjected to enough pointless advertising shilling crappy products - we don't need even more of it when we're trying to get from place to place.

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Well...

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At least the ones with video screens take credit cards reliably, because it's part of the same system. If you ask the Cambridge License Commission (as I have), they say all Cambridge cabs take credit cards, which is just plain wrong.

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Cab companies could compete but dont.

The issue here is that cab companies don't want to improve service. The cab companies could use the HailO app to do pretty much what Uber does and drive business to licensed cabs. I wanted to use the app many times but even though they said they had 1/3 of the cabs registered with HailO I could never get a car. That's when I switched to Uber. The last time I tried to call a cab company on a Thursday night they told me two hours for a pickup in Cambridge. Never again.

I see it this way, the consumer wants to call a ride from their phone using an app. Cab companies don't want to provide this service. Entrepreneurs will find a way to fill the service need.

The government needs to fix the system to allow for this service and it will force cab companies to play nice with the customer.

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HailO is dead

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They pulled out of the Boston market last year. I believe they're still operating in the UK.

But yes, your basic point is correct. The cabbies aren't willing to be hailed in the way their 21st century customers want to hail them, someone else is. Guess who wins?

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I'm aware of HailO's departure...

I'm aware of HailO's departure from the Boston market but even when they were claiming to be on the upswing I still couldn't ever get a cab. It always felt 90% of the way there. If the cab companies wanted it to work though I bet it would work as well as Uber.

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How is it working in London?

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Most of the comments I have read cite the preference to use Uber over taxis due to ppor service by the cabs. Anybody know how strong the demand for Uber is in London where the taxi system is supposed to be one of the best in the world?

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I've always had fantastic cab

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I've always had fantastic cab service in London. How odd. But then again, I also do well with the French, whereas I usually hear the opposite from most of my fellow Americans. Regardless, I have way too many horror stories dealing with Boston cabbies... broken credit card machines, cabs taking the long way, going past my destination then not pulling over, yapping on the phone, nearly hitting pedestrians and cyclists, refusing to speak to me, etc.

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Only been a week

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Uber only started in London about a week ago.

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My guess

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My guess is that certain fees help pay for the hackney division (your mileage may vary on how useful they are). Other fees go directly to the increased usage of the roadways/pollution/etc. that commercial vehicles sustain during a day versus private vehicles. Other fees cover the administration of their registration and fee payment. Even if some of it ends up in a general coffer, I'm betting people don't care that a livery pays an extra $5/yr if it means they can save $0.50 in personal taxes instead to have the same general budget for the government.

Of course, if your complaint for UberX and other livery drivers is that their fees are too high and create an unreasonable barrier to entry, then there's a legislative solution for that too. However, I doubt the cost of being a private livery is what drives cab drivers to being cab drivers nor what prevents UberX drivers from acting within the law.

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Massport charges fees for cabs

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because of idiotic and outdated FAA rules that limit what they can spend the extortion payments airport "use" fees they charge the airlines. That's also the reason that the parking rates at Logan keep going up.

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No, Massport charges fees

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No, Massport charges fees because they can.

It's the same reason the Turnpike Authority/MassDOT charges a higher tunnel toll for taxis than regular cars -- screw the airport passengers.

Taxis and their government-imposed fees are way overpriced. But the alternative is wasting your life on the world's slowest public transit. (The Silver Line -- only 40 minutes to go the 3 miles to South Station! Or the Blue and Orange Lines -- a shuttle bus, plus a 12-minute wait, plus a 5-minute walk through the State Street passage, plus another 10-minute wait.)

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Who cares?

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Technology in a car isn't going to solve anything particularly. You still have the problem of too many low-capacity vehicles on the road.

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I bet you guys still tip

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I bet you guys still tip these cabbies for their bad service, but you don't tip ride share drivers for the good and cheaper service that they give.

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Lexical choices

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UberX/Lyft/etc. aren't "ride shares". Ride shares are where you write on Craigslist that you want to go to NYC for the weekend and cross your fingers that the person who picks you up isn't a mass murderer. UberX is just an illegal livery driver. They're not sharing a ride. They weren't going to where you live and then driving to where you need to go until you paid them for the ride. That's a livery vehicle.

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"You guys"?

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Do YOU tip "ride share drivers", J. C.?

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