Taxis, Uber, Lyft, etc.

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lewismd
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Taxis, Uber, Lyft, etc.

Postby lewismd » November 2nd, 2012, 7:33 am

[Originally titled "Uber hits the Twin Cities"]

This isn't really transit, but I think issues related to taxi and limo service are important, too, especially in a car-oriented metro like MSP. Anyway, Uber's limo app is up and running here, and shockingly, taxi companies are trying to shut it down, as they've done in every city Uber has entered.
I spoke with representatives of Red and White Taxi, Blue and White Taxi, and Airport Taxi and Limo; none had ever heard of Uber. When my call brought Uber's service to the attention of Albert Linoir, Blue and White Taxi operations manager, he said his company would "fight it."
I have friends in Chicago who absolutely love Uber, and it sounds like a pretty sweet setup. Unsurprisingly, cab companies don't want the competition. What do you guys think?

talindsay
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Re: Uber hits the Twin Cities

Postby talindsay » November 2nd, 2012, 8:07 am

That is cool, but they're walking a really fine line regulatorily. Not knowing the specific details of state limo laws and how they interact with local cab laws, I could see their service lying on either side of the legal boundary. It doesn't affect me, as I haven't gotten into a cab - never mind a limo - in the Twin Cities since November 2004 (anybody care to guess why that date? :) ). But I do know a lot of corporate travel could benefit from a service like this. It might be a case where they would be smarter to work with regulators to make their business model legal, rather than try to bend their business model and the terms of Minnesota regulation to define it as legal - clearly the specifics of their business model didn't exist when the regulations were written.

mulad
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Re: Uber hits the Twin Cities

Postby mulad » November 2nd, 2012, 12:22 pm

Yeah, I haven't used cabs for a long time either. I might sign up for Uber as a fallback someday, though it's a pretty expensive option -- probably better to just figure out a good list of taxi operators to put into my phone. I'd probably be much happier with Uber or Uber-like service for taxis rather than limos. But either way, cars for hire work out much better when you have a group of 3 or 4 people traveling together, and I usually travel around by myself.

That TC Daily Planet article says that limo companies fall under statewide regulations, while taxis are regulated locally. The article says county-by-county, but I think it's more on a city-by-city basis (plus MSP airport has its own extra regulations). We had a taxi thread back in the Minnescraper days, and I dug through the taxicab regulations of a few cities back in March. Taxis charge up to $2.25/mile in Saint Paul and $2.75/mi in Minneapolis, though they're usually a bit less than that. Minimum fares are usually $4 to $5 ($5 is the regulatory max for minimum fares in both core cities). Uber has a base fare of $7 with $3.25/mi on top of that (and things get more expensive when speed drops below 11 mph) and a minimum fare of $12. But it's worth noting that tips are built into the Uber fare (Minneapolis's $2.75/mi works out to about $3.16/mi with a 15% tip).

Does Uber's app give an estimate of how much a trip will cost? It only sounds like the app is used to summon a car... It does give an estimate of how long it will take for them to show up and where the car is, but I'm always reluctant to use a service when I don't know how much it's going to cost beforehand. Apparently they also raise their rates significantly on busy nights like Halloween and New Year's Eve.

Uber's primary service area isn't okay but not great, and is overlapped a lot by the area most well-served by Metro Transit, so I think a lot of middle-income folks would still just fall back to carpooling, taking the bus, or biking.

It's an interesting line they walk by mostly just providing a service to connect customers with limo drivers who operate independently of Uber itself. That's not obvious from looking at the Uber website. It does get spelled out in their terms & conditions when signing up, but nobody ever looks through those things... Mn/DOT is asserting that Uber is a limo company, so we'll see how that plays out.

tabletop
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Re: Uber hits the Twin Cities

Postby tabletop » November 2nd, 2012, 4:50 pm

Minnesota state regulation's require limos to be more expensive than taxi's and to pick up passengers through prearranged pick-up's, meaning it's illegal for those town car drivers to steal fares from taxi's outside restaurants and hotels. It would also be a shame if everyone who use's Uber doesn't tip on top of the 15% already included, that seems a little cheep to me and I'm always leery of being paid by a third party. Another concern I have is the lack of communication with the customer or the driver/dispatchers, I could see it to be really easy to just drunkenly push buttons on your phone then either forget or not care enough to wait for an unconfirmed ride, hop in the closest taxi at the stand and waist the limo drivers and their regular customers time. Granted, I haven't used the service so I'm not exactly sure how those would play out, but it seems like it would be a bit of a hassle for an established company let alone all the hard working cab drivers who really seem to have a thankless, unappreciated job.

mattaudio
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Re: Uber hits the Twin Cities

Postby mattaudio » November 2nd, 2012, 9:31 pm

I think the last potential problem you describe is something that happens today with apps like Taxi Magic. Even before taxi apps, I know I've seen situations at bars where people call a cab, get in a cab that shows up at a bar, then later the other cabbie arrives and has nobody to pick up.

min-chi-cbus
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Re: Uber hits the Twin Cities

Postby min-chi-cbus » November 3rd, 2012, 9:22 am

I wonder if the Twin Cities (more specifically, PARTS of Minneapolis or St. Paul) will ever be urban enough to create the necessary demand for lots of taxis that would make it possible to get around without ever needing a car. That would take a LARGE proportion of a sample population who'd want to not own a car, needing to get from point A to point B frequently and in a distance that is long enough to warrant transportation but short enough to not need a car, and not having alternative bus/rail options that are cheaper.

....it'll probably be a while still.

Lancestar2

Re: Uber hits the Twin Cities

Postby Lancestar2 » November 5th, 2012, 1:59 am

min-chi-cbus wrote:I wonder if the Twin Cities (more specifically, PARTS of Minneapolis or St. Paul) will ever be urban enough to create the necessary demand for lots of taxis that would make it possible to get around without ever needing a car. That would take a LARGE proportion of a sample population who'd want to not own a car, needing to get from point A to point B frequently and in a distance that is long enough to warrant transportation but short enough to not need a car, and not having alternative bus/rail options that are cheaper.

....it'll probably be a while still.
I think services like Hour Car may have a bigger impact than more taxi's. I see so many taxis sitting around not being used. A few weeks ago they added a Hour Car parking spot for a car in a parking lot right on Oak Grove and Spruce PL. I had considered the service before but being I need my car for travel to work still since I work outside the metro bus zone I couldn't fully commit to such a car-less lifestyle. Usually when people in the city need a car it's because they need a return ride home aka a round trip which I think a Hour Car placed near your urban home would work much better.

Also cheaper. I took a taxi to south Minneapolis from downtown once and it costed 20 bucks! Which I'm guessing it was about 5-8 miles. Compared to hour car "Freedom Rates" $8 per hour and .25 cents per mile Which since it was only a bank trip the same trip would have costed me $8 dollars + (14miles round trip) $3.5 Which would have been much cheaper AND I wouldn't of had to walk half way and take the train back home too! lol :lol: and you don't have to listen to a taxi driver speaking a weird language into his cellphone the whole trip :|

mattaudio
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Re: Uber hits the Twin Cities

Postby mattaudio » November 5th, 2012, 7:22 am

Hour car is great for people who do not have daily travel patterns that necessitate a car (but rather just once or twice a week), or for couples or groups of roommates who want to live with less than one car per person but want to have the flexibility of occasionally using a car share. Car shares are very effective at distributing storage costs and ownership costs... most people pay for cars to be in storage 90% of the day!

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Nick
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Re: Uber hits the Twin Cities

Postby Nick » December 4th, 2012, 11:39 am

They've got a Groupon up today. I try not to find boogiemen in things but I've gotta say, that service map looks a bit specifically drawn...

Chava
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Uber(x), Lyft, and Ridesharing

Postby Chava » July 18th, 2014, 8:57 am

I didn't see a topic anywhere so I thought I would start one. I don't see much mention of this service here, despite the ordinance going to vote this morning.

Anyone use it? I figured this mode of transport might get a lot of support from Urbanists, but not sure.

xandrex
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Re: Uber(x), Lyft, and Ridesharing.

Postby xandrex » July 18th, 2014, 9:25 am

There's sort of a topic here: https://forum.streets.mn/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=954&p=9930

I love the ride-sharing/TNCs (as I suppose they're now officially called by the city). I have always had problems with actually getting a cab when I need one. I once called a cab ahead of bar close in order to snag one. It was confirmed...only to have me wait over an hour before they finally told me to just hail one on the street. I think I've had luck with hailing a cab twice ever in this city. Most of the time I've been blown off or just simply unable to find one that wasn't occupied.

Instead, I open my Uber app, accept any surge charges (should they exist...I've found even near bar close--say 1:45--they sometimes haven't gone into effect), and have confirmation of the driver, their rating, and the ability to track them. I've never had to wait more than 10 minutes. My drivers are always nice and usually have water and some small snacks in the car. The best part? It's significantly cheaper than taking a cab. Estimated cab fare from Uptown to my apartment near Hennepin/Central? More than $17 (before tip!). My Uber ride the other night? Just a hair over $10. Even if they weren't offering 25% off rides for the summer, it would have been cheaper.

I don't have any experience with Lyft. After they arrived in Minneapolis, I signed up and got a bunch of credits to use, but they put a time limit on it and I didn't have a chance to take advantage of it. I'm also not overly fond of the apparent encouragement for passengers to sit in the front seat and fist-bumping policies. I just want to get to my destination, thanks. ;)

Honestly, I'd be happy to never use a real cab ever again.

Chava
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Re: Uber(x), Lyft, and Ridesharing.

Postby Chava » July 18th, 2014, 9:40 am

It is difficult to find a cab here, in my opinion. I've certainly never seen many driving around during my few months here aside from the CBD. I wouldn't mind using traditional taxis if they were hip to an app like Hailo which lets you hail and pay for it from your phone. It allows for the same real time tracking as well.

I assume you use Uber X and not Uber Black car? The prices you're mentioning definitely look like X pricing, which is sweet, very sweet.

xandrex
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Re: Uber(x), Lyft, and Ridesharing.

Postby xandrex » July 18th, 2014, 9:59 am

Yes, I was specifically talking about UberX. I originally started using Uber before they rolled out X and the prices are definitely a little shocking. It didn't help that they weren't offering all of the discounts they are now (25% off all this summer, $30 referral credits, etc). They're clearly pushing for market saturation.

Traditional cabs here are hard to find, the drivers have driven off on me on more than one occasion, and I'm still burned by the situation I described above where I was promised a cab for over an hour and finally our group had to catch a bus and walk well over a mile (some in heels) to get back home.

I think my least favorite part of the cab experience, however (and something I somehow forgot to mention before) is paying. I don't carry cash. Ever. When I do, it's to spend on a specific purchase and is done in small amounts. So I always need to pay with plastic when I use a cab. But every time I mention I'm paying that way, there's always a sigh or the cab driver questions me. One guy didn't even respond to my friend holding out a card. He just sat there. I finally was fed up and handed him some cash. With Uber, I thank the driver for a friendly and safe trip home and get out. No awkward exchanges about money. A receipt emailed to me shortly after. And I can rate the driver and leave comments (and they can rate you - I was informed this past week when I used it that I had the highest rating possible...I assume that means I get snapped up fairly quickly).

That said, apparently the cabs in this area do have their own app for tracking, though it lacks payment options from what I can tell, which is a major downside: http://www.ihail.com/

Tcmetro
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Re: Uber(x), Lyft, and Ridesharing.

Postby Tcmetro » July 18th, 2014, 10:49 am

There's a few taxi stands downtown, and they usually hang out at the suburban malls, but it's really unusual to flag a cab down on a random street, especially outside of downtown. Part of it, is Minneapolis isn't much of a taxi city, and the other part of it, is until recently the demand wasn't there for hail service.

Chava
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Re: Uber(x), Lyft, and Ridesharing.

Postby Chava » July 18th, 2014, 1:09 pm

I'm in the same boat. Plastic only, cash rarely, so that bugs me. I've had that same experience in NYC and Chicago though, so not shocking. If they don't respond, just get out. I know, awkward.

Ihail is pretty useless in my opinion. That same issue persists. Some cab companies are apparently using Taximagic which allows for hailing and payment via phone, but I don't know how many drivers are logged on.

If the cab companies were serious about staying afloat, they would all be tripping over themselves to try and find an app based solution that would let them in, like Hailo. They would get the benefit of grabbing street hails(the few that exist as TCmetro points out) AND app hails. Seems like a win win.

xandrex
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Re: Uber(x), Lyft, and Ridesharing.

Postby xandrex » July 18th, 2014, 2:16 pm

I've been able to flag down taxis a few times downtown and in Dinkytown. Flagging down is in the only time it's ever worked for me, actually. The dispatchers have been useless.

Frankly, it's too little too late for me with taxis. I'm a pretty loyal UberX user at this point.

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Re: Uber(x), Lyft, and Ridesharing.

Postby VAStationDude » July 18th, 2014, 2:36 pm

I use cabs fairly infrequently and don't see my self going to ridesharing. I had really good luck order multiple cabs after a Friday night wedding using iHail despite the short fare from near NE to downtown.

I have several beefs with car sharing. There's a massive insurance gap between the operators personal non-commercial insurance, which won't cover collisions while the driver is using the Uber app or is cruising between fares, and the Uber insurance that kicks in during the fare. As a motorist, cyclist and pedestrian it's really concerning having uninsured drivers looking at their phones, in violation of state law. A multi-billion dollar tech company pushing into town illegally and undercutting working class immigrants that are subject to strict regulation really really bothers me. It should bother anyone who even feigns concern for the plight of the disadvantaged.

I've never understood why carrying cash is such a big deal. One slim card in my wallet and a weekly trip to one of hundreds of ATMs in the city keeps my wallet well stocked. Paying for $3 purchases with plastic really cuts into small businesses' bottom lines.

tabletop
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Re: Uber(x), Lyft, and Ridesharing.

Postby tabletop » July 18th, 2014, 4:49 pm


grant1simons2
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Re: Uber(x), Lyft, and Ridesharing.

Postby grant1simons2 » July 18th, 2014, 11:11 pm

Written by a cabbie, no bias there I'm sure of it

tabletop
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Re: Uber(x), Lyft, and Ridesharing.

Postby tabletop » July 19th, 2014, 3:49 am

Kinda the point ;)


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