Saturday, June 07, 2014

Campaign contributors get in way of UberX and Lyft … by gimleteye

If you have a regulated monopoly like the decrepit fleet of taxi cabs "serving" Miami-Dade, life is good. When a better mousetrap comes along -- Uber was valued last week at $17 billion after only four years of operation -- one that delivers better prices, service and quality to consumers, for the monopolists that's bad.

The taxi cab campaign contributors have shoveled tons of money at incumbent county commissioners. The appearance of Uber and Lyft on Miami streets with consumers who would otherwise be taking taxicabs has triggered a pay-day backlash at county hall.

It is quite a sight to watch Miami-Dade county commissioners fall over themselves to justify denial of service to consumers. Call your county commissioner: tell him or her to get out of the way of Uber and Lyft. Voters should remember those incumbents when it comes time to vote.


Anonymous said...

I love the way there are two systems operating here, the public one you see and the shadow government of lobbyists, team owners and special interest which really calls the shots...Captain Renault would feel right at home..I'm shocked, SHOCKED to find the cabs in this town are deficient!
Ray Gonzales; "Here are your campaign contributions sir" .

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the Uber and Lyft interests are political babes in the woods, without their own lobbyists and campaign contributions.

Anonymous said...

The mere fact that Uber cars bear pink mustaches is sufficient enough to impound them...

Anonymous said...

I took a yellow cab the other day. 305 444 4444. It was disgusting. My seat was broken and of course, the service light was on. The driver told me he has to pay $535 (I think) per week to the cab company. That yellow cab was a hazard.

Anonymous said...

Wall Street and Silicon Valley are fraudsters. Fatality rate per 100,000 workers, not very good, don't even get me started on insurance issues.

Anonymous said...

Hyper-fraud. Venture capital-backed companies produce 21 percent of U.S. GDP and 11 percent of employment in the private sector, despite accounting for less than 0.2 percent of all businesses, according to estimates by IMS Global Insight.

Jackson Rip Holmes said...

Dear Eye on Miami and Wonderful Eye on Miami Readers:


I am a 23-year taxi driver with a law degree from the University of Florida.

I despaired that Eye on Miami was asleep on Uber issues, having failed to see coverage, and having failed to connect via e-mail with Eye on Miami with my comments.

However, EYE ON MIAMI CLEARLY HAS 'BULLEYE' FOCUS ON, AND KNOWLEDGE OF, FOR-HIRE GROUND TRANSPORTATION REALITY. What is awesome is that Eye on Miami knows about campaign contributions to Commissioners from taxicab companies, which I did not!



Please feel free to follow up with me!

Jackson Rip Holmes
23-year taxi driver
915 Palermo Avenue, 106
Coral Gables, FL 33134
P. 305-338-5000

Jackson Rip Holmes said...

Dear Eye on Miami and Wonderful Eye on Miami Readers:

I hope you won't mind an 'insider' followup?

Lyft/Uber are not doing anything Mayor Steve Clark and his child's father-in-law, my former taxi company employer, Ziggy Zilber, did not do -- civil disobedience, deliberate, unlawful, provision of transportation service -- to enable Miami-Dade County to wrest control of taxicab regulation from the Cities in 1979-1981.

Back in 1979-1981, my father and I were driving for University Cabs, licensed only to pick up in Coral Gables, and no other City.

Ziggy Zilber -- whose child was married to a child of then Miami-Dade County Mayor Steve Clark -- asked all drivers, including my father and I, to illegally pick up fares -- dispatched by the taxi company with full knowledge they were illegal -- in the City of Miami.

Ziggy Zilber, then County Mayor Steve Clark's in-law, told all drivers, including my Dad and I, that he would pay all tickets, represent us in Court, and otherwise indemnify us for breaking the law.

My Dad and I refused to participate.

This campaign of civil disobedience / law-breaking, was a MAJOR FACTOR in enabling them to usurp control of taxicab regulation from the Cities -- who had up to that point had sole jurisdiction for taxicab regulation within their boundaries (the County relegated to taxicab service in unincorporated areas).

Yours truly, and feel free to follow up with any questions,

Jackson Rip Holmes
contact info in previous comment

Anonymous said...

@Jackson Rip Holmes:

You have a law degree from the University of Florida, you own property on Miracle Mile, you've driven taxis for 23 years and you are a Realtor.

Never met a taxi driver who was a lawyer and a landlord. Must be a very profitable occupation. If so, why are you on the side of Lyft and Uber? Might you be a lobbyist for them?

I smell a rat here, somewhere. Can't find it right now, but the smell will get worse in time, no doubt.

Anonymous said...

Rip I know you are telling like it is, but people don't want to know that s why We are like this .The manipulators have bought the Politicians,How many in jail and do we have sufficient space for the rest. Florida is a right to work State, but Dade County Fathers are still Protecting the friends of the Clark's, It was never a conflict of interest. The For-Hire laws where written by and in favor of the Taxi Owners 2231 Taxi, 626 Limos or 25% not fair

Anonymous said...

Here is proof that Miami police yet again involved in theft, public intimidation, waste and plunder of resources and pandering to the one percent wannabees:

Anonymous said...

You know Alan, I agree with you on lots of issues - especially environmental ones - but this is a field where you know very little.

This is not a monopoly. Comcast is a monopoly.

The Taxi industry is a terrible mess, granted. But there are dozens of companies competing in this space, and 1/3 of the taxis on the street are owned by drivers who have a medallion of their own. These owner/drivers need to be protected from part-time drivers of uninsured equipment (spend 5 minutes googling "insurance" and "lyft" to see the challenges throughout the US. It was just 5 months ago that Uber claimed that a driver that killed a child while on duty was not covered by their insurance. They have had to add insurance policies on top of insurance policies to try to fig-leaf over their passenger protection issues. Their model throughout the US is to essentially undercut safety regulations like requiring chauffeur licenses, commercial insurance and regular vehicle inspections.

Uber - limo service acting like a cab - is one thing. Uber X and lyft are very different.

Anonymous said...

The Florida legislature prevents the County from regulating the lease payments drivers who don't own their medallion must pay for the privelege of driving. Counties can only regulate the taxi meter rate. That has led to a lopsided economic environment where the driver pays crazy lease payments and gets nothing in return. This is why so many drivers that don't have their own medallion were supportive of Uber coming to town. it was their ticket out from under their insane lease payments. Also, limos are not required to be as new or have cameras or gps tracking or credit card machines built into the car that taxis now have to use.

these ride sharing services damage taxi drivers even more by undermining their ability to earn by undercutting the taxi meter rate which they cannot control, forcing them to compete with hobby cabbies in unregulated vehicles.

Jackson Rip Holmes said...

Reply to Anonymous, if I may?

Fortunately, I believe the ultimate arbiter of these issues will be: 1. the consumers, including the readers of Eye on Miami, and, 2. the best interests of our Miami-Dade County ECONOMY, including our presumably number one industry, tourism.

Unfortunately, if Eye on Miami's Sacred Readers seek a taxicab, on any given day, from the Airport, to their home, the chances are about 30% they will be disrespected by one or more of the following: 1. driver deliberately overcharging them; 2) refusal to accept credit cards; 3) lack of hygiene in, or lack of maintenance of, the taxicab; 4) rude, unprofessional drivers.

The County Commission did local taxicab monopolies a favor by rejecting Uber, and enacting "Ambassador Cabs", presumably ending the above abuses.

Unfortunately, taxi industry bosses have responded to this County Commission rescue by renewing their literal decades of undermining and/or sabotaging such reforms, by undermining and/or sabotaging the provisions of the Ambassador Cabs Ordinances.

For instance, driver thefts/overcharges against our tourists, business visitors, and residents continue unabated, and industry leaders refuse to take an interest in moving forward with security cameras, claiming they are too poor to move forward with these reforms, when in fact their gross income is over $50 million dollars per year.

The private taxi industry leaders, who have opposed the Ambassador Cabs reforms for literally decades, now seek to thwart their implementation by seeking a regulatory "loophole" from the County Commission allowing them to violate Term Limits on service on the Taxicab Advisory Group, even though our Sacred Mayor, and Sacred Commissioners, cannot violate term limits.

Bottom line -- our consumers, including the highly gifted readers and subscribers to Eye on Miami, have no realistic hope for taxicab industry implementation of Ambassador Cabs, and hence no realistic hope of good taxicab service.

Enter Uber, which, by the way, has plenty of highly professionally accomplished drivers, such that plenty of Uber drivers have law degrees and own property, which has achieved extraordinary success nationwide, and world-wide, by providing inexpensive, luxury sedan, highly professional, dependable, and reliable for-hire ground transportation for about 1.5 times the price of a taxi.

Consumers deserve choices, no?


Jackson Rip Holmes

Jackson Rip Holmes said...

Dear Wonderful Eye on Miami Publishers and Reporters:

Any chance I could ask you for an e-mail address?

From time to time I make what I consider to be important observations on County Hall deliberations on taxi and limo services, and email them to Miami Herald reporters, but I have no way to communicate with you.

If you are willing, please provide me an e-mail address in this space, or at, if you would be so kind.


Jackson Rip Holmes

Jackson Rip Holmes said...

Sorry, I just found your email addresses on this very website!

Funny, I had looked for those email addresses on your website before, and failed to find them. My age of 63 catching up with me?