The Fight Against Lyft and Uber has Returned to Cambridge

Thanks to stievers, we have live notes on Reddit from the Cambridge hearing on 6/17/14.

There were several videos made, some of which will be posted on YouTube soon. It would be great if Lyft and Uber could pay a service to provide a written transcription, so that it could be posted publically. Don’t you think?

The ride sharing portion of the hearing began at 6:53. Chair Andrea Jackson spoke for 3 minutes to introduce the subject from 6:53 until 6:56.

Stievers reports on Reddit:

6:53 Chair Andrea Jackson: “This is on our agenda tonight simply to have a discussion…we have to have a public hearing just to have a conversation…there is not a vote tonight…simply preliminary conversation…

…One of the challenges of the commission is not so much looking at Uber, but also looking at the number of illegal taxis that we have in the city and address that issue. So this was a really wide net that was thrown out just to start the conversation…”

As prearranged. Chair Jackson then turned over the meeting to testimony given by Meghan Joyce, Uber Boston General Manager. Joyce gave a very articulate and fact based prepared presentation and then skillfully answered many questions from the three members of the Cambridge License Commission and the Executive Director.

Joyce made her remarks and answered questions for 28 minutes from 6:56 until 7:24. Stievers posted a lot of live notes on Reddit. Complete content will be available from YouTube videos and written transcriptions provided by Lyft and Uber publically.

Stievers reports on Reddit:

7:25: Gordon Gossage: “Can we hear from someone other than Uber? Like maybe a Lyft driver?” Another audience member says, “And taxi drivers!”

7:27 – Chair Jackson expresses concern about fake taxis without signs and how to pick them out. “I want a ride that’s clean, and without the driver talking on the phone, and without trash in the back. We get that. We’re not looking at stifling competition.”

7:28 – Commissioner asking to hear from representatives of any large groups. No takers so far. Someone from Lyft is stepping forward – it’s Gossage, a Lyft driver.

7:30 – “I use my own car to find passengers and give rides. I use a software platform called Lyft. I am not an employee of Lyft.” He’s done 2,000+ rides so far. Asks the commission to “understand who benefits from this regulation.” “Do the consumers benefit?” He believes the taxi medallion owners are the only ones who benefit. “If this regulation, or anything like it, was adopted…. then the medallion owners’ assets would be preserved. They don’t have the constitutional right to be protected from competition.”

I reminded the commissioners that there are 257 Cambridge taxi medallions and that a medallion recently sold for $615,000. Of course, the medallion owners will relentlessly focus on maintaining the value of $158 million in assets.

I then emphasized that the taxi medallion owners who would benefit from banning Lyft and Uber in Boston and Cambridge were real people. I gave the example of Daljit Kaur of Everett who sold his Cambridge Medallion for $615,000 in March 2014 and then purchased a Boston Medallion for $692,000 in May 2014. I noted that these medallion owners are very wealthy and do not have to work for a living to make money from their medallions. The taxi drivers do all the actual work behind the wheel.

At 7:33, I gave each of the three commissioners and the executive director their own individual copies of pages 26 to 33 of the California PUC regulations for Transportation Network Companies (TNCs). In addition to taxis and limos, they created a third category:

TNCs provide prearranged transportation services for compensation using an online-enabled application or platform (such as smart phone apps) to connect drivers using their personal vehicles with passengers.

At 7:35, I urged them to review the provisions within the eight pages and compare them to the draft regulations released today. I suggested they speak with a market research firm such as Nelson/Nygaard, the author of the Boston Taxi Consultant Report, now being used in Boston for the Mobility Action Plan discussions. I also suggested Schaller Consulting as an expert in the field of taxi studies. They could ask them to compare the draft Cambridge regulations with the CPUC regulations to determine who would benefit from the adoption of one or the other.

Lots more posted by stievers on Reddit, we will get complete content from the YouTube videos from written transcriptions provided publically by Lyft and Uber!

 

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One Response to The Fight Against Lyft and Uber has Returned to Cambridge

  1. Laurie says:

    Thanks for being there and speaking out, Gordon!

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