Cambridge to try again to rein in Uber

The Cambridge License Commission tomorrow considers regulations that would bar services such as Uber or Lyft altogether unless they agree to come under the same general regulations as taxi companies - but would also prohibit them from using their current GPS-based billing systems even if they do agree to local licensing.

At a meeting that begins at 6 p.m. in the basement conference room of the Lombardi Building, 831 Mass. Ave., the commission is expected to take up a series of "regulations for smartphone technology for taxicabs and limousines" that would prohibit anybody not licensed by the city to dispatch cars for hire, prohibit the use of distance-based billing systems by anybody except taxicab companies and would set a minimum $50 fare for non-taxi fares.

In 2012, Cambridge tried to ban Uber only to be overturned by the Uber-using bureaucrats of the Patrick administration.



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PDF icon Proposed Cambridge regulations693.7 KB


Uber sucks, cabs suck more

I really dislike uber but they are doing nothing more then scheduling black cars which is pretty inoffensive. You might as well get mad at grubhub for scheduling food delivery.

If they wanted to harm Uber just make a law that black car reservations must be made at least three hours in advance of pickup time.

Seriously, there are things I

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Seriously, there are things I dislike about Uber, but when faced with the prospect of trying to call for a cab to come pick me up vs. hailing a black car via Uber, I'll pretty much always pick Uber. Their drivers are generally more polite, better at finding their way around (hey, at least they all have a GPS that they know how to use), and don't try and talk you out of paying with a credit card.

With a cab company I have to find a number, call an office, talk to some dispatcher who can't figure out that I'm asking for a cab 45 minutes from now, wait an hour and a half because the cabbie got lost three times trying to find me while I try to play a game of phone tag with dispatch to figure out what's going on (and then eventually having to walk down the hill to find the cab to direct him to my house where my luggage is, and he starts the meter as soon as I get in to direct him rather than when he gets to the actual pickup point), then get a nasty attitude about the fact that I want to pay with my card.

Or trying to hail a taxi in a busy part of town on a Saturday night, where I manage to walk a third of the way back home while occasionally futilely waving at the street before one deigns to pick me up.

Before regulating Uber out of business, the city might want to figure out if they can regulate taxis into being useful, or remove regulations that prevent competition and better providers to prevail. I understand why you want to have certain regulations for this kind of business, but something is definitely not working out properly in this industry and it could use a little shaking up.

Wait what?

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You dislike Uber, but then go on to list about how much better they are? Doesn't make much sense.

I use them at least once a week, they are cheaper than normal cabs, cleaner than normal cabs, take my credit card, give me 2x reward points now, no tipping awkwardness, and pick me up right where I need to be and show me exactly how long it'll take.

Sorry, but I hope the Taxi Cartel gets run out of town by them. I would like nothing more, because the normal cab experience has been broken for ages - it's just now that there's something capable of disrupting a seriously broken industry.

Made sense to me

There are things he dislikes about Uber. But the things he dislikes about our regional taxi services are more serious and numerous.

It's like saying there are things I dislike about the train. But let me tell you about the bus.

As Sock_Puppet points out, I

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As Sock_Puppet points out, I can dislike one thing but dislike the alternative even more.

Uber has a lot of advantages over taking a cab, but they do have their problems too. "Surge pricing" is one example; if you take away the marketing speak, it's what people generally refer to as "price gouging."

Tangent but relevant

The "surge" pricing have the same action as "congestion pricing" suggested by some UHubbers in the past in the car/traffic/parking posts. The intention maybe theoretically different - one is to make people commute/park/utilize different time versus profit-taking for no change in service - but the effects remains the same (with perhaps a different in cost if there is some difference on that).

Uber Rules!

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I've used Uber about 10 times since the day the cabs protested Uber. Not once has the experience been negative. Also noticed more cabs sitting vacant lately so Uber is having a big impact. And from talking to Uber drivers, they are able to play in a band at night or drop off their kids at school, drive for six hours and then pick them up so allows the drivers a flexible schedule in a car that isn't a piece of crap likes so many cabs I've ridden in! And even took one from the South End to the Mall at Chestnut Hill for $ attitudes like cabs give you about tipping either:)


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You dislike uber, but then state all they're doing is scheduling black cars...which is inoffensive. Then, what exactly do you dislike about them?

Oh, I don't know...

How about recent statements by Travis Kalanick CEO of Uber, where he hopes to someday use his strategic partnership with Google to be the first company to replace humans with driverless cars?Forgetting, of course, that it was the humans who put out their own money and credit to make Uber the over valued company that they are today.Add to that Uber's recent raise of their cut of the ride from 10 to 20% without raising their rates and you see how much Uber values the men and women who made them rich.

Though keep telling us much you love Uber! And keep insisting on only fair trade coffee!

But my name is

Let me first say that Uber is breaking no laws and they have every right to keep operating. I shed no tears for cab owners feeling the heat for the first time.

My dislike of Uber started with the fact you need to run an app on a smart phone and can't use a web browser. The Uber app on Android asks for all sorts of tracking permissions that they shouldn't need for the app to run. For a company run by libertarian they sure do seem to want a lot of personal info.

To go from my house in West Medford to Logan cost $60+ on Uber. It's 7 miles and about a 14 minute ride. Even taking the overpriced cabs w/tolls w/tip it rarely cost more then $45 in a normal cab. For some reason (aka money) they won't charge by the mile for that run which is about the only reason I ever take cabs. Yes the black car is nicer but it's hard not to feel ripped off.

I think the "surge" pricing Uber does is a scam. Yes, it's legal. But at a certain point no more drivers are available even if they wanted the cash so the whole thing stinks of a cash grab. In some cities it's "surge pricing" 20 hours a day. It would seem as if Uber is keeping the number of available drivers artificially low or fudging the numbers to make the surging happen more and more frequently.

But mostly I dislike Uber for the reasons that dvdoff has posted many times before.

Let me first say that Uber is

Let me first say that Uber is breaking no laws and they have every right to keep operating

Actually, I think they are breaking the law, which is why so many cities are cracking down on them.

For a company run by libertarian they sure do seem to want a lot of personal info.

That's hilarious. Expecting ethical behavior from a "libertarian". I believe the stock answer is "You're free to start your own service if you don't like it, otherwise, suck it up."

The problem with the tracking

The problem with the tracking is the terrible broken mess that is the Android operating system. Those prompts are common for just about any app. Try to install the Home Depot app for instance and look how much crap it wants. AFAIK it needs weird security prompts to do things like make a phone call when you say "contact driver" so of course this means it needs access to your contacts because Android is shit.

iOS doesn't do any of this mess.


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You don't like the tracking, but it seems like that's partially do to your OS. I like the fact that I don't have to enter my address to get picked up.

You don't like how much it costs to go to the airport. Well, that's how much they charge. Yes, it's because they want to make money, that's the point of the business, not to make your life easier. If you don't like spending the extra 30% for the airport ride, take the smelly cab, not the black car.

"Surge" pricing is a scam? I take uber probably 2-5 times a week and the only time I'll see surge pricing is during a storm (rain/snow), during rush hour, or rarely at 12-2am. So, when you see surge pricing, your option is to take a regular cab...there's no scam there. They tell you in advance that they're charging more during these times. Guess what though, odds are you won't be able to find a cab because DEMAND IS HIGH. Personally, I like the surge pricing. I obviously don't enjoy spending more money, but if my options are to not have a car available for me, or pay 1.5x more for my ride, I'd rather pay more.

Surge pricing IS a scam

Uber has been keeping their driver count low in other cities, and they were actually caught in San Diego admitting to it. Also, I have friends that have been professional chauffeurs for years who put their papers into Uber to have something to do in downtime literally months ago and still not heard back from Uber.

I believe that startup Gett is going to someday take over Uber. No surge pricing and they say they won't enter a city without having worked with local authorities first, which may be why they're only in NYC and SF right now. Apparently they're just going to sit back, watch the mistakes Uber's making and avoid them.

You have a funny definition of scam

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Uber tells you up front what the price will be, and asks you to confirm that you understand the price change. That is not a scam. Nobody is forcing you to pay or use their service. Having government step in and put price controls is veering scarily close to communism (yeah, actual communism, not the right-wing boogeyman) in a case where there is no compelling public interest argument to do so.

Calling it a "scam" just shows your irrationality. You have been lashing out all over this comment thread, which is unfortunate, because I think you have made some good comments about Uber and the livery business in past articles.

I am looking forward to seeing additional competitors step in. We already have Lyft and Sidecar, which for some reason do not attract the same level of attention (or ire). If Gett wants to come along too, I look forward to checking out their value proposition. It's also much better for drivers if there are various options to chose from.

For too long, the taxicab medallion cabal has formed a cartel that acts against the interest of customers, and against the interests of drivers. The regulators have never stepped in to help because they are in thrall to the medallion owners. In a better world, all those self-serving, corrupt, captured regulations that lock out car service competition would be invalidated by a court of law, applying basic anti-trust legislation.

I don't want to see a corrupt, broken system of medallions replaced by a corrupt, broken on-line system any more than you do. Luckily, it should not be difficult for competitors to break into this market, if the so-called "regulators" can start serving the public interest instead of their own.


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So by waiting to hire drivers in other cities (which has nothing to do with Boston), and not hiring your buddies in Boston, they're participating in scam? That's ridiculous.


Let me ask you this: I've been in the livery business 30 years this year, man and boy, how many years have you been in it? And to even more clear when Uber came along, I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. It's only being out on the street and seeing how they treat the people who make them what they are and the sleazy bullshit tactics of it's owners and some of it's drivers that cause me to flame them the way I do.

A low cost alternative to cabs that utilizes black cars and helps some friends of mine during the lean times? Why would I hate that? Maybe because it's run by greedy children who have never been behind the wheel of a livery vehicle in their lives and it shows. They're nothing more than slicker versions of the cab owners they claim to despise.

If it's any comfort

.. this happens a lot when code monkeys try to reinvent the wheel and pump it as a biz model.

I saw some hilarious messes with a bevy of start ups coming up with idiot user interfaces for event listings.

The glibertarian foundation of the smug coder subculture has them wading into all sorts of things where the idea falls flat when it leaves the gate.

The impassioned pearl clutching and rousing fist pumping for a glorified car stunt is a bit funny.

I rarely do cabs. The online system of cab companies is sleazy and strange but a bit of diligence will turn up someone in Andover who will get me out to the Ward Reservation but it's infested with shadow crooks.

In the city I just would never use em, I like the bus and subway. Uber sounds like a cyber rentier scheme, throw some code in the middle of a transaction, sit back and extract money.

It's like Goldman Sachs high frequency trading applied to getting people from A to B.

It's a first world problem.

I noticed some strange London Cab things in the north shore. They were ridiculous.

I found some old townie cabbie with a shitbox in Newburyport and he was great.

The future is automated

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The future is automated whether you want it to be or not. The idea that we can keep everybody gainfully employed becomes more and more laughable with the more automation our society receives. The idea that humans will always need other humans to drive them around, ring up their groceries, and wash their dishes is outdated. The rate increase seems kind of fishy, but you acting like their vision for the future shouldn't ever come true is way more disturbing than that.

Then why bother doing it now?

Why tell people to go out and buy a (now) 2010 or newer high end car on their own credit, pay for their own gas, own commercial, workman's comp and in some cases general liability insurance for the greater good of a company that is basically saying you will soon be replaceable? You think Uber offers a retirement plan for any of these people out killing themselves for basically the same money or even less than what they would make driving for a real black car service, where the company takes all that risk?

so don't do it!

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Technology changes. If you REALLY think there are going to be driverless cars in the next 10 years, don't go out and get in the livery business! Should government had protected the record business? Video rental stores? Evolve or die.

Yes, and there's so many

jobs to choose from nowadays! And yet no pity for those who ran out and extended themselves to the limit for Travis Kalanick and his man cave like office!

Don't sweat it, dvdoff

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When the automated cabs come out, just bill yourself as "retro" and there will always be a contingency for "doing it right" with a human in control. People still go and get straight razor shaves because they prefer the "old way". Look on the bright side, you'll also be able to charge twice as much for the "vintage appeal".

Uber shill

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It's so obvious. Uber pays people to comment on any article about them on a variety of websites.

No,it's true

Uber does employ people whose only job is to constantly monitor the internet for negative comments. As far as their commenting, I can't comment on that.


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I'm sure Uber hires tons of employees to hire random news blogs and tell other people who also use their service how great it is. You're being ridiculous.


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I work in finance, and I've seen many jobs eliminated due to technology. Does it suck? Of course, but at the same time, the idea that the markets have become more accessible to the average person and the inefficiencies that existed have been nearly eliminated in 15-20 years is pretty amazing.

Says at the bottom it applies

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Says at the bottom it applies to companies which maintain a place of business in Cambridge, or advertise that they provide service in Cambridge. Guessing Uber and Lyft will maintain that they do neither and will ignore the regulations

Innovation is stifled by over-regulation

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I don't use Uber or UberX for the slight discount. I use it for other reasons.

If you rent a taxi from a larger company that subleases medallions, because the car isn't a car that you and your family might use on a daily basis, the driver has less pride in the vehicle. When you use your own car, especially your family car, you treat it better and don't allow it to get filthy or smelly.

I've had too many cabbies take me on their own routes rather than a GPS suggested route and have ended up lost or paying high fares unnecessarily. "Broken" credit card machines are another all-too-common occurrence as well.

I had a cab driver extort money out of me that was triple the fare by making threats and demanding I go to an ATM and withdraw cash. His illegal actions were reported to police and the city took him to court and he lost. I've never encountered a shady Uber driver that acted like so many of these cabbies act.
Uber isn't perfect by any means, but if their business model is more appealing to the customer, the taxi industry should find a way to evolve rather than to suppress a cutting-edge business model.

Taxis either smell like ass or Axe, while Uber vehicles smell normal.

Taxi driver unions need to stop lobbying police hackney units. If they can figure out a way to be better than Uber by staying competitive and actually appealing, then they won't have much to worry about.

Once again, we are reminded of the real solution

1. scrap the medallion system
2. regionalize the system to match modern transport patterns
3. let any qualified car and driver pair enter the ring
4. rigorously enforce the rules (e.g. take credit cards and all fares or lose your license)

You are right, however step 3

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You are right, however step 3 & 4 cost money. Money will be needed to police the new environment and for the additional court proceedings (or administrative proceedings) required for violators.
So a step 5 is needed; which is a tax on each fare to support steps 1-4.

Six of one

A half dozen of the other. Good point that the cost should be built into the system, though.


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Not you really think that if ridership increased and tax revenue increased, the tax rate would decrease, or would this oversight division find various ways to spend the extra money. Every pol in the City would be recommending their cousins for jobs! Flat-rate on each license provided that goes to pay for oversight and inspection.

The Cambridge taxi system is

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The Cambridge taxi system is poorly maintained and poorly run, with taxi drivers that are badly trained and unable to navigate even the basic contours of Cambridge without hand-holding, much less the broader Boston area. In Cambridge, it's already basically impossible to hail a cab on the street outside of a couple of taxi stands and 2 or 3 major streets. Plus, the taxi rates are absolutely ludicrous; they are even higher than Boston's, and the city of Boston already has among the highest taxi fares of any major city in the country (possibly the highest, unless things have changed since this article came out). Basically, there is literally no social purpose that the city can possibly be claiming to defend outside of the financial interests of a few owners.

These kinds of regulations are government protectionism of the worst kind. Taxicab regulations evolved to solve problems that technology has simply made irrelevant, and so now all we're left with are the voices of the various interest groups that exist to profit off of the status quo.

When I lived in Cambridge, I

When I lived in Cambridge, I lost count of how many times I saw cabs pulling away from the curb (or driving down the street) without their headlights on. Cambridge cabbies are pretty scary.

Hey Cambridge

You gonna ban Facebook too? I have 1,000 friends on there. You ban Uber, I'll just start a private Facebook group of people to whom I'll sell rides for money. Then those consenting adults will get into my car and I'll drive them where they want to go.

It's 2014, you jerkoffs. The Internet exists. Try and stop anybody from making money driving people around without hailing fares off the street. Nobody's going to pay to take a ride from some scary person when they can get a ride from somebody they know and trust and has been vetted. Can't deal with that? Then secede from MA like Brookline should. Go join those know-it-alls and form your own state.

Übersetzung sie, bitte

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Not knocking you, but how much insurance do you guys have?

I like the idea of Uber a lot and might take it when I am in Boston, but my insurance does not cover me or you if I use my car for commercial purposes (deliveries, passengers for hire).

Where do you get insurance and how much does it add to your costs?

What does it cover?


3 levels of service

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Uber has 3 levels of service, one summons black cars which I believe are registered livery vehicles which would have proper insurance, another level summons regular cabs which would also be properly insured, the 3rd summons regular people using their own cars, like Lyft. I don't know what their insurance situation is. I would imagine using the car for commercial purposes would be excluded from their insurance unless they made special arrangements. I wonder if they would have to register their cars as "commercial" vehicles with commercial plates?

If you notice, you'll see a lot of cars on Mass roads

that have livery plates on them. Like black cars, I have seen livery plates on Accords, Corollas and many other small cars. These people are primarily UberX or Lyft drivers who have taken it upon themselves to properly insure and register their vehicles as required by the state. If you trust in the Uber or Lyft polices, you may find that you have to dip into your own pocket if there's an accident.

Did you read the Globe series on cabs?

You might have to dip into your own pocket with Uber ... but you WILL have to dip into your own pocket if you get in a wreck with at least the Boston cabs. Or sue them blue and then dip into your own pocket. Limos carry a lot more insurance and don't have their racketeering medallion owners controlling the insurance system.

Once again the LaTulippe formula of urban living is the answer!

Tell me genius, what will you pay for commercial insurance for that car of yours when you start your little mobile act of civil disobedience? How about the workmans's comp you'll have to carry? And as far as vetting, will you be charging your customers the dollar fee that Uber ridiculously charges their users to vet their drivers?

Most recent Minutes. Cambridge Boards/Commissions.

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Ask for the most recent Minutes of the most recent Public Meeting of the Cambridge Board/Commission. Because approval of Minutes are on the Agenda for the next Public Meeting, the most recent Minutes of the most recent Public Meeting are part of the public Agenda.

Cab owners have fought every

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Cab owners have fought every attempt to put more cabs on the streets. If taxi medallion owner thinks the city can get by with the same number of cabs as the 30's and 40's, citizens should be paying the same rates as the 30's and 40' can't have it both ways.


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You hit the nail on the head. If Boston had more taxis, and cab companies were smart enough to come up w/an app like uber for their cars 5 yrs ago, there would be no Uber (at least in Boston). Unfortunately, they weren't looking ahead, they didn't put their huge profits into their business, and technology caught up to them. The fact that the government has limited competition in the taxi business for so long as ridiculous, but they made their bed.

I'm no uber-fanboy but this

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I'm no uber-fanboy but this is getting ridiculous. Why is the establishment (hate using that term) so scared of new things here? Are food trucks and uber really that awful?

Same here.

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Yeah I'm no Uber fan boy either, and I find it ridiculous that Cambridge is even trying. Boston, its large hackney lobby, and its archaic ways.. I expect this. But liberal, progressive, technology loving Cambridge, I do not understand this at all. Its just anti-business and anti-technology. Cambridge (and other cities) need to understand that the technology is here to stay, either get with the program or risk losing residents and businesses because you are 'anti-business/technology'.

I'd kinda understand if cabbies were to step the game and adapt some of Ubers perks.. clean cars, gsp, no hassle payments, but they are not. They just want to force the same old crappy service and charge a ton for it.

Once again I am reminded why I seldom take cabs...


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I love Uber!!!!!

I will go back to taxis when they:

1.Clean the taxis, especially get rid of the dirty, disgusting smells, and have air-conditioning! Taxis are dirtier than the T.
2. Get off the damn phone!!!! The drivers are ALWAYS on the phone. The drivers have been on the phone in ninety-nine percent of the taxis I have taken in the past five years. Even at 2AM.
3. Use a GPS. Stop acting like they don't know how to get from say MGH to Harvard Square so they can see if I know the way. Sorry taxi drivers I am from here - I know how to get everywhere.
4. Always take debit or credit cards.

Even at 2AM???

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The horror! Let me clutch my pearls for you!

Yes, "the horror"

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At 2 a.m. bars closed and there are drunks on the road. I would be "clutching my pearls" if I was in the backseat of cab, who is more focused on his cell phone conversation than his driving.

Regional Approach Needed

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Let's just assume for a moment that there is some rational public policy objective in regulating a service that transports people around, in, and out of the city for money. Does it make any sense for Cambridge to set its own rules for Uber, which may differ from those in Somerville, Boston, Arlington, etc.? Over-regulation is a problem, but so is having a different set of rules in each city or town so neither customers not entrepreneurs have no idea what to expect. Why not try a regional approach to creating a consistent set of rules for the entire inner core of the region?

Why ban GPS-based billing, exactly?

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Is it because it's prone to error, falsification? Too technological? If that's the argument, then they might as well ban maps, street signs, etc. Just curious as to what the logic, or purported logic, is behind this.

The problem is that it

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The problem is that it differs from how taxi meters work, and the point of this ban is to prevent any competition.

I have heard it tossed around elsewhere though that there are concerns about using an external service to measure distance rather than measuring it straight from the vehicle's movement. Not sure whether those concerns include potential error, possibility of tampering, etc.

And yet, somehow no one ever

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And yet, somehow no one ever has any hard evidence to point to of these kinds of technical issues. Funny, isn't it?

Because that shuts down Uber. Nothing more to it.

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When I use an ehail app and see the price before I accept the offer, I don't really care if the price is based on GPS or goat entrails. Problems with GPS based fare calculation are moot if they're done upfront. As opposed to getting into a cab and being taken on the scenic route. I've taken to use my bike ride app when I'm in cabs to see if the cabbie's being a cheat.

Under the present law what is a "taxi service"?

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1. Go...

2. Ask one question: Under the present law what is a "taxi service"?

3. Note: under the current law, before any new regulations are passed.

4. Ask no more questions, make no suggestions.

5. The point is: Uber Taxi Company is a taxi company and must operate under the present law. No matter what Uber says.

Why won't established taxi companies invest in more advanced software that organizes their operations even better than the newcomer?

Three things:
1. This is of course not an important issue directly.

2. But, to answer it, Uber is large and has money. Uber is a multi-city and indeed multi-national corporation. The little cab companies, each confined to one city/state do not have money. So the little companies do not spend the money they do not have.

3. The present taxi companies do suffer one effect of being in a long established business: you tend not to think of new things. After all you are comfortable.

Large corporations like large nations have advantages over small organizations. Sometimes these advantages are used in such a way that some people are made worse off by the corporations actions. To return to the question: Let us suppose Uber has paid programmers to write a useful piece of software. So what? If Uber wishes to use the software to help run a taxi company, they are allowed by law to do so. But Uber would have to obey the law in the use of this new software. Uber refuses today to obey the law.

Take into account the sales of Medallions

Do you really think

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It costs that much money to come up with an app? And poor little cab companies don't have any money? I challenge. Again, see the Globe expose on Boston Cab and then tell me these sweet, innocent local businesses don't have the money/resources to upgrade service.

What is up with Cambridge here?

Uber is a tech darling, and people visiting Cambridge as a high-tech mecca expect such amenities as electronic hailing.

Cambridge has an historic and ongoing problem with too many cars, and has been addressing this with amenities that make car ownership less or unnecessary. Uber makes it possible to live without a car in Cambridge and get around in all hours and all weather. So why are they moving backward on this?

Cambridge is remarkably backwards in some ways

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I mean, they still have minimum parking requirements! Even for bars! Talk about insane. Encouraging drinking and driving though the zoning code? Really, Cambridge? It's not nineteen-fucking-seventy-four anymore. Not to mention, the batshit crazy residents who want to "preserve" the surface parking lots around Central because they are "open space". Yeah right.

In this particular case, I think they're attacking Uber because some Cambridge public official is receiving bribes from the taxicab medallion owner cabal. So they have to "do something" in return. I look forward to the police investigation that tosses the corrupt public official(s) in jail. (fat chance, sigh)

Funny thing here though is that I'm speculating that this kind of old-school public corruption is going to run into a new sort of moneyed interest. I can hardly believe that Google would fail to take notice if their major investment in Uber were disrespected by the locals. Not to mention all the "limousine liberals" that infest places like Cambridge (and SF, etc).

So the means will be questionable, but if the ends include kicking a corrupt official to the curb (or better yet, jail) then it may well be worthwhile.

No, they're attacking Uber

for the fact that on Friday and Saturday night, Cambridge is lousy with Uber drivers, may of whom do not wait for the app to send them trips, so they're soliciting on the street. The cabbies and the owners and some of the business owners spoke up and now Cambridge is taking it a lot more seriously than Boston is.

Believe me,there is not that type of relationship between the cops, public officials and the cab owners in Cambridge. Boston,as everyone's now discovered, is a different story.

Soliciting on the street is obviously not Uber

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Cambridge is lousy with Uber drivers, may of whom do not wait for the app to send them trips, so they're soliciting on the street

That's not Uber, that's drivers behaving like so-called "gypsy" cabs. The point of Uber is that I don't have to flag a vehicle, bargain, or handle cash.

"Gypsy" cabs are much more common in NYC that I've noticed. Especially uptown Manhattan and the outer boroughs. It comes about because "regular" taxicabs won't work those areas.

Sometimes they are livery drivers just looking for extra cash. You wouldn't blame your livery company if one of their drivers started behaving like that (maybe if they didn't crack down after finding out). I'm not sure why you hold Uber to any higher a standard.

I think this just speaks to the need for more competition, for more such services to break into the market. If drivers feel like they're getting a bad deal from Uber then they can switch to the new service. Same goes for customers.

Um, no

There needs to be some basic regulation and safety requirements.

See also Mexico City.

Um. yes

Gypsy cabs are licensed, insured, and regulated -- as car service cars rather than as taxis. Main difference is that they aren't allowed to pick up fares who hail them on the street, and your fare doesn't need to be jacked up to support the debt service on a medallion that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Not necessarily...

Take a ride over to the Shaw's in Central Square in Eastie sometimes. There are three or four guys in old shitbox former cabs with livery plates that act as gypsy cabs. They take the locals back and forth to the market because Boston cabs won't service Eastie. The cops pretty much leave them alone, as they service the elderly mostly.

Soliciting rides on the

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Soliciting rides on the street is already illegal. So why do we need new regulations limiting ordering car services by smartphone, and setting a minimum $50 fare, which has nothing to do with street soliciting of cash rides?

Uber & Lyft: Illegal Almost Everywhere

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Memo to Cambridge

Foreget about issuing cease and desist orders to Uber and Lyft, they have ignored htem everywhere they have been served those.

Lyft is not 'donation' based, they have said that at meetings and its just not true, google 'Lyft changes pricing' and see.

Uber still has not compensated family run down ina cross walk and a 6 six year old was killed in San Francisco this past new year citing 'no insurance coverage' despite the driver had the app on and admited trolling for fares.

See Uber policy here:
(see exclusions and disclaimers)

BTW? While Lyft asserts they have a deal with Metlife for coverage? Ask then to prove that. Metlife VP Chris Stern in DC has no information to that effect.

Uber and Lyft are both accused of being parasites and racketeers sued under the R.I.C.O. Act.

Cambridge is rightly on to them!

Coming from New York, I don't

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Coming from New York, I don't understand the whole regulation-of-cars-you-call thing.

In New York, if you hail it, it's a taxi. If you call it, it's a car service, which has safety and licensing regulations but no medallion system. You know in advance who you're dealing with, so there's no government price control or limit on the number of licenses.

Sorry I was a little unclear.

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Sorry I was a little unclear. I was trying to say that while car services are regulated and licensed for safety in NYC, there's no taxi-style regulation limiting the number of them, nor the fare.

Less business for Cambridge

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If Cambridge makes it impossible for me to take my preferred transportation home I will be less inclined to go into Cambridge and spend money.

I am not fooled; this isn't about making passengers safer; it's about protecting a favored monopoly.

I don't know what's true or

I don't know what's true or not as I didn't click the link because it's a gawker site and I don't want to have to guess which is true or not.


The same could be said about every website. Just because Adam likes to sit back and throw the occasional side of raw meat to the bike vs. car crowd, it does not make the postings less true.

Gawker have been involved in

Gawker have been involved in illegal activities like receipt of stolen property (iPhone 4), numerous tasteless junk like just about everything involving the marathon including the recent bandit runner ordeal and they editorialize almost everything for the sake of scandal and getting noticed.

In other words

They're a website. None of your semi-hysterical pearl-clutching (OMG they received a stolen IPHONE!!! LOCK THEM UP!!!!) actually has any relevance to the news sources they link to (The Stranger, Time Magazine and CBS 5 in San Francisco), but then again I imagine that you probably consider all San-Francisco-based news stories inherently untrustworthy because, well, you know.

Those are proper journalistic

Those are proper journalistic sources, not a sensationalist blog that among other things, prides itself on its TMZ esque snarky blogging and editorializing issues. They are no more a news source than worldstarhiphop.and deserve no attention.

Also their purchase of a stolen iPhone prototype violated California Penal Code and instead of returning it to the source, decided to blog about it in order to - surprise - get attention. That is scum and one reason why I will never click a gawker link.

Most recent Minutes of Cambridge & Boston Boards/Commissions

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6:30pm Today! Wed 18 June 2014
Public Meeting of Library Board at Cambridge Public Library involving Constructive Censorship, Freedom of Information, Intellectual Freedom, Freedom to Read Public Library's Public Archives

No longer are library staff, library users, library stakeholders, any with an interest satisfied with only meeting the public records requirements, including Freedom of Information obligations, Sunshine Open Public Meetings requirements in a reactive way, responding to citizen-generated requests slowly on paper. Instead, Open Data and Open Government call for proactive information sharing, inviting transparency, scrutiny, and accountability. Cambridge Public Librarians are asked to put into practice Intellectual Freedom and Freedom to Read principles of the library professions.

Minutes of the most recent Public Meeting of our Library Board are on the Agenda to be voted on for approval at the next Public Meeting. The complete Agenda including the most recent Minutes are public and not to be constructively censored by delay, deflecting or requiring fees to read the most recent Minutes!