Lyft To Hospital? New DC Program Aims To Free Up Ambulances For Life-Threatening 911 Calls (4-19-18)

Patients who are not experiencing medical emergencies will be taken to clinics like Community of Hope in Southwest D.C. (WTOP/John Aaron)

WASHINGTON — Instead of getting an ambulance, some 911 callers in the District could be sent a taxi or a Lyft. It’s part of an effort to free up ambulance crews for the most serious emergencies.

“More frequently than any of us are comfortable with, the calls that we get are in fact not emergencies,” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, “and those calls are taking up an ambulance and taking up space in an emergency room.”

Under the program launched Thursday, callers with issues that are not life-threatening will be directed to a medical clinic or urgent care facility; 23 of those facilities around the city are taking part in the program.

Decisions on whether to send a patient to a doctor’s office instead of a hospital will be made with the help of a new “nurse triage line.” Emergency call-takers will be able to transfer callers who meet certain criteria to a nurse who’s experienced in emergency medicine. The nurse can then decide if the caller should be directed to a clinic or urgent care and can arrange transportation.

“For most of our callers who go through the nurse triage line, they’ll actually be sent a vehicle to pick them up right away,” said Dr. Robert Holman, medical director for D.C. Fire and EMS. Either taxis or Lyft vehicles would be provided.

Read Full Story Here (via WTOP)

Five Surprising Ways Driverless Cars Will Affect Real Estate (4-5-18)

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For most of the last century, the automotive industry has focused on developing more powerful, comfortable and fuel-efficient vehicles for drivers. But over the past decade, automakers have begun asking a much more exciting question: What if we didn’t need a driver at all?

Whether it is scary or exciting to you, the transportation revolution has begun! Driverless cars are on the horizon, and the implications of this technology will greatly impact just about every industry you can think of, including real estate. As a broker in Los Angeles, which is home to the world’s worst traffic congestion, it’s my business to think about how driverless cars will affect my clients — and real estate at large.

The transportation revolution will affect the housing market in five surprising ways:

Read Full Story Here (via Forbes)

D.C.’s Gift to Uber and Lyft (4-15-18)

Some policymakers are increasingly concerned about the concentration of power in a small number of companies, leading to calls for more expansive antitrust policy or stricter regulations across a range of industries. However, government policies create barriers to entry that lead to the market concentration that fuels their consternation.

The most recent example is in Washington D.C., where Mayor Bowser’s office recently said that ride-hailing company Via had 90 days to broaden its coverage areas to comply with a District law. If not, Via would face penalties in the form of fines or even the loss of its license. While the law, and D.C.’s new commitment to enforce it, is designed to ensure more access to ride-haling for all District residents, it is more likely to contribute to higher barriers to entry for ride-hailing companies. These barriers would only further entrench established incumbents.

The new warning stems from officials recently learning that Via’s sphere of operation does not extend to the entire city, with Wards 7 and 8 east of the Anacostia River and neighborhoods in the upper Northwest and Northeast falling outside of the sphere. The limited sphere of operation runs afoul of provisions in the Vehicle for Hire Innovation Amendment Act of 2014, which requires ride-hailing companies using digital dispatch to “provide service throughout the entire District.”

Read Full Story Here (via Economics 21)

Uber Is Adding Safety Features It Resisted For Years (4-12-18)

Uber will add a “911” button and bolster driver screenings, according to an announcement from CEO Dara Khosrowshahi on Thursday. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

After years of resisting major changes pushed by riders and government regulators, Uber announced upgrades this week it said are aimed at keeping its U.S. ride-hail customers safe.

The mobility company will add an emergency 911 feature akin to a “panic button” — a type of enhanced 911 that connects passengers directly with emergency personnel, and allows them to share their location with the operator. The company said it also will bolster driver screening by mandating annual reviews of background checks to ensure drivers remain in compliance with its standards. And it plans to allow riders to share their trip information with up to five “trusted contacts” on every trip so there are multiple sets of eyes to ensure rides go smoothly, the company said.

The changes, expected to be in place this summer, were unveiled as part of a broad package of changes that CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said represent a push to “double down on safety in our app” and “strengthen our screening process.”

Read Full Story Here (via The Washington Post)