A D.C. taxi driver of 28 years who goes by Mr. Paul reports that the government shutdown has cut his daily pay by about 75 percent. “It’s hard to believe that some days I come home with $26,” he says. “Before the shutdown, I would be striving to make $80 to $100 every day I work.”
His rent of $1500 off Fort Lincoln Drive NE is due on the 5th of each month. He shares a two bedroom unit. He says that if he’s late on his rent, a late payment fee is applied. “The only way I paid my rent this month is because I’m borrowing. I’m very lucky that I could call my son this month and borrow.”
As he drove a City Paper reporter down 16th Street NW on Tuesday, he explained his days. “This morning, I came out at 4 a.m., and you are my second customer.” It was 8:15 a.m. “All of us are suffering, not only myself. I go down 14th Street, and no one has a passenger.”
He says that Union Station is no better. “Because there are no tourists coming in, cab drivers wait one hour, two hours, before they pick up somebody.” On Sunday night at Union Station at 8 p.m., several cabs that had been waiting to circle through the station’s taxi lane drove away without passengers. No one waited in line for a cab.
Mr. Paul says that one of the worst aspects of the shutdown is that it creates an atmosphere of uncertainty. But he doesn’t believe that this will end any time soon. “It might stay for a long time because it’s a matter of ego,” he says. “The shutdown is biting.”
A coming milestone in the automobile world is the widespread rollout of Level 4 autonomy, where the car drives itself without supervision. Waymo, the company spun out of Google’s self-driving car research, said it would start a commercial Level 4 taxi service by late 2018, although that hadn’t happened as of press time. And GM Cruise, in San Francisco, is committed to do the same in 2019, using a Chevrolet Bolt that has neither a steering wheel nor pedals.
These cars wouldn’t work in all conditions and regions—that’s why they’re on rung 4 and not rung 5 of the autonomy ladder. But within some limited operational domain, they’ll have the look and feel of a fully robotized car. The question is how constrained that domain will be.
The flying car — the stuff of sci-fi dreams for decades — could become a reality next year and spark the biggest disruption to urban life since the postwar baby boom and interstate highway system.
From “The Jetsons” to “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” “Blade Runner” and “Back to the Future,” the flying car has been pop culture’s ultimate symbol of the future. Now, aerospace giants like Boeing (BA) and Airbus(EADSY), Silicon Valley startups like Uber, and auto giants like Toyota (TM), Volkswagen (VWAGY) and Daimler (DDAIF) are racing to make short-range air travel part of daily life.
“It’s coming because it has to,” said Robin Lineberger, the leader of Deloitte’s Aerospace & Defense industry practice. “We have no more room on the ground to move cars around.”
Washington, DC’s Department of For-Hire Vehicles (DFHV) has launched a platform for riders to track taxis and limos in real-time.
Known as an application program interface (API), the software provides a visual representation of where the taxis and limos are and can also show the identification numbers of specific vehicles. Five developers, including TransitScreen and Redmon Group, have registered to use the service.
“It’s difficult to list all the benefits of our APIs, but it’s important to note that economic impact is among them,” DFHV Director Ernest Chrappah said in a statement. “Whether we facilitate the transport of business leaders or government officials to meetings, or ensure that a visitor enjoys a seamless sightseeing experience, the apps our APIs make possible can help ensure the District remains a commerce and tourism center.”
As the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., will always attract tourists who need ride-share services to navigate the region and be transported to places like the Lincoln Memorial.
But the top destinations in the region for Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. suggest a higher percentage of those in the region use Lyft for day-to-day transportation, whereas Uber Technologies Inc. users are more likely to be tourists or travelers going places of interest like MGM National Harbor.
One example: The Walmart Supercenter at 99 H St. NW in NoMa and the Target at 3100 14th St. NW in Columbia Heights are the third- and fourth-most popular Lyft destinations for drop-offs and pickups this year. Eastover Shopping Center in Oxon Hill is Lyft’s sixth-most popular spot, according to data provided by the company.
You can take a look at the top 10 destinations for both services in the gallery above.
Lyft, which recently became the official ride-share service of Events D.C., said 20 percent of riders…