D.C.’s Taxi, Uber, and Lyft Drivers Suffer Severe Cutbacks in Pay During Shutdown (1-8-19)

DARROW MONTGOMERY

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.”

Read Full Story Here (via Washington City Paper)

In 2019, We’ll Have Taxis Without Drivers—or Steering Wheels (1-3-19)

Illustration: Blood Bros.

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.

Read Full Story Here (via IEEE Spectrum)

The 4 Most Popular Ride-Sharing Services of 2018 (12-24-18)

IMAGE SOURCE: UBER.

2018 was another big year for ride-sharing services as they continued to disrupt the broader mobility market. It’s been little more than five years since passengers began hailing cars through smartphone apps, but services like Uber and Lyft are now mainstream, challenging traditional taxi operations and even surpassing them in a number of cities, including New York, the biggest ride-hailing market in the U.S.

Beyond taxis, ride-sharing services have also presented challenges to rental car companies like Hertz and Avis, and even threatened to disrupt traditional car ownership in cities since hailing a ride wherever you are has never been easier or more convenient. The so-called driverless car revolution would only hasten the transition to ride-sharing by making the service cheaper, eliminating the need and cost for a driver.

Below are the four most popular ride-sharing services this year in the U.S.

Read Full Story Here (via The Motley Fool)

A New Day At DFHV (December 2018)

Greetings Washingtonians,

I am honored to join the Department of For-Hire Vehicles as Interim Director. As a seasoned urban planner with a keen interest in transportation, I envision a transportation ecosystem that moves people reliably, efficiently, and safely across our city.

My journey to Washington, DC began in San Jose, California, where I grew and became the first in my family to graduate from college. As an undergrad at the University of California, Merced, I decided to apply to the UCDC Program that took me to Washington, DC for my final semester. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Spending time in one of the most progressive cities in the country gave me the perspective that there are like-minded, hard-working people here that are trying to achieve their goals and dreams.

I previously served as the Director of the DC Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (MOAPIA), a role I held for more than three years. Before that, I served in the Executive Office of the Mayor (EOM) of Washington, DC during the administrations of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Mayor Vincent C. Gray. I also worked with various community-based organizations to promote capital improvement grants at the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED). Through these experiences, I have gained a unique understanding of the District of Columbia and its most pressing issues.

As Interim Director of the DFHV, I am committed to a thriving for-hire market that supports Mayor Bowser’s Vision Zero plan, which protects pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists alike. Moreover, I want to see how we can incentivize green infrastructure so that drivers will find it more advantageous to use alternative-fuel vehicles.  I also intend to continue innovating and using big data in a way that is consistent with the vision of the Bowser administration.

I want to ensure that there is a transportation landscape where multiple types of for-hire services can exist. I want the DFHV to continue to ensure that for-hire vehicle operators serve our community safely. I also want to further improve the complaint process for not only the public but for drivers, too.

From for-hire vehicles to buses, bike share, dockless options, walking, and a reliable Metro system, having diverse transportation options benefits everyone in all eight wards. Innovative transportation options move us toward a more accessible DC. We want to position transportation as a service to overcome barriers to obtaining a ride, such as lacking funds, a disability, or neighborhood location. We need to look at transportation as a means of ensuring that all people can get to their essential daily activities safely.

When I’m not serving the District, you can find me at some of my favorite spots in DC. Almost every Saturday morning at 8:00, I enjoy a bagel at Buffalo & Bergen in Union Market and then head to a cycling class. I like going to Pub and the People after a long day of work for a beer and a great burger (tip: their cauliflower tempura with hoisin sauce is pretty good). I get dim sum in Logan Circle every Sunday morning at Da Hong Pao. The line is long, but they have the best dim sum in the city (tip: the bar is first come, first served). I’m an avid Capitals fan. Last year, I went to the playoffs to see them beat the Penguins. #RocktheRed

The DFHV will play a crucial role in managing the evolution of transportation and the for-hire industry. I look forward to working together with operators, drivers, stakeholders, passengers, and the public to achieve our shared goal of ensuring residents and visitors have safe, affordable, and accessible transportation options.

 David Do, Interim DFHV Director