Singing About Love: Hailu Mergia Interviewed (4-10-18)

Photo by Piotr Gruchala

After finding a Hailu Mergia tape in a shop in Ethiopia, then Googling a phone number to get in touch, Brian Shimkovitz reissued the dreamy, hypnotic 1985 solo album, Hailu Mergia And His Classical Instrument back in 2013 on his label Awesome Tapes from Africa. With it, he introduced the snake charmer synths and psychedelic-kitsch accordion sounds of this legendary Ethiopian bandleader and jazz musician to a whole new young, hip audience. It was followed up by reissues of Mergia’s 1977 beautiful Ethio-jazz albums Tche Belew and last year’s Wede Harer Guzo, built on moody ancient scales and standards.

Mergia, who was working as an airport taxi driver at the time, loved the out-of-the-blue comeback and the opportunity to tour the world, and now at 71, is keeping the momentum up with new writing. In February, Awesome Tapes released Lala Belu, Mergia’s first new album in over 15 years, recorded in London and mixed in Washington DC, near his home in Maryland.

Read Full Story Here (via The Quietus)

Nats’ Home Opener Brings Changes To Parking, Traffic, Ride Sharing Near Park (4-3-18)

Washington Nationals center fielder Roger Bernadina warms up near the Nationals logo on the grass before a baseball game with the Florida Marlins at Nationals Park in Washington Saturday, April 18, 2009. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON — The Washington Nationals’ home opener Thursday is the first of many days this year that parking rules, traffic and transit will change in areas around Nationals Park due to crowds of fans.

Traffic impacts

With ongoing construction around the stadium, the District Department of Transportation warns that Nationals fans and commuters near the stadium should add extra time to their trips. The delays could also slow commuter buses that stop nearby.

“Heavy traffic and delays are to be expected around the ballpark and on busy routes such as I-295, I-695, I-395 and the Southeast/Southwest Freeway,” DDOT said in a statement.

Continued work to build over the Third Street Tunnel could also add to delays.

Before and after games, traffic signal timing is changed at dozens of intersections in an effort to reduce the backups.

Read Full Story Here (via WTOP)

Electric Cars Could Save Ride-Sharing Drivers $5,200 a Year (4-2-18)

Electric Cars Could Save Ride-Sharing Drivers $5,200 a Year

The rapid growth of transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Lyft, Uber and Ride Austin creates a unique opportunity for vehicle electrification, with benefits to cities, drivers and riders. In New York and San Francisco, TNC and cab rides account for 19 percent of all local vehicle miles traveled during weekdays. If half of these TNC drivers went electric, they would offset 1.5 billion pounds of carbon from the atmosphere each year and improve local air quality within the city.

In addition to these environmental benefits, electric vehicles are also significantly cheaper to operate than gas vehicles, despite having a higher upfront price tag. This can be attributed to savings in fuel and maintenance, which scale by how much the vehicle is driven. Highly active TNC drivers are ideal candidates for EVs because they put more miles on their car each year than the average driver. Based on our calculations, full-time TNC drivers working 50 hours a week can save an average of $5,200 per year in total vehicle expenses with an EV as compared to a typical gas vehicle.

The mobility team at Rocky Mountain Institute has been targeting high-utilization vehicles for electrification, as they demonstrate the best economics for EV operation and the highest potential for carbon offset. For the past two years, RMI has partnered with the City of Austin, Texas, to support its mobility goals toward developing shared, electric and autonomous mobility services. Austin offers unique EV charging programs that further bolster the economic savings of driving an electric vehicle.

Read Full Story Here (via Green Tech Media)

Daimler, BMW Agree To Combine Ride-Sharing Businesses (3-28-18)

That’s what the BMW Group and Daimler AG set out to do today, entering a new phase of collaboration, this time by joining forces in the field of mobility services, as previously rumored.

BMW and Daimler AG, the owner of Mercedes-Benz, said they will continue to compete in their core business of building and selling vehicles.

European auto giants Daimler and BMW, whose car-sharing services compete in Seattle and other USA cities, have agreed to combine their “mobility services business units,” in a bid to dominate the new market of app-based shared transportation options.

The idea is to create a single digital ecosystem that customers can use to hail a taxi, rent a vehicle for short stints, or find and pay for parking. The company declined to comment further on the news and noted that customers won’t see any changes until the deal gets the sign-off from regulators. The two companies will not merge their respective autonomous vehicle development programs.

Read Full Story Here (via Newburgh Gazette)

Rideshare Drivers Mostly Earning Less Than Minimum Wage: MIT Report (3-3-18)

 

The median profit before taxes earned by ride-hailing drivers at either service is about $3.37, or less than half of the minimum wage in most states, researchers at MIT’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research wrote in their newly published working paper, “Economics of Ride-Hailing: Driver Revenue, Expenses and Taxes.”

Culled from interviews conducted with over 1,100 Uber and Lyft drivers, the analysis “provides one of the first detailed estimates of ride-hailing profit,” its authors wrote.

Read Full Story Here (via Washington Times)