Thursday, August 27, 2015

LAX Pick Ups - It is still the customer's choice

With the news of LA law makers agreeing to allow Uber and Lyft type companies into the arrivals area at LAX there comes another issue, the rising cost of the fare. Also, will the city of Los Angeles hold TNC companies to the fire for only using contact workers and not employees?

Some drivers are speculating that travelers will not be willing to pay the additional $4 to be picked up at the white zone. Instead, they may opt to how things have been going on for quite sometime and working quite well.

For the past few years that TNC operators have been operating near the airport, parking on side streets near La Cienega and Century. Seasoned travelers have been using Uber, Lyft and Sidecar by hopping on the shuttles or the free bus to the transit mall and requesting their ride shares outside the airport.
Perhaps the powers that be at LAX should take a drive down to John Wayne and see how it is working quite well.  Drivers park outside of the airport and are not permitted into the airport unless they are delivering a passenger or picking up someone in arrivals. When the driver gets a request, they call the passenger to find out what terminal they are waiting and what number column they are standing by. LAX does not have column numbers but they do have an arrivals area for every airline. That should work quite nicely.

We will see in the weeks ahead how they plan to make this happen.

Los Angeles lawmakers approve plan that would allow Uber and Lyft pickups at LAX


In a nod to consumer demands and the realities of disruptive technology, Los Angeles became the largest city in the nation Tuesday to open the door for ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft to fully operate alongside taxis at its airport.

After weeks of debate over the potential risks of app-based ride companies, the L.A. City Council approved a policy that would allow Uber and Lyft to apply for permits to pick up passengers at Los Angeles International Aiport, a service they’re currently barred from providing.

“People are baffled that they can take ride share to the airport but can’t take one home,” said Councilman Mike Bonin, a vocal advocate of Uber and Lyft whose Westside district includes the airport. He said the policy will improve the LAX experience for passengers who have “suffered too long with too few choices.”

Fueled by lobbying spending by taxi companies and their new, rapidly growing competitors, lawmakers discussed for weeks whether the background checks used by Uber and Lyft to screen their tens of thousands of drivers put customers at risk.

Taxi companies have complained that the start-ups have an unfair competitive advantage because their drivers are held to less stringent standards than licensed cabbies.

Council members Gil Cedillo, Mitch O’Farrell, Nury Martinez, Paul Krekorian, Paul Koretz and Curren Price voted against allowing the permit policy to move ahead. All but Price voiced concerns with the background checks that Uber and Lyft currently perform. The final vote was 9-6.

“I see no reason whatsoever why the rush,” O’Farrell said, urging his colleagues to send the permit policy back to the airport with requests for changes. “What we have on the table, in my view, is a series of inequalities, and a double standard. I can’t in good conscience support that.”

The City Council agreed to ask the California Public Utilities Commission, the state agency that regulates Uber and Lyft, to add fingerprinting as a part of the required background check process for all for-hire drivers, including those operating limousines, shuttles and ride-hail cars. L.A. cabbies already are fingerprinted and checked against FBI criminal databases.

Airport officials have said that Uber and Lyft operate less like taxi services and more like shuttle or limousine companies, whose drivers do not undergo background checks to work at LAX.

In a last-minute amendment, council members instructed the city attorney to explore the city’s legal authority to require fingerprint background checks for ride-hailing services if state regulators fail to act.

“Yes, no system is perfect — I can accept that — but that doesn’t equalize the two systems,” Cedillo said, urging a fingerprinting requirement. “In fact, one is better.”

The last remaining hurdle will be finalizing the contracts between the companies and the city.

The companies must be able to prove that their apps can provide data the city seeks, including the number of trips that their drivers take onto airport property and how many cars are inside the terminal area at any given time.

If that process goes as smoothly as Mayor Eric Garcetti and other proponents hope, Uber and Lyft could be operating at LAX in a matter of weeks.

The City Council action is a major setback for the taxi industry. LAX, the busiest airport on the West Coast, is viewed as one the last strongholds of lucrative fares for Southern California's struggling cabbies.

Representatives for Uber and Lyft argued during the City Hall debate that their background checks are as good as the fingerprint-based FBI screenings they are being pressured to adopt.

Concerns intensified last week when the top prosecutors for Los Angeles and San Francisco said they had found 25 Uber drivers with serious criminal records, including murder, assault and driving under the influence.

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“It is incredibly unfair to demonize the hundreds of thousands of people who drive for Uber and Lyft as criminals and rapists,” Bonin said during Tuesday's meeting. He added that some features of the background checks that the companies already use could be stronger than screenings used for taxi drivers.

Several council members, citing the popularity of the services and some consumer information features built into the services' apps, said they were satisfied with the background checks and other security features that the companies currently use, including a rating system for drivers and passengers.

“Safety is a complicated issue,” Councilman Bob Blumenfield said. “It’s not as simple as background check, no background check.”

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Question of the week: Chasing Surges

Joe from San Diego posted this on a LYFT Drivers Facebook Group:

 Why is it every time I reach a primetime area primetime disappears and goes back to normal?

Never chase a surge. It is based on supply and demand. When drivers show up to the area it causes the surge to go down.

Note the areas you want to work in where surges are high on certain days, drive there and put it in park.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Driver weekly feedback - LOL!

This just goes to show that you can not please everyone.

Some dumb son of a bitch though my car could fly over the flow of traffic.

At least I got his dumb ass to his destination alive and he is alive to complain about it!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Plan for Uber, Lyft service at LAX clears key City Hall hurdle

Source:  Los Angles Times

The odds that Uber and Lyft will soon be fully operational at Los Angeles International Airport appear to be increasing, despite some political hesitation at City Hall and calls for tighter screening of the ride-hailing services’ drivers.

A City Council committee heard hours of testimony Tuesday from warring sides in the latest local battle over the economic disruption being caused by rapidly growing start-ups in the so-called sharing economy.

In the end, lawmakers voted 3-2 to support a policy that would allow Uber and Lyft to seek permits to pick up airport passengers, a service they currently are banned from providing.

The prospect of ride-sharing companies such as Uber or Lyft is being debated in City Hall.
The city’s airport commission approved such a permitting plan last month, subject to final contract negotiations with the ride services. But council members intervened in the process and chose to conduct their own review. The matter now moves to the full council, where it will be voted on later this summer.

The council will consider a series of recommendations adopted by the committee. Those include creating a simple complaint system that would be available to passengers of the ride-hailing services who take trips to or from LAX. Lawmakers also suggested the full council ask state regulators to mandate fingerprint-based background checks on Uber and Lyft drivers.

The airport is the most lucrative and closely guarded piece of the traditional taxi industry's stronghold in Southern California. Taxi leaders have fought to keep Uber and similar companies from operating there, saying they have a competitive advantage because their drivers are held to less stringent screening standards than licensed cabbies.

Prospective Uber and Lyft drivers do not submit fingerprints as part of state-required background checks. By contrast, L.A. taxi drivers have their prints checked through federal criminal databases.

During Tuesday's five-hour hearing, lawmakers focused on whether drivers for taxi companies and ride-hailing companies should be held to the same standards.

Uber and Lyft have argued their driver screening processes are as effective as those used for cab drivers, and fingerprint checks would be redundant.

The Times recently reported that four Uber drivers cited at LAX had criminal convictions, including manslaughter, that would have barred them from driving a taxi in Los Angeles.

Council members have expressed a desire to level the playing field for limo drivers, cabbies and their start-up counterparts at the West Coast’s largest airport. But the difficulties of accomplishing that became clearer Tuesday.

The airport’s proposed licensing agreements with Uber and Lyft, which are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission, follow the state agency’s requirements for background checks, which do not include fingerprinting, Los Angeles World Airports Executive Director Deborah Flint said.

Uber and Lyft operate less like airport taxi services and more like shuttle or limousine companies, she said, and should be held to the state regulatory standards.

“We don’t impose additional requirements,” Flint said. “The airport has taken the position of being consistent.”

A PUC representative said the agency is considering amending its regulations to require fingerprinting as part of background checks for Uber and Lyft drivers.

Councilman Paul Krekorian expressed concern over Uber’s record of compliance, citing a California administrative law judge's recommendation to fine the company $7.3 million for failing to provide the state required reports on its operations.

The PUC’s Denise Tyrrell told the committee that as of Monday Uber was “in full compliance” with its reporting requirements. However, she added, that does not negate the recommended penalty for past reporting problems. Uber has said it is appealing the proposed fine.

With or without tighter background checks, LAX’s pending operating rules would be among “the most restrictive agreements we’ve agreed to around the country,” said Joe Okpaku, Lyft’s director of public affairs.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Dealing with Feedback

People react to criticism differently.

I personally don't take these seriously, especially from LYFT.  Uber drivers can get deactivated if ratings dip below 4.6 but for the most part these are tabulate from an average of 500 rides.

If a new Uber driver dips below a 4.6 this can be bad news.  Reactivation usually involves a $60 class and a 30 day trial period to get those ratings back up over 4.7

Educating riders on the importance of the rating system helps to keep those numbers up. Tell your rider that you rate them too and you are giving them five stars when the ride is over.

If a rider ratings dip drivers may not so eager to pick them up.

Here is how I react to ratings:

If this driver was "Awesome" then why the heck didn't you give the driver 5 stars? 

12 five star rides and one not?  Get with the program!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Bernie Sanders Says He Has "Serious Problems" With Uber Because It's "Unregulated"

Source: Reason Magazine article dated August 7, 2015

Bernie Sanders Says He Has "Serious Problems" With Uber Because It's "Unregulated"

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the self-described democratic socialist currently running for the Democratic presidential nomination, says he has "serious problems" with car service company Uber because it's "unregulated." 

Sanders made the remark in an interview with Bloomberg News. There doesn't appear to be any additional context to the quote. But for Sanders, there probably doesn't need to be. The fact that Uber is big, successful—it was recently valued at $51 billion—and relatively innovative is problem enough. The only way to solve that problem with regulation. 

Or, perhaps, more regulation. Sanders seems to be wrong to say that Uber is unregulated. A spokesperson for the company told The Hill that 54 different jurisdictions already have regulations for ride-hailing services in place. That's just what's in place already. Cities like New York and states like California have proposed and debated a slew of additional regulations over the last year or so. Uber, in other words, is already regulated—and, sadly, likely to grow more regulated over time. 

Read Reason's Brian Doherty on the various regulations faced by Uber and other ride-sharing companies here, here, and here. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Drive for Uber and get a sign in bonus!

Earn extra cash driving people around with your 4 door vehicle.

Work your own hours.
Be your own boss.

Uber Drivers are independent contractors who work where and when they want.

Apply today and get $150 sign in bonus!

Use this link:

Uber drivers encouraged to drive for LYFT as well!

Uber has a very high bar for drivers and deactivation can become a reality after ratings dip below 4.6 stars.

Don't take a chance on losing income by driving for LYFT.  

Uber drivers are independent contractors and under no obligation to only driver for Uber.

Bringing on an additional TNC app is like fishing with two baited hooks.

Sign up today by going to this link:

Free Ride Code for LYFT - for new riders only

Tony gave you $20 in Lyft credit towards your first ride!

You must be new to Lyft and in an eligible market to qualify.

Use this link:

Try Uber Code - Free Ride for new riders

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Driver post of the week: Dealing with rude drunks

A very upset driver posted a complaint on the facebook page.

A very drunk passenger requested a ride from a night club. The driver called to locate him and when she arrived at the club ended up having to wait from him. She called him once again to find out that he took another Uber home.

We are under no obligation to pick up rude and drunk customers.

Picking up drunks for $4 rides only lowers your rating and puts your interior at risk.

Reporting the rude passenger to Uber is futile as well because all it does is generate a form email from Uber telling drivers that not all of our riders are the best and we have to deal with it.

My suggestion to seasoned drivers is avoid driving late nights but if you have no other alternative the best tip is to hang out near airport hotels, train stations or locations where weary travelers tend to request a ride. Travelers appreciate our services better, request longer rides and give five star ratings because they are happy to climbing into a car where they are going to get a safe and courteous ride.

At night when I drive I often call the passenger to tell them I am on my way and if they appear to be drunk I simply cancel the ride and ignore a repeat request.

The hassle is not worth a $4 ride, not even in a surge.