Category Archives: Taxi

UBERPOP Surrounded In France

An UberPOP driver has been surrounded by a gang of angry taxi drivers in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat (near Nice, France). It’s reported that the taxi drivers set a trap for the man by posing as clients and then surrounded his car where a war of words took place. Taxi drivers say Uber should not be operating at all as it’s been banned by the government. Uber is appealing against a French government ruling outlawing it on the 1st of January and says it intends to expand.

French Gendarmes eventually got the vehicle and car

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Why Uber Will Hire Tens of Thousands of Employees in the Next Few Years

The initiative indicates that the ride-sharing company could be trying to get into the logistics and delivery marketplace.

Uber is hiring a product manager to build its recruiting platform–“a series of products and systems that will help Uber attract the best talent in the world.”

In its latest job posting, Uber says it wants to add “tens of thousands” more employees in the next few years.

By itself, this isn’t news. But it’s significant that Uber is scaling so rapidly, and could be a sign of things to come for the ride-hailing company.

(Also, it should be noted that “employees” refers to people who work for the company itself -; drivers, which numbered 162,037 in December and have presumably grown since then, don’t count).

Uber has raised $5.9 billion in venture capital funding to date, valuing the company at more than $40 billion.

And the company doesn’t seem to be done raising money yet, either: a report last week says Uber is looking to raise an additional $1.5 billion to $2 billion more, which would make Uber the most highly valued private tech company of all time, at over $50 billion.

Right now, Uber offers its ride-hailing service in 55 countries and more than 200 cities globally. But ride-hailing isn’t the full extent of what Uber can offer. Last week, Uber submitted a bid to buy Nokia’s mapping product, Here. The move would be yet another divorce from its investor Google for the company, since right now Uber relies on Google Maps technology for its mapping.

Buying Here would allow the company to have its own mapping software and data, which would help Uber’s central driving business, but also its other logistics- related endeavors including UberFresh, its food delivery service, and UberPool, its carpooling service.  In the past, Uber has offered other logistics solutions in select markets, like UberRush, a courier service, and UberESSENTIALS, a service that delivers anything you could possibly imagine getting from a corner store or pharmacy.

But Uber needs more employees if it wants to scale beyond ride-sharing and enter the logistics and delivery marketplace. It also needs more people to help it scale operations internationally–especially when it comes to the Indian and Asian markets, where the company has formidable rivals.

Uber’s December fundraising round–in which Uber raised a massive $1.2 billion–was intended to allow Uber to “make significant investments, particularly in the Asia Pacific region.”

BuzzFeed News previously reported that Softbank Capital, which has funded on-demand ride-hailing startups GrabTaxi and OlaCabs, was behind a global alliance to take on Uber.  Since then, two other huge Asian taxi-hailing companies–Kuaidi Dache, which is funded by Alibaba, and Didi Dache, funded by Tencent–have merged, consolidating the power of Asia-based car-hailing companies.

And though Uber operates in a number of Asian markets, including Beijing, Bangkok, and Tokyo, Uber has faced other legal hurdles in Asia. South Korea has charged Uber CEO Travis Kalanick with operating an “illegal” taxi service, and has vowed to shut down Uber’s operations in the country. As TechCrunch notes, “Korean law doesn’t allow technology companies to store payment data as part of their purchase workflow, but instead requires consumers to retype their information with every purchase, ostensibly for security reasons.”

OlaCabs, an Uber rival native to India, has a $2.5 billion valuation and the trust of the Indian people, another obstacle Uber has to overcome in its international expansion. Allegations of an Uber driver raping a female passenger in India in 2014 have led some Indians to be wary of Uber’s services. This has prompted Uber to customize its Indian experience, adding an in-app panic button option that alerts police to your location, as well as introducing rickshaws and cash payment options for its Indian customers.

By putting more boots on the ground, Uber can help expand–and manage–its international footstep, as well as expand from its car-hailing service to more on-demand services in the logistics and delivery markets.

–This story first appeared on Business Insider.

Detective Seen on Video Berating Uber Driver to Be Transferred, NYPD Commissioner Says

Ancien Hippie

A video showing a police detective berating an Uber driver in New York City has gone viral, and the NYPD said the video is under review by the Internal Affairs Bureau and that it will also be investigated by the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

The officer in the video, identified as NYPD Detective Patrick Cherry, will be transferred out of his post with the Joint Terrorism Task Force, Police Commissioner William Bratton said today.

Bratton also offered an apology to the Uber driver and the passengers for the detective’s actions during the encounter. “Anger like that is unacceptable in any encounter. Discourtesy like that and language like that is unacceptable. That officer’s behavior reflected poorly on everyone who wears our uniform,” Bratton said.

In the video, the detective stands at the driver’s door, shouting, “Do you understand me? I don’t know what [expletive] planet you think you’re on right now.”

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UBER at Nice, France Airport

Airport upper left and hotel lower right
Airport upper left and hotel lower right
Taxi research – Research by some local journalists, prompted by the latest episode of violence against minicab drivers last Friday, has produced some interesting results. Research involved taking the same trip three times, from Terminal 1 of the airport to the Meridien Hotel on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice.
Taxi Ramp at Nice Airport
Taxi Ramp at Nice Airport
The first journey was taken in a cab waiting in the official rank outside, so no need to hail. € 35. The second identical journey was in a private hire minivan, known as VTCs in France, summoned by using the app Über, which arrived in 1 min. € 26. The third was a private car summoned by using Über Pop, driven by a Russian national who works as a delivery driver in the morning, and supplements his income by driving in the afternoons. A 15 minute wait and a cost of € 8.
UberNiceMeridienHotel

Uber and the Future Of Business Travel

 The president of Nice’s taxi drivers, Alain Trapani, and one of his colleagues have been arrested following an assault at Nice airport. They have now been bailed to appear before judges in July after assaulting an Über minivan driver. According to airport police, the minivan driver was assaulted while picking up a customer at the airport, perfectly legally.
The sharing economy is going from boho to white collar, and elbowing its way into your expense reports. Here’s why that actually matters.

There are ways we work today that would have given a last-century HR manager a nervous twitch. There’s employee collaboration, file-sharing, and general chit-chat, over less-than secure cloud services. There’s employee adoption of new third-party services such as Expensify and Yammer that, once they’ve Trojan Horsed their way into a company’s workflow, are impossible to extract. There’s BYOD.

If you think this is a problem, I’m part of the problem.

In addition to, well, all of the above, I’ve repeatedly booked lodgings on Airbnb for business travel. Beyond basic math and logic, I didn’t really think about it: It was less costly than a nice–or even medium-nice–hotel, more central, and more comfortable for me as a working traveler (free WiFi; ample coffee). It just made sense. I’ve hailed for short work travel non-cab car services–Uber, Lyft, and the like–when it was logical to do so. My editors do the same. (Based on the responses we got to a Facebook post inquiring, many of you do the same as well.)

The sharing economy, with all its not-so-business-friendly regulatory hassles and insurance issues, is now just part of the way we travel–both for pleasure and for business. But beginning this week, it’s trying to look a little less bohemian, and a little more business-casual.

This week, both Airbnb and Uber set up booths at a conference at the Los Angeles Convention Center that’s hosted by a massive travel organization, the Global Business Travel Association. If there’s an activity diametrically opposed to the act of “disruptive innovation,” it might be staffing booths 1251 and 2725 for a week at a buttoned-up convention expected to draw 7,000 attendees.

Oddly, this highly corporate booth-sitting is not the most corporate thing both these startups have done this week. They’ve also both announced official partnerships with expense-management software company Concur (which, coincidentally, is right over at booth 1725, and which already has 20,000 corporate clients).

For Uber, it’s part of the Uber for Business campaign it kicked off July 29, which allows business travelers to directly submit Uber trips to a company account, rather than having to expense them. Airbnb did a similar press blitz Monday, launching Business Travel on Airbnb. From the company’s blog:

Nearly 10 percent of Airbnb’s customers travel for business already and we’ve heard from traveler feedback that a dedicated site that caters to business travelers’ needs has been high on their wishlist.

Another sharing-economy company, TaskRabbit, has also tried out the “for business” concept, helping pair temporary workers with companies in need of a quick labor boost.

It makes perfect sense for these super fast-growing companies: The corporate sector absolutely is crucial to the hospitality industry. Hotels in big cities rely on business travel for approximately two-thirds of their revenue. What’s more, business travelers tend to be creatures of habit, becoming repeat visitors to favored haunts. They also spend more than folks traveling on their own dime. All that business travel adds up to $1.21 trillion in annual revenue, according to the GBTA.

Cutting into hotels’ business-travel revenue could mean big profits for Airbnb and its ilk. Corporate travel was only 8 percent of Airbnb’s bookings last year, one of its managers told the Wall Street Journal.

There are obvious hurdles in convincing large corporate clients to bank on a startup that’s faced such regulatory hurdles in the largest city in the United States that it has purchased billboards in public transit brashly proclaiming “New Yorkers agree: Airbnb is great for New York City.” (Because New Yorkers just adore being told what to think.)

It’s smart for these companies to broaden their arsenal for getting into corporate travel. They’ve gone the Trojan Horse way already, sneaking into other startups’ and established companies’ expense reports, and now are entering through the gates, with partnerships with Concur and Salesforce.

Whether this new strategy will actually help these peer-to-peer marketplaces overcome their existing issues with regulators remains an open question. Certainly, they have lobbying strength already, but once their services become indispensible to large companies, they will have a whole host of new, strong-armed allies. (For starters, consider the fact that that more than two-thirds of the biggest companies in America use Concur.)

Corporate and boring? Not exactly. This next few months–in which we’ll learn which companies adopt the sharing economy’s proposition–could determine the future of the hospitality industry as we know it.

Newest Business Term is “UBERIZED”

PenneyVanderbilt

Ride service UBER and its little buddy Lyft, had yet another encounter about rules in Boston. Nothing happened.

According to the account in BostInno,
“Even with questionable ethics, Uber and Lyft aren’t merely winning the war against Boston taxis — Uber and Lyft have already won.”
It isn’t surprising that Uber, like other disruptors that have successfully offered an alternative to the status quo (e.g., Netflix, the cloud, the iPhone), is experiencing pushback. The ridesharing service seems to be rapidly cycling through the four stages of disruption recently described by former Microsoft executive Steven Sinofsky, starting with upsetting the applecart — or, as he puts it, “disruption of the incumbent” — and ending with “complete reimagination.” Who isn’t going to fight being completely reimagined?

I Phone I Phone

In its protest of Uber practices, the taxi industry is also following the script to the T: According to Sinofsky, now a…

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Hopscotching The World For UBER Headlines

Well! Our little friends (really our BIG friends) are making headlines all over the World.

The taxi service Uber has been banned in New Delhi, India after a woman was allegedly raped by a driver with the taxi-booking service. The company is in hot water for hiring a person arrested for sexual assault three years ago. Travis Kalanick, the CEO of the Californian company, vowed justice for the victim and promised to support the victim and her family in her recovery.

The Uber taxi booking app has been suspended in Spain. An order to cease operations was handed down by a judge on Tuesday after taxi associations claimed it was seizing their business. The judge who imposed the ban stated that it is temporary. The app was prohibited on the basis that it is “unfair competition” and drivers who were using it to garner business were not officially authorized to be taxi drivers.
Drivers “lack the administrative authorisation to carry out the job, and the activity they carry out constitutes unfair competition,” the Spanish court stated after the ruling.
Complaints were made by the Madrid Taxi Association. The league is joined globally by similar associations seeking to restrict Uber’s influence for the same reasons.

An Italian taxi drivers union has launched a mobile application for their customers across the country, following the global success of the chauffeur car service Uber.  Customers can either use their smartphone’s location service or type in an address to find the nearest available taxi, which can then be booked and paid for on their phone. The app is currently available in Italian, English and German and in over 30 locations across the country, including Rome and Milan. The free new tool comes just three months after taxi drivers in Rome joined a Europe-wide protest against a similar service, Uber.

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With help from Penney Vanderbilt