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#1 2014-06-20 18:28:30

From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,316

City impounds cars of alternative taxi service

Two new services let riders find "taxis" via a smartphone app, and let anyone turn their car into a taxi and be a driver (provided they pass the background check, of course).  The advantages to the rider:  Cheaper than a regular taxi, less wait time (not enough taxis in Austin now), and likely safer -- the service company has a record of who got into which car (discouraging any hanky-panky on the part of the driver, and vice-versa).  Riders can also choose to not use a driver who hasn't been rated highly by other riders.  (I'd ding drivers who run red lights, for example.)

Of course, no matter how the companies (Lyft and Uber) spin it, these services are unlicensed taxis, and the taxi companies are howling.  So much so that Austin actually impounded cars being used with Lyft's service recently.  But these services are operating successfully already in dozens of other cities in the U.S. and around the world, and it's probably the wave of the future.  The City is working on a pilot program now.  The only question is, will regular taxis be able to adapt enough to survive? … vers-cars/ … he-sequel/


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