Uber & Lyft as a source of congestion

bakgwailo

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The promise of a set fare is a big draw, I certainly like that I can quickly compare fares from Uber and Lyft and choose the cheapest and know exactly what I'm paying. Also the fairly accurate arrival times are useful especially when I'm planning trips to the airport, knowing when I need to leave the get there on time. Also the "card reader" is always working on TNCs and I have confidence that if something went wrong during the journey the company would quickly refund. Also I love the shared ride functionality in TNC apps, makes me feel a little less bad about not taking transit. And makes them cheaper usually. Oh and lastly Lyft gives you Delta skymiles for airport journeys which is a nice bonus.
I always thought there should be a flat rate out of Logan like NYC. As for the card reader - if its out just say you won't pay and even offer to call the police if they make a fuss - its amazing how quickly it magically starts working again. That said, I haven't had a cabby pull the broken credit card machine in years.
 

George_Apley

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I always thought there should be a flat rate out of Logan like NYC. As for the card reader - if its out just say you won't pay and even offer to call the police if they make a fuss - its amazing how quickly it magically starts working again. That said, I haven't had a cabby pull the broken credit card machine in years.
It's amazing what some competition did for the overall demeanor of cabbies in general.
 

KentXie

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I know cabs now have an app called Curb but I have never used it. Anyone here used it before to hail a cab and if so, what do you think of it?
 

Lrfox

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I always take cabs home from Logan. Not much more expensive if you're not going too far and it's very easy. Not sure why people have become such slaves to Uber/Lyft when–in this particular circumstance–cabs are easier.
As has been mentioned, the promise of the set fare is likely the biggest reason. Meter anxiety is real and it's a lot more comforting to know what you're paying up front. Some other pros for Uber/Lyft:
  • For those unfamiliar with the area, it takes a lot of the worry of cab scams (i.e. taking longer routes to drive up the meter).
  • While Uber/Lyft isn't immune to scams, the opportunity for recourse is better with the ride shares. I've had a number of bad rides refunded entirely, and even more partially refunded. The ability to have anyone look at your route makes it easy.
  • No worrying about cash. Cabs have had card readers for a long time, but drivers prefer cash tips and I've been told it's "broken" many times - including offers to stop at an ATM if I don't have cash (I decline and miraculously the reader works). It's been much better recently (thanks to competition likely), but Uber/Lyft negate this problem.
To your point, I am about 50/50 with cabs from Logan to my home in Somerville. Outside of the busiest times at either the airport (i.e. the Europe arrival window), or the morning/evening rush, rideshares are almost 50% cheaper than cab fares. At peak times, rideshares can match or exceed cab fares, and the wait times in the lot can be 10+ minutes (compared to just walking up and getting in the cab line which is generally short/nonexistent). To/From work, I am right on the Blue Line so it's a no-brainer. From home it's 100% ride share.

I always thought there should be a flat rate out of Logan like NYC. As for the card reader - if its out just say you won't pay and even offer to call the police if they make a fuss - its amazing how quickly it magically starts working again.
Agreed on all counts, but the point is that not having to put up a fight/call (or threaten to call) the police definitely improves the ride experience for most of us and that's a win for Uber/Lyft. I like knowing I'm not going to have to engage in that level of hostility over a $25ish payment on my trip home.
 

RandomWalk

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Knowing the exact route before scheduling the ride is one of the biggest pluses for the TNCs. I have had multiple experiences with cabs taking the TWT tunnel to head north, even when I explicitly tell them to use the Sumner.
 

HelloBostonHi

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Today the Uber/Lyft dropoffs at Logan Airport moved to central parking (except 4am-10am, terminals A, B & E, terminal C is 24hrs). They also implemented the new $3.25 fee for dropoffs and implemented shared rides from the airport. Browsing some Uber driver forums it looks like "rematch" was also implemented today meaning as drivers drop-off a passenger at central parking they get immediately rematched to a waiting pickup instead of leaving Logan empty. All great news and so far the backlash is minimal though it's real trial will come at the holiday season as college kids head home etc.
 

Arlington

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What's the deal on Livery (LV / LVN / LVR / LVV) Plates?

The Mass Insurance Agents seem to believe that anyone paid to transport others needs and LVx Plate:
My bother lives in a town about 50 miles south of Boston. In order to earn some extra money, he occasionally, uses his family station wagon, which does not have any business sign on it, to drive people to the airport. He charges a fee for his service, but much less than the “going rate” for a limousine ride. Can he use a private passenger plate during these occasional trips?

No. Any vehicle (designed to carry fewer than 15 people) used for the transportation of passengers for hire must display a Livery plate, unless it falls within one of the specific exceptions noted in the Livery Vehicles and Livery Plate Summary.

The facts that (1) passenger transportation is not your brother’s primary occupation; (2) the vehicle does not have the standard “limousine-like” appearance; (3) the vehicle lacks any business markings, nor (4) the cut rate prices offered by your brother, do not change the rule that the vehicle cannot be operated with private passenger plates while being used to transport passengers for hire
(underline mine) Source: http://www.massagent.com/info/liverydef.pdf

Indeed, MGL says:
540 CMR 2.00 Registry of Motor Vehicles; Motor Vehicle Regulations
This section of the Code defines Livery Vehicles as:
“Any limousine or other vehicle which is designed to carry fifteen or fewer passengers, including the driver, and carries passengers for hire, business courtesy, employee shuttle, customer shuttle, charter, or other pre-arranged transportation, and which vehicle is not required to obtain a taxicab license pursuant to M.G.L. c. 40, s22.”
Reference above subsection 2.05(4)(i) states:
“A livery vehicle shall display a LIVERY registration number plate…”
And yet
- It isn't like Massport is enforcing this at the airport
- Lyft makes no mention of LV plates as a requirement
- Uber makes no mention of LV plates as a requirement
- It implies that car-dealer courtesy shuttles would need LV plates
- It implies that Enterprise would need LV plates to come pick you up

What am I missing? Seems like the insurance companies have a very clear idea of what they want to be happening (clear disclosure to them that a car is being used for hire) versus nobody else caring. Is it going to take the insurance companies denying an auto claim based on insurance fraud (not disclosing use as a TNC) to call the question?
 

JumboBuc

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What's the deal on Livery (LV / LVN / LVR / LVV) Plates?

The Mass Insurance Agents seem to believe that anyone paid to transport others needs and LVx Plate:
(underline mine) Source: http://www.massagent.com/info/liverydef.pdf

Indeed, MGL says:


And yet
- It isn't like Massport is enforcing this at the airport
- Lyft makes no mention of LV plates as a requirement
- Uber makes no mention of LV plates as a requirement
- It implies that car-dealer courtesy shuttles would need LV plates
- It implies that Enterprise would need LV plates to come pick you up

What am I missing? Seems like the insurance companies have a very clear idea of what they want to be happening (clear disclosure to them that a car is being used for hire) versus nobody else caring. Is it going to take the insurance companies denying an auto claim based on insurance fraud (not disclosing use as a TNC) to call the question?
I'm not so sure on livery plates, but on livery insurance:

In short, Uber/Lyft provide the livery insurance, so driver's don't have to. But if you drive Uber or Lyft you still need to tell your insurance company. They'll typically charge you an extra 10 bucks a month or so for supplemental insurance that covers you in the rideshare "insurance gap."

Historically, Uber/Lyft's own policies covered drivers from the time they accepted a ride to the time they dropped a passenger off. A driver's own insurance covered him/her when the app was off. The "gap" came when the app was on, but no rides were accepted. There, drivers didn't fall under Uber/Lyft's policies (since they had no passengers accepted) but also were uncovered under their own policies (since they had the app on).

Now Uber and Lyft also offer some coverage in the "gap," but it's not as comprehensive as the coverage they provide when a passenger is in the car or a ride is accepted. That's why it's a good idea to get supplemental "gap" coverage, and insurance companies give you the option of opting in to this supplemental TNC coverage for about $10 a month. That will extend your personal policy to cover you in the "gap" when the app is on but you haven't accepted a passenger.

There is nothing clandestine or nefarious about this; it's all above board. Insurance companies get it, and offer the services their customers want / need. If a driver ends up in an insurance fraud claim over TNC driving, it's because they opted out of "gap" coverage, not because it wasn't an option.

In the quote you're citing there is no Uber or Lyft entity to provide insurance while the "brother" is driving passengers. The guy is just doing it on his own. That's why livery insurance is needed. Uber/Lyft drivers have Uber/Lyft providing that insurance; they aren't like the "brother."
 
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Arlington

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Thanks! I guess that leaves the question, based on both the insurance example and the MGL citation, of why the TNCs don't think their drivers need an LV plate?
 

Wash

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What about requiring TNC drivers to have taxi medallions? We'd have to slash the price of them by a lot, and increase the supply as well, but it seems workable.
 

Arlington

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I don't see the point of Medallions: I think it has been shown that traditional (fixed quantity) Medallions are an anti-consumer restraint of supply, and served to keep prices High.

LV plates make sense to me given license plates role as ID, proof of insurance, and "you can use special curbs/lanes" (and they do not unduly limit supply: they merely have tougher inspection and insurance requirements than ordinary passenger vehicles)
 

JumboBuc

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I don't see the point of Medallions: I think it has been shown that traditional (fixed quantity) Medallions are an anti-consumer restraint of supply, and served to keep prices High.

LV plates make sense to me given license plates role as ID, proof of insurance, and "you can use special curbs/lanes" (and they do not unduly limit supply: they merely have tougher inspection and insurance requirements than ordinary passenger vehicles)

I don’t see what livery plates would accomplish beyond the current Uber/Lyft window decals.

Massachusetts already requires additional TNC inspection on top of the regular annual inspection. And Uber/Lyft provide additional insurance. Massachusetts also now requires Uber/Lyft drivers to post IDs in their cars.
 

George_Apley

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I don’t see what livery plates would accomplish beyond the current Uber/Lyft window decals.

Massachusetts already requires additional TNC inspection on top of the regular annual inspection. And Uber/Lyft provide additional insurance. Massachusetts also now requires Uber/Lyft drivers to post IDs in their cars.
For me the question isn't what it would accomplish, but what legal loophole are TNC drivers using to *not* have them? Are they just flagrantly violating the law but it's going unenforced? If that's the case the law should be amended so they're no longer breaking it.
 

JumboBuc

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For me the question isn't what it would accomplish, but what legal loophole are TNC drivers using to *not* have them? Are they just flagrantly violating the law but it's going unenforced? If that's the case the law should be amended so they're no longer breaking it.
Massachusetts has established a TNC legal framework, approved by the legislature. It includes required driver background checks, posted driver identification, per-ride fees pays to the Commonwealth and to municipalities in which rides originate and finish, insurance requirements, vehicle inspections, and vehicle labeling. That framework is the controlling legal doctrine with respect to all Uber/Lyft rides and drivers in Massachusetts. There’s no “loophole” or “flagrant violation” of the law here.

My understanding is that the livery legal structure applies if you’re a non-taxi for-hire driver that doesn’t work through the established TNC legal framework.
 

George_Apley

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Okay, so the livery ordinances don't apply to them at all. Question answered. Thanks!
 

Arlington

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I still don't see how any TNC car can say "I don't need an LV plate" given the very clear wording here:
540 CMR 2.00 Registry of Motor Vehicles; Motor Vehicle Regulations
This section of the Code defines Livery Vehicles as:
“Any limousine or other vehicle which is designed to carry fifteen or fewer passengers, including the driver, and carries passengers for hire, business courtesy, employee shuttle, customer shuttle, charter, or other pre-arranged transportation, and which vehicle is not required to obtain a taxicab license pursuant to M.G.L. c. 40, s22.”
If you're doing "for hire" you either need a Taxi or a LV plate.

All the specifications for what TNCs must do (inspection, display sticker, etc) never actually say "and you don't need an LV plate," they are simply silent on it.
 

JumboBuc

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I still don't see how any TNC car can say "I don't need an LV plate" given the very clear wording here:


If you're doing "for hire" you either need a Taxi or a LV plate.

All the specifications for what TNCs must do (inspection, display sticker, etc) never actually say "and you don't need an LV plate," they are simply silent on it.

I see the apparent conflict, but the law you are citing to define livery also defines TNC further down. The Commonwealth recognizes three types of for-hire vehicles: Taxis, Livery, and TNC (FINAL REPORT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS RIDE FOR HIRE TASK FORCE).

The Ride for Hire industry in Massachusetts consists of three forms of transportation services: Taxi/Hackney, Livery, and TNC.

A Taxicab is any vehicle which carries passengers for hire, and which is licensed by a municipality pursuant to M.G.L. c. 40, § 22 as a taxicab. As of January 2018, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) had 3,150 active taxi registrations, down from 3,365 in September 2017.

Taxicab licenses or medallions allow the driver to pick up passengers at dedicated curbside taxi stands. Taxicabs may also be hailed by a passenger on the street, in addition to picking up passengers for trips that are prearranged. The access to public taxi stands and ability to pick up passengers via street hail distinguishes taxicabs from other for hire transportation services.

Per 540 C.M.R. 2.00: Motor Vehicle Regulations, a Livery is any limousine or other vehicle which is designed to carry 15 or fewer passengers, including the driver, and carries passengers for hire, business courtesy, employee shuttle, customer shuttle, charter or other pre-arranged transportation, and which vehicle is not required to obtain a taxicab license pursuant to M.G.L. c. 40, § 22. As of January 2018, the RMV had 13,564 active livery vehicle registrations, up from 13,405 in September 2017.

Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) are defined in Chapter 187 of the Laws of 2016 as a corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship or other entity that uses a digital network to connect riders to drivers to pre-arrange and provide transportation. As of January 16, 2018, DPU had approved approximately 132,000 TNC drivers, and the Division is in the process of reviewing TNC Permit applications.
And Livery is really a municipal concept more than a state one:

Taxi and livery services are regulated almost entirely at the municipal level. With the exception of motor vehicle registration and minimum motor vehicle liability insurance standards, taxi and livery companies are not subject to state regulation. While the RMV issues taxi and livery license plates to individuals and companies with requisite insurance, there is no state agency or regulatory body that oversees taxi or livery drivers.
Also note that insurance requirements for TNC are more stringent than they are for livery.

If you go through regulation-by-regulation, the regulatory bar for livery is FAR lower than it is for TNC.
 
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HelloBostonHi

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Baker proposed taking the TNC fee from $0.20 per ride to $1.00 per ride today.
 

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