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Archive for March 27th, 2014

Undercover Riders

The Lyft and Uber folks are getting a warning from the San Antonio Police Chief to play by the rules or else. They are even going undercover to nail violators. Maybe H-Town ought to pay attention and do the same. Here is from a radio station in San Antonio:

San Antonio Police warned today that those on line car sharing apps like ‘Lyft’ and ‘Uber’ are illegal, and drivers who pick up passengers for cash risk being arrested.

“You might be one of these drivers who is summoned for a ride, and you won’t know who summoned you,” McManus warned. “It could be a police officer, and you’ll be in trouble.”

1200 WOAI news was first to report earlier this week that Lyft, which bills itself as ‘your friend with a car,’ is looking for drivers in San Antonio.

McManus said he sent Lyft a ‘strongly worded cease and desist letter’ today, warning them not to set up operations in San Antonio unless they conform to taxi regulations.

“I want to warn anybody in the city who may be tempted to use this service to be very very careful.”

Lyft says it is no different from a friend giving another friend a ride. The passenger doesn’t pay a fare, he or she gives a ‘donation’ to the driver.

But McManus says no matter how you cut it, taking anybody anyplace on city streets for cash is a violation of the city’s strict taxi ordinances.

“The problem with this is, the public is put in danger,” he said. “You don’t know who is going to show up, you don’t know what the condition is that the car is in that you’re going to get into.”

He says taxi drivers are registered with the city, and their vehicles are inspected by the city. He says Lyft vehicles are not, the passenger doesn’t know about the driver’s history, and the drivers are not required to demonstrate any knowledge of San Antonio geography, as taxi drivers have to do.

“They are not regulated, and there is no advantage to getting into one of these cars, where you get into one of these cars and you don’t know what their background is. The public is put in danger.”

McManus also warned that most Texas auto insurance policies do not cover people who carry passengers ‘for hire.’

“They are in direct violation of our city ordinances,” he said. “There are very strict rules as to who is issued a taxi drivers permit, and these people do not follow under our requirements.”

He said city taxi drivers are also drug tested, and if there is a dispute over the fare, which is regulated, customers can turn to the city, something which is not the case with ‘Lyft.’

Name the last player from B’More to win the AL MVP Award.

Don’t forget to attend HISD Trustee Anna Eastman’s Birthday Reception this evening at 13 Celsius, 3000 Caroline.

If you ever wanted to go check out the ‘Stros and sit in Diamond Level or Insperity Club but couldn’t because of the price you may want to go this weekend. Apparently a bunch of season ticket holders aren’t interested in watching Veracruz play the ‘Stros so they got their tickets up on Stub Hub at reduced prices. You may want to plunk down $100 bucks for two Insperity seats or $180 for a couple of Diamond Level seats and cash in on the good grub. You may not get another chance.

A NLRB Regional Office says football players at Northwestern can form a union. Don’t worry overzealous college football fans from the Lone Star State, we are a Right-to-Play state.

Cal Ripken, Jr. won the AL MVP Award of course for B’More in 1991.

Check out what John Royal from the Houston Press says about the ‘Stros:

The 2014 Houston Astros open up the regular season next week, and I don’t give a damn. Seriously, that’s a hard admission to make because I love baseball. But I can’t even begin to muster any enthusiasm for the band of rejects (mostly) that will trot out onto the Minute Maid Park grass next week and get their asses handed to them by the New York Yankees.

Intellectually I get what the Astros are doing. Burn it all down and start from scratch. But after three years of 100-plus losses, I’m tired of the intellectual arguments — arguments I’ve made myself for many, many years. Because if you’re going to charge major league prices, then there should be some effort to field a major league roster.

There are still plenty of tickets available for the opener next Tuesday at Dynamic Pricing.

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