Minneapolis cabbies Uber-mad about regulation reform

The taxi revolution is upon Minneapolis. Says Eric Roper of the Strib, “The city’s taxicab industry is growing increasingly frustrated with a City Council effort to legalize app-based transportation companies like Lyft and UberX. … The city is hoping to hear back from the state’s insurance commissioner and several insurance trade groups, which are reviewing UberX’s insurance policy.” The taxi types are mad the city may allow the online mega-players to nearly self-regulate. “All you guys are worth millions, so we trust you. And you guys aren’t worth millions so we don’t trust you,” sums up one cabbie.

Speaking of apps … . Dan Browning of the Strib says, “ … Mayo [Clinic] has ambitious plans to push its expertise out to 200 million people, and one of its first steps toward that goal is a new service called ‘Better’ that was built around a mobile app developed in Silicon Valley. The service will allow users to tap Mayo’s knowledge bank and symptom checker at no cost. For $49.99 a month, a family — from elderly grandparents to grandkids — could get round-the-clock access to Better’s professional personal health care assistants and Mayo’s own nurses.” Covered by ObamaCare?

Guess after decades of withdrawals, deposits are needed … . Jennifer Vogel of MPR says, “Just northwest of the Twin Cities, in the bedroom communities of St. Michael, Albertville and Hanover, something unusual is happening. A pump is taking water from the jointly run treatment plant and rather than sending it to people’s homes and faucets, it’s injecting it into the ground at a rate of 300 gallons a minute. The pumping won’t stop until 100 million gallons of treated drinking water have been stowed in an aquifer beneath the cities.”

If it’s Wednesday, Minneapolis is banning … . Curtis Gilbert of MPR reports, “At least once a week, first-term Minneapolis City Council Member Andrew Johnson buys lunch at Spicy Touch Indian Grill in the city’s downtown skyway. He likes the food, but hates what lands in the garbage can. ‘Usually when I come in here, when it’s really busy during lunch hours, I’ll actually see a little tower of Styrofoam containers coming out of the trash bin, because you just can’t fit that many in there,’ Johnson said.” Johnson wants to ban such containers, has 100 cities have done. I believe the angry white male radio guys call all this, “hellhole, nanny-state socialism.”

Meanwhile in OldSchoolWorld, you wait in your vehicle because of that which fuels your vehicle. Bill McAuliffe of the Strib says, “Canadian Pacific (CP) freight trains, which Buffalo residents believe are longer and more numerous than ever thanks to the North Dakota oil boom, have increasingly been blocking intersections, cutting off the city’s north side from its south side and sending drivers scrambling sometimes out of town to find an open crossing. … In November, two of the city’s three crossings were blocked for 16 hours overnight by a train that had stalled due to mechanical problems … .”

As far as I can tell, there are no fracking fluids involved … . A Marketwatch story says, “Minnesota Power, an ALLETE Company , this week applied to state and federal regulators for permits to build the 500-kilovolt Great Northern Transmission Line from the Minnesota-Manitoba border to an electric substation on the Mesabi Iron Range.”

This time they mean it … . Amy Forliti at the AP tells us, “A man who was 17 when prosecutors say he raped and killed a teenage girl won’t be eligible for release from prison. The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed a lower court decision that gave Tony Roman Nose a chance to seek parole. The justices reinstated his original sentence of life without release.”

In the confluence of medicine/business … . Stribber Jeffrey Meitrodt reports, “MNsure announced this morning that it is turning to Deloitte Consulting to finish and repair its troubled health insurance exchange. Deloitte, which came close in 2012 to winning the job of building MNsure’s website, will present plans for moving the online marketplace forward this afternoon during MNsure’s board of directors meeting in St. Paul. MNsure officials said Deloitte will earn $4.95 million on an initial nine-month contract.”

Rob Hubbard at the PiPress has a belief that Joshua Bell is just what the Minnesota Orchestra needs. Reviewing last evening’s performance he says, “Could violinist Joshua Bell be the one who got the Minnesota Orchestra playing again? That’s only conjecture, but when the orchestra’s locked-out musicians announced they were hanging out their own shingle with a subscription concert series that featured Bell among the soloists, contract negotiations really heated up. … But there was nothing uneven about Bell’s performance. He seemed as electrified as the audience … Soon, he and Vanska were both dancing animatedly … .” Quite the word picture.

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 04/16/2014 - 02:42 pm.

    Cabbies are right to be upset.

    Driving cab is a damn tough way to make a living. Cabbies lease the cars, the pay a percentage of their gross on top of the daily lease.

    Every rider on Lyft or UberX is a rider not using a cab or some form of public transportation. I thought we were tryinf to reduce traffic?

    It seems shortsighted, at best, to allow Lyft and UberX (two for-profit entities) to operate without the restrictions imposed on existing carriers, including regulation of fares. What, I wonder, does the MAC think of this? Will Lyft and Uber X drivers be picking up passengers at MSP without paying the tolls imposed on cabs?

    Either make them comply with every regulation imposed on cabs, apply the same, new rules to cabs, or keep them out.

  2. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/16/2014 - 04:18 pm.

    Zero Sum Game?

    Are you sure it’s a zero sum game? Is it possible that people that use Lyft would never use a cab? I have no way of knowing, but it’s possible that if some never takes cabs and starts using Lyft, that at some point they start using traditional cabs as well.

    Changing one variable doesn’t meant that other variables won’t change. Starbucks didn’t mind when McDonalds started selling gourmet coffee. They knew that some people who had never stepped into a Starbucks would try McDonald’s new coffee, and decide to try Starbucks some time.

  3. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 04/16/2014 - 05:24 pm.

    Either regulate common carriers, or don’t.

    But I agree with Mr. Hamilton above that it is rotten to impose regulation & fares on one set of people-movers and not on another. To do so is also to destroy the value of those taxi licenses which had to be purchased before taking fares.

  4. Submitted by Tom Johnson on 04/16/2014 - 11:50 pm.

    Sounds like a familiar argument

    Hearing cabbies go after the cleaner, safer and all-around better Uber/Lyft options that have come to town reminds me of ye old Skyway restaurant vs. food trucks debate that springs up each summer.

    I trust that the city council will come to some middle ground, but I’d sleep like a baby if cab companies in Minneapolis start shrinking or going out of business. That’s how these things are supposed to work.

  5. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 04/17/2014 - 11:42 am.

    There’s another, larger policy issue here: does Minneapolis want to get into the habit of changing the laws to accommodate new businesses that blithely break the laws? Or, do they enforce the regulations in place, for reasons that established those very regulations?

    You can’t have these nice hip young entrepreneurial smart-phone users hire themselves out as illegal cab drivers! Make them legal, ex post facto.

    Bad policy.

    It’s like letting developers determine our zoning and planning rules.

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