Archive for the ‘Getting Around NY’ Category.

Taxi Medallion Owners Include….

Seven days a week, Singh drives his yellow taxi from 2:30 in the afternoon until past 11 at night. By the time he gets home from the city, it is 2 a.m. Sometimes he doesn’t make it home until 5 in the morning. His seamed face and gray beard makes him look older than his 45 years.
. . .
Ever since his driver left him for Uber 13 months ago, Singh has been pushing the boundaries of his body to save his family’s future.

Despite working seven days a week and sleeping an average of four hours a night, he is three months behind on his medallion mortgage payments. The bank can repossess his medallion at any time.

“Losing the medallion is not so bad,” he said. “The problem is losing the house.” Singh, like many medallion owners, had borrowed against his medallion to help pay for his home.

One Taxi Driver’s Fight to Save His Medallion and His Family’s Future

From “The World Was His ‘Oyster.’ Then Uber Rolled Into Town.

Evgeny “Gene” Freidman is no fan of Uber. The increasing popularity of this vehicle-for-hire (or ridesharing) company has lost him millions of dollars. He has even asked New York City taxpayers for a bailout. As difficult as bailing out the big banks was to swallow, bailing out a taxi mogul—who at one point owned more than 1,000 New York City taxi medallions—is an even harder sell. A bailout would be especially outrageous considering that Freidman and his financial backers are actively working to make consumers pay more for fewer options.

New York’s Taxi King Is Going Down

The Cars Uber Shows You Before You Hail A Ride Are Bogus

Many of the new round of upstarts, on the other hand, are providing services, like transportation, that have a high marginal cost. You want someone driven around, you’ll need to pay the driver a decent hourly rate to drive them. That means they won’t be able to realize Google-like economies of scale. At the same time, the switching costs of trying a new service are pretty low. That suggests to me that at some point, they are going to have to raise prices substantially — and only then will we find out if people are willing to pay enough for it to make the company profitable.

This is why I always roll my eyes a bit when I see articles discussing how Uber, or some other company, is going to completely change the way we work/communicate/travel/insert activity here. We don’t even know what a lot of these companies will look like when they are mature.

They may be able to sustain large demand at higher prices and revolutionize our lives (and the wallets of the folks who invested in them). Or they may settle into a profitable but not transformational niche with somewhat less usage but better margins. Or many of them may slither out of existence, taking their massive investments with them. Because it’s only in myth that unicorns are immortal.

What’s the Mortality Rate for Unicorns?

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On a less serious note. another driver sent in this graphic of, “FUBER”, which is a variant of FUBAR, which means F****D Up Beyond All Recognition, a few days ago.


Seddiki contests this math. His own experience shows that it takes, on average, 10 minutes to drive to get an UberX fare and then another five to 10 minutes for that person to come out for the ride. From there, it takes about 10 minutes to complete the usually short rides UberX passengers take. Altogether, that’s 30 minutes for which Seddiki typically gets the $8 minimum. Uber’s 20 percent commission deducts $1.60 and sales tax and black car fees take out another $0.80. Because Uber drivers are contractors and not employees, they also have to cover any expenses they incur while working. For half an hour of driving, Seddiki expects his SUV to consume about $2 worth of gas—much more than the hybrid vehicles used by most UberX drivers will eat up in the same period. “That means before car depreciation and insurance, I end up with $3.60 from $8,” he says. “If we look at it by the hour, that will be $7.20.”

Protests against Uber over wages have already broken out in other parts of the country. On Sept. 2, around 50 Los Angeles–based Uber drivers gathered in a North Hollywood parking lot to rail against recent fare cuts. Earlier this week, 200 drivers assembled outside Uber’s office in Santa Monica to further protest the pay cuts and their treatment by the company. Uber has also been hit with several class actions over its practice of including tips in the commission it collects from drivers. By conceding to drivers on the UberX policy—admittedly a rare step for Uber to take—the company is likely preventing days of bad press and protests that could draw consumers attention to the unrest and accusations of bad labor practices.

Uber Just Caved on a Big Policy Change After Its Drivers Threatened to Strike, by Alison Griswold

Uber Drivers Are Revolting Against Their Shitty Bosses, by Grace Wyler

Uber Drivers “Strike” — And Switch To Lyft — Over Fares And Conditions, by Johana Bhuiyan

Craigslist Uber Scam #UberScam

UberX Driver – Your Private Underpaid Driver – #UberXploits


What insurance? – #UberLies

Driving for Uber puts us at huge insurance risk?

The Question of Coverage for Ride Service Drivers

Uber’s Craigslist ads are misleading at best

Uber scam (All Locations)

Some Uber drivers say company’s promise of big pay day doesn’t match reality

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Craigslist Uber Scam #UberScam

Craigslist Uber Scam posts are starting to show up around the country (text and screen shots below).





Greensboro, NC


Also see UberX Driver – Your Private Underpaid Driver

Uber ads on Craigslist would be more accurate if they read something like:

Make a few extra bucks every week!

You can join the 50,000 others who already have new jobs this month! (Err, freelance gig with no wages, no benefits, AND you provide your own car and buy all the gas!)

Good Money Our top partners typically make minimum wage AFTER expenses (such as Self Employment tax, gas, depreciation, maintenance, tires, etc., etc.) and some make as much as $GodOnlyKnowsAskTravis. Get checks deposited into your bank account weekly via Uber-cool and Uber-new direct deposit! (Don’t worry, we won’t start charging you weekly data fees and phone deposits until after the rate cuts that follow our promotional discounts!)
Flexible Hours Unlike other minimum wage jobs where the employer provides the tools of work, you can work when you want! And did we mention you get to use your own car and buy all the gas?!! (Oh happy day!)
Safe and Transparent Your riders (even the drunk ones!) rate you and you rate your riders (especially the ones who go on short trips and don’t tip and failed to give the correct location to be picked up!). And just ignore that $1 “Safe Rides Fee” that we collect on each and every trip, no matter how short! We provide some kind of commercial liability insurance (but please do NOT mention to your auto insurer that you are driving for Uber! Mum’s the word. Shhhhhh).
Good Communication We provide every single one of our suckers (err, “partners”) with an email address that they can use 24/7/365 to communicate with Uber about their concerns. We guarantee to use our best standard-form responses! And we will respond eventually!
Don’t have a car, or have one that is too old? Want to get a new car to use with Uber? We can help connect you to companies who will offer you special rates available to virtually any driver. And the payment will remain the same even after we unilaterally drop the rates with little advance notice to you! You could be in a brand new car within a week, regardless of credit history! And remember, the payment will remain the same even after we unilaterally drop the rates with little advance notice to you!

Easily make a few extra bucks every week!

So come on, sucker!

Apply today!

UberDrivers on reddit.


(image 1) (image 2)


uber’s whole game now is to offer riders fares that are so low that only a math-challenged or truly desperate person would provide services in THEIR personal automobile for less than minimum wage.

Continue reading ‘Craigslist Uber Scam #UberScam’ »

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UberX Driver – Your Private Underpaid Driver

(Also see Craigslist Uber Scam #UberScam)

Potential UberX drivers, do not rely on what Uber tells you about how much you will make. The inflated figures Uber bandies about on Craigslist and in its PR about how much you might make are 1) inflated, and 2) before expenses. So you must discount what you make from Uber by 50% to account for Self Employment taxes (remember that you will be paying both the employee and the employer portion of these), fuel, depreciation, maintenance, and income taxes.

And after Uber has been in a city for a while, and after Uber runs its promotional discount during which drivers do not take a hit, Uber will unilaterally cut rates with little advance notice to drivers, and you will then make even less (and if you unwisely used Uber-arranged financing to buy a car, you are really stuck).

Even before your costs and deductions, Uber’s take is more like 25% of the “fare” charged to riders after Uber deducts the “Safe Rides Fee” ($1 per ride) and its 20%. Yet Uber shows the rider the top-line “fare” to the rider and to you as if that is what you earn. It’s not.

Uber’s “Safe Ride Fee” of $1 per ride is shown to the rider as part of the fare, but Uber shows the $1 fee separately when it pays drivers. So Uber makes, at the outset, $1 on every single trip. #UberLies

For example, a $6 “fare” will result in the driver being paid $6 – $1 Safe Rides Fee = $5 – (20%) $1.00 = $4.00. $4.00 / $6 = you making 67% of the “fare”. Uber’s take is more than 30%. (A $10 fare results in the driver being paid $7.20, which means Uber’s take is 28%, not 20%.) And if you think “fares” under $10 are unusual, especially after a rate cut, think again.

Uber gets so much positive press because it is allegedly “high-tech” and “innovative” and “disruptive”. But it is building its valuation on a very shaky foundation of grabbing market share by lowering rates and thus lowering driver quality and increasing driver churn. And many journalists who cover Uber have no clue about and are not interested in the misrepresentations of “income” that Uber uses to recruit drivers. After all, most journalists, like most UberX riders, love riding around for cheap, without wanting to know that UberX driver car equity is helping pay for that cheap ride.

Don’t believe us? Then read the stories linked below and listen to the Columbus, Ohio UberX driver who quit (YouTube at bottom). You have been warned.

Some Uber drivers say company’s promise of big pay day doesn’t match reality, by Luz Lazo
Uber’s EPIC blunder, on
Beautiful Illusions: The Economics of UberX, by Justin Singer
Ride-share service Uber drivers say pay is shrinking, by William D’Urso
Driving in LA since the latest pay cut, on
Uber’s Battle Against Its Drivers Continues, by Olivia Nuzzi
What Uber Isn’t Telling uberX Drivers, by Nate Boroyan

PS. Are you sure your auto insurance covers you? Are you sure your policy won’t be canceled if your agent finds out?

Uber as a company is very disrespectful of its (mostly brown and black male) drivers. After Uber runs it promotions discounting rates (especially UberX), and stressing that the drivers are not losing anything, at the end of the promo period Uber then announces to its riders that lower rates are here to stay, making the decision unilaterally and with only a few hours advance notice to UberX drivers. The new rate reduction DOES impact drivers as the entire rate reduction comes out of drivers’ pockets. (In some cities that have had recent rate cuts, some UberX drivers did not work the Labor Day weekend to protest those rate cuts.)

Uber has recently pulled this underhanded trick on UberX drivers in Boston, Washington DC, London, Los Angeles, NJ, Tampa, Fresno, and Seattle, among other cities. So, current and potential UberX drivers, be prepared to see Uber unilaterally cut your fares by 15% to 20% while letting riders know how great Uber is for cheap rates, and giving drivers little advance notice of the new “improved” 15% to 20% pay cut.

In response to Uber unilaterally lowering rates, many Uber drivers are now attempting to cause surge pricing.

Continue reading ‘UberX Driver – Your Private Underpaid Driver’ »

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“Land of Dreams”

A new YouTube video – “Land of Dreams” – featuring Rosanne Cash and other musicians, shows different tourist experiences in the United States.

From Discover America.


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IKEA and Fairway in Red Hook, Brooklyn

I finally made my excursion to IKEA in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
For the last half century, Red Hook was a desolate waterfront overlooking the Statue of Liberty, Governor’s Island and the New York Harbor. A total burned-out industrial wasteland of the Railroad era of the Industrial Revolution. Very slowly, there is a renaissance and we can all enjoy the beauty of Red Hook.
IKEA has managed to establish a bridgehead and started free ferry-boat service between Pier 11 at the Wall Street/South Ferry in Manhattan. All subway lines converge there and a short walk to Pier 11. The ferry operated by the NY Water Taxi operates every 40 minutes during the week-days from 10 am to round about 9:20 pm. What a lovely way to travel there with the view of the Statue of Liberty, the Waterfalls and the harbor-view.
IKEA has a 450 seat restaurant serving all types of Swedish food, such as gravlax, meat-balls, poached salmon, lingonberries, etc. Hot dogs were on sale for 50 cents!
Moreover, Fairway, my supermarket of choice has established an outpost with smashing views of Manhattan. I can’t wait to go back for another wonderful time, strolling and eating with the fresh ocean breezes!
IKEA, web site, 1 Beard Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY 11231, 718-246-4532 (directions from IKEA) [Yelp |]
Fairway, web site, 480-500 Van Brunt Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY, 718-694-6868 [Yelp]
New York Water Taxi, Pier 11, IKEA Express, approximately Gouverneur Lane and South Street, New York, NY, 212-742-1969, ext 0

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Commuting to work on a bike – in a suit

Do live in an area where the traffic congestion adds time to your daily commute to work? Have you ever wondered if there might be a better way? Perhaps there is. Watch this video made by Stephen Gale from Melbourne, Australia. He discovered that he could get to work much faster on his electric bike than he could be driving.

Electric bikes: Suitable Transportation? Of course, just ask Stephen Gale!,” by Jeremy Korzeniewski, AutoblogGreen, April 12, 2007

Stephen Gale, a practical guy (who last rode a bike the day before he gained his drivers licence), has riden all the way from Melbourne to Sydney over eight days while wearing a business suit. He didn’t plan to break any records, in fact he wants to show just how easy it was.

Suitable Transport
Previously on Hobnob Blog: “Electric Bikes,” September 9, 2007

Torch from 116th Street/Columbia University IRT Station

Torch from 116th Street/Columbia University IRT Station, opened 1904. Terra cotta by Grueby Faience Company, Boston, Massachusetts. New York Transit Museum

Architects of the NYC Subway, Hines & LaFarge: The Tradition of the Great Public Works, Part I, at the New York Transit Museum, 212-878-0106, March 19, 2007 – July 8, 2007, at the New York Transit Museum’s Gallery Annex at Grand Central, Monday-Friday, 8 am – 8 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10 am – 6 pm. Admission is Free.

Fulton Street IRT Station – exhibition starts today 3/19/07

Fulton Street IRT Station, opened 1905. Tiles manufactured by Rookwood Pottery. Photograph copyright by Andrew Garn.

Architects of the NYC Subway, Hines & LaFarge: The Tradition of the Great Public Works, Part I, at the New York Transit Museum, 212-878-0106, March 19, 2007 – July 8, 2007, at the New York Transit Museum’s Gallery Annex at Grand Central, Monday-Friday, 8 am – 8 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10 am – 6 pm. Admission is Free.

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