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By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun | August 5, 2014
A state consumer-rights watchdog on Tuesday called for formal investigations into ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft, questioning the legality of their operations in Maryland. People's Counsel Paula M. Carmody sent letters to the Maryland Public Service Commission calling for investigations into Lyft and Uber's lower-cost UberX service, which both connect passengers with independent drivers through smartphone apps. "We have every reason to believe that the individuals responding to Uber's and Lyft's requests for drivers to provide these services are not aware that Maryland law requires them to have a license," Carmody said in a statement.
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BUSINESS
By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun | August 5, 2014
A state consumer-rights watchdog on Tuesday called for formal investigations into ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft, questioning the legality of their operations in Maryland. People's Counsel Paula M. Carmody sent letters to the Maryland Public Service Commission calling for investigations into Lyft and Uber's lower-cost UberX service, which both connect passengers with independent drivers through smartphone apps. "We have every reason to believe that the individuals responding to Uber's and Lyft's requests for drivers to provide these services are not aware that Maryland law requires them to have a license," Carmody said in a statement.
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BUSINESS
By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun | October 14, 2013
Imagine you tap your need for a ride to the grocery store into your smartphone, and it connects you with someone else in your neighborhood who is headed in the same direction and willing to pick you up on the way. That's the concept behind the peer-to-peer ride-share application Lyft, which is launching in Baltimore at 4 p.m. on Oct. 17, according to a spokeswoman for the San Francisco-based start-up. The company's application, which first launched in California in June 2012 and is available for download on smartphones, connects users seeking rides with pre-screened drivers who live in the same community — essentially facilitating carpooling and travel cost-sharing.
NEWS
August 4, 2014
Harried commuters will be gratified by the Maryland Public Service Commission's decision last week to require taxicabs operating in Baltimore City to install credit card-reading devices in the back seat where passengers sit. The new rule, which goes into effect at the end of the year, will allow customers to just swipe a Mastercard or Visa to pay the fare rather than having to carry cash. It's a convenience riders in other cities have long enjoyed, and it has probably taken a lot of the anxiety out of hailing a cab. It's about time Baltimore caught up with the trend.
NEWS
October 18, 2013
Lyft is operating nothing more than a dispatching service for unlicensed, illegal hacks ( "Peer-to-peer ride-share app Lyft launching in Baltimore next week," Oct. 14). They are not unlicensed taxicabs because a taxicab in Baltimore is, by definition, licensed. The service that Lyft is offering is no different than picking up the telephone and ordering a taxicab. However, the dispatching service is where the similarities stop. Taxicabs in Baltimore and Baltimore County are closely regulated by the Public Service Commission.
NEWS
April 25, 2014
The proposal to classify Uber as a common carrier - as ordered yesterday by the state's chief public utility law judge but potentially up for consideration by the Maryland Public Service Commission in the next 30 days - is probably not the last word in Baltimore's ride wars. It simply reflects similar battles that have been raging elsewhere between traditional taxi services, utility regulators and technology-based companies like Uber that are providing an increasingly popular service.
NEWS
August 4, 2014
Harried commuters will be gratified by the Maryland Public Service Commission's decision last week to require taxicabs operating in Baltimore City to install credit card-reading devices in the back seat where passengers sit. The new rule, which goes into effect at the end of the year, will allow customers to just swipe a Mastercard or Visa to pay the fare rather than having to carry cash. It's a convenience riders in other cities have long enjoyed, and it has probably taken a lot of the anxiety out of hailing a cab. It's about time Baltimore caught up with the trend.
NEWS
By Justin George, The Baltimore Sun | March 5, 2014
As three Arabbers rode through South Baltimore on their horse-drawn fruit cart, a Chevrolet Impala barreled toward them. The men jumped off just before the car slammed their wagon into a utility pole, spilling watermelons and cantaloupes across the sidewalk. Tony, the tan Palomino that had been pulling the cart, escaped with only minor scratches. He was soon munching grass in a nearby median. The produce vendors consider themselves lucky to have survived, but the incident last year was one of several recent crashes that have put Baltimore's community of Arabbers on edge.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Julie Scharper and The Baltimore Sun | December 10, 2013
Cars with pink mustaches and fist-bumping drivers. Rides in glossy town cars or SUVs. New ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber are giving Baltimore's standard taxi cabs a run for their money. To see how these companies compare, reporter Julie Scharper and photographer Lloyd Fox rode between the Avenue in Hampden and the corner of Broadway and Thames Street in Fells Point on a dreary recent morning. Lyft Ease of use of app: 4 stars (out of 4) Wait time for arrival: 11 min. Quality of vehicle: 4 stars Cleanliness of vehicle: 4 stars Conversation with driver: 4 stars Safety of ride: 4 stars Cost of ride: $15 (passengers set their own donation; $5 was suggested for our ride)
BUSINESS
By Colin Campbell and Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | April 24, 2014
A judge with the Maryland Public Service Commission proposed Thursday to categorize Uber and other popular rideshare companies as "common carriers" — and subject them to the same regulations as taxis. Uber has threatened to leave the state if the commission votes next month to classify as a cab company. That would be a victory for traditional cab companies, who have argued that Uber, a smartphone app that connects passengers with drivers, enjoys an unfair advantage. Judge Terry J. Romine wrote that Uber is a "public service company" because it offers rides for hire — and so should be subject to the jurisdiction of the commission.
NEWS
April 25, 2014
The proposal to classify Uber as a common carrier - as ordered yesterday by the state's chief public utility law judge but potentially up for consideration by the Maryland Public Service Commission in the next 30 days - is probably not the last word in Baltimore's ride wars. It simply reflects similar battles that have been raging elsewhere between traditional taxi services, utility regulators and technology-based companies like Uber that are providing an increasingly popular service.
NEWS
By Justin George, The Baltimore Sun | March 5, 2014
As three Arabbers rode through South Baltimore on their horse-drawn fruit cart, a Chevrolet Impala barreled toward them. The men jumped off just before the car slammed their wagon into a utility pole, spilling watermelons and cantaloupes across the sidewalk. Tony, the tan Palomino that had been pulling the cart, escaped with only minor scratches. He was soon munching grass in a nearby median. The produce vendors consider themselves lucky to have survived, but the incident last year was one of several recent crashes that have put Baltimore's community of Arabbers on edge.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Julie Scharper and The Baltimore Sun | December 10, 2013
Cars with pink mustaches and fist-bumping drivers. Rides in glossy town cars or SUVs. New ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber are giving Baltimore's standard taxi cabs a run for their money. To see how these companies compare, reporter Julie Scharper and photographer Lloyd Fox rode between the Avenue in Hampden and the corner of Broadway and Thames Street in Fells Point on a dreary recent morning. Lyft Ease of use of app: 4 stars (out of 4) Wait time for arrival: 11 min. Quality of vehicle: 4 stars Cleanliness of vehicle: 4 stars Conversation with driver: 4 stars Safety of ride: 4 stars Cost of ride: $15 (passengers set their own donation; $5 was suggested for our ride)
NEWS
October 18, 2013
Lyft is operating nothing more than a dispatching service for unlicensed, illegal hacks ( "Peer-to-peer ride-share app Lyft launching in Baltimore next week," Oct. 14). They are not unlicensed taxicabs because a taxicab in Baltimore is, by definition, licensed. The service that Lyft is offering is no different than picking up the telephone and ordering a taxicab. However, the dispatching service is where the similarities stop. Taxicabs in Baltimore and Baltimore County are closely regulated by the Public Service Commission.
BUSINESS
By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun | October 14, 2013
Imagine you tap your need for a ride to the grocery store into your smartphone, and it connects you with someone else in your neighborhood who is headed in the same direction and willing to pick you up on the way. That's the concept behind the peer-to-peer ride-share application Lyft, which is launching in Baltimore at 4 p.m. on Oct. 17, according to a spokeswoman for the San Francisco-based start-up. The company's application, which first launched in California in June 2012 and is available for download on smartphones, connects users seeking rides with pre-screened drivers who live in the same community — essentially facilitating carpooling and travel cost-sharing.
BUSINESS
By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun | February 6, 2014
Changes proposed by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake for Baltimore's controversial and so-far unsuccessful taxi tax drew mixed reviews from city taxi and livery firms. The proposed amendments to the tax, to be introduced before the City Council today, would switch the levy from 25 cents per passenger to 35 cents per trip for taxis starting July 1. The city implemented the tax Oct. 1, but many taxi operators simply ignored it, with some complaining and refusing to pay it. Others only began complying after they were allowed to pass the cost on to customers.
BUSINESS
By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun | August 6, 2014
Ruling that the popular ride-sharing company Uber Technologies is subject to the same regulations imposed on other for-hire vehicle services in the state, state regulators at the same time ordered a revision of those rules to reflect the changing business. The Maryland Public Service Commission ruled Wednesday that Uber is a common carrier like other for-hire car services, a decision that the company opposed, saying it threatened its business model. Yet the commission also ordered its staff to begin crafting new rules for such for-hire companies, saying it recognizes "that many industry changes and technological advances have occurred since these regulations were adopted, including the everyday use of the Internet.
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