Other recent news & articles

Airline etiquette study & latest Uber update
08/Jan/2015
Etiquette At 30,000 Feet

In Gavin, Expedia Airplane Etiquette Study 2014, http://viewfinder.expedia.com 1,000 Americans were asked to identify and rank disruptive and annoying airline passengers. This year’s study “commissioned by Expedia and conducted by GfK, an independent global marker research company, serves as a lighthearted reminder that few places require more attention to etiquette than the inside of an airplane”. The worst passengers in rank order include “Rear Seat Kicker” (67%), “Inattentive Parents” (64%), “Aromatic Passenger” (56%), “Audio Insensitive” (51%) and “Boozer” (50%). Of particular interest are the “Seat wars”. “Of course passengers who recklessly recline their seats also drew air from study respondents-37 percent said they despised ‘Seat-Back Guy’. This year 2014 saw a number of examples of in-flight fights spurred by perceived legroom violations...21 percent of respondents reported having experienced ‘major discomfort’ due to a reclining seat...A full 10 percent of respondents reported that they would recline their seat even if the passenger behind them was noticeably pregnant and 55 percent of U.S. flyers do not ask permission of the passenger behind them”.

Uber On The March

In Helderman, Uber pressures regulators by mobilizing riders and hiring vast lobbying network, http://www.washingtonpost.com (12/22/2014) it was noted that “Uber’s approach is brash and, so far, highly effective: It launches in local markets regardless of existing laws or regulations. It aims to build a large customer base as quickly as possible. When challenged, Uber rallies its users to pressure government officials, while unleashing its well-connected lobbyists to influence lawmakers. The company...has carried out this approach repeatedly in cities and states across the country over the past year. It has upended long-entrenched taxi regulations while building itself into a technology giant valued at more than $40 billion...In the past eight months, officials in 17 cities and states approved measures allowing Uber to operate-seven of them since the start of October. Uber has expanded from 28 U.S. cities a year ago to 138, according to the company...At the same time, the company has assembled a lobbying empire with traditional ties to both major parties, bringing onto its payroll with startling speed a sprawling team of former gubernatorial aides, former state legislators, high-level political operatives and other well-connected advocates.”

Uber Under Siege In South Korea

In Scott, Uber C.E.O. Charged With Violating South Korea Transport Law, http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com (12/24/2014) it was noted that “the authorities in South Korea have indicted Travis Kalanick, the chief executive...on charges that Uber violated local licensing laws...It also is part of an increasingly tough approach taken by the South Korean authorities against the ride-sharing service after other lawmakers worldwide have struggled to rein in Uber...Prosecutors in Seoul indicted Mr. Kalanick...in connection with licensing laws that forbid rental car companies from operating taxi services...The charges have a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a fine of about $18,000...Uber’s aggressive plans for expansion have been plagued by opposition from policy makers-and taxi drivers-in a number of countries who say it operates without the appropriate licenses and is unfair competition for local taxi associations. The opposition is becoming a major headache, and potential financial risk, for the fast-growing company”.

Uber Sued By California Counties

In Isaac & Dougherty, Uber Is Sued by 2 California Counties, Citing Misleading Safety Practices, http://bits.blogs.nytimes (December 9, 2014), it was noted that “The suit filed by the district attorneys of San Francisco and Los Angeles Counties, says Uber mischaracterizes the extent to which it vets its drivers, and demands that the start-up immediately cease ‘violating California law’. Uber...generally recruits nonprofessional drivers for its low-cost UberX service...In the screening process, Uber and Lyft, another ride-hailing service, do not require drivers to submit their fingerprints for a background check, which the California officials say is the most comprehensive forum of driver screening methodology...The suit against Uber included a litany of other charges, including illegally operating at airports without authorization and charging customers fees while ‘falsely [telling] customers that part of that money was paying for an ‘industry-leading’ background check process’”.

Charges Of Rape In India & Boston

In Barry & Raj, Uber Banned in India’s Capital After Rape Accusation, http://www.nytimes.com (12/9/2014) it was noted that “The Delhi region on Monday banned Uber...after one of its drivers appeared in court on suspicion of raping a passenger who dozed off during a ride home to discover that the driver had taken her to a secluded spot and climbed into the back of the vehicle...Regional authorities followed up late on Monday by banning all taxi services based on smartphone apps, which may result in the closure of as many as 20 popular services...Since its launch last December, Uber has gained a large following among young, tech-savvy women in Delhi, where finding safe transportation after dark is especially difficult. But the new service...ran afoul of well-established taxi firms and with government regulators, who saw so-called aggregators as ducking legal and safety obligations shouldered by ordinary city cabs. Uber is running into similar problems in cities in other countries. A Dutch court on Monday prohibited the UberPop service, which links clients with drivers who do not have professional licenses, from operating in the Netherlands. The UberPop service has been banned in the German cities of Berlin and Hamburg”.

In Isaac, Uber Driver in Boston Area Is Charged With Rape, http://www.washingtonpost.com (12/18/2014) it was noted that “Prosecutors in Cambridge, Mass., on Wednesday charged an Uber driver with sexually assaulting a woman seeking a ride, the latest in a series of attacks on people who use the ride-hailing service. Alejandro Done, a 46-year-old driver is accused of picking up a young woman in Boston...while presenting himself as the driver who had been summoned through a ride-sharing service...The authorities said Mr. Done had posed as the driver when he picked up the woman, but it is unclear whether Mr. Done used information from the Uber application to aim at the woman”.

Good News In Paris

In Fourquet & Scott, Paris Court Gives Uber a Bit of Good News, http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com (12/12/2014)it was noted that “A local judge here decided not to ban the low-cost services of the American ride-booking company, which has increasingly faced a global backlash against its mobile application-based business. The ruling which only applies to Paris and relates to the budget UberPop services said that the company could still operate in the French capital, though it added that Uber may not advertise some of its services to the general public; if it did it would face a $25,000 daily fine”).
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