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Cab Call Away : European taxis day of protest against Uber

And so it goes. Actually it was more getting stuck in a massive hold up. We refer to thhe counter revolution against the Uber with the taxi drivers in many European cities protesting.

Transport in major European cities has been disrupted by strikes affecting taxis and rail services.

Taxi drivers blocked roads in Paris, Madrid, London, Milan, Berlin and other cities in protest against the rise of services booked using smartphone apps.

They say there has been a lack of regulation concerning rival mobile service Uber.

[Source bbc news 11th June 2014]

You’ve not heard the last of this. Expect to hear more push back from entrenched interests.

Question we will continue to ask is: Will Uber end up as a Napster or a Google?

In the event of a water landing: Mom cleaning up seat after ‘todler accident’ causes JetBlue flight to return to gate

"Manneken Pis in Brussels" licence :  CreativeCommons.org Myrabella.

“Manneken Pis in Brussels” licence : CreativeCommons.org Myrabella.

Trajan was initially a bit perplexed on the story hitting the interweb about JetBlue and how a Flight attendent treated a mother whose 3 year old daughter needed to go potty while it was queued up on the Tarmac before taking off.

The story was that a Mom was refused permission to take her 3 year old daughter to the restroom and ordered to stay put in their seat. The tot ended up wetting herself and when mother stood up the clean it up, the FA called into the pilot who turned the plane around to return to the gate, announcing over the intercom that there was a “non-compliant” passenger on board and they were bringing her to security.

The good news is that she was not arrested and allowed to stay on the flight. It turned out that a fellow passenger was an off duty Pilot and stood up for the mother. The other piece of the information to put some context to the story is that the plane had already waited 30 minutes on the Tarmac and the airport was JFK, a busy airport.

We see both sides:

  1. The FA whose responsibility is to keep passengers seated as anytime the flight could be taxing for takeoff. In fact on a recent International flight, we saw one Idjiot stand up while taxing down the runway to open the overhead to get something out of his bag. The FA screamed down the Tannoy “SIR SIT DOWN NOW” to which he turned around with a “who me?” look. He quickly sat down as plane started climbing.
  2. The other side is that as a mother, she wanted to not to want to have her daughter sit in pee while in public.

Continue reading..

A job for the Ubermensch

While walking his 2 Roam’n war dogs, Trajan listened into the local NPR station where Marketplace was playing. Generally we consider Marketplace to be rather lightweight when it comes to economic news but there was an section on there about “Uber”. It apparently has been valued at $18 Billion.

The latest venture-capital investment in Uber, a mobile app that allows users to hail a ride in a town car or taxi, pegs the company’s value at more than $18 billion. That’s more than United Airlines or Sony, just shy of what car-rental Avis and Hertz are worth together. That may seem high for a company with direct competition like LyftSidecar and the entire taxi industry.

For Uber to be worth what investors are betting, the company might need to capture half of the worldwide market for taxis, says Andy Brennan, author of a recent report on that industry from IBIS World Research.  “I can’t see that ever happening,” he says. “Generally taxi customers are quite price-conscious.”

A ride in one of Uber’s town cars costs more than a cab. “The average person who gets a taxi is not necessarily going to use Uber on a regular basis,” Brennan says.

However, competing with taxis isn’t Uber’s goal. The company’s CEO has identified a much bigger competitor: The personal automobile.

$18B for an app that allows you to book a car at a higher price than a Taxi ? If the Venture capitalists are telling you this, then it is likely an example of “the Greater fool” theory. They need to stoke up the hype to get you to buy it from them during the yet to be determined IPO.

Not only that but the Uber model itself faces an uphill struggle for acceptance. In San Antonio, the police chief is threatening users of Uber’s sister app – Lyft  – with jail on the grounds that they do not conform to Taxi restrictions. Afterall, police have the protection of the cities revenue stream public safety  to consider. Continue reading..

Falling for the story hook, (air)line, and sinker : Problem in finding the story behind the headlines

SouthWest Airlines: Copyright Roads-2-Roam.com

SouthWest Airlines at Lovefield: Copyright Roads-2-Roam.com

According to ABC headline “Airline Hiring Taking Off as Travel Zooms“.

“It’s getaway day for millions of Americans with the start of the Memorial Day weekend. The travel industry is set to enjoy its best summer since 2007, just before the recession hit. The airline industry is slowly adding jobs after shedding workers in recent years. And more hires are likely in the next few months. The U.S. Transportation Department says passenger airlines employed more than 383,000 full-time workers in March, up nearly 1 percent from last year. Delta Air Lines added the most jobs, followed by US Airways, American, and Jet Blue. Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air grew fastest in percentage terms, both posting double-digit gains. United Airlines and Southwest shed jobs.”

And that was it. Throw out a morsel to whet the information appetite but give no meat. Continue reading..

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly : False reviews on TripAdvisor

Travel-rating service Trip Advisor is being investigated in Italy over concerns the site is not doing enough to prevent fake reviews.

The Italian competition authority said it had had complaints from consumers and businesses about the website.

Source BBC news.

Trajan had this on his creative backlog, to investigate TripAdvisor in more depth to gauge the objectivity of their reviews. This was based on our own personal experiences of using the site to select a hotel.

Last November,  Houston was booked up due to a week long conference so there was no availability on his usual corporate preferred hotels. What was around was slim pickings so we ended up in a motel on first night.

For the second night, hotel availability freed up somewhat and based on reviews from Trip Advisor, we ended up selecting an Extended Suites America Hotel.

After checking in, we couldn’t believe the contrast between the room and the reviews. Admittedly, it was smoking room that we had been warned about at checking, Trajan was nevertheless shocked by the room. There was no way that this hotel was a 4 out of 5 star rating despite what multiple people had claimed. Continue reading..

Fool me twice, Shaman you.

After reading the story, Roads-2-Roam was already to join in the overwhelming chorus of people calling for Delta’s blood on how they dealt with a paralyzed man. Afterall, who could argue with this:

Kanaan-News-Arcticle

Baraka Kanaan, who is unable to walk after a 2000 car accident, charged in a lawsuit that he was twice forced to crawl on his hands and knees in July 2012 after the major airline failed in their promise to humanely help him on and off.  [source NYDaily news

The other parts to the story being:

Kanaan is a College Professor who ran a ‘501c3’, called 48 hours ahead requesting wheelchair access. It appears the flight was delayed 1 day. The facilities were not present at Nantucket airport.

After the original incident, he complained but similar thing happened on the return flight.  Pieces of cardboard were placed for him to crawl across the tarmac.

Delta offered him 25,000 ‘sky miles’ and a $100 voucher. He refused the offer, however, in fear that any future flights might again have him crawling on his hands and knees.


This was going to be a slam dunk “Feed them to the Lions” piece about theworst customer service EVER.

Except, there were things niggling Trajan when he read the piece. Continue reading..

Highway Robbery : Local taxes on travelers. Who are the worst culprits?

While putting out a welcome sign with one hand, THEY are picking your pockets with the other.  What I am talking about, you ask? US Local Governments of course: As a traveler, you are being robbed with involuntary visitor taxes.

A Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) report studies this where the Worst 10 and the Best 10, are shown in the following two tables. (Note on the methodology is that it used same hotel rate, car rate and restaurant food bill to calculate the added tax).

400px-Al_Capone-around_1935

Alphonse Gabriel, role model for Local Govt. Tax policy on travelers.

Continue reading..

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