News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Community News Network

June 27, 2014

Virginia trying to put brakes on ride-sharing services

Say you leave a bar in Clarendon, Virginia, on a Saturday night. You don't want to walk home, the Metro is closed, and you can't find a cab. There are smartphone apps that will call you a car at the touch of a button.

It's fast and convenient. But it's also illegal in Virginia, and police have started handing out citations to drivers in the weeks since the state's Department of Motor Vehicles issued a "cease and desist" order to the companies Uber and Lyft, saying they don't have the proper permits to operate in the state. Drivers can take passengers to Virginia from the District, but they can't pick up anyone in the commonwealth.

Since the letters were issued June 5, five citations have been issued to drivers who said they were in Virginia to pick up customers, Dustin Sternbeck, spokesman for the Arlington police, said. But he emphasized that all of those cars were initially stopped for breaking traffic laws. "We haven't done any type of sting operations," he said.

Tickets for operating illegally can range from $100 to $500. Sternbeck said most were at the lower end.

Alexandria has not written any tickets since the DMV decision, according to police spokeswoman Crystal Nosal. "We will comply with the DMV's request," she said. "But . . . it's hard to enforce."

Patrons are standing up for the companies, saying they offer a much-needed service, especially in areas where it's not easy to hail a cab.

"It's easier, it's more reliable, the payment options are better," said Joseph Santoro, a 32-year-old Washington resident who doesn't have a car. He sometimes goes to Virginia and would like to know he can take Uber home. Because the service's drivers are rated, he said, "it's in their best interest as drivers to see that the car is cleaner, that they're safer."

In the District, Virginia and beyond, governments are struggling with the tension between existing regulations and established cab companies and newfangled amateur car services such as Uber and Lyft.

Washington taxi drivers held a protest Wednesday morning against UberX, Lyft, and other non-professional car services, asking the District to issue a cease and desist order similar to Virginia's. In their view, it's unfair and unsafe that Uber and its ilk can bypass the regulations that govern licensed cabbies and raise their costs.

Most contentious is not the sleek livery car service that first introduced Uber as a luxury good but UberX, a fleet of part-time cabbies who use their own cars. While drivers undergo background checks, they are not professionally licensed. UberX is one of a host of new smartphone-based amateur car services, including Lyft and SideCar.

In spite of Virginia's cease and desist order, Uber and Lyft have vowed to keep operating in the state, arguing that their businesses are not like cab companies and should be treated differently.

A spokesman for Uber said the company "will pay any unjust citations."

So will Lyft, where a spokeswoman added that the company also will cover legal assistance. "We are committed to supporting the Lyft community, especially as we work through challenges at the city and state levels," she said.

Before the order, both companies had already been fined for operating in the commonwealth without proper licensing. Uber was hit with a $26,000 penalty, Lyft $9,000.

In a meeting with the local Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday night, Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette, D, said he believed that the companies could operate if they were registered as businesses in Virginia.

"Our police are not going to look for a problem, but if they run into it, they will ticket," he said. The County Board isn't taking a side, he said, but officers "have to enforce law."

The friction between existing taxi systems and the new operators has popped up around the country - indeed, even overseas. Protests choked London, Paris and Madrid earlier this month.

New Mexico has denied Uber a temporary permit while working on regulations, and state regulators have battled with Lyft.

Even places that have embraced the new services are running into trouble. Chicago cabdrivers are suing city to impose stricter regulations on their new competition. Last fall, California, where many of the new companies are based, became the first state to issue regulations legalizing the non-professional car service industry. But this month, the president of the state Public Utilities Commission sent an angry letter threatening to revoke permits after personnel complained that drivers were illegally operating at major airports.

"California is the first state that creates rules for this industry to promote consumer choice," he wrote. "We will not, however, accept consumer choice at the expense of consumer safety."

Uber is being sued in San Francisco over the death of a 6-year-old girl who was hit by an UberX driver, and companies are protesting a subsequent legislative push to require more insurance.

There's a political element to these fights as well.

In Chicago, a libertarian law firm is defending the non-professional car service drivers in Chicago. In Virginia, Republicans have blamed Gov. Terry McAuliffe, D, for the regulatory blocks.

"The Virginia DMV is screwing over young people and screwing over young entrepreneurs," said Evan Feinberg, president of Generation Opportunity, a conservative-libertarian nonprofit group that also opposes the Affordable Care Act and backs tax and spending cuts. "It's directly applicable to the dangers of government intervention into health care, into their education, into the job market."

Capitalizing on the tension are other companies, like Hailo, which work with existing professionally licensed cabdrivers so they can be summoned through a smartphone system. The company recently began operating in the District.

Public safety is a real concern with unlicensed drivers, Hailo's Don Gilmour argued: "It's a matter of time before these things happen."

Hailo just expanded to Arlington and Alexandria - without the legal issues. In fact, Alexandria's mayor said the city was "thrilled" to have the company operating there.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year

    Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.3

    July 24, 2014

  • Police Brutality screen shot. Technology plays key part in battling police brutality (VIDEO)

    Allegations of police brutality are nothing new -- as long as there has been law enforcement, citizens have registered claims that some officers cross the line. But in the last few years, the claims of excessive force are being corroborated with new technology from cell phone cameras, police dash-cams and surveillance videos. 

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

  • Has the ipad lost its swag?

    July 24, 2014

  • Almost half of America's obese youth don't know they're obese

    The good news is that after decades of furious growth, obesity rates finally seem to be leveling off in the U.S.. The bad news is that America's youth still appear to be dangerously unaware of the problem.

    July 23, 2014

  • Darth Vader is polling higher than all potential 2016 presidential candidates

    On the other hand, with a net favorability of -8, Jar Jar is considerably more popular than the U.S. Congress, which currently enjoys a net favorability rating of -65.

    July 23, 2014

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • An oncologist uses scorpion venom to locate cancer cells

    Olson, a pediatric oncologist and research scientist in Seattle, has developed a compound he calls Tumor Paint. When injected into a cancer patient, it seems to light up all the malignant cells so surgeons can easily locate and excise them.

    July 22, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 2.00.42 PM.png VIDEO: Train collides with semi truck carrying lighter fluid

    A truck driver from Washington is fortunate to be alive after driving his semi onto a set of tracks near Somerset, Ky., and being struck by a locomotive, which ignited his load of charcoal lighter fluid.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • mama.jpg What we get wrong about millennials living at home

    If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 21, 2014

  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 21, 2014

  • Starved Pennsylvania 7-year-old weighed only 25 pounds

    A 7-year-old Pennsylvania boy authorities described as being so underweight he looked like a human skeleton has been released from the hospital.

    July 21, 2014

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 18, 2014

  • A quarter of the world's most educated people live in the 100 largest cities

    College graduates are increasingly sorting themselves into high-cost, high-amenity cities such as Washington, New York, Boston and San Francisco, a phenomenon that threatens to segregate us across the country by education.

    July 18, 2014

  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 18, 2014

  • Facebook tests button to let people shop from its website

    Members on desktop computers or mobile devices can click a "buy" button to make purchases through advertisements or other posts on the world's largest social network, the Menlo Park, California-based company said Thursday in a blog post.

    July 17, 2014

  • The terrible history of passenger planes getting shot out of the sky

    What is more clear is that, if initial reports are true, this would be the deadliest incident of a civilian passenger plane being shot down in modern memory. In some instances, the causes of the disaster are still shrouded in mystery. Here are some of the worst events.

    July 17, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Judge OKs Record-setting $2B Sale of Clipper Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix Mother of 2 Makes NFL Cheerleading Squad at 40 Trial Begins Over OKC Bombing Video Suspect Dead, Marshals and Cop Wounded in NYC UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. Fish Oil Plant Blast Kills One Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted
NDN Video
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now!
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity