Thursday, April 23, 2015

This was news in January - Taxi Kingpin Evgeny Friedman brokered a meeting between mayor deBlasio, police sergeants union.head Ed Mullins and himself.

I was out of the country when this was news, but I think I have some cogent insights into the meeting and what it represented, handjobs all around. First we learned that deBlasio and Mullins, meeting in Friedman's "swanky apartment" "bonded "while watching the Knicks get their assets whipped on TV. Mullins, pissed because deBlasio is doing his "Park Slope Progressive Democrat" routine trying to coopt part of the movement against police brutality and impunity. Bill must have given Mullins quite a massage, considering Mullins said deBlasio is a gentleman, not a nincompoop, as he'd been calling hizzonor. Really, when you take into consideration the fact that  Mullins' membership had been working without a contract for umpity-dump years, I have to believe that Bill has some really special gift.

The guy who didn't get out of trouble, big time, was Friedman, host and matchmaker. He remains in a serious jam with Citibank, the IRS, and according to what I read, his twenty-four year old wife.

Friedman hopes to get a boost in the lease rates the government allows from the drivers, and some kind of "too big to fail" bail out from the City and State. As it is he can't get his taxis on the road without charging less than the law allows.

Many taxi drivers are as bedazzled by Uber flim-flam as are parts of the general public. Having absolutely no stake in nor sentimental attachment to "yellow." These drivers have fled one plantation for another. Friedman and his cohorts are also hoping to get permission to have an all service app approved. Like a deer in the headlights, he doesn't know what is headed for him, or maybe he does. He led the team the wrong way when he endorsed the November medallion auction. He led the team over a cliff. Medallions that should have remained on the shelf were bought by people who listened to Friedman for as much as $1,250,000, record prices. These tins are so under water the City Council doesn't see the possibility of another auction any time soon while the mayor thinks he can unload some for $250,000 to $350,000 although banks have pulled out of the medallion financing business.

The City settled with Mullins on Feb. 27 - an eleven percent raise spread out over seven years.

Going for an app that will be branded as the taxi moguls' app, and probably designed to fail by Uber and Lyft agents of influence within the City administration would be a mistake. Hailo failed as a yellow taxi app in New York, and Uber's yellow taxi app practically is useless. Apps and yellow do not mix here in the Big Apple. On top of that three major law suits are putting the whole concept of the e hail app into doubt and disrepute for causing distracted driving and unknown, unrecorded mayhem.

Yellow does need to clean up its act. Cars need to be clean and well maintained. There has to be an improvement in training and violations like passenger refusals have to become unthinkable. That would take some doing. A system of pre payment via some kind of card to be sold in kiosks as well as through a credit card and PayPal connected app would put the yellow taxi driver on an even playing field with the Uber drivers - yellow taxi drivers would have the same assurance of getting paid for the service they render, each and every time. The City has a very extensive mass transit system that serves people who have no money for taxis. Ask Uber.

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