Red Ken lives! Only he's moved across the pond, had massive surgery and now looks and sounds just like the Big Apple's mayor, Mike Bloomberg. Oh wait, it is Bloomberg. And he's lost his frigging marbles. To wit: According to the NYTimes (via Motor Authority ) the city is conducting a series of one day experiments and a nearly 7-mile stretch of road running from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Upper West side will be car, truck and bus free. This should prove quite (in)convenient for trust-funded socialites needing the services of their Williamsburg coke dealers. The "Summer Streets" program will run for three Sundays in August. If it proves successful the Mayor says they'll do it again. We'd like to know what metric they use to measure "success." Most people late for appointments? Most revenue lost by a single parking lot? Most miles walked by ticked-off bus riders? Store with the most missed deliveries? People often ask me why I left New York. Here's my new answer, "Officials … [Read more...] about NYC to Experiment with Car-Free Zone
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In a surprise reversal, an appeals court judge has ruled that New York City can indeed force all of its taxi drivers to buy Nissan NV200 vans, marking yet another stalemate in an 18-month court battle over the city’s “Taxi of Tomorrow.”In October when Nissan rolled the first vans to dealers, a judge ruled that the Taxi and Limousine Commission had no authority to establish one taxi model after the Greater New York Taxi Association complained the van wasn’t handicapped accessible or a hybrid. Current regulations require all new taxi purchases to be hybrids and for any taxi van to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act—both of which Nissan, which successfully won a $1 billion contract with the city in 2011, had not done with the NV200 taxi.As we’ve reported, taxi companies and drivers simply don’t want to be told to buy one vehicle, regardless of the vehicle in question. The Commission has approved 47 vehicles for taxi service … [Read more...] about All is Fare in NYC: Nissan NV200 Taxi Gets Green Light
An animal rights group, NYClass (New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets), used the New York Auto Show to introduce the brass-era style electric vehicle that they and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio want to replace the 68 horse drawn carriages that 300 carriage drivers use to carry tourists and others around Central Park. I’m not going to wade into the animal rights debate about the horses, and I actually think that the mayor’s idea to use vintage looking electric cars makes some sense. The Luddites who decry modern technology have no idea just how filthy cities were when we relied on animal, not machine, power (and how much arable land was used farming to feed all those draft animals). However much sense it makes to use EVs as tourist vehicles, the vehicle that is being promoted – the Creative Workshop’s ‘eCarriage’ – just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. If you were going to make an electric vehicle to carry people around the … [Read more...] about Do 7,500 Lb. Faux Vintage Electric “Cars” for Central Park Make Sense?
An interesting development in the ongoing Uber vs. Taxi battle – an UberX now costs less than a standard yellow cab ride in the five boroughs.As part of a promotion, Uber is dropping fares on their UberX (privately driven car) service so that it undercuts the equivalent trip on a New York yellow cab. New York’s Taxi and Limosuine Commission and Uber have a long, fairly acrimonious history, but this latest move has even broader consequences.As Zero Hedge shows, the price of a New York City taxi medallion has skyrocketed in recent years – and you can bet that the parties who have invested in these medallions will be pushing back fiercely against Uber’s latest price cut. … [Read more...] about Uber Drops NYC Prices Below Yellow Cab Fares
Ron Sherman’s grandfather started what would become Midtown Operating Corp. back in the 1940s when he and some high-school friends invested in six New York City taxi medallions, those metal plaques that officially designate a cab as street-hailable. Sherman got into the business with his dad in the 1970s after doing time in construction and used-car sales. This makes Sherman’s 23-year-old daughter, Danielle—an NYU economics grad and the company’s current VP—a fourth-generation hack. “We didn’t even realize that,” Sherman says, beaming at her in their shared office at Midtown’s Queens headquarters, “until someone pointed it out.” Midtown now operates one of the busiest and most successful fleets in the city, with 205 licensed cars running two 10-hour shifts per day, seven days a week, each clocking about 100,000 annual miles on what Sherman calls the “toughest streets in the world.” And every one of the … [Read more...] about Taxi Tough: A Look Inside an NYC Cab Shop
Because it’s now fashionable for automakers to act like startups—in which they’re not merely manufacturing cars but instead are “building brand experiences,” “creating transportation solutions,” or, in this case, “redefining the future of personal mobility”—General Motors has just launched its own version of Zipcar, and it’s called Maven.Maven is essentially a one-make rental shop owned and operated by GM, designed to attract younger, city-dwelling, car-free people into its cars. GM wants to earn some money, too, more than the failed Sidecar, which GM purchased in pieces a few days earlier. Other than being a division of GM, there’s nothing unique about Maven. A location-sensing smartphone app reserves nearby cars for between one and 24 hours, the OnStar service unlocks them, and you drive off for up to 180 miles. Fuel is included, and you’ve got to return the car to the exact same space at the pre-appointed … [Read more...] about That’s So Maven! GM Debuts New Car-Sharing Service
In a hearing today, the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission approved the Ford Transit Connect for taxi service in the city. You’re probably thinking “wait a tick, didn’t the City of New York recently hold a competition among manufacturers to determine ‘NYC’s Taxi of Tomorrow,’ and didn’t Ford’s Transit Connect lose that competition to Nissan’s NV200 small van?” The answer to both of your questions is yes.But the Transit Connect did not completely lose the chance to ferry New Yorkers about, because Nissan’s exclusive 10-year contract doesn’t kick in until 2013. In the meantime, Ford is free to foist its small, high-roof van upon the taxi companies of New York. Ford also won approval for its Taurus sedan at the Taxi Commission’s hearing; while certainly no Crown Victoria, the Taurus is at least a large sedan, which is sure to make it popular among the big-sedan-philic hired car set. … [Read more...] about Ford Transit Connect Approved for Taxi Use in NYC
A great philosopher once said that you can’t start a fire without a spark, followed by something about rhythmic movements in unlit spaces.Well, if there’s a war brewing against autonomous technology and self-driving vehicles, the flashpoint might have occurred in New York — City and State — last week. A large trade group and labor union joined forces in denouncing the driverless scourge headed their way, with one of the groups angling for a 50-year-ban on the automotive heathens.The Upstate Transportation Association, which represents private passenger transportation companies in the state, sees self-driving vehicles as an existential threat to its members’ livelihoods. It wants protection — ideally, five decades’ worth.Just last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gave the green light to ride-sharing services operating outside of New York City. Those services, be it Lyft or Uber, will be regulated by the state, rather than … [Read more...] about A War Against Self-Driving Cars Just Kicked Off in New York, But It Could Turn into Grenada
I still remember it as though it were yesterday. My father, nearly exactly the same age that I am today, pulling up into the driveway of our suburban home in his new company car just slowly enough for everybody in the neighborhood to see.As a cherubic five year old, I looked down from the window of the bedroom that I shared with my older brother, feeling the same sort of excitement that I normally reserved for things like the very few Christmas mornings that I had experienced thus far. Not because I was necessarily that excited, mind you, but because everybody else in the house was. The buzz was palpable. My dad was bringing home the car that signified that his new position as the president of a brokerage firm, the car that nearly everybody in the early 1980s said was their dream car.What was the dream car in question? If you were alive in 1983, you already know. It was the Lincoln Town Car, resplendent in the color of a Carolina sky that my ever politically correct mother … [Read more...] about Bark’s Bites: When It Comes To #Branding, Cars Still Come First
There’s not a doubt in my mind that if Grosse Pointe, Michigan, which abuts the city limits of Detroit, put up toll booths on Jefferson Ave. charging drivers money to enter the city, there’d be accusations of discriminating against the less affluent, mostly black residents of the city of Detroit. New York City, though, gets away with charging exorbitant tolls to enter Manhattan and some of the boroughs. If you are driving a privately owned automobile or truck, or if you’re a passenger on a privately owned bus or taxicab, you will be paying or subsidizing a toll if you want to enter the ‘center of the universe’.Of course, government owned transportation services are exempt from such tolls, but if you’re going travel into the city on your own schedule, you will have to pay for what, I guess, is a privilege.Now I don’t have a problem with the concept of paying a toll to traverse a bridge or tunnel. Bridges and tunnels need continuous … [Read more...] about Highway Robbery – Why Are NYC Tolls So Expensive?