1. Having a smartphone application to get a limo/taxi is not "disrupting the urban transportation space," it's just using a different medium to hail a taxi.
[the changes] were outlined in a 20-page report issued by the commission. By approving the proposal, the commission effectively opened a 30-day written-comment period that will begin Dec. 23, when the proposal will be published in the D.C. Register. ...
The proposed fare increase “would improve drivers’ revenue while not adversely affecting the riding public,” according to the commission’s report.
A fare increase has been a long-standing wish of the taxi industry, dating to then-Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s imposition of meters in 2008, leading to what some drivers said was a 30 percent or more drop in income over the old zone system.
The city of Chicago plans to set new limits on the age of cabs and require new taxis to have no more than 75,000 miles, down from the current 150,000 miles. Emanuel also wants to raise lease rates to incentivize fuel-efficient cars, wheelchair-accessible vehicles and a modernized, updated fleet.
A standardized lease system will restrict add-on charges that companies have incorporated to protect drivers from illegal overcharges, Emanuel said. It's not known whether these changes will translate into fare increases for riders. The proposal goes to City Council on Wednesday.
”These reforms will increase safety and bring Chicago’s taxi fleet into the 21st century by enhancing oversight of drivers, ensuring vehicles are modern and more fuel-efficient, and giving customers a cleaner and safer ride,” said Emanuel in a statement.
The reforms were created after a recent review of the local taxi industry by the city of Chicago that included input from aldermen, taxi companies and independent drivers and owners.
They include mandatory credit card machines and GPS in all cabs, as well as real-time access to Secretary of State's moving violations database to take dangerous drivers off the street.
The city press release has more details.
5. It turns out that there are academic studies of the taxi industry for San Francisco (THE SAN FRANCISCO TAXICAB INDUSTRY: AN EQUITY ANALYSIS from the public policy school at the University of California Berkeley), Chicago (Driven Into Poverty: A Comprehensive Study of the Chicago Taxicab Industry from the University of Illinois School of Labor and Employment Relations), and Los Angeles (Driving Poor: Taxi Drivers and the Regulation of the Taxi Industry in Los Angeles from UCLA).
The studies tend to focus on equity and income issues concerning the drivers.
6. In looking at another report from San Francisco, 2008 Taxi Industry Report - Recommendation on Rates of Fare and Gate Fees, it seems as if SF has 1/4 the number of taxis as DC, even though SF has 200,000 more residents, and is about 1/3 smaller physically. That's another reason that it's hard for taxi drivers in DC to make much money--lots of cabs, and people who have limited job options (immigrants) are attracted to the industry because there are few barriers to entry, increasingly the supply of taxis beyond what might normally be provided if supply were dictated strictly on the basis of demand.
7. The Taxi Library website is a good source for this kind of information.
9. "Taxi firms are not in the business of carrying passengers. They are in the vehicle leasing business. Firms derive their revenue from leasing vehicles and permits to drivers. They derive no direct financial benefit from carrying more passengers, and compete with each other for permit holders and to a lesser extent drivers, not passengers.”
-- San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association Making Taxi Service Work in San Francisco’ Final Report, November 2001