Friday, 1 January 2016

Uber's year of unexpected partnerships

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD):
just one of Uber's many community partnerships
Uber continues to surprise us with out-of-the-box thinking on partnerships. It's innovative, and it's shaking up traditional taxi-model thinking. Here are a few from 2015 that caught our eye:
And a few others..

Related resources
Dear Canadian Taxi Monopoly: your Uber Boogie Man doesn't scare me
Taxi Truths campaign puts lipstick on a pig 
Canadian Taxi Monopoly is attempting to curb consumer choice
Uber provides the taxi industry a good kick in the pants

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Uber news recap - December 2015

Behind the wheel with Uber in Bogota
A few highlights from the world of Uber news in December:

Worried it will be hard to identify the Uber car picking you up? What if others are waiting for Uber cars too? It turns out there's now an app for that: the new Uber SPOT:
Criticism of Uber's surge pricing (aka 'dynamic pricing') hit a new low (or is that high?) with the story of a former happy Uber customer's experience visiting Grand Rapids. Unable to get a taxi after a game with his buddies, the Uber advocate boasted how fast and affordable the service was. After a car quickly arrived, he asked what the fare would be, and the driver said he didn't know. He got quite a shock after the relatively short drive.
Toronto taxi drivers still don't get it. Just a week after the Canadian Competition Bureau called for a level playing field in the taxi vs Uber debate, Toronto taxi drivers staged a hunger strike. Then they went onto mass strike actions that only caused Torontonians and visitors alike crave the alternative.
What if you want to drive for Uber, but don't have a car? The answer just got easier, if you live in Denver:
Of course, a little ridesharing seasonal cheer:
And on the global stage:
Other headlines:

Related resources
Dear Canadian Taxi Monopoly: your Uber Boogie Man doesn't scare me
Taxi Truths campaign puts lipstick on a pig 
Canadian Taxi Monopoly is attempting to curb consumer choice
Uber provides the taxi industry a good kick in the pants

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmas taxis

Taxistas viram Papai Noel em São Paulo
Ho ho ho!
Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and your family a happy and safe holiday season.

And, yes, that wish includes taxi drivers:)

Related resources

creative commons image, click for source information

Monday, 7 December 2015

Tijuana Airport's new Cross Border Xpress (CBX) terminal

Tijuana Airport's new CBX terminal opens
 in San Diego on December 9, 2015
For the past 2 years, San Diego residents have watched a new building take shape next to the USA/Mexican border, complete with an overhead walkway. It's a new portal, of sorts, into Mexico.

When the new Tijuana Airport Cross Border Xpress terminal (CBX) opens on December 9, 2015, making it the only airport in the world to have terminals in two countries.

 "CBX", situated in San Diego, California, USA, is connected to Tijuana International Airport's Terminal 1 by a passenger foot bridge. Eligible passengers will pay USD 18 for access to the 525 foot bridge.

The Terminal 2 building will serve as a check-in and processing facility for departing passengers only, with its own parking and customs offices. There are no gates or arrival facilities. The structural scheme of CBX is intended to allow greater access to flights out of Tijuana Airport for both domestic and international air carriers.

The design of the joint binational Terminal 2 is the work of late Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta.

Related resources
Cross-border airport? New California terminal extends to Mexico
Tijuana International Airport (TIJ) transportation guide
San Diego International Airport (SAN) transportation guide

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Uber news recap - November 2015

creativecommons image afagen on Flickr
Here's a bit of what was happening in the Uber vs taxi war in November.

Canada’s Competition Bureau calls for modernized taxi rules 

 Canada Competition Bureau wants to see a level playing field for taxis and ridesharing services, such as Uber. Commissioner John Pecman has called on regulators to ease price controls, eliminate taxi plate restrictions, permit street hail pick-ups, and provide incentives for accessible vehicles:

The hoopla over surge pricing

Another Halloween, another uproar over Uber's surge pricing. No one much likes it, except perhaps the drivers, but it seems this aspect of the Uber business model is here to stay.

What? Taxis drop their fares to compete with Uber?

How revolutionary: taxi meters in Toronto have been reprogrammed with lower base fares in an attempt to compete with ridesharing services. While surely welcomed by passengers, it may also be annoying to realize that one has been paying inflated rates, along with all the rumbling...

How ridesharing is making a difference

While the Western world argues the merits of ridesharing services, and pours energy into stopping the organic growth that users are seeking, it's a good news story elsewhere in the world. Take India...

Related resources
Dear Canadian Taxi Monopoly: your Uber Boogie Man doesn't scare me
Taxi Truths campaign puts lipstick on a pig 
Canadian Taxi Monopoly is attempting to curb consumer choice
Uber provides the taxi industry a good kick in the pants

Monday, 16 November 2015

Should you travel to Paris?

Eiffel Tower Sketch
creativecommons image danielygo on Flickr
No one can tell you whether you should travel to Paris or not, but we offer a few perspectives that may help you weigh your options.

7 Keys to Traveling Without Fear Despite Terrorist Attacks
Published yesterday, travel vetran Wendy Perrin puts things in perspective.
You may be making travel plans—or trying to—and you can’t help but wonder: If I go, what is the risk that I will get caught in a terrorist incident? How do I minimize that risk? If I can’t minimize it, how do I get over my fear? I believe the solution is to put your risk in perspective. Here’s how... [read Wendy's full article]

What Should I Do If I’m Traveling to Paris?
Published yesterday, Yahoo Travel turns to Dan Richards of Global Rescue for advice.
For now, Paris is a city in mourning. As we often see in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, the security situation in Paris remains extremely fluid. And that could pose an issue for tourists, students and businesspeople who are traveling, or planning to travel, there. But it might be comforting to know that after Friday’s devastating and tragic attacks, Paris is still open to visitors... [read the full article]

Paris attacks: is it safe to travel to Paris?
Published today in the Telegraph's travel section, this piece contains practical information on a number of fronts.
Despite the announcement that France was closing its borders following a series of terror attacks, flights, ferries and trains have been running as normal - but security has been stepped up. Tourist attractions in Paris, including the Eiffel Tower and The Louvre, are due to reopen on Monday afternoon... [read the full article]

Related resources
What to do in a city where there's been a terrorist attack - Johnny Jet
Government of Canada France travel advisory - read the latest advisory
May the odds be ever in your favour
Travel in the time of Ebola

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Uber news recap - October 2015

Uber proves to be the cat's meow in October
creativecommons image dirtymouse on Flickr
Here's an update on the latest in the world of Uber news:

Insurance woes for UberX drivers in Toronto

An interesting development in the world of insurance for Uber in Toronto over the use of UberX driver's personal vehicles without commercial insurance.

Calgary goes covert on Uber

Tension continues in Calgary with the latest Uber crackdown, spy style.
No go for Uber or more taxis in Vancouver, still

The stalemate over more private transportation options in Vancouver is... still a stalemate. In it's wisdom(?), city council has declined to NEITHER end the moratorium on new taxi licenses, or approve Uber for the city. The result? Residents still waiting for rides during peak periods - such as in the club zone at closing time - and expensive rides, often with disgruntled taxi drivers. This is progress?

A rare welcome

Every once in awhile, a city - or an advocate for a city - welcomes the arrival of ridesharing services. A timely, refreshing example...

Weighing in on the future of Uber

What is the future of ridesharing? How long will Uber be around? How will the service change? Forbes weighed in this in October.

Even cats take Uber

Finally, proof that Uber is the cat's meow, with this story that made the rounds in late October...

Related resources
Dear Canadian Taxi Monopoly: your Uber Boogie Man doesn't scare me
Taxi Truths campaign puts lipstick on a pig 
Canadian Taxi Monopoly is attempting to curb consumer choice
Uber provides the taxi industry a good kick in the pants

Monday, 19 October 2015

Headed to one of the 10 most dreaded? (2015)

Waiting in Sao Paulo airport 2014
Check out our Layover Ideas for the World's Worst Airports (2015)
creativecommons image gord99 on Flickr
Sleeping in Airports has announced the results of their 2015 Best and Worst Airports Survey.

While we are inspired by the airports on the Best Airports list to book long layovers to enjoy them, those on the Worst Airports list is another matter.

1. Port Harcourt International Airport (PHC) - new to the list
2. Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED) - was #2 last year
3. Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM) - was #3 last year
4. Tashkent International Airport (TAS) - was #5 last year
5. Caracas Simon Bolivar International Airport (CCS) - new to the list
6. Port au Prince Toussaint Louverture International Airport (PAP) - new to the list
7. Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport (KBL) - new to the list
8. Ho Chi Minh City Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport (SGN) - new to the list
9. Islamabad Benazir Bhutto International Airport (ISB) - was #1 last year
10. Paris Beauvais International Airport (BVA)- was #6 last year

Keep in mind that just because an airport doesn't make the list, doesn't mean it isn't really bad. As the list is generated by airport users, other dismal airports that either received less visitors, or just less passengers inclined to vote, may drop off the list itself. In other words, don't be surprised to find last year's losers haven't improved.

The good news? In Layover Ideas for the World's Worst Airports (2015), our sister-site has suggestions about you to survive your layover if you find yourself headed to one of the dreaded!

Related resources
Sleeping in Airports 2016 Best and Worst Airports Survey - cast your vote!
Lousy Lagos Airport layover review
Layover Ideas & Things to Do Anywhere in the World
Go running on your layover
Roundtrip layover tours from airports

Thursday, 15 October 2015

New hope for Toronto's UPExpress

UPExpress airport train at Pearson station
creative commons image chriskillam on Flickr
After a beleaguered start, it appears there may be hope on the horizon for Torontonians who watch the city's airport train cars pass by empty.

The Globe and Mail has reported of a rumoured takeover of the Union Pearson Express by the city. In the article, Toronto Mayor John Tory "acknowledged that the idea is just a 'passing reference' in what is expected to be a lengthy report on the feasibility of his $8-billion SmartTrack, which would run on the existing GO rail network and has a planned stop in the Pearson airport area."

Passing reference or not, we can't help but be optimistic.

The Union Pearson Express on a busier day
creativecommons image sweetone on Flickr
While the building of the new Toronto Airport train was much anticipated, doubts about ridership arose immediately after the fare structure was announced (see our blog post Toronto joins the 21st century with Pearson airport train).

Since beginning service in June, UPExpress trains have been running largely empty, with few but the most flush travellers, and an occassional local, paying the steep fares. For an international airport, served by thousands of local workers, Toronto deserves better. Let's hope the SmartTrack will get the Toronto Pearson Airport train on the right track.

YYZ Airport train: fast, but not cheap
creativecommons image chriskillam on Flickr

Related resources
Staff report hints at Toronto taking over Pearson express train
Pearson airport express trains 90 per cent empty
Union Pearson Express — the train Toronto loves to hate
What travellers want – and at the right price
Clean Train Coalition on UPExpress diesel design

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

The elusive Kabul Taxi

You can't actually take the 'Kabul Taxi'
It seems not everyone is amused by Kabul Taxi, the satirical Facebook page that provided an outlet for Afghans tired from years of unrest.

Since summer, Afghanistan's spy agency has been paying attention to to the page, and threatening to shut it down. It's a compliment of sorts, and the scrutiny has led to greater exposure for the fake taxi page.

While reportedly removed, we still found the Kabul Taxi Facebook page, with 60,000+ likes and recent posts. Even if you can't understand the language, the photos give you insight to the irony and biting commentary on life and politics in the country.

What's next? We were amused to see comments on the Kabul Taxi page suggestion variations, including Kabul Bus, Kabul Jet and more.

Whatever the outcome, we wish peace and whatever comical relief that gets the people of this resilient country.

Related resources
Kabul Taxi is Blocked on Facebook. Long Live Kabul Taxi!
Afghan satire 'Kabul Taxi' angers spies, scribes summoned
A street car named satire: 'Kabul Taxi' lampoons Afghanistan
Afghans flock to Kabul Taxi, a satirical Facebook page that spares no one
Kabul Airport (KBL) transportation guide (real information, no fakes here!)