A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘uber

[URBAN NOTE] Ten city links: Laval, Calgary, Vancouver, Cleveland, Machu Picchu, London, Görlitz …

  • The Québec city of Laval now has a cemetery where pets can be buried alongside their owners. CBC reports.
  • Talk of Alberta separatism has already cost Calgary at least one high-profile non-oil investment, it seems. Global News reports.
  • A new piece of public art in Vancouver, a spinning chandelier, has proven to be a lightning rod for controversy. CBC reports.
  • Guardian Cities looks at the continuing fight against lead contamination in Cleveland.
  • Machu Picchu was built in a high remote corner of the Andes for good reasons, it is being argued. The National Post reports.
  • Wired looks at how rivals to Uber are currently fighting for dominance in London, here.
  • Guardian Cities shares a cartoon history of the birth of Nairobi, here.
  • The east German city of Gorlitz offered interested people one month’s free residence. The Guardian reports.
  • JSTOR Daily notes that Hong Kong was born as a city from refugee migrations.
  • Is Tokyo, despite tis size and wealth, too detached from Asia to take over from Hong Kong as a regional financial centre? Bloomberg View is not encouraging.

[URBAN NOTE] Six Toronto links

  • NOW Toronto reports on the long-time independent weekly’s sale to a venture capital firm, here.
  • The Yonge-Eglinton Centre now hosts a venue where people can nap in peace. Toronto Life has photos, here.
  • The family of North York van attack victim Anne-Marie D’Amico hopes to raise one million dollars for a women’s shelter. The National Post reports.
  • Toronto Community Housing, after a terrible accident, has banned its tenants from having window air conditioners. Global News reports.
  • blogTO reports on the ridiculous heights to which surge pricing took ride fares on Uber and Lyft during yesterday morning’s shutdown.
  • blogTO notes that the Ontario government has provided funding to study the idea of extension of the Eglinton Crosstown west to Pearson Airport.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • At Anthro{dendum}, Travis Cooper shares thoughts o what should be kept in mind in studying new media.
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes a new plan to catalogue a hundred thousand stellar nurseries in nearby galaxies.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the very unusual lightcurve of the star VVV-WIT-07.
  • D-Brief considers the possible role of climate change in undermining Byzantium.
  • Gizmodo reports on how astronomers managed to directly image exoplanet HR8799e, a young hot Jupiter some 130 light-years away.
  • JSTOR Daily examines the lynchings inflicted on people of Mexican background in the conquered American West after the Mexican-American War.
  • Marginal Revolution considers the possibility that homo sapiens might trace its ancestry to hominid populations in southern Africa.
  • Noahpinion features a guest post from Roy Bahat arguing that Uber and Lyft need to change their treatment of their workers for their own good.
  • The NYR Daily features an article by Zia Haider Rahman talking about the many ways in which British identity has mutated after Brexit.
  • The Planetary Society Blog features some photos taken by the Beresheet probe on its way to the Moon.
  • Drew Rowsome reviews the Greg Scarnici book Dungeons & Drag Queens, a funny take on Fire Island.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes the early Solar System, when a still energetic Mars existed alongside Earth as a life-supporting planet. (Venus, not so much. Perhaps?)
  • Daniel Little writes at Understanding Society about his new book project, a social ontology of government.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how Russia is dropping off sharply in importance as a trading partner for most post-Soviet states.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Anthropology.net notes that the analysis of a Neanderthal skeleton from Croatia reveals much common ancestry.
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait shares some stunning photos of Jupiter taken by the Juno probe.
  • Crooked Timber considers the differences–such as they are–between science fiction and fantasy literature.
  • After a conversation with Adam Gopnik, Cody Delistraty makes a case for the importance of high-brow culture.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes a paper arguing that Earth-like planets can exist even without active plate tectonics.
  • The Frailest Thing’s Michael Sacasas argues that operating systems relying on instinct hurt human thought.
  • Language Log considers Twitter post limits for East Asian languages.
  • The LRB Blog considers trench fever and the future of nursing in the United Kingdom.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a study suggesting people actively look out for bad and threatening news items.
  • The NYR Daily examines the reasons why Uber ended up getting banned by the city of London.
  • Drew Rowsome reports on an exciting new staging at the Paramount Theatre of Salt-Water Moon.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel looks at the very low proportion of planets in studied exosystems actually detected by Kepler.
  • Strange Company tells the story of John Banvard, a 19th century American who lost everything in mounting panorama exhibitions.
  • Towleroad reports on how PREP contributed to an 80% fall in new HIV diagnoses in London and wider England.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the worsening of HIV/AIDS in Russia, aided by terrible government policy and bad statistics.

[URBAN NOTE] “Transit’s “last mile” solution may be mobility-as-a-service companies”

Spacing Toronto’s John Lorinc reports.

I loath Rogers just as much as the next red-blooded Canadian, and, on certain days, possibly even more. But I have to give the telecom conglomerate, and others like it, credit for figuring out how to promote the idea of bundling all sorts of services and options, plus financial incentives, into an all-in-one offering.

My question is whether there’s something positive to be learned from this particular marketing/pricing strategy that could build on the proliferation of mobility options now available in large urban areas that still struggle to deal with the so-called first mile/last mile problem.

The explosive popularity of Uber has certainly prompted policy-makers to consider the prospect of joining forces with ride-sharing companies as a means of providing more coordinated options in areas not well served by transit.

According to a 2015 article in CityLab, cities like Dallas, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis have established service or payment partnerships with Uber. Late last month, the Toronto Transit Commission accepted a recommendation from CEO Andy Byford to study how the agency (and the City) might pilot an on-demand ride sharing service that conforms with the TTC’s policy of requiring transportation providers to only use accessible vehicles.

Metrolinx in August also put out a report prepared by the University of Toronto’s Mowat Centre calling for more coordination between transit agencies, including Metrolinx, and ride-, car- and bike-sharing organizations, with a proposal that the integration should be delivered to riders via the Presto card.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 13, 2016 at 7:15 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Embrace new transit technology or else, U of T study says”

The Toronto Star‘s Jesse Winters notes the call to assimilate Uber into GTA transit planning.

Transit planners across the Toronto and Hamilton region can either embrace new and disruptive technology like Uber, or resign themselves to a future of endless gridlock compounded by striking taxi drivers and a gutted public transit system that hardly anyone uses, according to a new report by the University of Toronto’s Mowat Centre.

“That’s a pretty decent takeaway from the report,” said co-author Sara Ditta with a laugh.

While that dystopian vision comes from the report’s somewhat stylized worst-case-scenario description, Ditta said the themes underpinning it are serious and pressing.

“The fact is that shared mobility is here,” Ditta said. “It has and will continue to change how people travel, and policy makers need to take steps to address that.”

“Shared mobility” is the term Ditta and her colleagues use to describe the current shift away from personal ownership of things like bikes and cars toward shared use of those resources though apps such as Uber and Lyft, publicly-owned bike share programs and other innovations of the so-called “sharing economy.”

Written by Randy McDonald

August 23, 2016 at 8:39 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Mississauga City Council Was Right to Reverse its Ban on Uber”

Torontoist’s Erik McLaren makes a fervent case that Mississauga city council should not have tried to regulate Uber, on account that such was not within its purview. I’m skeptical of this: Regulating transit obviously is, and for good reason.

Toronto isn’t a hub of innovation. The venture capital community is famous for its stinginess, and we’re regressive when it comes to any disruptive technology. Fintech companies, for example, are having a hard time breaking in to Toronto, while their peers thrive in London and New York. There’s a reason we need to look to America to give us an imagined idea of our entrepreneurial spirit. That’s why we invent phrases like “Silicon Valley North,” so we can feel like we’re moving the right direction.

The problem is uniquely Canadian: we move too slow. In the modern economy, workers like cab drivers, who ideally work an eight-hour shift five days per week and take home enough money to make a solid living, will soon disappear. Canadian cities are at a crossroads where they can accept companies like Uber, the most divisive organization in the sharing economy today, or they can try their damnedest to ignore what consumers in their cities want, like Mississauga did.

But even the City of Mississauga has failed in this regard when it reversed its ban on Uber this week. It’s a sign of changing times: Canadian cities must accept the new norm that Uber brings, or face the consequence of irate citizens.

Mississauga councillors’ move to order Uber to cease operations in the city was done for ostensibly sound reasons. “I doubt the City of Mississauga is gonna sit down with someone who’s not willing to follow the rules at all,” said Mississauga Councillor George Carlson, who voted to ban Uber in April.

Uber, however, has been involved in the regulatory frameworks that have been established by Toronto, Edmonton, and Ottawa. While the company has pushed for its best interests—that is, to exist without regulation in cities like Mississauga—it is still playing by the rules.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 30, 2016 at 8:15 pm

[NEWS] Some Wednesday links

  • Al Jazeera looks at the rejection of political Islam by Tunisia’s Ennahda party.
  • The Australian Broadcasting Corporation notes the ambition of Zambia to become a major food-exporting country.
  • Bloomberg notes the negative impact of booming immigration on the New Zealand economy, observes Ireland’s efforts to attract financial jobs from London-based companies worried by Brxit, reports on the elimination of Brazil’s sovereign wealth fund, and notes a lawsuit lodged by Huawei against Samsung over royalties.
  • Bloomberg View notes that Russia can at least find domestic investors, and worries about the politicization of the Israeli military.
  • CBC reports on the Syrian refugee who has become a popular barber in Newfoundland’s Corner Brooks, notes the sad news of Gord Downie’s cancer, and wonders what will happen to Venezuela.
  • Daily Xtra writes about the need for explicit protection of trans rights in Canadian human rights codes.
  • MacLean’s notes Uber’s struggles to remain in Québec.
  • National Geographic notes Brazilian efforts to protect an Amazonian tribe.
  • The National Post reports about Trudeau’s taking a day off on his Japan trip to spend time with his wife there.
  • Open Democracy wonders what will become of the SNP in a changing Scotland.
  • The Toronto Star looks at payday lenders.
  • Wired examines Twitter’s recent changes.

[URBAN NOTE] “Meet the Montrealer who gave Uber a jolt”

Sunday, the Toronto Star printed Sandro Content’s article about a Montréal businessman who is challenging the Uber model with a fleet of electric cars.

Alexandre Taillefer’s father taught him to read a newspaper upside down at the age of 5. It seemed no more than a game at the time, certainly less practical than the lessons that soon followed in how to play the stock market. But it taught him to look at things differently, an ability that helped make him a rich man.

As with so many of Quebec’s public figures, Taillefer’s high profile is largely restricted to the province. But that could soon change. He’s the Quebec poster boy for the battle against Uber, a crusade he plans to bring to Toronto next year.

[. . .]

The head of Montreal’s board of trade, Michel Leblanc, calls Taillefer the bearer of a “third way” business philosophy between scorched-earth “disruption” and ossified status quo. The best example, Leblanc says, is Taillefer’s fledgling taxi company, called Téo.

It’s a bizarro-world reflection of both Uber and the traditional taxi industry. Its name a French acronym for “optimized ecological transportation,” Téo’s only similarity to Uber is the app-based hailing and payment service.

The differences begin with Téo’s fleet, which are all electric cars owned by the company. App software glitches since the launch last November often kept its initial 60 cars off the road until fixes were completed in early April. Taillefer plans to have 1,000 cars by 2018, a total investment of $250 million.

The more radical difference is Téo’s model of drivers as company employees. They earn $15 an hour ($4.25 more than Quebec’s minimum wage), work eight-hour shifts, receive benefits including two weeks of vacation and company contributions to Quebec’s pension plan, and are eligible for workers’ compensation in case of injury.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 23, 2016 at 6:30 pm

[NEWS] Some Sunday links

  • Bloomberg notes a recent improvement in the fragile health of the Thai king, and looks at the iron ore bust precipitated by slowing growth in China.
  • The CBC notes how Uber’s expansion is hindered by regulation, and observed that a storm in Mexico halved the monarch butterfly population.
  • MacLean’s considers/u> the prospects for electoral reform in Canada.
  • National Geographic reports on the archeological findings off of the coast of Florida.
  • The National Post notes how a cat hit from the Fort McMurray fire inside a stove.
  • Open Democracy looks at the recent Scottish election, concluding that the country is on a path to independence.