Chat transcript: Ride sharing companies in Pittsburgh


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Kim Lyons: Good morning... we'll begin shortly.  

Will Reynolds Young: Good Morning All

Kim Lyons: Hi Will, thanks for joining!

Guest: who is Kim Lyons ....owner of Lyft ?

Kim Lyons: No, I'm a reporter with the Post-Gazette, I've been covering the ride sharing issue

Kim Lyons: New taxi service Lyft set to go in Pittsburgh

Will Reynolds Young: Glad I could join, Bobby wishes he could be here.

Guest: oo ok thanks

Kim Lyons: Ha, I sort of doubt that, Will ;)  

Will Reynolds Young: I am keep in the loop, he's currently talking my ear off.

Kim Lyons: Well he is welcome to join us any time!

Kim Lyons: OK, I'm going to give people another minute or two to jump in then I'm going to start with a poll  

Guest: Hello everyone

Kim Lyons: Hi, thanks for joining us today

Guest: Hi all !

Kim Lyons: If people wouldn't mind using a first name, that would be helpful... I'm going to end up with a lot of "Guest"s  

Lyft Driver Tim: "Guests" - you can change your name underneath where you type if you want to look like an individual!

Guest: Former Pittsburgher, joining from Boston. Consulting in Sharing. Very excited to see this chat! And the article, Kim.

Jonathan McNelis: opps helps if I add my name huh

CabbyGo-A Pittsburgh Startup: Hi!

Kim Lyons: Hi Cabby Go! Glad you could make it

Kim Lyons: OK let's begin

Kim Lyons: yesterday Mayor Peduto said he would ask the PUC to change its rules surrounding ride sharing companies in Pittsburgh

Kim Lyons: This doesn't just mean Lyft and Uber, he also indicated it could apply to jitney drivers as well

Will Reynolds Young: Awesome to see CabbyGo here!

Kim Lyons: What do we think of the mayor's stance, chatters?  

Will Reynolds Young: I am happy to see our mayor supporting an improvement over the current model that leaves Pittsburghers out in the cold.

John: very pleased that he is taking an "all of the above" stance

Joseph: Kim, have you heard any chatter about allaying the rental car tax on car sharing services such as ZipCar?

Kim Lyons: That's a good question Joseph, and I haven't heard how Zipcar might be affected

Kim Lyons: I tend to think it falls under a different category than ride share/jitneys and taxis, but I will look into it.

Lyft Driver Tim: The existing transportation options (especially before this month, though even now it's still quite short) in Pittsburgh cannot handle the demand, so I'm glad that Peduto is looking forward to some additional sources of transportation.

CabbyGo-A Pittsburgh Startup: Thanks! Good to be here. I think that it's always good for the consumer when they have more options available.

Alstate Double check: The mayor doesn't care how LEGIT Pittsburgh business's are effected

Kim Lyons: how do you mean, Alstate? How would this affect existing businesses?

Kim Lyons: ... in your view

Kim Lyons: Pittsburgh-area cab companies make case against ride-sharing trend

Jonathan McNelis: I think it is a wonderful opportunity, not only for drivers of Uber, Lyft, and private jitneys, but for the average Pittsburgher who is looking for a better transportation option other than taxis or busses, which to be quite frank, are not living up to their expectations or many of Pittsburgh citizens without reliable transportation

Kim Lyons: OK, so how many of those chatting are Lyft drivers?

Kim Lyons: and why did you decide to sign up ?

Liz: It's wonderful Mayor Peduto demonstrates a very clear understanding that transportation in Pittsburgh needs an overhaul, and recognizes the importance of innovative options like Lyft. I don't think cabs will be ever be completely phased out, but ride-share/vehicle-sharing options Lyft, Uber, Zipcar et. all are the future of transportation not just in Pittsburgh, but across the board.

Will Reynolds Young: It's my belief that even with Lyft, Uber, Yellow Cab, Classy Cab etc all operating the demand will still be too great. I have seen numbers (which aren't handy) showcasing the fact even with all these services we will still be massively underserved.

Jonathan McNelis: of*

Julia: The model eradicates the unnecessary ownership of cars by companies-- cars are driven by their owners an average of 1 single hour per day. It seems like this is a win win.

Kim Lyons: But what about the concerns of taxi companies in Pittsburgh, who say these new ride share companies aren't following the same rules the taxi companies have to adhere to?  

Jonathan McNelis: I am currently a Lyft driver and really enjoy it! I am currently a college student in need of extra money and finding a job that works around my busy school schedule is difficult. I love meeting the many people I serve for Lyft and really love that Lyft as an active community of drivers that support each other

Alstate Double check: Do this drivers have a Commercial insurance policy?

Kim Lyons: good question for the drivers, Alstate, if any want to respond. I addressed the insurance issue in an earlier story:  

Kim Lyons: New taxi service Lyft set to go in Pittsburgh

Kim Lyons: (sorry for the repeat link, but wanted to give late arrivals a chance to read it)

Julia: I think there are commercial lines that are pertinent here and should be applied to Lyft; however, the model is in effect voluntary. I think there might need to be a new category made for this type of service, wherein it's simply a new mode of efficiency.

Kim Lyons: Peduto asks for rule change on ride-sharing operations

Kim Lyons: Julia, that is interesting, because California did that very thing, and Colorado is considering something similar  

Julia: the cars and people exist, they are choosing to drive people they don't know and the beenfit is for traffic, consumers, and city infrastructure as well.

Guest: why does the PUC regulate pittsburgh?

Kim Lyons: The Pa. PUC regulates commercial vehicles such as limos and taxis in the state of Pennsylvania

Will Reynolds Young: The market is certainly behind these ridesharing services in many aspects. The current insurance offers really don't take into account any of the sharing economy services

Jonathan McNelis: The Lyft platform provides drivers with excess liability insurance up to $1,000,000 per occurrence. This first-of-its-kind solution offers peace of mind for both drivers and passengers.

Alstate Double check: Then that has to be done with the insurance industry and nothing to do with the PUC

Joseph: Kim, when you say "concerns of taxi cab companies" are you talking about CEOs of the taxi cabs or the taxi drivers themselves? From what I understand, taxi drivers themselves in cities that have implemented Lyft, Uber, etc. have been very happy transitioning to driving for those new services. It seems like sour grapes from company executives who have had near-monopolies propped up by the PUC for decades.

Liz: RE: But what about the concerns of taxi companies in Pittsburgh, who say these new ride share companies aren't following the same rules the taxi companies have to adhere to? //Ride share companies/drivers do not operate the in the same manner as a cab company, so I'm not following the reasoning behind having them adhere to the same types of rules and regulations. It is a voluntary ride, flex pricing system, not the same operation or business model.

Jonathan McNelis: On top of that, all drivers are required to carry their own insurance for their vehicles

Guest: it does not control philly. shouldnt the city decide whats best

Kim Lyons: Philadelphia has had Uber Black for some time

Kim Lyons: The version of Uber in Pittsburgh is Uber X, more similar to Lyft

Kim Lyons: Well Liz to your question: According to the PUC if you are receiving compensation for transportation, you are subject to the rules governing commercial vehicles like taxis

Jonathan McNelis: Correct Kim, Uber Black is more geared toward luxury vehicles, while Uber X is open to most economy model vehicles

Guest: they are regulated by the philly parking authority

Will Reynolds Young: These sharing economy services aren't just Uber and Lyft but also Air BnB, Task Rabbit, Relay Ride and many early stage start-ups that encourage the reallocation of resources that are otherwise left unused.

Dave: IMO I think the Pittsburgh Taxi companies are upset because they finally have some competition.

Lyft Driver Tim: (UberX is exactly the same as Lyft, if we're being honest. Direct competitors, though not really here, as the demand is so high in Pittsburgh that one company could not handle it anyway.)

Jonathan McNelis: If I am remembering correctly the difference

Will Reynolds Young: For anyone unaware Uber has multiple models, UberX, UberTaxi, UberLux, UberBlack, UberSUV.

CabbyGo-A Pittsburgh Startup: I think that the law is in place to protect both the public and the carriers. If you want to operate a taxi company, you should operate within the guidelines. CabbyGo was designed to provide technology tools for existing taxi companies/carriers that play by the rules.

Kim Lyons: Cabby Go is a Pittsburgh-based company, how many of you chatters are familiar with it...  

Julia: The taxi argument in my mind is hinged on the expense of medallions which is truly an aged mechanism. It doesn't make sense based on the technology we have today. There is no accountability and the service simply isn't (typically) as good. There is a reason Lyft is having a detrimental effect on archaic taxi companies: capitalism.

Guest: yes they are not regulated by the puc

Guest: as a city why should we even care what the puc or cab companies say? shouldnt we represent ourselves and better our city not be held down by corrupt state legislation

Kim Lyons: Well the taxi companies say they have played by the rules, and so should new companies arriving in the city...

Alstate Double check: What about handicap vehicles? Do we have access?

Kim Lyons: My understanding re: accesible vehicles, is that there is no requirement for Lyft/Uber vehicles to be accessible

Dave: Well said "Guest"

Joseph: Just curious for anyone who has used these services: what's the availability like after midnight? That's normally the only time I'd use a service like this (normally a bus rider, pedestrian, or biker).

Guest: If taxi companies say they have played by the rules, I have to assume playing by the rules consists of high odds of being extremely late or simply not showing up, and so am actively disinterested in propagating those rules.

Alstate Double check: Why because they are not regulated?

Jonathan McNelis: To answer your questions Kim, I have not heard of, or used Cabby Go

D Brashear: (sorry, the comment on the rules was from me; the name box did not appear until i sent)

Kim Lyons: Hi Mr. Brashear, thank you for joining us  

Guest: Am I allowed to ride a moped legally in the City?

Kim Lyons: Don't know, and not sure that's germaine to our discussion re: mopeds.  

Will Reynolds Young: I have heard of CabbyGo however I have been unable to use it.

Kim Lyons: OK Cabby Go, how is your service different? Or is it?

Jonathan McNelis: Hi D Brashear!! : )

Joseph: I think people are forgetting that the existing taxi companies are awful situations for drivers, too. A lot of the problems (drivers arriving late or not at all) are usually the byproduct of them trying to do the best for themselves within a flawed system that's attempting to leech them as much as possible.

Lyft Driver Tim: Joseph: Lyft's current operating hours in PGH are til 1am weekdays, 3am Fri-Sat. It's actually free to use Lyft in PGH currently so the demand is very high and might take up to 10-15 minutes of waiting to receive a ride. After the free period, I am sure it'll be even more quick.

Kim Lyons: OK Tim, but what about surge pricing? Does Lyft use this method, because I hear it can be expensive when it's in effect

John: while I support uber and lyft, I think Yellow Cab does have one good point about the collection of wage taxes for the city -- I fee like there's a lot of "under the table" money

Dave: I have to agree with Joeeph. Pittsburgh has the WORSE taxi service!

Julia: Yes Lyft is now using "surge" pricing and it's problematic.

Kim Lyons: How so, Julia... and for those who don't know, surge pricing increases rates during peak usage times (as I understand it)

Julia: It has become very expensive in Boston, for example, because we have high demand and too few drivers

Julia: However, it is also important to note that all proceeds during the surge go directly to the driver

Dave: Most of the passengers I've picked up using Lyft always bring it up.

Lyft Driver Tim: Lyft has something called "Prime Time Tips" which will change the suggested donation to 25% more when there are a lot more riders requesting rides than there are drivers. Donations are voluntary with Lyft, though, so if the person is uncomfortable paying the prime time tip, they could theoretically just reduce the price back down to usual pricing and the driver wouldn't even ever know.

Will Reynolds Young: John: both Uber and Lyft collect the money on behalf of the drivers and issue 1099's to drivers as required.

CabbyGo-A Pittsburgh Startup: CabbyGo provides a platform for existing carriers to offer on demand rides. Our business model is not based on monetizing rides or being compensated by taxi companies/carriers. Our service is free to carriers and free to riders. Since we aren't compensated for the ride, we are not regulated by the PUC.

Kim Lyons: OK, but if you are a rider who regularly reduces the price, are drivers going to be inclined to pick you up?

Kim Lyons: wont' that affect your rating on the post-ride rating system?

John: Interesting, thanks for this information Will!

Guest: Also, Prime Time Tipping only goes up to 25% during times of high utilization to encourage drivers to get on the roads to help meet the demand of city.

Julia: Wait, what is Cabby Go-A's revenue source then?

Will Reynolds Young: CabbyGo - how does your service enable the consumer to have a better experience when services like Yellow Cab are already way overrun with demand.

Debbi Lund: Perhaps not. I really depends upon how much of a reduction the rider uses.

Lyft Driver Tim: We can't rate based on payment, we don't know what people are paying. A prime time tip shows up as the driver paying "125% of the donation" - subtracting it back down to 100% will look like a completely clean record.

Kim Lyons: Ah, I see.

Kim Lyons: You are making these poll questions too easy guys  

Kim Lyons: For the 77 percent who say "bad taxi experience" ... specifics?

Lyft Driver Jonathan McNelis: Lyft and Uber both do have the option to rate their passengers and if the driver rates the passenger below a certain star they will not be paired again and yes it may negatively affect the passenger. However, as Tim said we don't know what the passenger tips us until the next day. At that point we can't adjust our ratings

Bob Barker: Is being a Lyft driver something you could do as a full time job?

Kim Lyons: what say you Lyft drivers-- my understanding is that this is more like supplemental income.

Will Reynolds Young: The most surprising to me about this entire debate is I have yet to see someone come to the direct defense of the cab companies in their support. All the opposition I have seen sits in the regulation of the market. It blows my mind that in the thousands of comments I have seen not one person has come to the direct defense of Yellow Cab, Classy Cab etc.

D Brashear: Technically, I assume the taxi simply not showing up is not actually a taxi experience, it's the lack of one. But, the dispatcher telling you it's coming even when you call back, and, no taxi?

Julia: I have 2 friends who drive for Lyft- both enjoy it. One is using it to be able to make money while starting his own business (30 hours) and one does it on his days off from a full time university position that is flexible.

Will Reynolds Young: Bob Barker: I can't see it being a viable option.

Bob Barker: Left waiting at the Waterfront for 3 hours for a cab home on a saturday night....finally get oen to show up and the guy tells us nobody wanted to pick us up because it showed up as Rankin in their system.

Debbi Lund: Actually, the rating is not optional. Lyft drivers *have* to complete the rating after completion of the ride and prior to being back into driver mode.

CabbyGo-A Pittsburgh Startup: We launched New Years Eve and our users were ecstatic. Our revenue model is based on a Patent Pending advertising platform. It will be added to our app in about a month. In addition, we have a patent pending bidding system that allows multiple carriers to bid on the ride request, thus allowing the rider the enjoyment of getting the most economical option.

Joseph: I will say that friends of mine who have used Lyft during the "free" period have been totally confused about the freeness of the ride, as it seems to be asking them for payment as it normally would. Can somebody clarify how that works, exactly?

CabbyGo-A Pittsburgh Startup: Any drivers that are interested in exploring their options can reach our carriers by filling out our contact form @ www.cabbygo.com and clicking on the contact button. Your information request will be forwarded to our carriers.

Lyft Driver Tim: It seems like they're giving a payment but if it's under $25 it'll still be free.

Bob Barker: So do drivers just sit at home waiting for fares to pop or are they out and around like regular cabs responding to the closest next fair?

Debbi Lund: Out and about. GPS matches the rider to the closest logged in driver.

Lyft Driver Jonathan McNelis: Normally Bob, we are out responding because of the high demand

Will Reynolds Young: CabbyGo: How many carriers do you have currently? How many successful requests are you seeing in terms of percentage?

Lyft Driver Jonathan McNelis: It is rare that there is any downtime - usually, once we complete a ride the requests for the next passenger request are fairly quick.

Lyft Driver Tim: They can also sit at home if it's a particularly slow period and they're in the coverage area, I suppose - but that hasn't happened yet in PGH. By the time you drop someone off, you get another request as you're pulling out of the parking space.

Joseph: Follow up question on Lyft free rides: do we pay the tip from our bank accounts, or is that paid to the driver from the company on as part of the free ride, as well?

D Brashear: my understanding of the problem with e.g. YC is drivers are not paired with the closest fare. they can choose to do whatever. so you can be closest, or waiting longest, and if no one feels like coming to serve you, YC will happily string you along.

Will Reynolds Young: There's no reason Taxi Companies couldn't have an app similar to Lyft dispatching drivers to the nearest user and arranging a cashless transaction. However, their demand has been way way way more than they could ever handle so they have no reason to improve.

Bob Barker: What would supporters say to people who are worried about safety. Car maintenance, driving skills, driver's character, etc? Is that part of the oversight of cabs that wouldnt be present with Lyft?

Kim Lyons: OK, so I notice in our polls: Most of you say ride shares shouldn't be regulated but jitneys should.

Kim Lyons: what's the diff?

Julia: Cab drivers are no better drivers than Lyft and there is NO clear way to give feedback. I would argue that the feedback loop is so much stronger with lyft drivers (instant review upon payment in the app), that there is a higher demand for good service and good driving.

Julia: In Boston, sometimes there is downtime-- 10am to 2pm on weekdays can be slower-- and I have a friend who gets work done at home between rides and is still able to respond. Depends on the day/demand.

Will Reynolds Young: @Kim the difference was in the question. You asked if Ridesharing should be regulated like Taxi's.

Kim Lyons: Ooh, bad question phrasing by the moderator!

Kim Lyons: Fair enough.

Lyft Driver Tim: It's actually much more strict with Lyft than with cabs, I would guess - one or two people have a bad time in a Lyft ride, the Lyft driver is seriously in jeopardy of being a driver no more through the rating system.

Debbi Lund: Bob Barker, Lyft drivers are required to have criminal background checks, driving record checks, and vehicle inspections before they are accepted.

Joseph: To Bob: my understanding is that Uber and Lyft operators tend to drive cleaner, safer cars, because it is cheaper for them to maintain their own car than lease a cab company's.

JM: no, you asked if they should be regulated "like taxis"

Kim Lyons: I did, mea culpa. Should jitneys be regulated like taxis, then?

Guest: Depends one what you consider a Jitney

Will Reynolds Young: I think Ride Sharing and Jitney's should be regulated equally. The current regulation models for Taxis is failed and flawed.

Kim Lyons: Would any of you drivers be willing to talk about how much you earn, on average? A ballpark figure is fine.  

Bob Barker: Seems to me very little downside for the consumer here. Better availability. Self regulating. Cashless. Are there any arguments against this except for it isnt fair to the cab companies because they are under the PUC rules?

Will Reynolds Young: Regulation in the market as requires insurance companies catch up to this new market as well.

Rich: Is lyft a public traded co.

Kim Lyons: No, Rich, Lyft is privately held

Lyft Driver Jonathan McNelis: I think we have to have a better understanding of how Taxis are regulated to answer that question. The system of regulatory standards are from an older time, and it is obvious that it is effecting the industry negatively. It is flawed and needs updated.

Will Reynolds Young: The negative to the City with services like Lyft/Uber is that the city misses out of revenue generate by taxes on Cabs. I am not sure of the amounts of even if it's significant.

Debbi Lund: Kim, my average for the first week was about $25 per hour.

Kim Lyons: Is that what you were hoping for, Debbi?

Lyft Driver Tim: How much the drivers make I think is a little misleading now during Pittsburgh's free period. I don't know if it's worth mentioning until we get a more realistic figure from actual payment from riders.

Lyft Driver Jonathan McNelis: On average in a week I earn about $300 - $350 with putting in about 15 to 20 hours

Lyft Driver Tim: In other cities the average is $20 an hour according to the job application.

Kim Lyons: well, according to the job application, I work 9 to 5, but that doesn't always happen ;)

Julia: I agree with Will in part, I don't want the same regulation as anything we have now because these regulations clearly haven't improved the taxi industry and it seems the restrictions aren't really ensuring better experience or safety.

Debbi Lund: Agreed. We really need to wait until it's no longer free to assess. But was it what I was hoping? For the moment, yes.

Kim Lyons: Question in the queue: Do any ride share companies pay signing bonuses?  

Will Reynolds Young: Julia - where don't you agree?

D Brashear: WRT Jonathan's comment on how taxis are regulated, if you are a speed reader, here is the answer : ) http: //www.pacode.com/secure/data/052/chapter29/chap29toc.html

Lyft Driver Tim: If you are referred by a friend to both Lyft or Uber, both you and the friend get a referral bonus if you get hired.

Bob Barker: Do you have to commit to a minimum amount of pick-ups as a driver? Could you just do it a couple of days a month or say only if someone was near you heading your way when you are leaving work?

Kim Lyons: Thanks, D Brashear: It should be noted that that's public info, available to anyone...  

JM: On the bad cab experience front - my worst was probably when I had a Yellow Cab driver break down and leave me and a friend on the side of the road - he rode with the tow truck and said he'd call me another cab. No new cab showed and we couldn't get through to the dispatcher because the line was busy.

JM: sorry, my comments are showing up way delayed from when I hit enter!

Kim Lyons: No worries, JM, it's the moderator trying to keep up!

Kim Lyons: So for you ride share drivers: are you worried about the PUC citing you?  

Julia: Will- just that the taxi regulatios are off-base right now and Lyft is technically voluntary. It's not the same type of commercial operation and thus shouldn't be regulated exactly the same way. Though there ought to be similarities.

Pens Fan: Why can't an app be used with existing companies that provide the same level of service as lyft and uber that would be legal?

Kim Lyons: The taxi companies have mentioned they do have smartphone apps; has anyone used them?

Kim Lyons: Pittsburgh-area cab companies make case against ride-sharing trend

Debbi Lund: Pens Fan, I don't think it's the app that's providing the service.

Lyft Driver Jonathan McNelis: No Kim, As Mayor Peduto mentioned, he will "not be bullied and send police officers out to chase cars with pink mustaches." Also, I am confident they will see the positive impact ridesharing is having in Pittsburgh

Kim Lyons: "positive impact"... specifically?  

Debbi Lund: Agreed, Jonathan. I'm not worried either.

Debbi Lund: "Positive impact" - Citizens able to get home safely when there is no public transportation available. (Just one example)

Julia: Ridesharing- decreases traffic, improves street infrastructure, decreases DUI events, and enables better parking

Lyft Driver Jonathan McNelis: ALL of my Lyft passengers have mentioned how happy they are that we are in Pittsburgh and providing such a great service that the Taxi's and public transportation are not. We are there to pick up passengers quickly, efficiently, and affordably.

Lyft Driver Jonathan McNelis: And most importantly, safely transport all of our riders

Kim Lyons:

Kim Lyons: That tweet is from Friday night... someone who wasn't able to get a Lyft ride. Is that typically a very busy time?

Will Reynolds Young: I personally would never count on a cab in any circumstance around the city. It's not reliable.

Joseph: I'm personally just glad that Peduto is including jitney drivers in his acceptance of ride-sharing. Jitneys provide access to the types of people that both cabs and smartphones miss.

D Brashear: given experience with existing cab service being a craps shoot, clear feedback about the provision of service being executed and resulting confidence in your ability to complete a planned trip would certainly seem to be positive impact

sloov: I love the idea of Lyft but can they do away with the pink hipster mustaches? I just hate them. Thanks.

Kim Lyons: Aw, but they love those mustaches, Sloov.  

Julia: Isn't that apple and oranges Kim? Isn't Lyft free right now? Which would put a huge demand on their resources right now

Kim Lyons: Fair point, Julia, but then (playing Devil's advocate here), isn't that the kind of excuse the taxi companies could make?

Kim Lyons: demand on resources?

Debbi Lund: At that specific time, but three seconds later, it could have changed once the drivers became available.

Guest: That just shows that the demand for Lyft drivers were higher at the time of request.

Debbi Lund: sloov, the mustaches are silly looking, but they actually help protect the riders, who can reliably identify the car that they are getting into.

D Brashear: Kim, one issue is the taxi companies don't tell you they aren't going to help; you don't get told you won't be served or even given an estimate of when you might.

Bob Barker: The cab companies whole "case against ridesharing"seems to be that it may negtively impact their business. How about they respond to the market and improve availability and service rather than trying to stifle competition through legislation?

Pens Fan: If drivers are accepting donations, do any tax dollars flow back into the local economy?

Kim Lyons: I am not a tax expert by any stretch of the imagination, but couldn't those donations fall under the category of tips that need to be declared on taxes?

D Brashear: Bob Barker: seems like we should be challenging the next renewal of the certificates of public convenience that YC operate under. 66 PA CS section 1103 says there are hearings but i don't know what the challenge procedure is. take their love of regulation to their home turf.

Lyft Driver Jonathan McNelis: Agreed Bob - However, that is why Ridesharing exists. For the reason that taxis and cab services have refused to improve. I really believe ridesharing provides healthy competition in an already saturated market

CabbyGo-A Pittsburgh Startup: I don't think that those numbers for Uber or Lyft are fair representations of their services. I'm sure they're doing their best, the demand in Pittsburgh is HUGE for virtual hailing with tracking, and I would expect there to be lag time for companies to fill the void. As virtual hailing becomes the norm, the market will work itself out. It's already better than the old Pittsburgh 'cross your fingers and hope someone shows up' situation.

laura: Cabbygo is a reliable company and I would use them again.

Debbi Lund: Between local taxes paid at the end of the year, and dollars spent by drivers that include sales tax, then yes, tax dollars flow back into the local economy.

Julia: Taxis are not offering a 1-time freebie service, they've been around long enough to be able to meet the needs of hte city it would seem. In order to be profitable and successful, they should be able to do this. Instead, what they have now? Is a monopoly. Well, what the did have... until now.

CabbyGo-A Pittsburgh Startup: I think competition and a feedback loop on service is paramount. It only benefits the consumer.

Alstate Double check: PUC rule = Taxi companies can use no car older then 8 yrs, Lyft is using cars as old as 14 yrs.. How is that fair?

Kim Lyons: Where do you get that 14-year figure, Alstate?

Debbi Lund: No, Lyft is NOT using cars that old. I believe the requirement was "new than 2005."

Debbi Lund: "Newer" Sorry.

Alstate Double check: Lyft said newer then 2000

Kim Lyons: Alstate appears to be correct:  https: //www.lyft.me/safety

Will Reynolds Young: Lyft allow cars from 2000 and newer. UberX allows cars 2006 and newer (Limited models, and some 2005.)

Debbi Lund: Oops. You are correct. The website says "2000 or newer."

Lyft Driver Jonathan McNelis: It isn't fair alstate and that is why the law currently held on taxis needs updated and changed

Will Reynolds Young: I would point out that my 2000 Honda Accord that I use for Lyft driving is much cleaner, nicer, and more welcoming than any cab you have ever seen in this city.

Kim Lyons: OK guys, getting ready to wrap up since we're nearing the one-hour mark. What do you think is going to happen next in this situation-- seems like there is kind of a stalemate right now.

D Brashear: the 8 year rule only went into effect at the end of 2007.

D Brashear: Kim, I expect to see some sort of lawsuit at the state level against the PUC if they do not take an enforcement action, or a suit against the PUC from one or both of Uber of Lyft if they do take such action.

Debbi Lund: I think that we end up with something in place like they did in California, where ride sharing is its own category for regulation.

Kim Lyons: Since we're running out of time and there are a few questions in the queue re: Cabby Go, can people contact you for info, CG?

CabbyGo-A Pittsburgh Startup: Keep a lookout for CabbyGo for Iphone!

Lyft Driver Jonathan McNelis: Agreed Debbi

D Brashear: if we are lucky, we may see something like philly where their home rule was amended to allow a local commision to manage things, but that would only help inside the city.

Kim Lyons: that's a major undertaking, D. Brashear, be interested to see if it headed in that direction.

CabbyGo-A Pittsburgh Startup: Sure! http: //cabbygo.com/contact.html

Kim Lyons: OK, everyone, we're wrapping up for today. Any further questions, feel free to email me: klyons@post-gazette.com. Thanks for reading and participating!

D Brashear: thanks for moderating!

Lyft Driver Jonathan McNelis: Thanks Kim!

Debbi Lund: Thank you Kim!

Will Reynolds Young: Thanks Kim and everyone else!

Lyft Driver Tim: Thanks!


Kim Lyons: klyons@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1241. On Twitter: @SocialKimly

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