The container yard stretched out into the distance as far as the eye could see. Next to the ship, three giant cranes worked at a feverish pace, plucking the 40 foot long containers from their racks, lifting them high into the air and depositing them onto one of an endless stream of flat-bed trucks below at a rate of around one every minute. The loaded trucks raced their engines and sped off into the yard where they were met by other machines, immense forklifts, that removed the containers and piled them in stacks six or seven units high. The stacks, numbering in the tens of thousands, merged with one another to form great flat topped mesas of multicolored steel cut by valleys of cement and the industrial landscape rivaled anything that nature could create with stone and water. It was a scene I had looked upon many times and it could have been a container port anywhere in the world. Only the stench of told me it was Kaohsiung Taiwan.
The thousand injuries of the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission have been borne as the operators and taxi passengers best could, but when someone ventures to insult the august governmental body, there is always some lackey ready to claim that the TLC protects — protects! — New Yorkers against a variety of imaginary offenses from racism to murder. Anything’s possible. The TLC clearly protects New Yorkers from the Cloverfield monster, because it’s never actually been spotted in the city.
On the other hand, when it comes to protecting New Yorkers from counterfeit, defective taxi parts, the FBI has to get involved.
Score one more for government control, corruption, and general silliness. New York’s TLC threw down the glove a while ago on the “Uber” application which allows taxi and “black car” drivers to arrange rides over the Internet. This isn’t the first time TLC has acted all crazy and stuff. Wait, wrong TLC. Oh well — the sentence two previous to this one applies even without the link.
You can’t fight City Hall — after all, this is the same commission which magically decided to replace every taxi in New York with Japanese minivans assembled in Mexico that didn’t actually exist at the time of the decision, and nobody said nothing, yo. No surprise, then, that Uber is leaving Gotham like Batman riding that bomb out to the ocean in the last Dark Knight film.
What’s so unreasonable about using smartphones to arrange a taxi ride? Uber, an application which allows prospective riders to arrange rides with “black car” sedans or conventional taxis using their iPhones, arrived in New York this week — but the city bureaucrats have already fired a warning shot across Uber’s bow.
Police may not pull over a car simply because two passengers are riding in the back seat, according to a September 2 ruling of the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York. On December 30, 2009, a trio of New York Police Department officers had a hunch that a passing gold-colored Ford Crown Victoria with New Jersey license plates might secretly have been charging for rides.
The vehicle broke no traffic laws, but the officers became suspicious because in the dark at 1:30am, the officers only saw dark silhouettes of people in the back seat — and nobody in the front passenger seat. At trial, the officers were unable to provide a description of the vehicle, or identify any unusual activity from its occupants. None had ever seen this Crown Vic before. Officer Trent Narra testified that he had a “hunch” that the car was violating the New York City Administrative Code that fines individuals who operate cab service on the side without paying the $686,000 fee for a taxi medallion.
Nissan’s NV200-based entrant into New York City’s Taxi of Tomorrow contest has won the contract (reportedly worth over a billion dollars), reports Reuters, beating out two other finalists, one based on Ford’s Transit Connect, the other from Turkey’s Karsan Otomotiv. The decision may be taking a few New Yorkers by surprise, as Reuters reports that the Turkish entrant’s clear glass ceiling made it a crowd favorite, and that
Karsan also hoped to gain favour with city officials by promising to assemble the cars in Brooklyn, vowing to use union labour. The plant would have marked a return of auto-making to the city for first time in about a century.
Though New Yorkers may have preferred a locally-built model to take over from the 16 vehicles currently serving as NYC Taxis, the NV200 seems like a sweet little van. So congratulations, Nissan… now, are we ready to start talking about a civilian version?
It’s a well-kept secret, which will give the willies to people who are (at least publicly) worried about intellectual property: Microsoft has one of their best R&D centers in China. Located in the silicone gulch in the north of Beijing, MSRA (Microsoft Research Asia) is working on advanced technologies, mostly in the visual area. I worked with them once, and they are NFSWing good. They just had another great idea: Why not mine the knowledge of cab drivers when it comes to proposing the best route on your in-car navigation system? (Read More…)
Forget about the crafty Japanese starving off any attempt of honest American companies to penetrate the Japanese market. A true blue American company, founded by true blue American venture capital, goes right for the heart of Japan: Tokyo’s taxi market. (Read More…)
Did you ever drive in Milano, Italy? Take my advice: Don’t. Park your car, take a taxi. That must have gone through the minds of the boys in Wolfsburg, when they were searching for a name for their dedicated taxi prototype. “Mamma mia! Let’s call it Milano!” (Read More…)
If you hadn’t seen the title, and I told you I had found a rare 1966 Beijing Sedan (aka: “The East Glows”) or a GAZ-13 “Chaika” would you believe me? Maybe, if you were under a certain age and hadn’t lived in a big city with lots of taxi cabs, or were just gullible. OK, the Checker is iconic. But there’s something so distinctively un-Detroit about this Checker; well, lets just say that it’s all too obvious that Harley Earl, Virgil Exner or their kind had nothing to do with it. It looks a crappy commie imitation of a real American car, drafted by a civil engineer while gazing at some car ads in old US magazines and assembled by political prisoners in a little brick factory to fulfill the specialized fleet needs of the party bosses. Paint it black, put a couple of red flags on the front fenders, and no one under thirty-five will be the wiser. Welcome to Checker-land, the car that snubbed its nose at Detroit, and perpetually made money doing so. (Read More…)