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3 posts from January 25, 2014

January 25, 2014

Distorted economics shape Miami-Dade County's taxicab industry


Ah, the joys of taking a taxicab ride in Miami-Dade County. Gruff greetings. Stinky smells. Clunky cars.

Don’t blame us, the hacks behind the wheel say. Blame the economics of being a cab driver.

A few cabbies are their own bosses, pocketing all the cash they make. But most are mere chauffeurs, paying richer people for the privilege to chase down fares — without any incentive to cater to passengers.

This is the distorted reality of Miami-Dade’s highly regulated cab industry, where local laws have protected taxi-medallion holders for so long that any attempt to tinker with the rules is met with stiff political resistance.

County commissioners are scheduled to weigh significant changes Wednesday, including upgrading vehicles and the technology inside them. But they won’t go as far critics had sought. And life for drivers — and, by extension, for passengers — might not get much better.

Consider Avelino Paula.

More here:

Push to bring Uber car service to Miami stalls


Miami won’t be getting Uber, the digital booking service to summon luxury-car rides, any time soon.

The Miami-Dade County commissioner trying to deregulate the car-service industry to allow Uber and similar technology companies to compete here has shelved her legislation — for now.

The reason: Two of her colleagues in key posts blocked it.

Though she didn’t name them, Audrey Edmonson said opposition from Bruno Barreiro and Dennis Moss made it impossible for her proposal to pass an initial procedural hurdle.

“We just don’t want to come into the 21st century,” she lamented.

More here.

Miami-Dade mayor wants Florida to investigate police-involved shootings


The Miami-Dade Police Department should end its long-standing practice of investigating its own police-involved shootings and the deaths of people in custody and turn those over to the state, county Mayor Carlos Gimenez has told the department’s chief.

In a memo to Police Director J.D. Patterson late this week, Gimenez said handing the investigations over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement would “strengthen” community trust in the department. The four-page memo also said the mayor had preliminary conversations with the FDLE, and directed Patterson to discuss the transfer with the state police agency.

“It is my strong opinion that a thorough and expeditious investigation by an independent agency which leads to a conclusion statement will strengthen the community’s trust of such a process, and faith that the investigation of any event that may be unjustified would reach an appropriate conclusion,” wrote Gimenez.

Even if an investigation conducted by the police department is above board, the mayor told the Herald on Friday that “people shouldn’t be investigating themselves,” and that letting the FDLE handle the investigations “will be viewed as more objective. The goal is to be more objective, to have the confidence of the people.”

Patterson said Friday that he wasn’t yet on board with the plan, “but if we can come out of it with a better product, I’m for it.”

More here.