All of the protests taking place at varying levels of violence in different parts of the world against Uber and Uber-like taxi and shared-transport services are definitely not just an example of a one-shot phenomenon that will resolve itself in different ways in different places, and then shortly go away, leaving things largely as they always were in our sensationally inefficient mobility arrangements in and around our cities. there is a revolution going on in our world’s streets, and once this has advanced far enough, it is going to change the paradigm for mobility in and around cities forever. No less!
The following article by the international expert Richard Darbéra makes this point clearly and from opening shot in which he announces no less than “taxis as we know them are expected to disappear “. We invite you to have a look at this posting and to share your comments and/or challenges either here in world streets or on the associated Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/WorldStreetsOnline
There is a revolution going on that is going to change the face of transport in and around cities in a way that no other has in the last century. The starting point is that humble taxi that you cannot always find when you need it most — that is to say a rolling metal box with rubber tires, a human being at the wheel, and some kind of engine propelling it along, with or without human cargo. But this thing, this taxi as it is called, is in the process of being reinvented as a rolling, pliant always-on 21st century information system. And of course we are looking into this closely in the pages of World Streets.
“Regulations that prohibit shared taxis are an example of worst practice.” – Ann Hackett
In eleven short words Ann Hackett has put her finger on one of the most egregious “Worst Practices” in our field. And, as it happens, one that we know enough about to easily resolve.
A morning like all others in Taipei traffic
Lyon, 3 February 2015
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
It had been a year and a half since I last worked in Taiwan, the longest separation since I started collaborating with colleagues there in 2009. During much of this interval, in addition to my teaching, editorial responsibilities and advisory work, I have been working on a most challenging new book under the title “General Theory of Transport in Cities”. The book aims to set out what I believe to be a much needed, consistent base for planning, policy and investment decisions in this important and fast changing field where ad hoc decision-making by unprepared politicians and ambitious interest groups has all too often prevailed.
This last year has been a period of deep reflection on my accumulated experience in the transport and sustainable development fields in cities around the world over more than four decades. As a result of this ongoing process, I find myself this time looking at the issues in Taiwan from this broader international perspective. My keynote address to the International Forum on Livable City & Eco-Mobility in Hsinchu on 29 January was the first in a series of international “road tests”, which are giving me a precious opportunity to present some of the main arguments from the book before expert audiences to test them and seek their critical comments and views. The lively discussions that took place in Hsinchu during the forum and my four days there proved to be most valuable.
In the late spring of 2012 the diligent editor of World Streets was visited by a young Canadian writer who announced that he was working on a book about “Happy Cities”, and in this context wanted to talk about my experience in and thoughts on the happiness arena, with particular attention to issues concerning ordinary people, people like Thee and Me, in our day-to-day lives: issues of mobility and public space, needs meet and unmet, individualism and community, time and distance, behavior and equity, economy and democracy . . . in Paris and around the world. Why not? What the hell, maybe I will learn something from him.
Charles Montgomery’s merciless interrogation lasted a full day,followed by extensive correspondence over the course of the next year. Toward the end of 2013 his book “Happy City: Transforming Our Lives through Urban Design” was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in New York. One year later the 368 page volume has just appeared in an affordable paperback edition, and is now widely available in bookshops, and of course the Internet. (PS. Support your local bookshop, it is a happier experience!) We thank the author and the publisher for permission to share the following extracts with our readers to celebrate the low-cost editions now available.
Reaching new fundraising heights, Uber is now seeking to conquer the world — willingly or by force. Neither white knight nor bloodsucking scoundrel, Uber is posing tough questions to our culture of innovation in Europe
The smartphone-driven rideshare and taxi alternative service company Uber, founded in 2009 and headquartered in San Francisco, has announced for the second time in 2014, a billion dollar-plus fundraising! The company, which offers applications linking customers with drivers, now overtakes records previously held by Facebook: € 2.7 billion raised (with $ 600 million of additional potential), and a market valuation at $ 40 billion.
Yet if Uber is known to the public it is more for the controversies it is raising in its “war” against the taxis, which has in recent months turned into a crusade against all comers and for “free mobility”: against street taxis, against national governments and regulators, against local governments, and even against less controversial private hire services (in France the so-called VTC hire services have joined a lawsuit against Uber).
World Streets is today kicking off a series of invited articles by authors from different countries and backgrounds, presenting their views on the topic of “The Uber Generation: Rogue Capitalism or Critical Paradigm Shift”. It is expected that this series will continue over the months ahead. The present posting is being circulated to friends and others who have expressed interest in this particular angle of the New Mobility Agenda as an advance announcement and call for criticism, ideas and contributions.