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Testifiers raised questions Tuesday about precisely how “active” drivers would be determined for insurance purposes, however. That same question arose earlier this year in San Francisco, when an Uber driver struck and killed a young girl between fares.
Supporters of the services note that extra options help people rethink transportation. Jim Black, Lyft’s California-based executive vice president, told the committee that the ordinance was an opportunity to “modernize” the city’s transportation model. His company’s cars are know for the pink mustaches on the front.
“As the people of Minneapolis discover how easy and efficient it can be to get a ride from a variety of sources, they will move away from driving their own cars,” Black said.
Technology hasn’t passed over the taxi industry, however. Based in a posh Northeast office complex with an Internet start-up vibe, Blue and White Taxi is linked to two smartphone apps, including the Lyft-like app Taxi Magic, and are in the testing phase of a third. Like Lyft, Taxi Magic pinpoints a user’s location and allows them to watch a car en route to pick them up.
“I like automated systems, because I feel it allows my staff to do more stuff,” Sonbol said of the app-based dispatch, which is automated. “It allows them to spend more time on the customer service side.”
Blue and White’s cars, which are almost entirely driver-owned, are also outfitted with back-seat consoles that allow for easy credit card swiping. Cabs have been required to take credit cards since 2012.
Eric Roper • 612-673-1732
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