Letter from the editor, never stop resisting fraud, hate and ignorance, never give up on America

These last five years have been the longest, most costly and most embattled, I have ever endured while dealing with the fraud being spread by the “gig” economy.

But my own losses are hardly as costly as they have been to many who are out there right now trying to make a living in a market saturated with fraud that is now considered fair business practice.

In my previous work exposing pyramid scams like MCA or child pornographers like Brian Cartmell, the work had been easy, though never truly rewarding.

50 years ago a company like MCA would never be allowed to legally exploit an employee or partner with falsified promises and continue for years doing business this way, even when costs fall on the general public and the FTC has already sued the company for millions.  MCA is still in business today after paying off FTC fines that pale in comparison to their earnings exploiting victims.

In Cartmell’s case, the laws had not yet caught up to the crime.  Cartmell’s company IEG (first major online porn provider in the US) had been sub-linking customers to foreign child porn networks for years, making him a hefty profit.  But there were no clear laws at the time condemning or even properly regulating this in the mid 90’s.  He now lives la lavish retirement in New Zealand from his partnership earnings with Zevia Cola.

Some battles you win, some you lose, some you come to an attrition that you hope future history will iron out.

 

The tide has turned

These last few weeks in New York have been a major victory for our work at Ride Safe.

I had expected that Uber’s billions and manipulations of elected officials and media would have kept them in power in a city like New York at least another five years.

But will all their money and lobbying, Uber simply could not win against the simplest of things.

So much like the final scenes of War of the Worlds, the once mighty and unstoppable Uber has now fallen due to an old and deadly foe that the Taxi industry became prepared and fortified against over 100 years ago, MATH.

Saturating a city with an uncapped number of vehicles with no real insurance for commercial operations or proper vetting for drivers has a very simple quantifiable and exponential outcome which violates the very principals of economic sustainability.

This is why Taxis cap fleets, provide vetting, provide insurance to cover ALL, measure dispatch carefully and serve the market based on supply and demand, not mindless gratification at the expense of the general public and establishment of corporate welfare.

New York was a revelation for me.

These large and ugly systems of greed and manipulation CAN be broken and sent packing.

It simply takes determination and focus.

 

TODAY I also have more cause to celebrate and congratulate our efforts as Americans.

 

Before I get to this, PLEASE keep in mind that Uber would not exist today if it were not for the efforts of political figures on BOTH sides of the spectrum (liberal and conservative).

However it can not be ignored that the majority of those political figures and the ones who gave the most essential support were none other than the Republicans of the United States.  Most notably Scott Walker, who took the most lobbying and bribe money of any US governor from Uber and Donald J. Trump, who actually wanted Uber’s previous CEO on his business council.

This is not to say the Republican party in total has a severe issue.  I actually consider myself a very traditional Republican.  The party has simply lost sight of what it was founded upon.

My great great great great great grandfather William Alderton fought for the union after the protest of 1854 that created the Republican party.

It should never be forgotten that in 1854 The Republican party was founded on principals that are entirely opposite the GOP’s stance today.

Especially that of it’s current figurehead.

 

The Republican party was founded to end “manifest destiny”, the establishment of state laws that differentiated so much from others that they violated constitutional rights and of course the practice of slavery.

 

A Republican of 1861 would never have been caught dead waiving a confederate flag any more than a Democrat of the same era would have advocated for equal rights to non-whites.

Which is why it was very funny to see a small group of Trump supporting white supremacists marching on our capital today while being eclipsed by the number of counter protesters there to inform them their mentality is unwanted and un-American. 

Why the two parties changed so much since that time is the answer to why this country is in such a hateful and confused state today.

We can not forget what made us great.

 

 

 

 

Ride Safe’s commercial transportation regulation/deregulation template

When regulating or deregulating a transportation industry be it air travel, boat, train, rideshare, limo, bus or Taxi, government bodies have often over stepped deregulation or insufficiently amended regulations.
The best example of the disaster that this can cause would be the recent city wide taxi deregulation in El Paso Texas which has left the citiy’s taxi providers in a market of complete chaos.
Link:
El Paso, like other cities and counties in the US that have recently deregulated taxis in an attempt to compete with rideshares, did not address the simple issues that keep safety and accountability in check.
To properly address the issues of accountability while maintaining profit for the company and a living wage for the driver, the formula is simple.
At Ride Safe we call it the ‘Rational Regulation Formula’.
1- Mandate fingerprint background checks for each driver with the same level of oversight as those conducted for bus drivers, security guards and police.
Record of these background check clearances should be included with a photo ID issued to be posted in the vehicle at all times of operation and also for public record with the assigned regulatory body.
Current municipal systems for taxi regulation in many cities require the local Police Department or a city motor vehicle inspection department to conduct this process.
Instead of eliminating these departments for a county or state wide dereguation process, they should be included as part of the vetting process with the regulator assigned in the new regulation process.
Proper fingerprint background checking eliminates the epidemic issue of drivers found to have criminal records which has plagued the Rideshare industry, as current regulations for the rideshare industry in states like Illinois, Delaware, Michigan and Wisconsin DO NOT require an actual substantiated background check on any ridehsare (Uber or Lyft) driver.
2- Mandate that ALL lease, insurance, warranty, loan or lein holders on any and all vehicles commercially operated must be notified in writing that the vehicle is being operated for commercial usage.
These records also to be publicly available with the assigned regulatory body.
A deregulation that takes vehicle usage notifications out of the realm of the DMV and DOT can expedite the process for commercial operators, however it has lead to a large number of vehicles that are not properly listed for their commercial use AFTER they are sold. Many lease and insurance providers have also been defrauded as vehicles being operated commercially as Rideshares, are not required to be listed on their registration records for commercial use.
3- Mandate that each vehicle must undergo a 16 point inspection no less than four times annually provided either by the regulatory body or at the driver and/or company cost. Record of this to be publicly available with the assigned regulatory body.
4- mandate that each vehicle must display on it’s front, sides and rear an assigned numeric permit sticker indicating compliance and status as a commercial for-hire vehicle for law customer confirmation, law enforcement compliance and verification.
Deregulations that allow vehicle marking to be removed or not required have lead to a large number of crimes committed in both the Taxi and Rideshare markets. A clear numberred marking indicates the vehicle’s assured vetting, insurance and LEGAL operating status as a for-hire vehicle.
5- Mandate that the insurance policy coverage offered by the individual or company CAN NOT be invalidated in any incident of BODILY HARM to the customer or other party struck by the for-hire vehicle by any contract or service usage agreement between the customer, driver and/or taxi company.
Currently all rideshare companies in the US as well as several deregulated taxi companies use usage agreements with their customers which invalidate proper insurance coverage.
Uninsured operations and fraudulent insurance loopholes create a significant cost to the general public in unpaid incidentals and damages.
It is often an issue with many forms of deregulation that a system of welfare arises from a lack of accountability required by the company and service providers (drivers).
6- Boundary lines
If an entire county or state area is deregulated, a system of boundaries should be established between cities. If a taxi company from one large city can suddenly operate state wide, they will move into other cities and begin a process of over saturating the market of another city until the local taxi companies of that city no longer profit.
This would serve to better expedite service during busy times, however it would also lead to a lack of effective wages for the drivers and leave the market far less served during slow times.
Local taxi company owners have a right to the market’s they have build and grown in.
Without an effective regulation for taxi providers to respect boundaries then there would be no premise or ability for any local company to remain in business if they were to be displaced by another company’s fleet from a different city.
Effects of deregulation for rideshares in Wisconsin.
After documenting the flaw in driver registration with Uber and  several cases of drivers on the Uber platform with dangerous criminal records, driving dangerously and operating without proper insurance, Ride Safe submitted an official complaint to DSPS.
The summry of the DSPS complaint process and resulting communications and materials begin on page 20 of this document, submitted to the Wisconsin state Assembly by Ride Safe during a hearing to consider deregulation of the taxi industry in Wisconsin.
Downloadable PDF from Wisconsin state legislative documents page for Assebly bill 918:
Not only did DSPS take over FOUR MONTHS to process this complaint but the department took no action.
Even after a letter was sent from Uber’s legal representatives making claims that contradict many items of the Wisconsin state law concerning Rideshare operations.

 

 DSPS action log from the complaint made by Ride Safe. Initial actions were not taken for THREE MONTHS after the complaint was originally made.

 

Response from Uber’s legal representation about the complaint, first advising DSPS that Uber Technologies is not the responsible party for legal matters or driver contracting. RASIER LLC. is named as the liable party.
In the Document, Rasier’s legal representative G. Scott Binnings states:
1. Rasier does not allow prospective drivers to access the Uber app without required documents.
However the very next item that Mr. Binnings argues in the same document:
2. Rasier maintains insurance policies that cover activity on the Uber app in the amounts  required by state law; these coverages are not premised on participating drivers’ obligations on their personal insurance policies or under leins.
Ride Safe had already proven that Uber accepted THREE separate falsified documents INCLUDING a falsified insurance and state DMV vehicle registration.  The original documents and approval from Uber to operate on the app were included in the original complaint to DSPS which MR. Binning is addressing in his response letter.
Though Uber requires the submission of documents and claims insurance coverage, the liability and veracity of any and all claims and coverages can be invalidated not only by the liability scheme between Rasier LLC and Uber but also the contracting terms in the Uber Driver contract and customer usage agreement.
From the Uber customer usage agreement:
LIMITATION OF LIABILITY.

UBER SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, INCLUDING LOST PROFITS, LOST DATA, PERSONAL INJURY, OR PROPERTY DAMAGE RELATED TO, IN CONNECTION WITH, OR OTHERWISE RESULTING FROM ANY USE OF THE SERVICES, REGARDLESS OF THE NEGLIGENCE (EITHER ACTIVE, AFFIRMATIVE, SOLE, OR CONCURRENT) OF UBER, EVEN IF UBER HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.

Though clear communication with supporters of the Rideshare legislation in Wisconsin has been difficult, Ride Safe was able to have a conversation with a State senate staff member concerning insurance liabilities and fraud.  This conversation was recorded after Ride Safe was invited on the Mich Henck show for an interview.
At time code 25:22 in this video, Mike Mikalsen, an assistant to Wisconsin State senator Stephen Nass claims that his office has validating documents that prove Uber and Lyft are responsibly handling insurance liability.
Ride Safe has documented several incidents through out the US, including in Wisconsin where insurance coverage was invalidated through fraudulent means with Uber and Lyft even in cases where pedestrians had been killed by Uber drivers on duty.
Ride Safe has yet to find a comparatively worse example of insurance fraud or claim denials within the Taxi Industry as Mike Mikalsen claims.
The recording was taken in June of 2016.
Mikalsen has yet to provide Ride Safe with the documents he claimed he could provide to prove his statements.
Deregulation is not always a bad thing but in the realm of commercial transportation it can have deadly consequences if not done with careful consideration to RATIONAL requirements.
For more detailed information and other solutions to improve the commercial transportation industry, please visit our ‘research, development and solutions’ page at
Ride Safe: