January 7: Philly UberBlack drivers file misclassification suit | Frontier adds 10 new cities | Transit Explorer

Philly UberBlack drivers filed suit against Uber in Common Pleas court, reports Jane Von Bergen. The suit claims drivers are misclassified as independent contractors, and due to the introduction of the lower-cost UberX service, are not being duly compensated for hours worked. If UberBlack drivers were classified as employees, they would be entitled to some cost reimbursements and possibly health care benefits. That would increase costs significantly for Uber and potentially lead to increased prices. Given that UberBlack drivers, who are licensed and registered as limos in Philly, primarily complain that UberX, which ignores taxi and limo regulations, is unfairly hurting their business, this lawsuit may be just for leverage in an attempt to level the regulatory playing field. In June, a California court ruled that Uber drivers were employees, not independent contractors.

American Airlines is about to get some more competition in Philly, says Linda Lloyd, as Frontier Airlines is adding nonstop routes between PHL International and 10 new cities, including Austin, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Nashville, New Orleans, Raleigh-Durham, St. Augustine, and Indianapolis.

OCF Realty checks in on the CHOP construction site on Schuylkill Avenue and finds they’ve made significant progress.

For Throwback Thursday, here’s Geoff Thompson’s critique of the CHOP site’s urbanism, and how it interacts with the nearby neighborhoods.

Josh Cohen makes the case for giving up on sharrows in 2016. “In the past I might’ve argued that sharrows were better than nothing or a good first step toward better infrastructure, but time has shown that neither drivers nor bicyclists really understand their purpose.”

The Reis index shows a small increase in rental vacancy rates nationally, with construction slightly outpacing net absorption of new apartments in large cities. The 4.4 percent vacancy rate is still historically very low, however. Recent data from Philly have shown supply roughly keeping pace with demand

Spend some time with Yonah Freemark’s Transit Explorer site today. It’s a comprehensive map of every current, planned, and potential fixed-guideway transit systems in North America. 

The first moderately affordable fully electric cars are about to start rolling out, in the $40,000 price range. The Chevy Bolt looks like it’ll be first to market, but Tesla and others aren’t far behind. 

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