Which means Uber lives to drive another day in New York City.
The taxi industry worldwide hates Uber, Lyft, and other smartphone-driven car companies. In cities as far apart as Paris and New York, cabbies unite as a powerful lobby to try to put those car services out of business. But recently, Uber won one in New York.
Uber and other car services have 63,000 cars roaming the streets of New York, and cabbies claimed getting rid of Uber and its like would ease congestion. And, in truth, Uber’s 20,000 cars in the city’s five boroughs do outnumber the city’s 13,600 taxis. But Uber says it’s carried 2.5 million passengers in New York since it launched four years ago, which has to have taken some cars off the road.
And it’s hard not to like Uber. Uber cars are generally cleaner, the drivers more pleasant, and the fares often lower than taxis. And the average wait time for a car in New York City is three minutes.
The mayor wanted to put a cap on the number of cars Uber could put on the streets, but just before a city council vote on the issue, the mayor capitulated, saying the city would do a “study” instead.
Score one for a disruptive idea in transportation.
But now it’s just another day in Denver.
A handful of cannabis-themed tour operators have started in Denver. Take My 420 Tours. “420,” as all potheads know, is a reference to 4:20 pm, a time that a group of friends at San Rafael high school in northern California in 1971 would regularly meet to search for a hidden marijuana crop at Point Reyes.
So 4:20 pm became April 20th, and pot smokers nationwide would often light up on that day at that time. A clock in the movie “Pulp Fiction” is set at 4:20. The 420-mile marker on I-70 in Colorado was stolen so often, it was replaced with a sign reading 419.99 miles.
Anyway, for $129, 420 Tours will put you in a party bus and take you on a four-hour tour to a weed shop where you can purchase up to a quarter ounce of grass and edibles. You’ll also visit a high-end head shop featuring a lot of smoking paraphernalia, and you’ll receive a bachelor’s degree in dope along the way.
If this is your bag—pardon the expression–here’s a link.
I spoke earlier this week about the huge demand by Americans to visit Cuba. And I mentioned the lack of a tourism infrastructure. But at least you may be able to use your credit card there soon. And maybe even an ATM.
A Florida bank called Stonegate Bank became the first US bank to establish a relationship with a Havana-based bank two weeks ago. This is big news for US companies looking to facilitate money transactions with Cuba. It should also eventually allow American to use credit cards instead of having to carry wads of cash to get through a week in Cuba.
Cuba has long been on a list of about 20 countries that an organization of US and other countries keeps on countries known for money laundering, so most US banks have been reluctant to do business with Cuban banks. But Stonegate Bank says it did due diligence and feels confident it can have a banking relationship without running afoul of international banking standards.
One more thing: Right now, using a credit card in Cuba is an impossibility. But as with all things involving Cuba, it’s just a matter of time. And in this case, probably sooner rather than later.
For $22 a night.
A guy named Jonathan posts this option on Airbnb. He offers more than 50 cars or vans for travelers who don’t mind calling it a night in a hotel on wheels. You don’t get to drive the car, but Jonathan has outfitted them with sort-of beds or, in a van, a floor covered in cushions. Of course there’s no running water or electricity, but he says he tries to park them in locations with pretty views and public bathroom facilities.
If you have access to a gas station with a rest room or a YMCA or some kind of full-service health club, you can use those facilities for your other needs.
I know–this sounds crazy. But $22? You can’t park a car at a major, New York City hotel for twice that. And this won’t run afoul of New York’s attempt to curb homestays. Far as I know, there’s no law against renting out a car for the night. Here’s a link to Jonathan’s Airbnb page.
Who among us doesn’t travel and think, “Wow, I could live here!” And if you’re getting near retirement age, you might be looking for someplace favorable to spend your so-called golden years. Better go check out Panama.
Panama isn’t far away, and it has both a big city as well as beach options for living. And if you’re over 18 and have a monthly income of at least $1,000, Panama will give Americans who move there a visa that gets you 50% off entertainment—things such as movies, concerts, and sporting events.
You’ll also receive 30% off bus, boat, and train fares plus 25% off airline tickets, restaurant meals, and utility bills. Then there’s 30% to 50% off hotel stays and 15% off hospital bills if you don’t have insurance coverage.
Health care is good, especially in metropolitan areas—the Johns Hopkins-affiliated Punta Pacifica Hospital in Panama City is said to be the most advanced medical center in all of Latin America. Prescription drugs are cheap, and heath care costs are low compared to costs in the US.
And you only pay income tax on money you earn in Panama. Buy a new house and you’ll pay no property taxes for 20 years. Hey, this place is looking pretty good even before retirement.