Transportation discussions at the Tuesday, Nov. 1 meeting ran the gamut from trolleys to taxi cabs to self-driving cars.
One item on the agenda was to raise taxi cab fares, which are set by the city and had not been raised since 2008. One of the huge complaints from the taxi cab industry is that everything about taxis except the color of the driver’s hat is regulated, and in today’s world they are competing against Uber, Lyft and other transportation services that are hardly regulated at all.
It’s no wonder that Uber and Lyft are putting regular taxi companies out of business all over the world. The City of Greensboro not only sets the fares for taxis, it also limits the number of taxis that can operate in the city.
Today taxis not only have to compete with Uber- and Lyft-type services but also with electric scooters and bikes.
Councilmember Zack Matheny brought the City Council back to the 21st century with a discussion of the self-driving or autonomous vehicles that North Carolina A&T State University is developing.
Matheny said that he and Mayor Nancy Vaughan and Councilmember Goldie Wells, “Attended a great announcement concerning A&T State University’s autonomous vehicles. As part of my day job with Downtown Greensboro we actually sponsored two of those cars purchasing them for A&T State University to the tune of $50,000. To see them and not only see them but ride in them, the technology was actually phenomenal.
He said, “Apparently as we continue to move forward you can see them on the street in February or March.”
Matheny added that when talking to people about plans for the downtown, “We hear trolleys, trolleys, trolleys, but what we want to do in downtown is really go beyond trolleys and think about what is the future, and what better way to partner with the future of what is mobility than to use the intelligence of the students at A&T State University.”
A&T has been testing the autonomous vehicles on a test track and plans to have self-driving shuttles operating on campus next spring.
The plan calls for the self-driving shuttles to not only operate on the A&T campus but also have a shuttle route from the A&T campus to downtown Greensboro.