Tag: transportation

Modobag, ‘World’s First Rideable, Motorized Luggage,’ Is Now Here

 

It’s like Mario Kart on luggage.

Today in how-does-this-thing-exist-and-why-do-we-love-it-so-much: a rideable carry-on called a Modobag that will get you through the airport terminal three times faster than walking. With a top speed of eight mph and a range of about six miles (and, with hoverboards banned from airports and flights), it looks like the Modobag could be the fastest way to make a tight connection or get you back and forth from Hudson News for a snack in no time flat.

According to the funding campaign, launched today on Indiegogo, the idea came to founder Kevin O’Donnell in an airport a few years ago, when his kids started taking turns riding on his suitcase as he dragged it along. His eureka moment: “We’re gonna put motors in these.” Cue bringing a friend of college on board, who happened to be a competitive motorcyclist, and the TSA- and FAA-approved Modobag was born.

In addition to its zoom, the black, boxy luggage also offers two USB charging ports, side pockets for easy access to all of your charging electronics, and a cushioned seat for your six-mile ride. And, at 19 lbs. when empty, you’ll definitely ride this bad boy around rather than carry it. This gif alone has us ready to pay up $995 for a first try at riding this luggage go-cart around the office.

Courtesy Modobag

Added challenge? Ride the Modobag out of a plane while skydiving. You won’t be the first, judging by this video.

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Which U.S. airports allow Uber, Lyft?

Can I take Uber or Lyft from the (fill-in-the-blank) airport?

It’s a question travelers across the country ask over and over these days as the affordable car services and a handful of competitors gain in popularity and encroach on the airport turf once reserved for taxis, limos and shuttles.

Tech-savvy travelers love the services because they can order a ride from an app on their smartphone or tablet after they land, meet the driver outside and bill the fare to their account. The fares are generally cheaper than taxi or sedan service and drivers usually arrive quickly.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, the nation’s 10th busiest airport by passenger boardings, on June 18 became the latest major airport to allow the ride-hailing services to pick up passengers. A day earlier, Tucson International Airport introduced Lyft service. (Drop-offs have long been allowed in Phoenix and at many other airports because they aren’t regulated like pick-ups are.)

The ride-hailing roundup 

Here’s a look at the ride-hailing landscape at other top 10 airports and select cities.

HARTSFIELD-JACKSON ATLANTA INTERNATIONAL 

Available: Not yet. Rules were expected to be in place by July 1 but talks have been delayed over discussions on driver background checks.

Details:atlanta-airport.com

LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Available: Lyft since December 2015. Uber since January.

Airport surcharge: $4 per pick-up and drop-off.

Estimated fare to downtown Los Angeles: $23-$33.

Details: lawa.org

CHICAGO O’HARE INTERNATIONAL/CHICAGO MIDWAY INTERNATIONAL 

Available: Since November 2015.

Airport surcharge: $5.50 per pick-up and drop-off.

Estimated fare to Millennium Park: $28-$35 from O’Hare with Uber, $28 with Lyft. $23-$30 from Midway with Uber, $23 with Lyft.

Details: flychicago.com/ohareflychicago.com/midway

DALLAS/FORT WORTH INTERNATIONAL, DALLAS LOVE FIELD

Available: Since August 2015.

Airport surcharge: $2 per pick-up and drop-off at DFW. $2.50 per pick-up at Love Field.

Estimated fare to downtown Dallas: $25-$32 from DFW with Uber, $16 with Lyft. $11-$14 from Love Field with Uber, $13 with Lyft.

Details: dfw.com/transportdallas-lovefield.com

NEW YORK: LAGUARDIA AND JFK 

Available: Yes.

Fee: None. Unlike at most major airports, New York does not have a separate agreement with the services. They register like cabs and limos.

Estimated fare to midtown Manhattan: $30-$39 from LaGuardia with Uber, $27 with Lyft. $49-$64 from JFK with Uber, $48 with Lyft.

Details: laguardiaairport.companynj.gov/airports/jfk-airport

DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Available: Since late 2014.

Airport surcharge: $2.15 per pick-up and drop-off.

Estimated fare to downtown Denver: $29-$39 with Uber, $33 with Lyft.

Details: flydenver.com

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Available: Since the fall of 2014.

Airport surcharge: $3.85 per pick-up and drop-off.

Estimated fare to Union Square: $29-37 with Uber, $26 with Lyft.

Details:flysfo.com/to-from/ground-transportation

CHARLOTTE-DOUGLAS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Available: Since February.

Airport surcharge: $1 per pick-up and drop-off.

Fare estimate to downtown Charlotte: $10-$14 with Uber, $13 with Lyft.

Details: charmeck.org

MCCARRAN LAS VEGAS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Available: Since late 2015.

Airport surcharge: $2.45 per pick-up and drop-off.

Fare estimate to Caesars Palace in the center of the Strip: $13-17 with Uber, $9 with Lyft.

Details:mccarran.com/Go/RideShare.aspx

SAN DIEGO

Available: Since summer 2015.

Airport surcharge: $2.76 per pick-up.

Fare estimate to downtown San Diego: $8-11 with Uber, $6 with Lyft.

Details: san.org

Note: The debut dates are generally when agreements between the airports and the companies took effect and UberX and Lyft began picking up passengers. In Phoenix and many other cities, pricier Uber rides, including Uber Black, Uber Select and Uber SUV, started earlier because those drivers have commercial permits like traditional ground-transportation providers.

Source: Arizona Republic research.

Tips for potential riders 

• The fare estimates are just that — estimates. They’re from Uber and Lyft websites and are for up to four passengers. Lyft has a tip option on its app, Uber does not. Uber says tipping voluntary but not expected or required. Uber drivers, though, welcome cash tips.

• The surcharges are in addition to the fare. The money goes to the airport.

• Looking for information or fare estimates at other airports? Check out Uber’s airport lineup and Lyft’s airport lineup. Need fare estimates for other routes? Go to uber.com/fare-estimate or lyft.com/cities and scroll down to the fare calculator, or get an estimate from the services’ apps before you reserve a ride.

• Independent sites also offer fare estimates, and some provide real-time information on traffic, surge pricing (heftier fares when demand is high) and recent fares on a variety of routes. Try uberestimate.comlyftcalculator.com or lyftrideestimate.com.

• Don’t forget about public transportation. Details on all your options are on airport websites under Ground Transportation.

Common taxi scams, and how to avoid them

Taxi drivers are a diverse lot. From the white-gloved drivers of Japan to the proud professionals of the United Kingdom and Ireland that must pass rigorous local geography tests before taking to the wheel, most are out to make an honest living. In other places, regulations are patchwork (or nonexistent) and drivers and operators may be looking for extra ways to separate you from your money.

If you find yourself hailing a taxi the old-fashioned way, beware these common taxi cab scams:

Broken machines. Before closing the door, double check the meter and credit card machine (if you plan to pay that way) are working. In some instances, rides are already priced at a flat rate (between New York’s airports and the city, for example), but in other cases, if the driver says the meter or machine is broken, it is easier for the driver to take advantage of you once you arrive. Drivers are loathe to pay fees charged by credit cards, which is why their machine may be conveniently “broken” once you arrive, leaving you scrambling for an ATM if you’re low on cash. If meters are not common or it is indeed broken, establish a price before darting off.

Scenic route. A smart move for those with a smartphone is to monitor your route in a mapping app as you go. While highway design, traffic congestion or construction work can make a circuitous route the best choice, there are some occasions where a driver knows that out-of-towners may have no idea if they are being taken for a ride (literally). If a driver asks how long you are in town, it is wise to say you have been there for a while or are familiar with the city. This might deter them from taking you on a roundabout drive to beef up the meter. Avoid saying you are leaving town soon (that same or the following day), which leaves little time for you to pursue further action if they cheat you.

No change. Someone driving around all day (even at the start of their shift) should have enough currency to make change for reasonably large bills. Forking over a $100 bill for a $10 ride is one thing, but if the driver says there is no change for a $20, red flags should be raised. It could be a bid to seek a higher tip. To avoid this petty trick, offer to have the driver wait while you seek out change (as your luggage is being unloaded). Never argue over price while your luggage is still in the trunk or while seated inside the car.

Sleight of hand. The truly no-good might even swap out bills that you hand over (especially for tourists unfamiliar with the currency) and say you gave a smaller bill rather than the larger one you used. Hand over bills one at a time if you are not familiar with the currency.

Keep in mind that many cities do indeed charge supplements for extra bags to and from the airport, or for trips on toll roads or nighttime travel. These are not necessarily a scam, although legally they should be posted somewhere in the car.  When in doubt, take down the driver’s license plate.

Missing bags. Keep an eye out to assure your bags are loaded. If you get inside without seeing them, you could arrive at your destination missing some valuables (perhaps sneakily snagged by another driver or cohort at your origin). Your driver may claim that he never saw your bag in the first place.

Baggage claim solicitations. If a driver approaches you in the arrivals area of an airport, be wary. Most airports require taxis to wait in an official queue, and licensed limo or sedan drivers are not allowed by many airports to solicit rides. If you cannot arrange transportation in advance to a new city, approach an information desk to ask where to get an official taxi, limo, shared shuttle or public transportation.

Driver recommendations. Never fall for this age-old trick. En route to your destination, the driver makes small talk in an effort to win you over. Once you’ve seemingly made a new pal, the driver suggests a pit stop at a recommended restaurant, shop or nightclub. Even if the passenger resists, the driver encourages a quick stop to “take a look.” The next thing you know, you’re being charmed by a shop owner or bar server with a free sample, but later pressured to buy something more. If you find yourself in this situation, mention that a local friend is meeting you at your destination and you cannot be late. Act like you are familiar with the area to avoid unwanted suggestions.