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Taxis vs. ride-hailing, CBC Vancouver reporters put them to the test

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Commuters in the Lower Mainland had a brand new option for getting around on Friday morning when, after years of promises and delays, two major ride-hailing services suddenly became available.

Passengers can now use their smartphones to summon an Uber or Lyft driver to take them almost anywhere. But how does ride-hailing compare to taxis when it comes to time and cost?

Two CBC reporters put them to the test.

Taxi vs. Uber

After a coin toss, it’s decided Tina Lovgreen will take an Uber and Benoit Ferradini will call a taxi. Both are heading from Science World at Quebec Street and Terminal Avenue to Queen Elizabeth Park.

Both request their rides at 12:39 p.m.

As Ferradini connects with a taxi company, Lovgreen’s Uber app shows a 17-minute wait to connect with a driver.

Minutes later, Ferradini’s taxi shows up and he’s on his way, leaving Lovgreen in the parking lot.

“It’s not raining and it’s not nighttime,” she said. “And to be fair, it is the first day of ride-hailing coming to Vancouver.”

At 12:47 p.m., Lovgreen is still not able to connect to an Uber, so she bends the rules and requests a Lyft instead.

The app shows a Lyft driver in a white Toyota Corolla is on their way in three minutes. As she waits for her ride, her request for an Uber expires.

 

CBC’s Tina Lovgreen gets into her Lyft ride near downtown Vancouver. (CBC)

 

Saving money, not time

When Lovgreen eventually arrives at Queen Elizabeth Park, Ferradini has already been waiting for 10 minutes.

The final cost?

Lovgreen’s trip came to $14.69, while Ferradini’s trip came to $17.88. Both reporters tipped 15 per cent.

Pricing for ride-hailing can change depending on demand, Lovgreen noted, and both Uber and Lyft have made it clear they’re looking for more drivers to join their fleet.

Lyft will limit operations to the core of Vancouver until it has more drivers, using Dunbar Street to the west, Victoria Drive to the east and 41st Avenue to the south as boundaries. It will also service the Pacific National Exhibition and Vancouver International Airport.

Uber’s operating area covers a much bigger swath of Metro Vancouver, including Coquitlam, Surrey, Delta, West and North Vancouver.

Both reporters acknowledge that factors like wait times and price could change as ride-hailing becomes more established in the city.

“Let’s try this again in a month,” Lovgreen said.

“On a rainy day, on a Saturday night.”

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Pre-owned business jet shortage drives sellers’ market, demand for new luxury planes

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A shortage of newer-model business jets is driving up prices of second-hand aircraft, a trend that is expected to deliver a windfall for luxury planemakers as new affluent buyers enter the market.

After a turbulent 2020 due to COVID-19, the rush toward private transport is so marked that some buyers are snapping up second-hand planes before fully inspecting the wares as the market shifts toward sellers, lawyers and brokers said.

That is expected to push up demand for new jets from planemakers like General Dynamics Corp‘s Gulfstream, Textron Inc and Bombardier Inc since buyers have fewer pre-owned options, and the price gap between old and new narrows.

“There are virtually no young pre-owned aircraft available – good news for would-be sellers and for (planemakers),” said aviation analyst Rolland Vincent.

He recalled one trucking company’s recent search for a pre-owned Gulfstream jet: “There was one aircraft in the world that fit their requirements.”

Traffic from business jets, which carry roughly a handful to 19 travelers, has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels in the United States, the world’s largest market for private aviation, according to FlightAware data.

“On the pre-owned side, inventory appears to be fairly low, and that’s always a benefit to new aircraft sales,” said Scott Neal, senior vice president worldwide sales, Gulfstream.

“We are seeing strong interest across the board from first-time buyers and high net worth individuals as well as corporate customers with a desire to grow their fleets.”

Textron in April raised its full-year profit forecast, propelled by a rebound in business jet demand.

The trend could encourage some planemakers to increase production rates, although any ramp-up would hinge on supply chain capabilities, Vincent said.

Planemakers do not disclose total number of orders.

Preowned aircraft for sale in May accounted for 6.6% of the worldwide fleet, the lowest level recorded in 25 years by JETNET data, Vincent said. He said 864 pre-owned business jets sold during the first four months of 2021, up 36% from the same period last year.

“There are multiple offers on planes,” said Florida-based aviation attorney Stewart Lapayowker, founder of Lapayowker Jet Counsel PA.

Amanda Applegate, a partner at Aerlex Law Group, said she handled more deals for new jets than usual in May, as buyers fail to secure popular pre-owned planes like the G650, raising prices.

Applegate said it’s a case of pent-up demand as some wealthy travelers previously avoided private jets due to concerns like “flight shaming” over the environment. Corporate planes burn more fuel per passenger than commercial.

But since COVID-19, buyers have been shifting to private aviation to avoid airport crowds and coronavirus variants.

Applegate said some deals are so competitive she’s seen buyers give up pre-purchase inspections to win them.

Don Dwyer, managing partner at Guardian Jet, which does aircraft brokerage, appraisals, and consulting, recalled one case where a client didn’t undertake a pre-purchase inspection, which can take more than a month to complete.

It was a particular case since the plane was highly coveted, in good shape based on a visual inspection, and the seller was reputable, Dwyer said.

“I don’t recommend it, but in certain situations it can work.”

 

(Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Denny Thomas and Steve Orlofsky)

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Ford starts shipping Bronco SUVs from Michigan assembly plant

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Ford Motor Co said on Tuesday it had started producing and shipping the new Bronco sport utility vehicles (SUVs) from its Michigan assembly plant, following a delay in the launch of the SUVs due to COVID-19-related issues with the automaker’s suppliers.

Customers have booked more than 125,000 sixth-generation Bronco SUVs since the beginning of the year, the company said. The SUVs are targeted at the Jeep Wrangler market segment.

Ford said it had made more than 190,000 reservations for the Bronco in the United States and Canada.

The company built the first generation of Broncos from 1966 to 1977, and withdrew the line in 1996 amid falling demand.

Ford said it had invested $750 million into and added about 2,700 jobs at the Michigan assembly plant to build the new Broncos.

 

(Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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Lufthansa sets 2024 goal, eyes capital increase

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Germany’s flagship carrier Deutsche Lufthansa said it aims to boost its return on capital employed (ROCE) and laid out plans for a capital increase as it prepares for a business recovery amid an easing coronavirus pandemic.

The largest German airline aims to have an adjusted EBIT margin of at least 8% and an adjusted ROCE of at least 10% in 2024, it said late on Monday.

Adjusted ROCE was –16.7% in 2020 and 6.6% in 2019.

The group added it had mandated banks to prepare a possible capital increase, though size and timing have not yet been determined and the German state, which has bailed out the airline during the pandemic, has not yet given its approval.

 

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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