Positive Projections for 2017 Corporate Travel:
According to an annual survey done by business travel payment provider AirPlus, almost three-quarters of U.S. travel managers anticipate more business trips in 2017, up from one-quarter who were asked the same for 2016 predictions. Leading was India, where sixty percent of India-based travel managers anticipate increased business travel, thanks to a solid local economy and rising exports. The U.K. followed with 50 percent of travel managers expecting an increase. According to the report: “While other countries do not expect major growth, neither do they expect a decline, or only a slight one.”
AirPlus also surveyed 2,270 business travelers. One-third anticipate taking more trips in 2017 than in 2016, and 53 percent expect about the same number as last year. goo.gl/x6Qf6Y
New Mileage Rates for 2017:
The IRS released its mileage deduction rates for this year, effective January 1, lowering the rate to 53.5 cents—which is down from 54 cents in 2016. Medical use also dropped from 19 cents to 17 cents per mile, while charitable use remained unchanged at 14 cents per mile. This, unfortunately, coincides with the recent uptick in gas prices due to OPEC’s announcement that it will cut oil production to stabilize prices after years of record lows. The business mileage deduction, however, is based mostly on the cost of owning (maintenance) and insuring a vehicle rather than the cost of fuel. goo.gl/vyZdCb
News of the U
Uber Discrimination? Say It Ain’t So!:
First it was refusing to pick up passengers in certain neighborhoods. Then it was discriminating against passengers for their race, which was called out by Senator Al Franken and new “anti-discrimination” policies put into place by Uber (goo.gl/GYLns3). Now, passengers are accusing Uber drivers of cancelling short destination rides from the airport, presumably because of the low fee they would receive for the trip. In separate reports at both Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (goo.gl/5gMtTZ) and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (goo.gl/2zm1pd), passengers claimed that Uber drivers would call them after accepting the pickup to learn of the destination, then cancel if they didn’t like it. One passenger in Florida said that it happened to him five times before—45 minutes later—he was able to get a ride.
Local 10 News in Fort Lauderdale also tested out the claims—being cancelled by one driver for a four-mile journey but accepted by another when the trip was twice as far—with the same results. Uber released a statement after being confronted by Local 10 News for the practice: “Ridesharing apps are changing a transportation status quo that has been unequal for generations, making it easier and more affordable for people to get around, no matter where they live and where they’re going.” We’re guessing that actions speak louder than press statements, in this case.
Houston, We Have a Problem:
We may not yet know which teams will go head to head in next month’s Super Bowl LI in Houston, but we do know that the city has made it easier for Uber drivers to sign up for the service and get on the road. According to Houston CBS affiliate KHOU, the city has temporarily relaxed its requirements—no drug test or physical required—in order to recruit as many Uber drivers as possible to handle the demand to and from the game as well as local establishments where it will be broadcast. Drivers are still subject to the Uber background check as well as mandatory fingerprinting in order to receive their permanent TNC license, and vehicles still need to be inspected. The demand, however, has been strong, with Houston operators verifying the staggering influx of new Uber licenses that are issued daily—to say nothing of the fact that Uber got a free pass from the hundreds of dollars that operators will have to shell out to enter and leave the stadium premises.
“We think we hit that sweet spot where we are still protecting the public, but getting drivers through the process as quickly as possible,” Lara Cottingham, Deputy Assistant Director for Houston’s Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department, told KHOU.
It remains to be seen what will happen to all those added drivers after the celebration is over.