General Motors introduced Maven, a car-sharing service designed to attract people who would prefer not to own a car, but prefer not to use a ride-sharing service either.
Maven, which means ‘expert’ in Yiddish will begin with small fleets of autos in Ann Arbor, Chicago, New York, Frankfurt and Berlin. It will at first stay close to large cities and college campuses. GM will be testing the market for this service, with plans to expand to additional cities this year, although GM did not announce which cities or to what extent they would like to expand.
President of GM Dan Amman emphasized that this is a completely different service than Lyft Inc, a ride-sharing service that GM invested $500 million in. Ride-sharing allows people to call taxis; they do not need to drive themselves. Car-sharing customers use a smart-phone or other device to get access to cars and drive them themselves.
The use of a small car can be bought for as little as $6 per hour, while larger cars will go for about $12 per hour. Amman stated that today around the world there are about 5-6 million people who are utilizing some kind of car-sharing service. He expects the service to expand 4-5 times in the next five years.
The computer glitch last Thursday was short, and luckily did not overly inconvenience travelers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. There was also some impact from the bump on American Airlines flights in Chicago, Miami, and Dallas-Fort Worth airports.
Passengers are hopeful and cautious about the merger of US Airways and American Airlines; hopeful all will go well, and cautious to avoid unnecessary delays or problems.
Chief pilot Tate Willworth, for Leading Edge Aviation, who flies with US Airways/American often for work, said that his luggage is lost about 3 out of 5 times that he flies with them.
He said he is hoping that the merger will improve the running of the company, but he also added:
“I see it like a pack of sled dogs, if you’re not in the lead it’s a bad view.”
The two major airline companies merged in December 2013. Since that time they have been working to bring together 120,000 employees and about 1,000 airplanes, plus nine hubs, under one unified roof. The next giant step will be on October 17, when the company will transfer the reservations system of US Airways into the American Airlines system.
Imagine paying $28.99 for in-flight internet service and getting a bill for $1,200 at the flight’s end. That is exactly what happened to one hapless Toronto traveler last week on a Singapore Airlines flight from London to Singapore.
Jeremy Gutsche is the head of consultancy website Trendhunter.com. He thought he would check his emails while flying to Singapore, and decided to sign up for the more expensive data plan offering him 30mb for almost $30. He said he knew he surpassed the data limit, but was still shocked by the $1,200 bill.
“I think the sum is shocking, and if you were a family traveller or someone like my mother, that bill would certainly ruin your vacation,” Gutsche said to CBS News in an email.
Gutsche says he was not video chatting or streaming movies. His bill was accrued with 155 page views, something he says is just plain wrong.
“I was aware of the pricing, and even though I limited my surfing, my overage wasn’t $50 or $100, it was an excessive $1,200. I get that the pricing model is listed in the terms and I was aware of it, but even so, my work ended up well over the limit. That had me thinking that just because someone agrees to terms and conditions does not actually mean that the pricing and terms are ethical.”
Gutsche compared Singapore Air’s internet pricing scheme to that of other airlines.
“Compare that with $14 for 24 hours on American Airlines, United, Air Canada, Delta, US Airways and Virgin. And on Jet Blue, Wi-Fi is free.” Gutsche said. “And if I could burn $1,200 on 155 pages (and likely an update or two running in the background), an aggressive surfer or game player could far surpass that.”
Tata Motors, India’s largest car manufacturer, is looking into building an additional facility in the United States. High demand for the luxury Jaguar Land Rover is compelling Tata to free-up their production lines to allow for faster production speeds. The company is quickly reaching its maximum production capacity at their UK factories due to the high demand not only for the JLR, but for all the company’s products.
In the next three months a new factory in China will be commissioned to produce more cars. Demand is expected to rise further as new models and high volume compact cars are produced to meet demand.
The Chief Financial Officer of Jaguar Land Rover Kenneth Gregor said:
“The US is a market for premium cars and a very important market. We are exploring our options to expand manufacturing reach globally and yes US could be one of the markets. We would look at it but that is not to say that we have anything concrete to announce.”
The Dubai-based airline, Emirates, is pursuing a business plan which hopes to incorporate more American business travelers into its business model.
The airline just opened a new route between Dubai and Chicago’s O’Hare International airport, the ninth US city that they fly to. Five months before Emirates introduced a new route to Boston, adding to already established routes between Dubai and Los Angeles, New York’s JFK, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington Dulles, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Houston’s Bush Intercontinental airports.
In addition to increasing the cities in the USA that they service, the sometimes controversial airline is removing many of its smaller 777s and replacing them with jumbo jets to accommodate more passengers on each journey.
“The growth of Emirates in the U.S. is really at a very high pace,” says Hubert Frach, Emirates’ divisional senior vice president, commercial operations west.
“It’s a market strong, and with high potential, for business travel. And it’s a very strong outbound market, and certainly also a very strong inbound market for tourists, for visitors coming to the gateways in the U.S.”