Can't Win 'Em All: Uber Gives Up Attempt To Do UberTaxi In NYC (For Now…)

from the more-regulatory-fighting dept

We’ve talked about how innovative ride hailing company, Uber, was pushing regulatory boundaries across the country, often showing how restrictive local regulators could be towards innovation. In many cases, Uber has been able to generate enough public support that local taxi and limo regulators ended up backing down. But you can’t win ’em all. Uber has admitted that it’s pulled the plug on UberTaxi in New York City.

While Uber is most well known for its “black car” service, it’s also been moving aggressively into the taxi world (which is why it’s getting sued in Chicago). NYC’s Taxi and Limo Commission (TLC) has fought against this move, since the law technically requires cabs to be hailed directly from the street — and the TLC claimed that hailing from a phone violated that. Uber, however, claims that the TLC has admitted privately that the service is legal. Either way, the TLC threatened cabbies who used Uber, and that limited the number willing to take part, which probably made the service a lot less interesting for users. And, for now, the service has shut down.

The TLC, for its part, seems to suggest that this is only temporary, and it would like to bring such services back — but it needs to conclude existing contracts:

“In recent months, as e-hail apps have emerged, TLC has undertaken serious diligence and is moving toward rule changes that will open the market to app developers and other innovators. Those changes cannot legally take place until our existing exclusive contracts expire in February. We are committed to making it as easy as possible to get a safe, legal ride in a New York City taxi, and are excited to see how emerging technology can improve that process. Our taxis have always been on the cutting edge of technological innovation, from GPS systems to credit card readers.”

Hopefully that’s true, but the devil is in the details… we’ll see what happens early next year.

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Companies: uber

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Comments on “Can't Win 'Em All: Uber Gives Up Attempt To Do UberTaxi In NYC (For Now…)”

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Niall (profile) says:

Yet another Third World stance for the US

Seriously, only hailing from the street? Are you saying that you can’t phone for a taxi? Pardon me if that’s simply not mentioned as a possibility, but if you can’t remotely request a taxi in one of the biggest, busiest Western cities in the world, you are seriously seriously behind. Talk about killing competition and progress!

And apologies to all the Third World cities where this rudimentary option is already available…

Planespotter (profile) says:

Cool… just wait till after Feb and watch the TLC bring out it’s own version… of course Laws will be changed to ensure than any new actor in the scene will have to pay a “license” and that TLC will collect said license and ensure that it is paid to the welfare fund of cabbies to ensure that their great grandchildren can benefit from a 5 minutes fare driven in March 2013 that cost $10.

Anonymous Coward says:

You haven’t researched this sufficiently. There is no problem getting a car in NYC by phone, if you are foolish enough to want to wait for it to fight its way through traffic to your door, and then sit in traffic while getting to your destination.

NYC distinguishes between taxis that get hailed on the street and car services and limousine services that get called by phone. The problem is that Uber wants to do both at once.

The taxi industry has no issue with allowing taxis to get hired by phone. It’s the car services and limousine services that are opposed to this threat to their livelyhood.

Anonymous Coward says:

Yet another Third World stance for the US

You hail taxis, and call for “black cars” in New York. Remarkable to those who don’t travel, but the taxi systems in various countries are in fact very different, and have different rules. The same is true for limos, black cars, and such.

Proof there isn’t one perfect solution.

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