One of New York City’s largest lenders to taxi owners is asking Mayor Bill de Blasio to enforce a rule that would limit certain rides operated by Uber Technologies Inc.
Melrose Credit Union, which helps drivers purchase operating licenses known as medallions, sent letters dated April 3 to the mayor and the Taxi & Limousine Commission. It wants enforcement of a rule the TLC adopted in January, that only medallion taxis are legally able to pick up street hails, including those initiated by an electronic application, Todd Higgins, co-founder of Crosby & Higgins LLP, which is representing Melrose, said in an interview on Wednesday.
The city needs “reasonable regulations that acknowledge that street hails, including electronic ones, belong exclusively to taxi cabs,” Higgins told Kathleen Hays and Vonnie Quinn, hosts of “The Bloomberg Advantage” radio show.
A possible solution may be for New York’s legislature to limit Uber rides to those that are less spontaneous and have been scheduled for a later time, Higgins said.
“Should there be some kind of definition of hail adopted by the New York state legislature that says, for example, if you’re going to pick them up in less than five minutes, that’s not prearranged service? Or 10 minutes or 20 minutes?” Higgins said.
Such a law may protect traditional taxi drivers while reducing Uber’s ability to pick up rides. Rather than going out on the street and waving down a taxi, Uber users can use their phones to arrange for a driver to pick them up.
Uber, based in San Francisco, has been gaining popularity worldwide while facing mounting hostility from governments and the taxi industry.
“Big taxi should spend more time focusing on improving service quality and expanding options for New Yorkers rather than protecting the status quo and stifling competition,” Matt Wing, a spokesman for Uber, said in an e-mail.
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