Last month, New York’s approval of e-hailing taxi services was once again brought to a screeching halt (get it?) via a restraining order that temporarily blocked the move on grounds of it not being legal. The New York Supreme Court reviewed the issue and has removed the block, but the legal spat itself is not yet over, and isn’t likely to go down without a fight.
This all started (once again) on April 23, when a judge approved a one-year pilot project to test the use of e-hailing apps for taxi services in select parts of New York City. Soon after, Uber had received permission to reintroduce its service in the city, but that was short lived.
The first round of this legal battle had resulted in Uber pulling its app from NYC back in October 2012. The approval of the the pilot project earlier this year brought with it quite a bit of blowback from livery cab drivers, and within 24 hours the project had been temporarily blocked, leaving Uber and other services again in limbo.
The issue comes via livery cab drivers, which say allowing yellow taxi cabs to summon via electronic apps is both against the law and will cause a myriad of issues, among them being the facilitation of racism, difficulty for the elderly and others who don’t typically have access to smartphones, and damage to the livery cab industry as a whole. The group’s attorney Randy Mastro had called the program “fundamentally flawed” in an email to Bloomberg last month.
Mayor Bloomberg, Uber’s CEO, and the New York TLC Commissioner have all been vocal about their favor of instituting an e-hailing system in New York City, something other cities have enjoyed for awhile now. With the state Supreme Court’s block of the restraining order, all three have praised the decision, saying in their own way that it will help usher in much-needed technological innovation.
Only time will tell if/when the next block will happen, as livery cab drivers aren’t likely to give up, especially when it is assumed e-hailing could cut into their business. For the moment, however, tech enthusiasts, yellow cab drivers, and those who don’t like having to raise their arm in the air to summon a cab can all rejoice.
SOURCE: Tech Crunch