Uber’s Taxi Hailing App Hits a Brick Wall in NYC
The launch of Uber NYC by tech firm Uber was cut short by a release issued by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) that forbade taxicab drivers from using such an app. The taxi-hailing application is a platform that helps to connect passengers seeking transportation with drivers in the area, and also offers a mobile payment option, enabling customers to pay with their mobile devices.
“A driver must not use any electronic communication device, including a cell phone or smartphone running a hail or payment app while operating a taxicab,” the release stated. “Any driver using such a device at any time except when the taxi is legally standing will be summonsed.”
The release further noted that cab drivers who are caught violating these rules may be fined and/or have their TLC license suspended or revoked.
TLC chairman David S. Yassky stated that the restrictions had to do with contractual agreements with the payment processors used in NYC cabs, which do not expire until February. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick expressed his surprise and disappointment with the TLC in an interview with the NY Times: “We feel like the T.L.C. has for the most part been friendly, until we got this…You can talk the talk, but you also have to walk it.”