The Globe reports the city of Cambridge has sued the state in Middlesex Superior Court to block its approval of Uber, which lets you get a limo through its online service.
You may recall how a state measurement office barred Uber over meter issues after Cambridge Police ran a sting, only to reverse itself a few days later when it learned, oops, the governor likes Uber.
This originally struck me as a borderline corrupt act, and I'm glad they sued. Like if the Boston Licensing Board were to revoke the liquor license of the Governor's favorite restaurant for repeated violations, then Patrick commanded them to reinstate it, just because he likes the place, and based on his Uberlegal authority.
Perhaps the answer is to legislatively remove all the regulations on the "regular" livery industry, but to grant an exemption to one company because "the governor likes it" does seem capricious and unfair.
and I think that you would have gotten what I imagine is the basis of the complaint (without having read it).
Prediction: Cambridge will prevail in the courts and the Legislature will act to change the law. In essence, this is exactly how the system should work (although the Legislature could save a lot of people a lot of time if they would just act now).
is happening down in DC. Hopefully the state does the right thing, and works to get services like Uber on the upswing, as there's a major reliable transportation shortage in Boston. Especially at night.
Livery and Hackney regulations are now just a cabal to raise prices and limit entry into the market, not to serve the cities residents. They'll claim it's all about safety and for consumers owns good, but lets get real.
Spent a few months down there during the legislative session earlier this year. Everyone takes Uber and does so for two big reasons: 1) Convenience. 2) Cleanliness. If the slow, undermanned, overpriced cab companies with cars purchased straight from the Logan rental lots have to lean on technicalities to compete with Uber, they're doomed to failure. I'm with you: Let Cambridge win this round, let the state change the law and finally end the Boston area's absolute bullshit taxi system.
“The taxi industry is heavily regulated for reasons of public safety, consumer protection, and fair competition,” said Cambridge city attorney Elizabeth Lashway.
Don't make me laugh. This is about blocking an upstart competitor. I had no idea cab companies had so much sway in Cambridge City Hall.
But I can't legally operate Dan's Part-time Supercheap Taxi. Eliminate the regulations and level the playing field- don't just carve out a random exemption from those regulations. That's just another version of crony capitalism, as far as I can tell.
You can't operate Dan's part-time supercheap taxi, but you can get a livery license and operate Dan's part-time supercheap limo, and you can charge whatever you want to drive people places if they call you up. And then you can write an iPhone app so they don't have to actually make the telephone call.
That's all Uber is. They have a network of existing, licensed livery drivers, and they replace the phone call with an app.
There's no particular "exception" or "carve-out" for Uber.
"They have a network of existing, licensed livery drivers"
Not the driver that the Cambridge Police cited in the sting operation. He didn't have a Cambridge livery license. That's the whole point, you can't legally do any of this in Cambridge without a livery or taxicab license issued by the city.
There is no such thing as a "livery license" in Cambridge. I pick up in Cambridge all the time. To open a livery service in most of the towns in this state, you have to have a letter from the town saying that you are allowed to garage your car in that town.
State law: MGL 40, Section 22
Cambridge Municipal Code: Chapter 5.20, Article III
Cambridge livery license application process
Seriously. It's the most innovative service out there. I haven't used Uber yet because I generally drive everywhere but I would use Uber over any random cab company any time I have the chance. I don't care what the merits of Cambridge's case are, change the merits so that Uber can thrive.
Why don't we just kick them out of the state if they have a problem with fair trade? It's obvious that they hate prosperity and anything that threatens cronyism. Where in the state Constitution does it say that Cambridge is obliged to be part of the Commonwealth?
Uber has been running into this problem everywhere. Red or Blue, it don't matter.
Cab companies are apparently are very lucrative businesses and have strong pull with cities and towns it seems.
Not sure Emperor Mumbles thoughts on this, but my guess is he's also against them.
Looks like Uber is declaring defeat in NYC:
Now, Cambridge is no T&LC, but, the T&LC is looked to by regulators around the country for guidance. Of course, we have never really followed their example (one reason why our cabs suck so badly and so many livery services around here are so shady), so this might not matter at all.