State to newfangled cab company: Not so fast there, pals

The Washington Post reports a state agency has upheld a Cambridge citation against Uber because there are no state regulations allowing the use of GPS devices as replacements for taxi meters.

The ruling could spell trouble for the company, which acts as a sort of broker for local drivers, across the river, where Boston Police also require cabs to be equipped with meters.



Free tagging: 



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Take a service that people love and regulate it out of business. What about a disclaimer, "we use a global position system to generate your fare. We believe it to be extremely accurate, but if you aren't satisfied with its accuracy, please do not use our service. Thank you."

state regulations

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If there are no state regulations prohibiting a good idea, what's wring with it?


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Start a company and blissfully ignore the applicable laws of the cities/states you are operating in.

I know, right?!

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Those damned cab companies breaking laws all over the place -- what gives?!

Traditional cab companies in the Greater Boston area ignore laws all the time. Red light? Drive through it. Passenger wants a receipt? Tell him/her your'e out of paper. Passenger wants to use their credit card on the machine MEANT FOR CREDIT CARDS in the cab? Tell him/her you don't accept cards. sm4269a, I'm going to tell you the same thing I told city of Cambridge -- just shut up.


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I think you are confusing cab companies and cab drivers. If anything like that happens you just report to the company and, if you'd like, the hackney division of the police, the cab number and/or plates. It's not like it's company policy to run reds, lol.


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Calibration and Certification

Don't Taxi meters need to be certified accurate by some local/state agency to ensure that when you get billed for going 5 miles you didn't actually go 4 miles? These sort of consumer protections are critical. Otherwise you're pretty much trusting the cabbie and his GPS meter not to be rigged.

If these new meter are not calibrated and tested by the same agency the state has an obligation to shut them down. This is perfectly understandable and expected consumer protection.

Please take your informed

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Please take your informed post elsewhere, I'm trying to get unreasonably mad on the Internet here.

Yes, taxi meters are regulated and tested by

the Hackney division of the BPD. The thing about Uber is that you know what you are paying for the ride before you get in the car. There are no real variables for time, unlike taxicabs.

So if Uber charges $11.00 to go from the South End to Beacon Hill, they're taking into account that it's a short ride.

political bs

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i'm sure Uber is getting pressured from cab companies around the Boston area. if you've ever taken the service then you know it's charge rate is fair, the ride is superior, the drivers have a high degree of respect for clients, and they put 50% (or more?!) of Boston cab drivers to shame at a minor premium. Of course, not all Boston cab drivers are douchebags with absolutely smelly cabs, sure there are some great guys out there, but you know it's not a gamble with Uber. I'd pay a little extra and trust that a GPS is accurate (it's a f'n satellite!) for the charge.... and I always get a receipt. Modify the app, let the service be, and stop wasting my taxpayer money!!

Uber users

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Uber is the sliced bread of the cab world. You finally have the option to ride in cars that don't make you want to take a bath in Purell by the time you get out with drivers who aren't on the phone for your entire ride.

You get a cell # for your driver, and can see exactly where they are on a map, no need to stand on street corners waiting to hail a cab, or hoping they arrive when they say they will if you had the foresight to call ahead.

Boston has already done enough for the cabbies by shutting down the T at 12:00am, now that something far superior has finally arrived they obviously want it shut down.

And for people that think the GPS can be rigged, Uber sends you a receipt for your ride that includes a map of the exact route your driver took, the mileage, and the time (so you can do your own math). Not only that but i've been in enough cabs that drive me in circles to know that you don't need to rig a meter to rip of a customer.

Nothing but love for Uber

Über is the best.

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These can companies are running scared and they have crooked politicians in their pockets. I hope common sense prevails and Über stays.

Me too

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I'm all for standard and safety regulations, but if you meet them you should be able to provide service.

Systems like medallions licensing and hair cutting licenses are bunk. The only thing they ensure is a oligarchy over service, and a large barrier to entry.

Not as bad as I first thought...

In speaking with my fellow chauffeurs, a lot of them are now part of the Uber system. The drivers are not that crazy about the price structure, but it keeps their cars moving when they have downtime.

That being said, this is August. July and August are typically the slowest months in the reservation only black car business in Boston. Once September comes and it's balls out busy for most of us, then the quality of Uber drivers will start to wane.

The drivers I spoke to like the fact that 80% of the ride goes to them, as opposed to the traditional 65% paid by the big car companies. They also like the fact that the money is in their bank account within 72 hours. So for a $45.00 trip, the drivers get $36.00 and Uber gets $9.00. Not bad in slow times,for sure, but not as much as they usually get.

It's seems to be a win-win for everyone here. Except for the cab companies and the owners of the big car services. They're the one making the stink. Wait until they get a load of Side Car!

This app lets you hook up with people driving their own personal cars that are willing to give you a ride. There is no real fare structure, it's based on how much the rider wants to "donate" to the driver for the ride. Good luck with that here.....

Uber is Uber fantastic

Yes, the cab companies should be very scared of Uber. They are offering great service, prompt pick up, clean cars, and safe driving for just a bit more.

I love Uber and will opt for it over a cab, in fact I'll take the T or a bus over most cabs. I haven't had one Uber Driver cut someone off, spend the entire time I'm in the car on the phone, have a stinking air pine tree freshener stinking me into opening the windows.

No sticky seats, real door to door service complete with help with luggage without even asking.

The cab companies should step up their game instead of trying to kill the service that is showing them up.

I hope it works well for limo drivers and improves cab service. I'm contacting my state rep to change the law if that's what it takes to protect UBER!

all over Boston right now,

there are FBI taps being set up on the office phones of cab companies. You just know that one of these crooks is going to try to "grease a few guys".....

I don't understand either of

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I don't understand either of the two violations.

Operating an unlicensed livery service -- I thought Uber's drivers were licensed livery drivers.

Using an unapproved type of meter -- I didn't think livery services had any requirement to use a meter, just hailable taxis. With a traditional livery car, you call them, tell them where you're going, and they tell you the price (which they determine -- it's unregulated). They presumably use technology like a map, the web-based equivalent, or just their knowledge of the area to decide what that fare should be. They didn't have to use a certified taxi meter, so why should Uber?