Judge tosses suit by taxi owners against Boston over Uber and Lyft

A federal judge today dismissed a lawsuit by the Boston Taxi Owners Association against the city of Boston because a new state law bars the city from regulating "transportation network companies" such as Uber and Lyft.

The association had sued Boston in federal court last year, charging the city was violating their due-process and equal-protection rights by not applying the same sort of rigorous regulations and background checks to the new breed of transportation companies as it does with medallion cab owners and drivers.

But in a ruling today, US District Court Judge Nathaniel Gorton said the suit is now moot because of a new state law that establishes certain minimum standards the companies and their drivers must meet also creates a new state division to regulate the companies and specifically bars cities and towns from trying to impose their own regulations.

Anticipating that, the medallion owners pointed to a clause in the new law that does let municipalities regulate "traffic flow and traffic patterns," but Gorton said stretching that to cover such things as driver licensing would "render the entire regulatory scheme of the Act nugatory and would 'frustrate' the purpose of
the statute." Therefore, Gorton continues:

Because local regulation of TNCs is preempted by the new state law, plaintiffs’ claims for declaratory and injunctive relief are moot.

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Comments

good

I prefer traditional taxi services myself but I didn't like this noncompetitive BS they were trying to pull.

Some taxi drivers are scam artists. and people point to the toxic nature of the medallion companies and the medallion system as a whole, and yes, there is plenty of toxicity around there. This doesn't excuse the dishonest behavior of some drivers.

Uber/Lyft has its own set of problems too.

Anecdotally, I've found that the women I've dated since the advent of Uber/Lyft have much preferred that service to medallion taxis, so whenever we decided to go out and thought it best to leave the car at home- it was done by Uber. My first hand experience, while somewhat against my will, is still considerable.

I do not like the quality of drivers that Uber employs. not from a safety perspective, but from an ability to navigate. There are times when I'm hiring a professional driver because I'm unable or unwilling to navigate myself. Do your job. These are my observations alone and I don't mean to imply that this is pervasive to this business model- I don't know.

With a taxi service I'm able to form relationships with the dispatchers and drivers. If I have a routine- they know it. I'll have the drivers phone number saved as a contact. maybe I can reproduce that with Uber but if so, I certainly don't know how. I don't really care much to find out either, since I clearly am perfectly content doing things my own way.

I suppose if I were to summarize my thoughts, I would say that I believe there is room for both types of companies. I also think that a lot of the issues that hound both services are actually due to how these things are handled at a government level. Having to take out a mortgage on a medallion? Or a wealthy taxi company buys them, but then they hire a scam artist? Who is that helping? Make these things financially more accessible to everybody, but maintain scrutiny on drivers safety records, et cetera. The Uber/Lyft issues are probably more fit for the department of labor or something. My advice would be to simply not work for Uber.

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blatant disregard for law

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What amazes me and still does is that Uber and Lyft were from the start operating illegally. There is a law regarding transportation for hire. Chauffeur taxi etc. There is government regulation. That is why the BPD for years cracked down on so called Gypsy Cabs and why it is illegal for non-Boston cabs to pick up in Boston. Yet everyone turned a blind eye and let ride sharing happen. It is a joke. Can I open my own liquor store now since I guess laws don’t really mean much?

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Do us a favor

Please link to the laws that they are violating?

Gypsy cabs pick up fares on the streets. It is not illegal to call a car service to come pick you up. I did this numerous times before Uber and Lyft even existed! You might keep that in mind when finding those laws.

Also, any stats on how often the cops bother to regulate cab drivers - particularly the ones with the 'broken' credit card machines?

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Not to get into the

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Not to get into the regulation specifically, but my experience recently is that credit card machines don't 'break' anymore. I think since maybe 2014 I've never got into a cab where the driver even bothered to complain about what form of payment I was choosing.

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i used to take perverse pleasure in this

when the credit machines would 'break' in a taxi

oh, ok, no problem, let me call your dispatcher, right in front of you (behind you, technically) and explain to them (and you) quite clearly that you have a problem. oh the problem is fixed now? well, now you can wait for me to finish my call. thanks.

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The DPU has laws and regualtions about cars for hire

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Plus each city has a law regarding Livery for hire. hence Boston cabs cant pick up in Cambridge.
Uber has been breaking these laws and regulations from the beginning. Gypsy cabs are not legal and never have been, car services are licensed through the DPU just like taxis, delivery companies and everyone else who use a vehicle for commerce

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Cite the laws

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Cite these laws that you speak of.

Now.

Medalions are limited, not cars for hire summoned by phone call or pre-arranged for pickup.

Try again. Cite the actual laws. Stop making things up.

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Did you miss this part of the post?

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Here you go:

...new state law that establishes certain minimum standards the companies and their drivers must meet also creates a new state division to regulate the companies and specifically bars cities and towns from trying to impose their own regulations.

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right teh new UBER law

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our legislature passed, written by Uber for Uber. They were running illegally until then. Period/

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Once more

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Cite the law that they were breaking. Go ahead - MGL and a number.

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'ride sharing'

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Previous to “ride sharing”, you would need to submit an application to the DPU. Have your rates approved. Prove you had the proper license and insurance and then and only then you could conduct business as a car service, delivery service etc. Uber did none of that and the State let them do it. Then when people got mad the State with Uber’s help crafted the new regulations that allowed Uber to conduct business outside of these regulations. Must be nice to have the state write laws to help your business

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Wrong

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Uber did none of that and the State let them do it.

Wrong. Initially, Uber operated out of licensed livery cars with commercial drivers.

Keep trying, though.

If you spent half as much time understanding why people hate taxis, you would be far better positioned to understand why Uber is so popular.

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UBER X yes

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Not regular Uber or Lyft. nice try as well. Just because you hate taxis doesn't mean it is okay to ignore law and regulation to not use them.

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I do not like the usage of

I do not like the usage of the word moot from anyone in the initial post. That is me speaking as an Uber driver and a college student who is off to law school in a year and a half.

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I am 20 years old

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I get paid $30/hour to have opinions on words.

Got it?

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careful now

you'll upset the large contingent of posters that think everybody should be poverty stricken

if you drive a car they disapprove of, thats it for you bub.

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off LAW topic ..

isn't it weird how the people who spend the most time on the roads ( ubers, taxis, delivery people) always seem to be the least skilled drivers ? the ones going 30 mph on storrow , 45 on the pike , stopping in the middle of the street with no signals to pick up / drop off .. the ones who ALWAYS seem to be distracted and lost while driving . the ones who turn right from the left lane . the ones who u-turn without even looking , i can go on for days ... but why the fuck cant they drive if they are the ones who get the most practice ? and then they always have an attitude .. i cant wait till we get those futurama travel tubes or something ... teleportation ? Something !

or is it just the fact that we live in a city where everyone on the road thinks they are the #1 priority?

edit: just incase anyone else is bored at work :http://www.whosdrivingyou.org/rideshare-incidents

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i actually almost addressed this in my other post

and deleted the paragraph

it was about people having a perception that professional drivers are unskilled, and how i consider that to be unwarranted.

i do laugh when i hear about people (not you) that don't own and possibly have never owned a car whining about how SCARY and DANGEROUS a taxi driver is because they discovered the laws of physics, and how they interact with your body in the bench seat of a crown vic. while you're unbuckled.

PS: you nailed it with your last line

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to be fair,

most rideshare and APP based delivery do not employ professional drivers . just some guy with a sedan and a valid license . you then get this person who lives out in Acushnet come drive you around the tight streets of the north end which 9/10 times will be a less than desireable experience.

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professional

when i was young i was employed by one of my family's companies. i had made a comment to one of the foremen (my boss) after he asked me about the quality of some of my work. i think it was my second day on the job? i had said something about me not exactly being a professional at the job yet. he told me that if you get paid to do something, that makes you a professional.

its been a long time, but that stuck with me. ended up relegated to trash duty most of that summer too lmao

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Rentals

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Most cab drivers rent the cabs and are trying to make back the charge over the shift.

All they need is a driver's license and free time. Same as Uber/Lyft.

The medallion system is a scam that's been captured by a few people and based to all hell. Unfortunately there's a few single / low number medallion owners who will get totally screwed when they finally do away with it.

But, that's what happens when you're buys/selling things that shouldn't be.

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The banks will go apeshit

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The banks will go apeshit when the medallion system is abolished. The value of those medallions is leveraged 10x for credit. See also that scumbag who was just sentenced to like 10 days in his own home for defrauding us all for as long as he's owned cab medallions.

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Fuck Em.

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The City/State never intended for them to be akin to bond holdings, and the value on secondary markets is none of the state (IE the citizens) concern.

They should never have been allowed to be "sold" when transfered in the first place.

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