"This is a really good article we found its about a minute read, but worth it!"
by Mason Freeman 8/9/2016
Uber has always been illegal. Since it’s very beginning Uber has been declared illegal in every market it has ever run it’s gypsy jitney taxi scheme. Uber doesn’t pay taxes, maintain a local office, or even operate a phone line accessible to customers or it’s own drivers. Uber’s surge pricing is often a suprise to first-time app users, who can’t ever remove their credit card from the Uber ridesharing service.
Ridesharing is a term originally meaning when a commuter might share a ride with a neighbor in exchange for a little gas money. Now in the age of Apps, any company engaged in giving automobile rides in exchange for money are commonly referred to as ridesharing companies. Uber likes to describe it’s part-time driver partners as entrepreneurs, and cite work whenever you want as one of Uber’s best features. Uber says the flexible schedule and surge pricing encourage ride availability for it’s customers, the customers it claims it doesn’t have because Uber is not a taxi company.
Uber doesn’t pay any taxes anywhere. Uber, a fly-by-night company, has legal issues everywhere it operates. Criminals love Uber. Criminals drive for Uber, and many criminals use Uber as passengers, sometimes at the same time as credit card fraud within Uber is rampant. A criminal Uber driver will use stolen credit card information to hire themself, ironically a paid ride not aided by the ever present promo code is an indication of fraud and any Uber driver with too many paid fares without promo codes often find themselves deactivated. Uber is unable to patch some security flaws because the fixes would make the app unable to function. Uber is the largest source of hacked acccounts ever, and both Uber driver and passenger accounts are available for purchase, cheaply, on the darknet.
Uber claims that it’s drivers giving rides for money are not ‘Taxi drivers’ nor employees. Uber does require that it’s partners in their corporate criminal enterprise work according to it’s app demands, or the Ubered driver is fired. A form email and a Uber app that won’t allow login informs the non-employee that they are fired. Fired Uber drivers are often reacitivated once the smoke blows over regarding the incident or complaint that got them canned. Why? Because Uber is desperate for drivers and new victim customers.
A bus driver is not a taxi. A limousine driver is not engaged in taxi work. There is a reason taxicabs have reserved parking and regulated rates at city airports and bus and train stations. Taxicabs have been regulated and de-regulated in many cities and taxi markets across the country throughout history. It is an endless argument, one that politicians mostly love. Those who say ‘Why not’ to Uber’s do as it pleases business practices don’t seem to care about the consequences, and are clueless about taxicab regulations.
Because entry barriers to Uber employment basically amount to putting down the cheetos and working a smartphone from the couch it is not suprising that when it comes to recruiting 50,000 new drivers each month Uber is scraping the bottom of the barrel. Gangs, drug dealers, and career criminals flock to Uber as well as unsuspecting unemployed elderly who happen to own a car.
Get Out Of My Car! Uber driver’s video goes viral.
Uber has payday-style loan lease agreements available to wannabe Taxi drivers who don’t own a vehicle. $600 a month Toyotas are the norm. When the Uber driver quits paying, it’s just another profit generating repo to fluff the Uber company books.
Ubered investors are told Uber is worth $60-$80 Billion, and you always have to capitilize the word Billion for some reason, and are most famous for their Saudi Arabian and Chinese investors. Uber doesn’t own any taxicabs. Uber has lost money month after month since the day they started. Uber refuses to have an IPO, which would mean opening their financials to scrutiny by Wall Street regulators and government officials.
Mayors, city council members, state senators, governors and reporters have all been given unlimited Uber ride credits for themselves and any family members. Their contacts, SMS messages, emails and all other details of their smartphone usage has been sent upstream to Uber’s U.S. based servers. Their credit cards can never be removed from the system and deleting the app just means it runs in the background invisible to the unsuspecting Ubered.
Uber drivers can’t make any profits at their standard fares which is why they rely so much on surge pricing and canceling rides to generate an income. All Uber drivers find out that after the honeymoon is over, the longer a person is an Uber Partner, the more hours one has to work to make the same amount of money. Many Ubered drivers are trapped in their below minimum wage jobs, and Uber likes it that way.
Uber drivers are unsafe drivers, amateurs trying to do a professional’s job. Ubered drivers have more accidents, from which they often hit and run, because they are not used to being on the road for many hours every day. Uber drivers are notoriously ‘pervy’ and often speak english as a second language poorly. Uber drivers hide their activities, afraid of being seen by police or taxi drivers as they practice their street crimes, knowing that Uber often backs up their open criminality by paying tickets and court fines.
Uber employs a huge number of lawyers and law firms, something Ubered investors didn’t count on when they bought into the trendy dream that taxi drivers and companies were getting rich cruising around meeting new and interesting people. Despite high powered lawyers, ex-cia and ex-whitehouse arch criminals, Uber has been expelled from many city, states and countries.
Uber has been banned, declared illegal and sued, in most everyplace it operates today. Uber is commonly known for it’s wrecks, rapes, and credit card abuse. Reporters love Uber because it gives them something to report, and the story is easy to write. Uber is the most criminal corporate ponzi scheme since Enron’s and it’s collapse will likely be as quick. Uber’s failure in China is just further proof that Uber has jumped the shark.
Taxi companies generally care about their customers, have been in business long before Uber came along, and will be around long after Uber is shut down. Uber is being sued by it’s customers, it’s non-employee drivers, and soon it’s Ubered investors, many of whom have already agreed to payoffs in exchange to signing agreements not to talk about their Ubered nightmares.
Whether it’s price-fixing, unpaid fees and fines, liability for labor law violations, tax evasion, or privacy violations Uber faces the inescapable consequences of the way it has conducted itself. Uber has proven that any market can be disrupted with Race To The Bottom cheap pricing, the results of which are cheap and dirty.
The supply of unsuspecting is not infinite, and is destined to run out in a spectacular crash and burn. Nothing that Uber does is sustainable. Nor has it demonstrated any novel successes. It’s dismal performance at large crowd conventions and surge pricing during terrorist disasters indicate the morality and ability to deliver on-the-street results that Uber is capable of. Will greed win? Is a cheap, third world taxi ride what the public really wants?
Maybe the public will think differently when they find their auto insurance rates on the rise because of the increase in hit and runs. Maybe the public will like Uber less when they buy a used car that has been Ubered and had it’s mileage rolled back, it’s Uber wear and tear conveniently hidden.
Uber never returns money, ever. Uber will give you free ride credits when you have been overcharged, or been billed for a Uber trip you never took, but they don’t reverse charges. Send them a twitter, because you can’t call or email them. The Ubered don’t have a local office, anywhere. Where they do have offices, they are guarded so that Uber drivers don’t come in and protest.
Uber drivers are well known for their use of piss bottles and shitting in people’s front yards or the side of the street. Many are unemployable and only get out of their parent’s house to protest to make Uber legal so they can sign up and get their $500 bonus and start making YouTube videos. Uber driving can even make millionaires, haven’t seen that YouTube video yet, it’s hilarious. From "I'm making $1000 a week" to "I’m quitting Uber", YouTube Uber drivers usually complete the emotional journey in less than a year.
Travis Kalanick, Uber CEO, can’t go anywhere without being hassled except geeky startup conferences where he gets paid to lie. ‘Tricks and Hoes’ is his term for venture capital investors. All of his former companies were sued out of existence. Bandit taxi companies have always existed, and Travis is the Al Capone of our times. Sure, a crack dealing Uber driver selling dime bags of weed in a leased Toyota makes money the first week out, but is it sustainable?
When will anyone see an Uber IPO? Not anytime soon, likely never. A company with no assets and no product beyond this week doesn’t have much of a future and Uber executives are jumping off the sinking Uber ship. How many lawsuits does it take to put a modern unicorn silicon valley app company out of business, only time will tell.
Maybe Uber will be put out of business by an especially tragic incident, like when Uber Driver Dalton went on his spree killing in Kalamazoo. Uber is busy lying for the courts on that one. Fact is, Uber sent the Kalamazoo spree killer to pick up more taxi fare paying customers even as his victims lay dead and bleeding. Uber won’t even acknowledge any responsibility or even talk to the parents of the 6 year old girl an Uber driver ran over. Uber is doomed by it’s own incompetence and shoddy business practices.
Is it really cheaper to hire an Uber driver driving a Hertz rent-a-car than renting a car. Many Ubered passengers sign up for 90 cent a mile rides and then discover the real-world cost of three times what a taxi cost. It’s called getting Ubered, and if you let it happen to your Grandma you are a bad person, no two ways about it. If Grandma is driving the Uber, it’s even worse.
The profits of running an illegal criminal enterprise are the same as they have always been: prison. When will Travis Kalanick do his perp walk in handcuffs and have his computers shut down? Taxi drivers worldwide, from London to South Africa, from Brazil to New York, wait and wonder: How long? Police, supposedly the backbone of a civilized society, should be ashamed. People who use an illegal Uber, even those who think they should decide what laws to obey, should be ashamed. The only bigger losers beside Uber drivers are the braindeads who pay them for a classless ride.
It’s not widely known, but the fact of the matter is no good taxi drivers have ever lost the ability to make a good living as a respectable taxi driver. Uber is able to deflate and suck dry any taxi market they flood with drivers, they are a huge embarrassment to all who make their living as a on-demand for-hire driver, but at the end of the day all Uber brings for competition is a pervy cheap unreliable ride, often in a Toyota or Honda, often costing more.
In any city Uber operates, the amount of the driver sign-on bonuses and amount of the ever-present promo codes(‘free rides’) is a good indication of when Uber is done scraping the profits off the backs of hard-working taxi drivers, often working to support families. The inevitable Uber news stories and Uber lawsuits are a painful reminder to politicians and companies that have screwed the pooch. When Uber quits a city, only the cheapskates squeek.
‘Need a ride?’
This article dedicated to the many dead, run over, raped, robbed, left standing on the side of the road, credit card fraud victims and the many other Ubered victims whom Travis has gotten rich off of with his Uber fly-by-night bandit taxi jitney operation. Uber is still illegal and on a 90 MPH race off a cliff. The TAXI trade has always, and will always survive.
Uber and Lyft invested $8.6 million to overturn a city ordinance in Austin that requires fingerprint-based background checks for drivers, but they still lost.
By Story Hinckley, Staff MAY 8, 2016
Uber and Lyft drivers will require fingerprinting, the city of Austin confirmed in a vote Saturday.
As of February 1, 2017, all drivers employed by ride-hailing companies in the Texas capital must pass fingerprint-based background checks. Proposition 1, the ballot measure backed with millions from the companies to repeal this city ordinance, was rejected by a popular vote Saturday.
“Uber, I think, decided they were going to make Austin an example to the nation,” David Butts, who led the anti-Prop. 1 campaign called "Our City, Our Safety, Our Choice," tells the Austin American-Statesman. “And Austin made Uber an example to the nation.”
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A 12 percent majority voted down Proposition 1, with 17 percent of all eligible voters turning out for the vote. Both companies threatened to leave the city of Austin if Prop. 1 failed, and so far they are both following through with their promises and ceasing operations in the city, beginning Monday.
Nobody wants them to leave and we’re not asking them to leave,” Councilmember Ann Kitchen told KUT News. “The voters have spoken and they want these requirements and I know that we can do that… I don’t know why they would leave. We held the election that they said they wanted.”
Saturday’s election marks the first time that a major US city has held a popular vote on stricter regulations for ride-hailing companies. And judging by the millions of dollars spent on the Prop 1 campaign, Uber and Lyft fear Austin’s regulation may send a message to Chicago, Los Angeles, and Atlanta – cities that have contemplated similar laws.
“Unfortunately, the rules passed by city council don’t allow true ride sharing to operate,” Lyft said in a statement. Lyft, now worth $5.5 billion, says they already require comprehensive safety measures, and that a fingerprinting requirement would make it more difficult for the company to employ part-time drivers.
Requiring stricter background checks is actually a public safety concern, argued Uber, which is valued about $62.5 billion. Fingerprinting can slow down the influx of new drivers, and a robust ride-sharing fleet is necessary to cut down on road dangers such as drunk driving.
“We hope the city council will reconsider their ordinance so we can work together to make the streets of Austin a safer place for everyone,” Uber tells KXAN.
Ridesharing Works for Austin, the companies’ organization promoting Prop 1, spent $8.6 million, an amount previously unseen in Austin politics (the previous record of $1.2 million was set during Mayor Steven Adler’s 2014 mayoral campaign.) By comparison, "Our City, Our Safety, Our Choice," spent roughly $125,000.
It is clear that Uber and Lyft saw national implications with Austin’s local ordinance.
Fingerprint-based background checks typically cost $40, so those $8.6 million campaign funds could have checked 215,000 drivers. Last year, Uber contracted with about 162,000 active drivers in the United States, while Lyft has more than 100,000. With just $2 million more, Uber and Lyft could have already funded fingerprint-based background checks for all of their drivers.
“As I talked to voters at the polls and on the phones, many of them like Uber’s service and Lyft’s, they use it, but they drew the line at allowing them to write their own rules,” Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo tells KXAN. “And that’s really significant.”
May 4, 2016, 1:48pm CDT
U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman denied an attempt by the city of Chicago to dismiss a lawsuit by taxi interests, and at the same time said the city’s attempts to create separate rules for the app-based services and traditional taxis violate the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection guarantee, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Specifically, the judge wrote, “There is no rational reason to distinguish between types of for-hire car with a pre-arranged pickup made through a smartphone app,” the report said.
Those different rules, allowing Uber and Lyft drivers access to pickups on one level while taxi and limo drivers were directed to a lower, more crowded level, were put in place when the city opened up the airports to the app-based car services, the Sun-Times explained. The city maintains it needs to have those rules to maintain order at those locations.
As the Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune explained, however, Judge Coleman did not order the city to change immediately. Rather, she wrote that even though the city’s rules are a problem, the solution must come from the City Council.
Alderman Anthony Beale has proposed an ordinance, with majority council support, that would apply similar licensing requirements to app-based car service drivers as limo drivers, the Tribune said.
Attorneys are expected back in court Friday, the Tribune added.
If only our municipalities thought like this. Instead, they want to keep regulating the taxis hard and nothing for Uber/Lyft! City officials make an oath of office to protect their citizens, which they haven't.
By Adam Vaccaro
April 2, 2016
What’s the difference between Uber and a taxi company?
A federal judge isn’t so sure there’s much of one.
U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel Gorton on Thursday ordered the city of Boston to revise its taxi regulations within six months, and to give the court a good reason why the city shouldn’t be forced to regulate taxis and other ride-hailing services in the same way.
He did so while refusing to dismiss a claim from taxi companies that the city was violating their equal-protection rights because they are being held to a different standard than the new-age transportation services, which are unregulated by the city. (Other claims were dismissed.)
For years, the taxi industry has argued Uber and Lyft drivers should face the same regulatory hurdles cab companies and their drivers deal with because they perform the same function: offering the public rides for a fee. Uber and Lyft have fought local efforts to regulate their drivers like taxis and livery drivers.
Boston officials argued that the claim should be dismissed, saying taxis are distinct from services like Uber and Lyft, pointing to markings on taxi cabs as an example.
Gorton, however, was inclined to the cab companies’ argument that many of the “obvious differences” between cabs and Uber—like the markings or the types of vehicles used—only exist because the city has different requirements for cabs.
“The City may not treat the two groups unequally and then argue that the results of that unequal treatment render the two groups dissimilarly situated. … Such circular logic is unavailing,” Gorton wrote.
Gorton also wrote that some of the differences that made Uber and Lyft distinct from taxis in the past — hailing through a smartphone or credit card-only payments — are disappearing as taxis adopt technology. He pointed to the city’s cab regulations to say that, by the letter of the law, taxis and ride-hail services alike fall under the same Boston Police definition of a for-hire transportation service.
A spokeswoman for Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said the city was reviewing Gorton’s order and could not yet say how the city would proceed with a review of its taxi regulations. And Gorton acknowledged that the possibility that statewide legislation is passed before the end of the summer establishing new laws for Uber and Lyft—which could wind up preempting any local regulations—also complicates the regulating process for the city.
But Janice Griffith, a Suffolk University law professor who studies ride-hail companies, said that if the city is eventually forced to hold taxis and Uber to the same standard, it may result in taxi regulations being loosened. That would be both more feasible and more politically attractive than holding Uber and Lyft to existing taxi standards, she said.
“As a business model, it’s probably impractical to regulate [transportation network companies] or ride-share services in the same manner as taxis,” she said.
Jennifer Pinkham, an attorney for the taxi group behind the suit, said it would be “a victory if the [ride-hail companies] and taxis are on a level playing field — that they’re regulated in the same way.” For example, she said it’s unfair that taxis face vehicle, faring, and insurance requirements that Uber and Lyft do not. But she said the industry isn’t interested in undoing its licensing system, in which owners control a limited quantity of city-issued medallions. The medallions have plummeted in value during the rise of Uber and Lyft, a major factor driving the industry’s complaints.
Gorton is not the first federal judge to indicate sympathy for the cabbies’s belief that all ride-for-hire services should be regulated similarly. A federal judge in Chicago last year allowed an equal-protection claim to proceed in a cab industry suit against the city, saying that city’s different standards for the services “appear utterly arbitrary.”
Arun Sundararajan, a business professor at New York University, said the rulings indicate that taxi regulations across the country are in need of updating.
“I see them as part of a process of remaking the way that we regulate paid, chauffeured transportation,” he said. “I sort of see things like this as an opportunity for a city to say, ‘OK, now we have to sit down and rewrite this.'”
Uber not licensed in Elgin
Taxi and Ride share regulation 2016 by A#1 Cab Dispatch
Posted: 02/17/2016 4:52 pm EST
The real threat of Uber goes well beyond taxis and how we hail a cab.
It goes to basic respect for the laws of the land, the willingness or ability of governments to enforce those laws, and to the responsibility we all bear to pay our taxes to support the kind of society we want for ourselves and our families.
At its heart, the problem with Uber is not only that it breaks the law, but that it does so with the tacit approval of our elected leaders -- while those most directly hurt by Uber's intrusion are held to a higher standard.
Last week, Toronto narrowly escaped traffic chaos with cancellation of a strike timed to the NBA All-Star game. The strike was called off when Toronto cabbies chose to respect the public by postponing their protest. It's just too bad our governments refuse to show the same respect for the cabbies.
We now have a big multinational company coming in and deciding that the laws of the land don't apply to it, and governments scrambling to accommodate it rather than enforce their laws.
Take Toronto Mayor John Tory, who continues to act irresponsibly by saying that Uber is here to stay and that industry and government must adjust -- effectively encouraging the company to continue operating illegally while his council rewrites the laws to accommodate it.
Not only that, Tory warned that the full force of the law would be brought to bearagainst any drivers who participated in the planned protest against Uber.
Here we have the elected head of Canada's largest municipality taking his time to consult on ways to rewrite the regulations so that one company, operating in open violation of his city's own bylaws, can operate legally, while threatening legal action against those who work within the confines of the law.
In no other industry would it be acceptable for a company to continue breaking the law while the government fiddles.
If taxi drivers stopped paying fees, going for safety and environmental inspections, and started charging riders more than their regulated rates, they'd be taken off the road immediately. The laws and regulations governing the taxi industry evolved over time to reflect to reflect real safety needs and to protect riders -- needs that still exist whether a cab is dispatched by an app on a phone.
Pricing is a good example. Cabbies are told how much they can charge as a protection for consumers against gouging when demand is high, or other situations. But Uber is permitted to use surge pricing whenever it sees fit and suddenly double or triple its prices -- or even more.
In place of regulations that evolved over time, we now have a big multinational company coming in and deciding that the laws of the land don't apply to it, and governments scrambling to accommodate it rather than enforce their laws.
No company should have that power. We have laws, and they must be enforced.
Cities across Canada are scrambling to come up with a patchwork of responses to Uber. That's not good enough. To truly take this on, we need all sides in the issue -- municipalities, the provinces, the federal government, cab companies and drivers -- to come together and jointly develop a process to ensure a level playing field for both taxis and Uber in this country.
Municipalities regulate taxis. The provinces set the rules that municipalities work under and give them the tools to enforce their bylaws.
Ottawa has a stake in this, as well. Uber and its drivers are part of the underground economy, denying governments the revenue they need to fund health care and education, and to build the roads that both cabbies and Uber drivers use.
This underground economy in Canada takes $42 billion a year out of Canadian pockets. Allowing Uber to break the law not only adds to the underground economy, it legalizes the underground economy -- and we can't tolerate that as Canadians.
Taxes go to pay for such things as health care, law enforcement and all the things that make Canada such a great place to live. When big companies don't pay their taxes, they put all that at risk.
Did Lyft just admit it's a taxi company after all? Ridesharing companies pretend to be tech firms. They're not.
Recently Lyft and General Motors made a grand announcement, with all the hoopla meant to convey that this announcement is a really big deal: ta-daaaa, a joint partnership in which Lyft will develop self-driving cars with GM. GM is going to invest $500 million in Lyft, and GM president Daniel Ammann will join the board of Lyft. Never mind that self-driving cars (beyond test cars) will not appear on the streets anytime soon – and possibly never, due to the severe regulatory and insurance hurdles involved in letting a 3,000-pound machine steer itself with no human at the controls. Nevertheless, that big headline dominated the news cycle, which is so titillated by anything Uber or Donald Trump.
Yet the media missed the really big news. It was tucked into the Lyft-GM announcement as a little nugget that no one paid attention to. As reported in the Times:
“G.M. will also work with Lyft to set up a series of short-term car rental hubs across the United States, places where people who do not own cars can pick up a vehicle and drive for Lyft to earn money.”
Stop the presses; say what? Lyft will rent cars to its drivers? As in, instead of a driver bringing their car to Lyft for rideshare profiteering, Lyft will own the cars and provide them to drivers?
Apparently so. Lyft president John Zimmer told CNBC “We have thousands and thousands of sign-ups from individuals whose cars don’t qualify, and so we can now market to those individuals who already applied but didn’t have the right car. This is a really great income opportunity, whether or not you have a car.”
OK…but…how…is that…any different from…how a taxi company operates? In most taxi companies, a driver pays a “gate” to a taxi company to rent its taxi for the day or evening. The driver keeps the net of his fares after paying the rental gate, which is usually around $100 per shift. The new Lyft-GM business model sure sounds like a taxi company to me.
In case the import of this still isn’t clear, I’ll spell it out: one of the big claims of Lyft and its other ridesharing competitors, like Uber and Sidecar, is that the reason they should not have to follow the considerable regulations that govern taxi companies is because Lyft/Uber are not in fact taxi companies. According to their view of the world, they are a technology company. They only connect a driver with a passenger as an intermediary; they are a mere software broker of a deal between two separate parties, and so they shouldn’t be regulated like a taxi company.
Look, they have said repeatedly, we don’t even own any cars…so how can we be a taxi company? In fact, Uber changed its original name, which was UberCab when it was founded by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp in 2009, to Uber Technologies to provide that regulatory cover.
Regulators in the United States have mostly swallowed this ridesharing whopper, hook, line and sinker. They have treated these companies by a different set of rules than taxi companies. As one obvious example, in most cities the number of taxis roaming the streets is limited by a medallion system. The rationale for limiting the number of livery cars is to keep congestion manageable and the wages of drivers high enough to make some kind of living. But Lyft and Uber have refused to accept any limits on their number of drivers (and hence, notice how the streets in so many cities are now increasingly congested – just a coincidence?).
In addition, Lyft and Uber – ahem, the technology companies – have refused to pay livery taxes and other fees that taxi companies must pay to local governments, which are an important source of municipal revenue. In New York City, for example, taxis pay a fee that helps support mass public transit; Lyft and Uber refuse to pay any of that.
Cab drivers in the city of Chicago have long claimed City Hall’s treatment of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, compared to how it treats the city’s taxi drivers, is unfair.
Now, Chicago’s cabbies will have the chance to press that claim in court, after a federal judge said a lawsuit brought by taxi drivers asserting the city has more harshly regulated taxi drivers, while letting ride-sharing service providers off easy, potentially violating constitutional guarantees of equal protection under the law, may have some gas left in the tank.
On Sept. 22, U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman rejected the city of Chicago’s motion to dismiss the entirety of a lawsuit brought by the Illinois Transportation Trade Association – a political advocacy group representing Chicago’s taxi drivers – and a number of holders of Chicago taxi medallions.
The lawsuit centers on an ordinance adopted by the city in 2014 to regulate the ride-sharing services, legally known as “transportation network providers.” Taxi drivers said the ordinance subjects the TNP drivers and the companies with which they are affiliated to a much lesser standard than the city applies to taxi drivers.
The taxi drivers note the city requires them to each purchase and maintain a taxi license, known as a medallion. Because the city limits the number of medallions available, the medallions can often take on inflated values. The court documents note the medallions recently have sold at auction for at least $360,000 or more.
Taxi drivers must also pay the city $1,200 annually, and taxi affiliations must pay $500 each year, plus $15 for each affiliated medallion.
Taxi drivers must carry city-mandated minimum insurance.
And taxi drivers must also undergo required background checks and drug screenings administered by the city, and submit their vehicles to city inspections, among other “onerous” requirements.
Further, the city sets the maximum meter rates taxi drivers can charge.
By contrast, the TNPs need only pay the city $10,000 annually, no matter how many vehicles it puts on city streets; are required to carry less insurance; and are not subject to city-administered background checks, drug screenings or vehicle inspections, among other differences.
In the lawsuit filed in February 2014, the taxi drivers asserted the differences in the city’s regulations, which they allege make it easier to operate a TNP than a cab service, drive down the value of their medallions, amounting to an unconstitutional taking of the taxi drivers’ property and a breach of contract, as well as an equal protection violation.
Coleman dismissed the cab drivers’ takings and breach of contract claims, agreeing with the city’s assertions the city’s ordinance governing taxis did not create a guaranteed value for the medallions, nor a guarantee the taxi drivers would not ever face competition from other transportation services, like Uber and Lyft.
However, Coleman said the taxi drivers have a much clearer legal road ahead when pressing their allegations the dueling ordinances create an environment in which the city, without legal justification, regulates the TNPs differently from cab services.
“The City regulates taxis and (ride-sharing services) differently in the following areas, among others: background checks, drug tests, vehicle age, maintenance and inspection, insurance, annual fees, and unregulated fares,” Coleman said. “In all these areas the requirements for taxis are far more onerous than for TNPs.”
While taxi drivers would still need to prove their case in later proceedings, Coleman said, for now, the city has not demonstrated any “material differences justifying disparate treatment of taxis and TNPs,” as “each provides for-hire transportation within the city of Chicago, rides can be pre-arranged for a set time, hailed, or virtually-hailed through an app, consumers are contractually bound to pay for the services and may do so by credit card.”
“This Court fails to see how any of the purported differences relate to the stated rationale such that it justifies maintaining substantially heavier burdens on taxis for training, qualifications, drug testing, vehicle condition, insurance, and fees,” Coleman wrote in her opinion. “Both the purported differences between taxis and TNPs and their relationship to the stated rational appear utterly arbitrary to this Court.”
The taxi drivers and the Illinois Transportation Trade Association is represented in the action by attorneys with the firm of Miller Shakman & Beem, of Chicago.
The city is represented by its in-house lawyers in the City of Chicago Department of Law.
Organizations in this story
Miller Shakman and Beem LLPSuite 3600, 180 North La Salle StreetChicago, IL 60601
Uber TechnologiesDubai - United Arab EmiratesDubai, Dubai
LyftSan Francisco, CA
City of Chicago121 N LaSalle StChicago, IL 60602
Yellow Cab Affiliation3351 West Addison StreetChicago, IL 60618
Flash Cab5200 Otto AvenueChicago, IL 60656
Chicago O'Hare Taxi Strike 700 taxis strike City of Chicago
PETER ZAHAKOS, SPECIAL TO THE TORONTO SUN
Remember Napster? That revolutionary file sharing service that changed the way people listened, bought and stored music. It changed everything in a multibillion-dollar industry reserved for elites who thought they ran the show.
Its business model mirrored Robin Hood. Take something someone else created, make it available for less, and make a killing along the way. It was a sharing model driven by exploiting copyright laws. Metallica and other bands eventually shut them down. Napster simply took what it wanted until lawmakers said enough.
Sound familiar? Uber is the new Napster, exploiting loopholes in current laws to overtake the market. It’s described by some as a game changer. But Uber hasn’t reinvented the wheel. It is simply stealing the tires and putting them on shiny unlicensed, uninsured cars for hire.
At a recent committee hearing in Toronto, dozens of UberX drivers sang the praises of their multibillion-dollar foreign employer. But most had no clue they were breaking the law by admitting they didn’t have commercial insurance. Many admitted they aren’t even collecting HST.
You could literally see their expression change from pride to fear after realizing they may face a huge tax bill at year’s end. Or worse, may not be covered if anything were to happen to their car or passenger.
These Uber champions revealed a lot. Laws are being broken. And Toronto is doing nothing to stop it.
In an attempt to level the playing field, the city came up with a framework. But the solution ties the hands of the taxi industry and gives Uber a free ride, creating separate rules for ridesharing companies.
The taxi industry rejects the creation of a new category for rideshares. It would mean different rules, different insurance guidelines, licensing and no set pricing. How is that fair?
Uber must not receive special treatment while existing companies continue to play by the rules.
The cab industry isn’t perfect. When our drivers err, we are held to account. We work with police. We suffer the wrath of our errors under the watchful eye of the media.
What we don’t accept is a company operating in secrecy — not divulging how drivers are insured or what background checks reveal.
When dealing with mass transportation, the city has an obligation to ensure public safety. Just recently police reported a female passenger was sexually assaulted by someone alleged to be an UberX driver. While the courts will ultimately decide with that case, one wonders if regulations requiring the installation of cameras in Uber vehicles — something cabs are mandated to have — would deter assaults and other crimes.
Last month, an UberX driver was dropped from his insurance company and Uber after an accident left his car totalled and him with serious injuries. He has lost everything and is now launching legal action against Uber.
Uber is making a killing — a $40-billion foreign company that has been allowed to exploit rules. It doesn’t invest in our communities and its money is kept out of our country. Does that benefit the local economy?
We also shoulder a huge responsibility of making sure people are safe. That there is a system in place to move passengers that has checks and balances. That has a guarantee of protection if and when things go wrong.
Like Napster, Uber has shocked the world into a new reality. The sharing economy will continue to evolve. Today it’s the cab industry. Tomorrow TTC busses could find themselves Ubered. You paying attention, unions? City officials can’t put this paste back into the tube, but they can and must move quickly to create rules that allow us to compete fairly.
— Zahakos is CEO of Co-op Cabs