City Official: ‘Let’s Talk About Uber Regulations’

City Councilor Bill Linehan filed for a hearing in regards to app-based livery services and how they operate in Boston.

Image via uber on Facebook

Image via uber on Facebook

Cambridge has been spending a lot of time talking about regulating on-demand taxi services like Uber and Lyft. Now, it looks like it’s Boston’s turn.

On Wednesday, City Council President Bill Linehan will call for a hearing to be scheduled to address transportation regulations for app-based livery options that are not micro-managed by the Boston Police Department’s Hackney Unit.

In a request filed this week with the City Council, Linehan wrote that “transportation applications such as Uber and Lyft have been operating within the city…for several years,” competing for a substantial share of the customer base trying to get around. But he argues these services have not been subject to the scrutiny of a city-run department for “consumer protection and public safety” reasons like their competitors.

“Transportation services such as Uber and Lyft are performing the same service as taxis and pedi-cabs,” Linehan wrote in his request for a discussion about possible regulations. Linehan’s proposal did not go into detail about what system he would ideally like to see put in place, but more is bound to be revealed if the City Council agrees to a hearing.

The Uber debate has been on Mayor Marty Walsh’s radar since he first took office, as cab drivers made their discontent with the lack of standards on the newcomers’ services known through protests and public outcry.

Members of the Boston Taxi Drivers Association, an affiliate of the United Steelworkers union that represents more than 1,400 cab drivers, have asked the city to even the playing field, and bring Uber and Lyft into compliance. Either that, or loosen up on the antiquated laws that bind cab operators to the pricey, and often corrupt, taxi medallion structure.

In mid July, Walsh announced that the city was “moving forward” on the issue by creating a special task force advisory committee consisting of taxi groups and companies like Lyft and Uber to examine the burgeoning tech-based industry, according to reports. 

Walsh has said while Boston has a number of effective methods of transportation that different populations like and use for different reasons, the city can’t “turn a blind eye to public safety concerns around unregulated modes of transportation.”

In saying that, he pointed out that “popular, effective” services that take “responsible” steps when serving their customer base should not be condemned, however.

“There is a balance,” he said.

The City Council meets Wednesday, July 30, at noon, at which point Linehan will state his case and request a future meeting with all parties involved in this ongoing discussion on innovative alternatives to traditional taxi services.

  • Rob

    Let’s talk about tax evasion, perhaps?
    Let’s talk about offshore parent companies that ride-“sharing” fraudsters have formed?
    Let’s talk about no new jobs being created and jobs TAKEN AWAY
    from law-abiding tax-paying small local transportation companies ?
    Let’s talk about exponentially growing number of ride-“sharing”
    sexual assaults on passengers who are naïve enough to use those
    law-breaking and crime-enabling apps?
    And here is yet another uber driver standing accused for sexually assaulting a woman:

    • Mark

      Get your facts straight Rob the cabbie:

      Uber and Lyft report all income paid to drivers with a 1099 reported to the IRS … you do know that many taxis don’t declare cash paid for rides and NEVER claim a single tip if they get one, wake up and smell the cab!

      These rideshares have created jobs you moron! Many are former taxi drivers who wanted to become independent contractors instead of slaves to these scumbag taxi medallion owners!

      • Rob

        You’re posting LIES, paid corporate troll.
        You want to fairness?. Pay for your

        business permits, pay for full commercial liability
        insurance (and that 1MM thing that judge had to
        subpoena to see still has gaps in it), pay for
        monthly inspections, pay local business quarterly and
        yearly taxes (ran as a business, not part time gig), pay

        any municipal and regulatory fees, pay for new vehicle
        every 3 years, pay for a proper training, and the list
        goes on and on.
        Pay like all other small transportation companies and
        then we can have a constructive discussion and a FAIR competition.

        In its present form ride-sharing” (even the term is
        fraudulent because it was hijacked from legitimate
        ride-sharing companies that were operating
        LEGALLY) is nothing more than FRAUD and THEFT.

    • Mark

      Thousands of cases have been reported of physical and sexual assault by taxi drivers … nice you were able to find TWO cases by Uber … I will take those odds with a rideshare over a taxi ANY day!

      • Rob

        Taxi drivers have operated taxicabs for decades, close to 100 years.
        Ride-sharing shady law-breaking operators operate for about 2 years
        only, yet, amazingly, they managed to sexually assault more passengers
        that taxicab drivers did in decades! And crimes by ride-sharing
        operators are rising fast…

        • Mark

          Not even remotely a fraction close!

          FYI – slavery existed for hundreds of years and women could vote for another hundred years … doesn’t mean it was right!

          Time for some real change – NOT Obama style!

          • Rob

            Men and women are equal. If I pay taxes, and you don’t, if I pay municipal fees, and you don’t because “an iPhone app” then there is no equality.

            You want fairness? Follow same rules, have same regulations, and pay same expenses as thousands of transportation companies that offer same and better iPhone app now.

          • Mark

            You are right, I give up!

            Need to run – my clean, friendly, polite and lower price ride with Lyft is here to get me, on time I might add!

          • Rob

            Enjoy your price surging, under-insurance, and 3rd party leased app accounts/vehicles. Must be a joy supporting mega-corporations.
            To a Borg that is.

          • Mark

            No surge, $1 mil insurance coverage – not too worried about an accident since all the Lyft drivers I have had in the past don’t text or talk on their cell like the taxis do!

            I support ALL business, esp non-thug union ones!

  • greggbrookline

    Let’s talk about scare tactic presented in the comments that provide no fact or supporting evidence
    Let’s talk about the discomfort and lack of safety measures practiced by Taxi companies.
    Let’s talk about having to deal with the Boston Police department as customer support and the angry disinterested responses you get when contacting them.
    Let’s talk about the taxi drive safety shields that make passengers unsafe and uncomfortable.
    Let’s talk about the number of taxi cabs driving around boston with their check engine light lit.
    Let’s talk about the loud advertising units pressed up against your knees in taxi cabs.
    Let’s talk about the taxi drivers who use Uber because they get more customers at a higher fare.
    Let’s talk about assaults by taxi drivers:

    • Rob

      The only discomfort is in your paid shill mind, uber troll.

      • greggbrookline

        Rob, Rob, Rob. That is truly an nonconstructive response. You have no clue whether or not I have skin in the game. So let me set you mind straight.

        1) I am not paid by Uber. I am not sure they even know I exist, except for my expenditures on their services.
        2) I don’t even invest in Uber, though it would have prudent for me.
        3) I work for the future. I am an entrepreneur and I study the past and plan for the what is coming next. Think about how hard the Railroads, AT&T, Airlines fought for their regulations and were destroyed by innovation. AT&T exists in name only. Most of the Big Airlines (TWA, PAN AM) don’t even exist. Taxi’s will go away. Poor service mandated by regulation can’t compete with falling costs driven by technical innovation.
        4) I am a customer and I express my views based on my preferences. I truly hate using Taxis.

        • Rob

          Constructive responses are obsolete when facing lies and manipulations coming from the ride-sharing cartel.

          You are the biggest public transportation fleet in the world. And yet, in the most arrogant way, this is what uber had to say about this:

          “Uber spokesman Taylor Bennett reiterated Uber’s stance
          when it comes to jurisdictions regulating their company: the company is
          not a transportation business, it’s a technology business.”

          If this is not the most into your face arrogant lie when what is… Not a transportation business? Oh yeah… you must be in a bakery business. Let’s call black white and be done. Stop misleading. Be honest. Operate fairly and legally. Sound far-fetched for ride-sharing fraudsters, I know.

          • greggbrookline

            You seem to be upset by all of this. I think Uber is ingenious. They really are a technology company that brokers rides. They own no cars, nor hire drivers.

            You are not going to win this by FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt). If you are in the cab or livery business, then I am your customer. Convince me why you offer a better service than Uber. I am listening,

            By the way, I use Zipcar much more frequently than Uber. With their new one way service, I don’t even need the driver.

          • Mark

            Greg – speaking to Robbie the Cabbie is a lost cause, much like his future!

          • Rob

            Being a Cabbie is a respectful American job.
            Being a paid corporate troll – isn’t.

          • Mark

            Maybe for those cabbies that:
            1. Clean their vehicle inside & out.
            2. Cabbies whose credit machine convieniently is out of order ALL the time so that they can stiff you out of your change & not declare the income to evade taxes.
            3. Cabbies that aren’t on their cell phone or texting while driving.
            4. Cabbies that don’t just come to sudden stops in the middle of the road while trolling for psngrs and creating unsafe traffic conditions.
            5. Cabbies that don’t refuse to give rides to minorities or even go into neighborhoods they live in.
            6. Cabbies that pre-screen rides and refuse short rides that don’t pay enough to be worth their hassle.
            6. Cabbies that don’t physically assault psngrs for not tipping.
            7. Cabbies that don’t sexually assault women.
            8. Cabbies that haven’t kidnapped woman.
            9. Cabbies that haven’t murdered woman.
            I can go on all day, but I am not going to waste my time with a bottom feeder like you!
            I will give my money to Lyft, Uber and SideCar before giving to sad trolls like you!

          • Rob

            You want FAIR competition? How about this – like all
            small transportation businesses – pay for your

            business permits, pay for full commercial liability
            insurance (and that 1MM thing that judge had to
            subpoena to see still has gaps in it), pay for
            monthly inspections, pay local business quarterly and
            yearly taxes (ran as a business, not part time gig), pay

            any municipal and regulatory fees, pay for new vehicle
            every 3 years, pay for a proper training, and the list
            goes on and on.
            Pay like all other small transportation companies and
            then we can have a constructive discussion and a FAIR competition.

          • Mark

            Hmmm … everything you list is nothing more than big intruding & taxing govt – with union teamsters pockets being stuffed – no thanks!!! That’s why Lyft & Uber are lower cost – no unions and govt stealing from us.

            You make me want to buy stock in these rideshares, unfortunately they have not gone public yet – however Google thinks highly enough of Uber to invest 260 million … good enough for me … you can keep your cab!

          • Rob

            Uber/Lyft are biggest fleet operators that are valued in BILLIONS (yet, they deny the
            fleet operators part, not the billions).

            With paid corporate trolls like yourself,
            our future looks horrific.
            Mega-corporations everywhere, controlling everything. And btw, “your surge-priced charge now is gazillion dollars.”

            True prosperity lies in thousands of small businesses flourishing. NOT two offshore mega-corporations controlling our streets!

            “In a free market, firms would be smaller and less hierarchical, more
            local and more numerous (and many would probably be employee-owned);
            prices would be lower and wages higher; and corporate power would be in
            shambles. Small wonder that big business, despite often paying lip
            service to free market ideals, tends to systematically oppose them in

            Roderick T. Long, in the essay, Corporations versus the Market

          • Mark

            We’ll just have to let the people / consumer decide – instead of the overtaxed government and medling unions for a change!

          • Rob

            Ride-sharing is gutting our local small transportation businesses by not
            paying even a tenth what small businesses are forced to pay daily.

            Many ride-sharing corporations are located in offshore zones. So what was local revenue – is now siphoned offshore.

      • Mark

        … coming from Rob the typical taxi troll! Haha

        When’s the last time you bathed or cleaned the inside of your cab???

  • SamuelRoby

    Ride-sharing is a fraudulent transportation model. It profits on blatant refusal to comply with regulations, on non-payment of municipal business permits, on evasion of local taxes and regulatory fees. This failed deregulation model has been tried before. Self-regulation of public transportation services by private, and in this case – a private offshore(!)-based corporation, is dangerous, irresponsible and just doesn’t work.
    Just a few days ago – a young woman was kidnapped by a “well”-rated uber driver:

    • greggbrookline

      Nice propaganda, but I am not listening. I am your quintessential customer and you just alienated me.

      • Mark

        Greg – cabbies alienate their customers all the time! Most of them are borderline illegals anyway … sure many share one drivers license ad social security number.

  • Mark

    Wow, Rob is clearly an angry cabbie!

    Maybe if you and other taxis cleaned up your acts the public wouldn’t have any interest in using Uber or Lyft.

    Taxi drivers are frequently in the news for physically and sexually assaulting passengers

    • Mark

      Maybe if taxis would focus on following the traffic laws, stop texting and talking while driving, learn to have at least a 3rd graders level of common respect, clean their vehicles INSIDE and out more than once a month …

      Then they may begin to be reconsidered as a safe and clean alternative again.

      FYI – I am not a bot, or driver for anyone except myself. I have used taxis all around the world and more recently Lyft and Uber, which are far better options over taxis!

      Ps – taxis are teaming up and partnering with Uber Taxi, so nice to see how loyal those “scabs” are to their unions! Haha

      • Mark

        Btw – I read through both Uber and Lyft websites and their drivers are paid with 1099s which are reported to the IRS and they have to pay taxes, so don’t worry yourself Rob about the govt not getting their cut of the action.

        You say people are losing jobs, that’s where you are really off … it appears that many people (including off duty cabbies) driver for rideshares to make money – that’s creating jobs!

        • Mark

          At least with the rideshares you can actually get results when you complain to customer service, taxi companies can give a Shiite!

          They can track who the driver is, where and when they picked up someone, dropped them off … taxis are a big unknown – just ask all the woman that have been groped, raped or robbed by taxi drivers!

  • Frank Fingerman

    Rob needs a hug….

  • Mark

    No one will hug him … he doesn’t bathe all that often and stinks up his cab!

  • Michael47

    Uber should be regulated..Read more here

  • Kevin Bascomb

    The overall view is, is that technology is changing the way if the future. Via banking, working, shopping, transportation and more. Yes some regulations are needed but it cant stop uber. Drivers do not collect any money which in turn do not subject it to those rules of a taxi. But soon, they will be classified on the same level as limousine companies so guess what, then there is no stopping them or the future.

  • Mark

    Thanks to all the negativity from Rob (much like a parent trying to tell their children “no”) I went searching online and found two promo codes for both Lyft & Uber that game me a $25 free ride … never got that from a cab, only got a long out of the way and ripped off and the usual line “credit card no work, cash only!

    Lyft: MIRA21
    Uber: biele8

    • Mark

      Btw – Lyft, Uber and SideCar are all a cashless process, no out of the way rides an you can rate the drivers if they are good or bad … imagine if you could do that for Boston cabs HAHA, none of them would be driving with their 1 star ratings!!!

  • lyla cavanaugh

    You need to get the city out of the taxi business. They run a costly department of transportation with many tax payer paid employees. Cabs must pay fines to them every time they do something small. All this is an unnecessary ripoff. If Uber/Lyft just refuses to give the names of their drivers to the city the city will have to butt out and fire all their superfluous staff. This will save us all money and make transport in the city much more efficient.

  • Joseph charles

    Why let Taxis keep monopolizing the medallions and immigrants who try to pay the huge fee these taxi owners charge.

  • Joseph charles

    The” T” late service is costing your city money.
    At major holidays there is always need for a taxi in Boston.
    I ubers $1,000,000,00 policy is instant protection .
    We have an” online city/ nation.We must keep up with times.
    Not everyone wants to run out to the streets to get a taxi.
    I would like to see every Boston/ Cambridge license taxi drivers w2- form , especially the gentleman and his morrocan driver who kept heckling the speaker.
    Please inform the hecklers if America was corrupt , for which im very offended,
    those morons wouldn’t be sitting in a court of law.
    These taxi owners have a fantasy of 1 million medallions price. Thus controlling lease fees.
    This is Boston , not newyork.
    We don’t have the same size city.
    With a fair competition such as ” T” share ride, the taxi medallions will stabilize thus affording the the driver to pay standard lease fees from the owners.
    “Uber” actually helps the new taxi driver because the driver won’t be paying the taxi owner for a medallion and paying huge Lee fees controlled by the number of medallions and their cost.
    Ask a driver about the lease rates ”
    This group of hecklers don’t realize the numbers and just want cash.
    The T share ride is late or if I’m not mistaken 400. Times a month.
    I believe their was a report.
    Uber didn’t want to steal the taxi jobs ,
    the moron heckling taxi drivers don’t want to help .
    Look ,the taxi drivers and the “t share ride
    Could form their own share ride service.
    Copy Uber.
    It benefits everyone/; no more late or now shows for the people who really need an improved share ride system affiliated with the’T’.
    The T could expand their service to 0 complaints by adding taxis to “Their existing service.
    These special taxi drivers are drivers who don’t mind getting paid by a voucher from the T and get paid normal by check per week.
    The T share ride can increase their schedule and use the taxi so every is on time.
    Thus forming a T / taxi share ride to really service the people who need more service from the existing T share ride.
    Ah.the question is could the driver wait that extra 5 /10 minutes for the passenger.
    Would the taxi driver mind assisting the T
    And collecting a fee later.
    Could the T change the rate to their clients to benefit the T / driver / passenger.
    How long is the waiting list for the T share ride.
    It equals to customer service .
    Call any taxi in Boston ask for a handicap cab.
    I do believe uber X is not fair to drivers, and
    Lyft should be careful with who’s driving who.
    Though lyft has their social online network and some people want privacy.
    Lyft can form friendships with their drivers and passengers which is unique and you can’t find that in a taxi.
    Uber X a bit to much.
    And last.
    If the Boston police put 1000 more medallions on the street that would stabilize the the owners and medallions, fees helping the average “lease drivers” From the huge demand to drive a taxi. This is why the owners are the ones making the money.
    The average lease driver is paying ” the owners today’s value and earning 1987 profits.
    That’s all those medallions are worth.

    But why and how should the Boston police take that responsibility.
    Uber does it and lyft takes the medallion controversy of the Boston police clean.
    I also believe the Chief doesn’t want to pay to watch any extra taxis when he can take fees from Uber and keep the pricing fair for Taxi’s.
    Uber can’t continue to charge $ 7.99 to logan