Taxi Dispatchers Still Unhappy Everyone Likes Uber
Boston Cab Dispatch Inc. said Tuesday that it’s suing Uber, the company that allows users to hail limos and taxis from their smartphones. The dispatch service is alleging, as they often do, that Uber has ignored long-standing regulations while taking the cabs’ business. Folks who remember when state regulators attempted to shut down the company last year, or who have followed similar lawsuits from cab dispatches in other cities where Uber operates, won’t find much of note in this latest instance. The cab companies allege that Uber has an advantage because it ignores rules that require expensive medallions and ban drivers from using cell phones. Uber alleges that the lawsuits are a frivolous attempt to quash an innovative new competitor
There’ll be a legal battle, but in the court of public opinion, there seems to be very little debate. People like the convenience offered by Uber, and they hate Boston cabs. Suing the company that people think provides them a better service generally doesn’t do you any favors. That’s why Gov. Deval Patrick reacted so swiftly to reverse the state regulators’s attempt to shut the company down following public outcry. Uber may or may not be in violation of some regulations that hamper the rest of the taxi industry. (Regulations are intended to protect the consumer, but let’s agree that some of them are just obstructing.) But the answer shouldn’t be bringing a popular service into line with those regulations, at least until there’s a proven reason that each of them protects consumers and doesn’t keep them from using a service they seem to like. Let’s not follow in New York’s footsteps.