Mayor Charlie Hales is hoping to solve the dilemma posed by ride-sharing giant Uber with two months of deregulating the cab industry—an era nicknamed "Taxis Gone Wild."
Instead, the cab companies have gotten organized.
Five taxi companies announced today they've formed a lobbying group called the Transportation Fairness Alliance.
The group—which includes Radio Cab, Green Cab, Portland Taxi Cab, Union Cab, Broadway Cab and its subsidiary Sassy's Cab—will be visiting newspapers next week to argue why Uber needs to play by the same rules as licensed taxis.
The alliance is an effort at solidarity from a fractious industry.
Existing cab companies have for decades lobbied City Hall for more permits for themselves—while asking to bar new companies.
Meanwhile, cabbies have said the way the industry currently operates (with drivers paying their companies for access to cabs) keeps them from making decent wages. And those drivers have tried to block any new permits, which they argue could destroy their livelihood.
Cabbies objected to the launching of both Green Cab and Union Cab—but both these companies are now part of the unified front against Uber, which lets drivers turn their own cars into de facto taxis.
Uber is also doubling down on its political power, hiring two government insiders in New York, where the company is trying to keep from turning over its trip data to regulators. (Portland hopes to get similar data this spring.)
Fast Company reports:
The company's recent activities in New York are indicative of its headaches and tactics. In the last week, the company has hired two well-connected political insiders to join its New York policy and communications team: Matthew Wing, Governor Andrew Cuomoâs former press secretary, and Michael Allegretti, a failed congressional candidate and former director at the Partnership for New York, the cityâs most influential business association.