Cabbies, Apps Clash Over Taxi Service in LA

The issue prompted hundreds of cab drivers to surround Los Angeles City Hall

By Mekahlo Medina
|  Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013  |  Updated 2:09 PM PDT
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Hundreds of taxi drivers on Tuesday surrounded Los Angeles City Hall and honked their horns in protest of a trio of smartphone apps they say are costing them customers and posing a danger to riders, NBC4’s Mekahlo Medina reports.

Hundreds of taxi drivers on Tuesday surrounded Los Angeles City Hall and honked their horns in protest of a trio of smartphone apps they say are costing them customers and posing a danger to riders, NBC4’s Mekahlo Medina reports.

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Hundreds of taxi drivers on Tuesday surrounded Los Angeles City Hall and honked their horns in protest of a trio of smartphone apps they say are costing them customers and posing a danger to riders.

“Although they act exactly as taxicabs, and they fall squarely within the city’s taxicab regulations, they aren’t regulated,” said William Rouse, the general manager of Yellow Cab of Los Angeles.

Rouse led a coalition of taxi operators to convince the city of Los Angeles to issue cease and desist orders to the owners of Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. Rouse claims the app companies are stealing fares and putting passengers in danger because they’re not regulated by the city.

“If these businesses are allowed to continue, someone is going to get hurt,” Rouse said.

However, San Francisco-based Uber said it is regulated by the the California Public Utilities Commission.

“We already signed an agreement with the California Public Utilities Commission explicitly stating that Uber services ... are authorized to operate statewide ... it’s the state PUC who has jurisdiction,” the company said in an email to NBC4.

Lyft also said it is regulated by the PUC, adding that it's not a cab service, but a social community of drivers relying on donations to operate. But Rouse said the app is not for ridesharing and the donation request is a “sham.”

Sidecar did not respond to requests seeking comment.

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