NYC Cab-Hailing App Put on Hold

The Big Apple stopped taxi app developer Uber from connecting drivers directly to passengers, at least until next year.

by / September 14, 2012

App developer Uber faced opposition in connecting citizens directly to taxi drivers yet again, this time in New York City. The city issued an industry notice on Sept. 6 stating that “a driver must not use any electronic communication device, including a cellphone or smartphone running a hail or payment app while operating a taxicab.” New York City's stance on the issue effectively squashed any legal use of Uber's app in the city, just one day after the service was launched in about 100 taxis, The New York Times reported.

“The T.L.C. [Taxi & Limousine Commission] is eager to pave the way for taxi riders to take advantage of the most up-to-date technology, including smartphone apps that may help passengers locate available taxicabs more quickly,” David S. Yassky, the commission’s chairman, said in the statement. “However, current contractual agreements between the T.L.C. and payment processors restrict the use of apps.”

The current contacts will expire February 2013, at which time Uber may get a chance to re-enter the market. Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office's Twitter account supported such a scenario in a tweet that read, “We are excited about taxi apps and working to make them legal soon.”

Uber faced similar opposition earlier this year when launching its livery car app in Washington, D.C.

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