NYC Officials Take 496 Uber Cars Off The Streets For Illegally Picking Up Passengers On The Street

Every city has its own rules on how Uber drivers are allowed to operate, and in New York City that means black and livery cars can’t cruise around trying to pick up passengers on the streets. As such, officials impounded the cars of 496 Uber drivers this spring in a crackdown on illegal pickups.

The New York Post cites data from the Taxi and Limousine Commission that says almost 500 cars currently affialiated with Uber’s bases were seized between April 29 and June 15 for picking up illegal street hails.

Black and livery car drivers are restricted to pre-arranged trips, whether a customer calls in a request or makes a request on their smartphone, though many may be familiar with that little, “beepbeep” many black cars make when trying to get the attention of someone trying to hail a yellow cab.

“Street hails are not permitted on the Uber platform — period,” the company’s spokesman Matt Wing told the New York Post. “This is a small group of bad actors and the violations add up to less than one hundredth of 1% of our rides over the same time period.”

The New York Taxiworkers Alliance says business is worse because there’s no limit to how many Uber drivers are roaming the streets, and wants the TLC to put a cap on their numbers.

“I think it’s honestly a reflection of the oversaturation of the vehicles, and the desperation everyone is feeling on the streets to earn a living,” said a union rep for both yellow cab and Uber drivers. Beyond a cap on drivers, she wants the Uber app to provide a minimum fare requirement and a guaranteed number of trips.

“At least they’re beginning to take action,” she added.

A change in policy has seen a total of 938 black and livery cars taken off the streets, after the TLC switched from handing out a summons to drivers to the new impound system.

“Our officers noted an uptick in illegal activity attributable to licensed for-hire vehicles acting outside their authority,” said a TLC spokesman. “And seizures have a greater deterrent value than summonses alone.”

496 Uber cars seized amid crackdown on illegal pickups [New York Post]

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