Judge Summons City to Defend Uber at Taxi Industry’s Behest

June 2, 2015 | Liam Mathews

The yellow taxi industry is in full-on “throw it against the wall and see what sticks” mode, trying to slow down the Uber juggernaut. At the behest of taxi industry financiers, state Supreme Court justice Denis Butler has ordered City of New York lawyers to appear before him and argue why the court should not halt e-hailing on grounds that it interferes with the taxi industry’s sanctioned monopoly on street hailing.

According to Crain’s:

The plaintiffs, a quartet of lenders who finance taxi medallion purchases, contend that e-hailing cars with Uber’s app—which takes about three minutes in Manhattan and four in the other boroughs—is the same as hailing them by hand, which is the exclusive right of medallion cabs.

The city’s lawyers have a pretty easy job here, it seems. Because all they have to argue is “it isn’t” and they’d be right. The hailing mechanism is different. The taxi industry argues that by allowing Uber and other app-based car services to operate, the city is failing to honor its right to exclusivity given to medallion cabs for street pickups. But since the Uber service does not provide street pickups (if Uber drivers do that, they are acting as rogue agents), they are not competing with taxis for street pickups.

The taxi industry is on the ropes, and is flailing desperately trying to land any sort of punch it can. This is a frivolous lawsuit meant to inconvenience Uber and the City. Which is fine! Let all these horrible scam operations make the other’s existence miserable. That’s good capitalism.

(Photo: Phil Dolby)