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Letters: Taxis Struggle as Ubers Abound

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Yes, the medallions were overpriced when they hit over $1 million a few years ago. The city was going to auction off 2,000 more as a way to generate revenue, only to watch that effort fail because there would be too many taxis on the streets. A few years later and there are well over 50,000 for-hire vehicles competing with us that didn’t exist when I started, with the numbers growing every month. Where were the traffic study, the environmental impact study and the admission that someone messed up by letting them loose?

Sure, you may think that it’s a win-win for the consumer. But Uber loses $1 billion per quarter and can’t even treat its employees properly, and this is the behemoth that’s supposed to represent all that’s right with the gig economy. Yes, the Taxi & Limousine Commission failed to upgrade the taxis to the 21st century and reform outdated rules. But drivers like me who never had a say in this ended up taking the fall. We can only hope that the city gets it right this time around.

PAT JOHNSON
WEST CALDWELL, N.J.

The writer muses about his job on his website gothamchronicles.net.

To the Editor:

Taxis and Uber are essentially in the same market, but Uber, and similar companies, slipped in because there is no street hailing. Taxis are a lesson in regulatory capture and failure. Regulations are initially adopted to protect consumers and the general public. Over time that breaks down as consumers are ignored, harassed, overcharged and forced into cabs that are filthy, or have drivers who are surly or cannot speak English.

The taxi industry became a monopoly just waiting for something to break the cabal. Uber and its compatriots are just the disruptive force to do the trick. If taxis are highly, but poorly, regulated, Uber resists all regulation. It does not matter much whether Uber drivers are contractors or employees; Uber is a transportation company and must accept all that entails.

Cities must reinvigorate taxi regulation so that it serves the public, and Uber must be under the same regulation. First and foremost, regulation should provide safety and customer service, but it should also encompass rate controls, congestion limits and pricing, insurance, driver licensing and much else. There is no reason that taxi hailing and app hailing should be regulated differently.

WILLIAM N. HOKE
MANHATTAN BEACH, CALIF.

To the Editor:

I’ve been taking taxis for almost 50 years. Contrary to what

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