The Wall Street Journal reported U.S. and Canadian cities part of the International Association of Transportation Regulators (IATR) planned to release proposed regulations to reign in on smartphone taxi services. Currently, the 2012 conference is underway in Washington, DC (Nov. 15-17).
The association includes member cities such as Toronto, where smartphone taxi operator Uber has come under fire by the Municipal Licensing and Standards division, for its lack of registration as a taxi brokerage (the city laid charges against Uber in August). Uber’s general manager in Toronto told the Financial Post the following:
“We’re in ongoing discussions with the city. I don’t think anyone wants to see this play out in the courts,” he said. “Our view is that we’re bringing a technology to the table, engaging and partnering with drivers who are already licensed for business in the City of Toronto.”
The IATR has released their proposals this morning based on the recommendations of their smartphone apps committee. Below is a snippet of what they are proposing:
Although these are just proposals, the WSJ notes any changes would be made at the local level and not all member cities plan to adopt them. Former New York City taxi commissioner Matthew Daus is leading the effort, mentioned he expects regulators in the U.S. to challenge companies such as Uber. As for Daus’ proposals:
Mr. Daus’s proposed rules, for instance, would ban the use of a GPS-equipped smartphone in place of a taxi meter. That is a shot across the bow for Uber, which uses drivers’ phones to determine the length and cost of rides, a practice that has led them to run afoul of local governments that say GPS isn’t as precise as a meter.
Taxi smartphone apps supporters say these new services make it much more efficient to hail and pay for a cab, whereas conventional taxi companies are probably feeling left behind by this new technology.
What do you think? Should taxi app services be treated just like regular taxi companies?