If you were curious about how taxi drivers around the US feel about the rise of the private ridesharing mob, look no further than The New York Times. The newspaper of record is reporting that American taxi drivers are starting to talk seriously about forming a national taxi driver's union.

One Chicago cabbie, Karen Chamberlain, told the Times that there will be a big hurdle to forming this union is the tremendous diversity among drivers: "It's definitely a United Nations. ... This is a hard business to get people to come together and agree. There are so many different nationalities and different languages. Nobody trusts each other."

"The reason that taxi drivers are experiencing miserable conditions is because of the taxi companies" – Uber spokesman

They might soon have to. A flareup between the establishment and the upstarts took place recently at Chicago's O'Hare airport, where Uber rideshare drivers were going to pick people up. The problem is that there was an ordinance against just that sort of thing by non-taxi, non-limosine companies. But then the Chicago City Council said, hey, you know what, Uber (and other ridesharing companies) should be able to do that. And so now they can. Which has upset the taxi drivers, who decided they needed a bigger, collective voice. The Times says that the 17,000-member-strong NYC taxi driver's union is already starting to work with the Chicago cabbies. Other cities with sizable taxi unions include: Miami, Austin and Philly.

An Uber spokesman told the Times that, "The reason that taxi drivers are experiencing miserable conditions is because of the taxi companies - it has nothing to do with Uber." Ridesharing company Lyft is already preparing for bigger legal battles by hiring high-power lobbying firms.

Dissatisfaction with ridesharing companies is not limited to the US. In the UK, the creators of the ridesharing app Hailo saw their offices vandalized – the word "scabs" was written on the wall – after the app was expanded to include private vehicle instead of just taxis. Halio also operates in a number of US cities, including New York.


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  • 16 Comments
      Jamie Houk
      • 22 Hours Ago
      For years we have been told that we need to car pool and take fewer solo trips. Now that there is a way to do that effectively there is all sorts of organized resistance and litigation against it from the very governments that were promoting it to begin with. How exactly does that make sense?
      EVSUPERHERO
      • 22 Hours Ago
      Cab companies refuse to innovate. In any industry you adapt or you loose market share. The cab companies think they can keep market share by threatening and purchasing city counsels and other politicians. The big looser are the public who get better, cleaner, cheaper and a more friendly service from the ride share corporations. They tried buying politicians in WA state. However once the public gets a taste of a good thing they don't want to loose it. Enough signatures were gathered to put it on the ballot so ride share corps continue on in Seattle. In Seattle they, the public that needs rides, hate cabs and love ride share corps. In Portland Or the public never had ride share service so they don't know anything different as a result the public feels okay about getting ripped off by dirty cabs and their snotty drivers. Portland city counsel sights safety and the discrimination against cash paying customers as reasons for keeping out ride share corps. LOL!
      Davey Hiltz
      • 22 Hours Ago
      I don't know what I think about them forming a union. What that lower taxi prices? I love getting cab rides, but sometimes they can get a little pricey. http://MahaloCAB.com
      Knipfty
      • 22 Hours Ago
      Taxis are a dying breed. Ridesharig will grow and be cheaper. Driverless cars will be the next nail in their collective coffin.
        Electron
        • 22 Hours Ago
        @Knipfty
        The way Google is going your driverless cab is just a few clicks on your smartphone away from your location. Well, someday that is.
          JB
          • 22 Hours Ago
          @Electron
          I was thinking the same thing. Most people will not even own the self-driving cars that they use. Car owner ship will even go down.
        Levine Levine
        • 22 Hours Ago
        @Knipfty
        scott knipging: Wrong. Taxi is a cash cow for the corrupt politicians. Corrupt politicians will always find ways to ensure their cash flow.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 22 Hours Ago
      Ya! get government and other authorities to crush your competition with force. That's how the free market works, you know!
      Aaron
      • 22 Hours Ago
      What ever happened to "if you can't beat them, join them"? Taxis need to move into the 21st century already.
        Levine Levine
        • 22 Hours Ago
        @Aaron
        Aaron: Good idea, but the corruption politicians won't be able to get their 'cut' if every taxi becomes a Uber taxi. When you want to get to heart of this conflict, follow the money trail.
      • 22 Hours Ago
      Beyond the self interest of cab drivers, medallion owners and ride share operators is the public interest. The new Robber Barons of the tech world seem to think that no rules are the only rules. Operating in defiance of existing laws while claiming that no laws exist, claiming to have adequate liability insurance that actually protects the public while refusing to divulge the policy language, poorly vetting drivers while claiming that the public sector is not competent to do just that, what's not to like? And then there's the unbelievable valuation of these operations. Groupon, anyone?
      Levine Levine
      • 22 Hours Ago
      Disruptive technology has the habit of exposing the evils of government. In this case, Uber and Lifyt exposed the sinister relationship between corrupt politicians and the taxi companies. In an affront to capitalism and freedom the corrupt politicians sell 'permits' to taxi companies allowing the companies to have a monopoly over certain geographic area. Of course, all is done in the name of public safety and welfare, not a disguised form of ripping off the consumer. Corrupt politicians deploys cops to enforce this incestuous relationship rather than fight real crimes. Any cop who disdain such duty is reminded the police pension fund is running in the red.
        • 22 Hours Ago
        @Levine Levine
        I agree that you have to have freedom to have a market economy; I'm not sure that a market economy guarantees freedom. Mussolini, Hitler, Pinochet, Franco, Batista, anyone?
      Electron
      • 22 Hours Ago
      Maybe they were inspired by the cardealer organisations and their somewhat successful legal war on Tesla's retail model. The lesson is clear: if you are big enough you can sort of buy the laws that safeguard you against some forms of competition.
      diffrunt
      • 22 Hours Ago
      Who will maintain a ride share vehicle ?
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