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Jan 12, 2016 12:05 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

East Hampton Officials To Appeal To Cuomo Regarding Proposed Statewide Taxi Rules

Attorney Daniel Rodgers represented 20 Uber drivers in East Hampton Town Justice Court last summer on charges of violating the town’s taxi licensing law. MICHAEL WRIGHT
Jan 12, 2016 2:02 PM

With Governor Andrew Cuomo expected to soon introduce legislation that would create state regulation of livery cabs and clear the way for Uber to expand its operations statewide, East Hampton Town will make a pitch for accommodations in any new state rules that would help townships to keep reins on taxis working within their borders.

Supervisor Larry Cantwell said this week that the town will appeal to the governor’s office that any forthcoming legislation regarding livery operations include some restrictions the town sees as necessary to avoid traffic congestion, safety risks and unseemly behavior by taxi drivers.

East Hampton Town officials will ask that state law include, among other things, regulations of where livery cars must park when not carrying passengers and allowing local enforcement of restrictions on livery drivers “hacking” or picking up hailing riders who had not arranged rides in advance.

“If the state is going to do this, they need to help us do our jobs,” Mr. Cantwell said on Monday. “Otherwise, the governor is going to create chaos in Montauk.”

Last year, East Hampton Town made nationwide headlines when new town taxi licensing rules led the mobile phone app-based Uber to halt its operations in the town.

Town officials said that Uber drivers and taxis from points west were causing congestion and degrading the local quality of life by parking on streets and in public lots when not carrying customers, often sleeping in their cars during the day, awaiting the busy rush of demand at night.

To address the issue, the town amended its taxi laws to require that cabs be registered at an East Hampton address. Ultimately, Uber drivers could no longer operate within the town’s borders and were forced to leave.

Uber currently contracts only with drivers who are licensed by New York City’s Taxi & Limousine Commission, or T&LC.

The company has argued that expansion of its services across the state would boost job growth and reduce incidences of drunk driving.

This week, Mr. Cantwell worried that if the governor were to introduce state legislation creating blanket regulation of livery cabs that it would nullify town rules and, once again, open the town to the rush of drivers seeking hordes of passengers on busy weekends in Montauk.

“We’re a resort area, so there is a need for vehicles for hire that peaks on the weekends and attracts drivers who spend the weekend sleeping in their cars,” Mr. Cantwell said. “To tie our hands from trying to get a handle on this is going to create more havoc. They need to help solve the problems that they create.”

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With my HazMat endorsement, the federal NHTSA background checks and authority supersede town rules and regulations in East Hampton, or Southampton Towns. Yet, they still insist on paying for their background checks when you've already passed one that qualifies you to haul nuclear waste, should you choose to do so.

If you can't give people who have already passed such intrusive security protocols zero hassle about working livery in your towns, I hope for your sake Cuomo grants you more ...more
Jan 12, 16 6:05 PM appended by Mr. Z
And yes, Homeland Security is involved as well.
By Mr. Z (11540), North Sea on Jan 12, 16 6:05 PM
I'm dizzy after reading your comment. Want to try again?

If Uber comes back to town then drivers should have to obtain commercial liability insurance as with taxi cabs. My understanding is that insurance carriers can balk at paying any liability claims because the "personal" cars are used for commercial purposes.

If Uber now requires its drivers obtain commercial coverage then all is well.
By harbor (409), East Hampton on Jan 13, 16 10:05 AM
1 member liked this comment
I would imagine the whole uber thing is much to wild west and unregulated for Z. but it sounds like he may be on the side of capitalism on this one ?

Then again I am on winter vacation sitting poolside... looking real cool in my sunglasses and have had a few cocktails already...
By joe hampton (3389), on vacation on Jan 13, 16 10:23 AM
Point is, you've already been cleared above and beyond the background check the town performs. You've already paid a quite hefty sum to be fingerprinted, and thoroughly investigated.

Yet, such is unacceptable to the town, and they want their coin to essentially do the same thing you've already been put to.

I call BS.
By Mr. Z (11540), North Sea on Jan 16, 16 11:23 PM
Agreed about the commercial use insurance. Additionally UBER drivers should be forced to obey the same rules n regulations as deny taxi in the Town. If that doesn't work for them , too bad
By bigfresh (4534), north sea on Jan 13, 16 3:26 PM
Point of fact, they already carry commercial use insurance and as the article pointed out they are also licensed by the NYC TLC.

The whole "sleeping in their cars during the day" nonsense is misinformed and reeks of a racist legacy that Cantwell and his goons continue to push forward despite empirical evidence that suggests otherwise.

By ads02129 (13), Charlestown on Jan 16, 16 10:58 PM
so what if they sleep in there cars, they are hustlers and should be rewarded for their dedication and effort
By Erin 27 E (1235), hampton bays on Jan 17, 16 3:34 PM
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