Several Connecticut taxi companies have filed a lawsuit to stop two Internet ride share services from doing business in the state. Uber and Lyft have been slowly gaining business in Connecticut, but taxi companies say consumers need to watch out.
Uber and Lyft operate through your smartphone. Put in a credit card number and tap a few buttons to catch a ride in a few minutes.
But now that the services are gaining some traction, Connecticut taxi companies are taking notice and alerting consumers to what they say are some pretty bad circumstances.
“It’s not about convenience,” said Bill Scalzi, president of MetroTaxi. “It’s not about watching your car appear on a smartphone. We have that. It’s all about knowing that when that person picks you up you’re going to have a safe trip and you’re going to have a fully ensured trip.”
Several ct taxi companies have filed a lawsuit alleging Uber and Lyft sidestep federal laws and put customers at risk by avoiding the checks already in place. Taxi companies are regulated by federal, state and local authorities, and company owners argue that makes them a safer choice for consumers.
Taxi companies also argue that Uber and Lyft don’t play by the same rules as the regulated industry does.
“They’re not in the low income neighborhoods,” Scalzi said. “They’re not taking care of the elderly. They certainly don’t have wheelchair accessible taxicabs like we do. That’s not competition. That’s cherry picking.”
We reached out to the providers of Uber and Lyft, and they say their smartphone based services are safe for passengers and that they have all their bases covered..
“Those accusations are baseless,” said Uber spokesman Lane Kasselman. “There is no merit. Our driver partners go through extensive background checks and have best in class insurance coverage, when providing a ride to our riders.
A Lyft spokesperson sent us a statement that says the service “fills an economic and transportation need for both drivers and passengers in Fairfield County, and our safety requirements far exceed what is required for existing transportation options in the state. For example, Lyft holds a $1M commercial liability policy, which is 10 times the $100,000 requirement of Connecticut taxis.