Good news for New Yorkers who don’t want to walk outside and raise their hands in an effort to attract the attention of a yellow cab passing by: The New York State Supreme Court has issued a ruling blocking a temporary restraining order, which had put into question the legality of taxi e-hail providers like Uber and Hailo operating in New York City.
The ruling is yet another victory for technology and innovation over the evil forces of inertia and bureaucracy in New York City. More literally, it’s a defeat for the black car and limo lobby, which had threatened the city’s proposed e-hail program with a temporary restraining order issued earlier this year.
Actually, this is just the latest in a string of launches, and re-launches, victories, and defeats for the likes of Uber and Hailo since the e-hail program was first announced in December. It was supposed to begin in February, but got held up due to a lawsuit filed just before launch. That lawsuit was dismissed by a judge in April, and it seemed like all things were a go… Until an appellate judge resurrected the case and issued an emergency injunction against the program.
Ok, now that that’s all over, what can we look forward to? The most recent ruling has blocked the temporary restraining order, but the case lives on. So! There’s the possibility that this whole mess could be started all over again and that New Yorkers might have to hail a cab the old-fashioned way. But for now, New Yorkers, e-hail away.
Oh, also a lot of people had stuff to say about it.
In a statement, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said:
In New York City in 2013, common sense and the free market say that you should be able to use your smart phone to get a cab, and that’s why we created a pilot program to allow users to do just that. This decision will allow our e-hail program to move forward, and give New Yorkers another way to hail a cab. Some in the industry want to protect their business interests by blocking the use of new technology – but innovation is good for customers, and we will continue to encourage it.
In a statement, New York TLC Commissioner David Yassky said:
Lifting the TRO was a good decision for all New Yorkers. The positive feedback we’ve had from the short time our pilot program was up says loudly and clearly that riders want the e-hail option, and I am even more confident today that it will ultimately be available to them.
In a statement, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said:
It’s pretty rare that the transportation sector sees so much progress and justice on the same day. UberTAXI is fully up and running for yellow cabs and we look forward to helping New Yorkers hail green cabs too.
In a statement, Taxi Magic president Sanders Partee said:
As of today, New Yorkers can finally do what so many people around the country have done for years — use a smartphone app like Taxi Magic to request a taxi. At Taxi Magic, we are partnering with New York City’s best drivers to provide an enhanced taxi experience for our customers, and we’ve worked closely with the TLC to gain the proper approvals and ensure a safe and reliable ride for New Yorkers. With today’s landmark decision, Taxi Magic has officially launched in New York City, and getting a ride will be faster and easier than ever – for riders and taxi drivers alike. Taxi Magic is thrilled to be pioneering this service within New York City, and to deliver game-changing mobile taxi payment in the coming weeks. New Yorkers, get your smartphones ready!
In a statement, Hailo CEO Jay Bregman said a whole lot of stuff:
We won, hands down! Hailo and the TLC banded together, standing shoulder to shoulder in court, to ensure that the future stays on the streets and New York’s riding public and Yellow Taxi drivers will continue to enjoy the latest taxi technology. During our 12-month partnership with the City of New York, Hailo and NYC consistently maintained e-hailing and e-payment were inevitable and went to court together to make sure that New Yorkers didn’t have to wait any longer.
Hailo was the only app provider to intervene in the case to support the City and the largest association of medallion owners to protect the future of the cab industry and the mantle of NYC as the home of innovation and the new economy.
Hailo’s Founding Passengers started using e-hailing after the Supreme Court threw out the case and made it very clear that the Pilot was legal and legitimate, and there are no restrictions or laws preventing e-hailing.
We are not looking back. After a few weeks of Beta operation, we are seeing triple-digit growth in passenger demand and drivers signing up in droves. In addition, New Yorkers living in the outer boroughs are five times more likely to get a cab with Hailo than before – more than 14% of Hailo trips originated in the outer boroughs (and not at the airports!) The magic of e–hailing is here and open to all New Yorkers and Yellow Cab drivers.
We want to thank our partners Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner Yassky and the TLC for the opportunity to realize their vision of a new andinnovative taxi experience in our iconic yellow cabs and bring this proven technology to New York.”