Clearing the way for services like Uber, an appellate court Thursday lifted a temporary injunction on New York City's pilot plan to allow travelers to hail yellow cabs via smartphone. The plan, which challenges the traditional curbside street hail, has faced strong opposition from New York's livery and black-car operators.
Uber had just launched its New York taxi-hailing pilot program at the end of April.
Today's news came just hours after another related legal victory for Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration. His plan to expand livery cab service to the outer boroughs was also reinstated.
"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," said Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, according to Crain's New York Business.
Hailo CEO Jay Bregman also cheered the news in a tweet: "We won, hands down!," he wrote "Congrats @HailoNYC team - huge thanks @MayorBloomberg, @DavidYassky, @TLC and all our drivers."
And of course Bloomberg himself offered his two cents:
In New York City in 2013, common sense and the free market say that you should be able to use your smartphone 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.
However Randy Mastro, attorney for New York's Black Car Assistance Corporation, had a much different take.
"While we are obviously disappointed that the emergency injunction has been lifted, this is not over," Mastro said. "What the [Taxi & Limousine Commission] did here is so outrageous and such a fundamental violation of multiple local laws that it cries out for a remedy, so we intend to pursue our appeal to a prompt resolution and expect that it will result in the termination of this illegal program."
New York isn't the only U.S. city that has put up roadblocks to car-hailing apps. Uber has also faced regulatory challenges from Chicago, ., , and .
Updated at 12:18 p.m. PT with comment from New York's Black Car Assistance Corporation.