Uber cab-hailing app hits another legal roadblock in NY

Livery car companies reportedly win injunction against the pilot program, which would allow potential passengers to hail a cab by putting their location information into a smartphone app.

Declan McCullagh/CNET

Uber's New York taxi-hailing ambitions have reportedly stalled again with a judge's ruling Wednesday.

Less than a day after the private car summoning service was finally able to launch its e-hailing app following an eight-month delay, a group of livery car groups has won an injunction against the 12-month pilot program, which would allow potential passengers to hail a cab by putting their location information into a smartphone app. Uber launched its taxi-hailing pilot program on Tuesday night, just days after a State Supreme Court judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the livery car groups that sought to put a stop to the program.

The program hit another roadblock today when Associate Justice Helen E. Freedman of the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division issued an emergency injunction blocking the pilot program from proceeding and ordered an expedited review by a panel of appeals court judges, according to a Bloomberg report. The decision, which was provided to the news agency by an attorney representing the livery car group, could not be independently confirmed through online court records.

David Yassky, commissioner of the city's Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC), reacted to the injunction by saying "obstructionists" are trying to impede progress.

"The Supreme Court was absolutely right that taxi-hailing apps are not only good for the riding public, but perfectly legal as well," Yassky said in a statement. "It is appalling that narrow commercial interests continue to try to block passengers from using the latest technology. We're confident this program will move forward."

CNET has contacted Uber for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

Uber sought to get into the cab-hailing business in the Big Apple last September with the launch of its e-hailing app. However, the TLC objected, saying it had not authorized any apps for calling for taxis or paying for rides for use in New York cabs. Uber said it would offer rides for free while it negotiated with the TLC, but it pulled the plug after just a month.

After months of hot debate, the TLC voted in December to allow such e-hailing apps in a yearlong pilot program. The program was expected to go into effect in March, but it got waylaid by the livery car company's lawsuit.

Updated at 4:10 p.m. with comment from New York's Taxi & Limousine Commission.

 

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