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Uber quietly puts an end to NYC taxi service

The company is taking back its phones from taxi drivers after the Taxi & Limousine Commission took aim at its service.

New York's taxi commission vetoes Uber's cab-hailing app.
New York's taxi commission vetoes Uber's cab-hailing app. Declan McCullagh

Now you see it, now you don't.

Just over a month after car-hailing service Uber launched support for taxi service in New York City, the company is pulling out, CEO Travis Kalanick confirmed to CNET in an e-mailed statement today. All mention of taxi service in New York City has also been removed from the company's Web site.

"We did the best we could to get more yellows on the road but New York's TLC (Taxi and Limousine Commission) put up obstacles and roadblocks in order to squash the effort around e-hail which they privately have said is legal under the rules," Kalanick told CNET. "We'll bite our tongues and keep our frustration here to ourselves."

Uber has been growing rapidly as a provider of private car service in cities around the U.S. Last month, it attempted to expand its presence in New York City with a taxi service. The company gave select taxi drivers iPhones that were plugged into its mobile app. That app's users could then request a cab at a specified time, and one of the drivers would be there.

Soon after the service was announced, TLC took issue with Uber's offering, saying that city's regulations prevent Uber from processing credit card transactions for taxi service. The company quickly tried a workaround by offering free taxi service for one week.

"We believe the TLC wants to resolve this and give NYC consumers the innovation and opportunity that New Yorkers deserve," the company said in a statement at the time. "Uber will do everything possible to reach a resolution with the TLC between now and [the end of the first week] so that New Yorkers and the TLC can get a taste of the future and embrace it."

Just a couple of days later, Uber was once again hit by the TLC after it claimed that New York regulations did not allow for apps to be used to hail cabs. Since then, according to Kalanick, Uber has faced trouble making its case.

Still, Kalanick says that the stint was a success. The CEO said that 160 drivers participated in the program, and one of those folks made an additional $168 in fares in a single day, thanks to Uber. A driver identified only as "Joe" made $586 in additional fares by working with Uber.

Although taxi service is leaving New York, it's still available in a number of cities, including Boston and Toronto.