Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says the city is working to evaluate the safety of Uber and other on-demand transportation services after a protest by the Boston Taxi Drivers Association (BTDA) outside Uber's local headquarters Thursday.
A Walsh spokesperson says the city recognizes the popularity of services like Uber and is working to find a solution that balances everyone's needs.
The BTDA says Uber employs unregulated and unlicensed drivers for its UberX and UberXL services, compromising public safety.
“Every day these unlicensed Uber-for hire vehicles and drivers operate on the streets of Boston, it puts at risk residents, tourists and business passengers, who assume that these drivers and vehicles are safe and the rates are fair,” the BTDA union drivers said in a statement. “The unlicensed workforce for Uber has cut legitimate taxi business by 30 percent. Without a level playing field, Boston taxis will be driven out of existence, leaving the industry in a state of chaos and the public in danger.”
An Uber spokesperson told Boston Magazine that protesters were focusing their energy in the wrong place.
"Rich taxi medallion owners should spend their time improving customer service, serving undeserved communities, and investing in new, safe and reliable vehicles, rather than complaining about what Bostonians already know — Uber is the safest, most affordable, and reliable ride in Boston and Bostonians rely on Uber to get around the city," the spokesperson said.
Last year, two Boston cab companies filed a lawsuit against Uber. The car service has faced pushback in other cities as well. In March, Seattle moved to put a cap on the number of “ride-share” drivers. Protests have been held in Los Angeles and Colorado.
Boston is one of more than 60 U.S. cities where Uber operates.
This article was originally published on May 22, 2014.