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Judge Dismisses Boston Taxi Group's Lawsuit Against City Over Ride-Hailing Laws

A driver displaying Lyft and Uber stickers on his front windshield drops off a passenger in downtown Los Angeles in January. (Richard Vogel/AP/File)
A driver displaying Lyft and Uber stickers on his front windshield drops off a passenger in downtown Los Angeles in January. (Richard Vogel/AP/File)
This article is more than 2 years old.

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by the Boston Taxi Owners Association against the city for its laws governing ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft.

The suit, which was was filed in January 2015, claimed Boston was violating equal-protection rights of taxi drivers by not applying the same rules to taxi drivers that it does to drivers for so-called Transportation Network Companies (TNCs.)

The judge dismissed the suit Thursday, saying Massachusetts state law establishes certain minimum standards for ride-hailing drivers and bars communities from imposing their own regulations.

Gov. Charlie Baker signed a law in August that included mandatory state-approved background checks of TNC drivers. Baker called the background checks for ride-for-hire drivers as the most stringent of any state.

Steve Goldberg, president of the Boston Taxi Owners Association, told WBUR's newscast unit Thursday that the dismissal of their suit was not entirely unexpected. Goldberg said the group will continue to fight ride-hailing laws that it says threaten the traditional taxi industry.

"We're trying to sustain and continue the viability and vitality of our industry," Goldberg said. "So that's where we're at at this point in time. Disappointed [in the ruling], but not necessarily unexpected."

The taxi association still has a federal lawsuit pending against the state that was filed in September. That suit argues the state has created an "economic disparity" for taxi drivers because TNC drivers pay less in fees than taxi drivers do.

With reporting by WBUR's Sara Rose Brenner and Bob Shaffer

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