How Incumbents React to Uber

Since 2011, tens of thousands of people throughout Massachusetts have used Uber to request a ride from the nearest licensed, insured town car or taxi – when and where they need it.

For some it’s a ride home after work; others can now reliably get a ride where it was previously hard to find a cab (e.g., Charlestown and Roxbury); and for the many that call Boston home, it’s a stylish ride for a special night out or important business meeting. Moreover, transportation providers who use our app service have seen their own small business grow. These driver-partners are making more money, hiring more drivers, and adding to their vehicle fleets – while working on their own schedules.

The Uber app is changing the transportation industry. In jurisdictions such as California, New York, Washington DC, and – yes – Massachusetts, there has been a steady drumbeat of progress in which pro-consumer, pro-innovation policymakers have recognized that everyone wins when new technology that fosters efficiency, affordability, and choice in transportation is allowed to flourish. In fact, last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) joined this chorus and took the rare step of weighing in on an effort to protect taxis and stop competition in Colorado. The FTC said the rules there “may significantly impair competition,” “harm consumers,” and were “overboard.”

However, as change shakes up an industry, it generates a reaction from incumbents that benefit from the old way of doing business. Rather than compete in the marketplace and providing better choices for consumers, some incumbents simply seek to protect their market share.

This week, we saw this happen in Boston.

Despite the fact that Uber has operated its app service legally in Massachusetts since we launched here – a fact that Governor Patrick confirmed when he stepped in to stop zealous over-regulation last year – some incumbent taxi companies have resorted to the courts to try to stop innovation that serves the public. Uber complies with all laws and regulations applicable to its business. Any claim to the contrary is baseless and motivated by incumbent transportation providers who seek to deprive the public of safe and convenient options. Uber would rather compete for business on the streets of Boston than in the courtroom, but if necessary, Uber will defend these claims in court and is confident of the outcome.

Hundreds of thousands of people all across the country and the world are embracing the convenience and reliability of the Uber technology. People want innovations that make their lives easier, not settle for a status quo that does not deliver the quality of service they want.

So the other side can go to court. But in the meantime we will keep innovating and improving the availability of transportation options in Massachusetts.

Featured articles

Bagpipers On Demand

This St. Patrick’s Day, you can request the Bagpipes option in-app to get a free, live performance at your doorstep. Treat yourself or share the luck and surprise a friend with pipers at their doorstep. —just make sure they’re available. Enter code BAGPIPES in the app to unlock the Bagpipes option between noon and 4pm […]