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Jul 16, 2015 4:00 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Cab Drivers Protest Uber Thursday Afternoon

Southampton Village Administrator Stephen Funsch speaks with local taxi owners and drivers in front of village hall on Thursday afternoon. DANA SHAW
Jul 16, 2015 4:23 PM

About a dozen cab drivers stood outside Southampton Village Hall Thursday afternoon in an effort to protest Uber, the driver-for-hire company that connects cars to clients using a mobile phone application.

The protesters claimed that Uber drivers have been coming out to Southampton Town from Manhattan and spending the weekends sleeping in their cars during the day, while staking out popular area clubs for customers at night. They said the drivers are not called in as they should be with the phone application, and instead are taking passengers as they come out of the clubs.

“They’re out of their cabs, they’re hustling people,” said cab driver Ali Bejaoui.

He noted that the drivers are usually in unmarked black cars, typical of the types of vehicles Uber utilizes for its clients. Meanwhile, cab companies in Southampton are required by town law to pay for licensing and stickers for their vehicles.

“If we have to, we will stop working,” Mr. Bejaoui said. “We’re going to fight for our rights.”

Ali Rahat, owner of All Hampton Taxi, said that on July 2, he was parked outside of Southampton Social Club on Elm Street when an alleged Uber driver smashed his windshield after Mr. Rahat asked that he not back his car into his.

“I told him to watch my car,” said Mr. Rahat, who has been in business since 1999. “He said, ‘We belong here too.’ He was so aggressive. He was just like, ‘boom.’”

Just last month, Uber halted its services in East Hampton Town after officials imposed new restrictive taxi licensing requirements.

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Maybe if the cab service out here wasn't atrocious, people wouldn't flock to Uber in the first place?

Maybe the reason uber is so successful isn't because the driver's are "hustling" their clients, but actually providing a service most clients find useful and pleasant?

Maybe if the cabbies out here didn't take 50 minutes to pick up someone who called them?
By Inch_High_PI (29), Southampton on Jul 16, 15 8:06 PM
1 member liked this comment
On the rare occasions that I've had to take taxis, I am almost certain that the drivers were high or drunk...I'm all for local business, BUT, I'm also all for quality service and safe transportation. Maybe the competition will force our local companies to step their game up
By S'hamptonNative (84), Southampton on Jul 16, 15 8:53 PM
Almost all of the about 30 cab rides I've taken over the years only 1 was fair and honest and didn't gouge me at my most vulnerable moment. The rest were scum. Charging outrageous prices. You'd better have at least 30 bucks if you want a fifteen minute ride on a Saturday night from a bar. 30 times the 10 people in the van and the guy makes 300 bucks on people who don't drink and drive. It's time the weeds get weeded out.
By lirider (288), Westhampton Beach on Jul 17, 15 6:14 AM
Bring on the competition...
By Mouthampton (439), Southampton on Jul 17, 15 8:35 AM
I am not impressed by the quality or safety of the cabs in Southampton town.
And I have been overcharged when there was more than one stop involved.
Uber might just make these people realize that we won't put up with the
high prices and the filthy cabs if we are not desperate. So Uber should be
encouraged to work out here. We need extra rides on weekends to prevent
drunk driving anyway. Competition and oversight for the local cabs would be
nice but the town does not ...more
By localcitizen (110), Southampton on Jul 17, 15 9:19 AM
I met a couple at a restaraunt that were charged $40 a person to go 2 miles down the road. They fought and got the guy down to $20 pp. i instructed them next time that happens tell the driver to drive to the police station be that is criminal. Bring on the competition. Cabs take forever and charge way to much.
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Jul 17, 15 10:20 AM
The taxis service here in the Hamptons is terrible. The drivers look unkept and reek of cigarettes. The prices are whatever they feel like charging and it is per person. They need to be regulated and metered. Über offers clean cards and drivers that look professional, the price is known before getting into the cab and charged to your card.
By Rumrunner (6), Southampton on Jul 18, 15 2:22 PM