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Feb 2, 2016 3:28 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Councilman Looks To Tighten Up Taxi Regulations

Stan Glinka
Feb 2, 2016 3:52 PM

Southampton Town Councilman Stan Glinka is hoping to tighten up regulations for taxicab drivers planning to work in the town—a move that also would target providers who use ride-sharing mobile apps, like Uber and Lyft.

Mr. Glinka this week said he wants to make it so that all drivers planning to transport people for money within the town are treated equally, by requiring each individual driver to have a permit issued by Southampton Town. Currently, as long as a taxicab company has a permit to operate in the town, all of its drivers are covered. There is no permit process for drivers who utilize ride-sharing services.

The change, Mr. Glinka said, comes as a result of talking to local cab drivers who are upset that they are losing business from drivers who provide rides through apps like Uber, which do not involve a traditional arrangement of local taxicab company and employed or contracted drivers. His proposal would require those drivers to have permits issued by the town as well—and face fines if they offer rides without a permit.

“We want everyone on the same playing field in terms of being safe and aware of the laws out there when they are driving,” Mr. Glinka said. “I have been having conversations with different taxicab companies in the town over the past year.”

The proposed changes, he said, would require each individual driver to apply for a permit from the Southampton Town clerk’s office. In order to receive a permit, a driver would have to complete a defensive driving course, and the permit would have to be renewed annually.

Drivers who provide rides through Uber and similar apps are not limited in where they can drive for customers, and out-of-town drivers often go where the demand is at a given time, as customers request cars through their mobile devices and even make payment the same way. That means the number of Uber drivers, and where they originate from, can be unpredictable.

Southampton Town is not the first municipality to take steps to regulate Uber within its borders. Last year, East Hampton Town made it a requirement that all cab drivers have an East Hampton Town address to apply for a mandatory permit—eliminating the eligibility of drivers from outside of town, who had flooded in to provide Uber service, especially during the busy summer months. Shortly afterward, Uber halted service in the area.

Some East Hampton residents had complained that Uber drivers were driving unsafely, and some from out of town were sleeping in their vehicles.

Mr. Glinka said he believes Uber is good competition for local cab companies, and his measure is designed to be less stringent than the one enacted in East Hampton Town—not mandating residency in the town to be eligible for a permit, simply making drivers take a necessary safety course and register with the town.

Mr. Glinka is planning to discuss the proposed changes at the February 4 work session at Southampton Town Hall. A public hearing will have to be scheduled to make the changes to the law.

“All that I am doing is adding a small, minor component to be added to the law,” Mr. Glinka said. “Everybody plays fairly and has to adhere to the same legislative restrictions that are already in place.”

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why does the town care if uber and lyft drivers make money? is it government's job to create barriers to citizens using their property any way they want?
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Feb 2, 16 8:11 PM
Uber saves lives. The only way to get around in the summer months on weekend nights when you're socializing and partying. It massively cuts down on DWIs and accidents. Its impossible to get a taxi on a Saturday night in summer, and if you do it costs you $90.00 These local cab companies rip peoples eyeballs out
By GALAXIE (43), SAG HARBOR on Feb 3, 16 8:59 PM