Queens pols want down vote on taxi e-hail apps – QNS.com

Queens pols want down vote on taxi e-hail apps

By Karen Frantz

A number of Queens politicians are calling on the city Taxi & Limousine Commission to reject a proposal allowing taxicab drivers to use electronic hailing smartphone applications, arguing the technology could potentially produce discrimination by allowing drivers to ignore people hailing on the street for those who made prearranged calls.

“I appreciate and welcome the TLC’s desire to use technology to enhance city services, but the proposal to allow e-hail apps that prearrange pickups opens the door for potential discrimination and dangerous driving situations,” City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) said in a statement.She and Council members James Sanders (D-Far Rockaway), Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) and Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) wrote a letter to the TLC asking it to reject e-hail app technology in a vote scheduled for Thursday.In addition to arguing e-hail apps could create the potential for discrimination, the lawmakers also said they could create dangerous driving conditions as taxi drivers check their phones and would blur the barrier between cabs and livery cars.TLC Commissioner David Yassky has defended e-hail apps, saying they are good for consumers and would allow cab drivers to find passengers when they would otherwise be empty.In October, when the TLC released proposed regulations allowing the technology’s use, he said in a statement, “Taxi passengers should be able to use the most up-to-date technology available to find a cab faster.”

Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at kfrantz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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