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Hoboken Police, Lawmakers Putting The Brakes On UberX

HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A little-known law is forcing passengers out of UberX cars in Hoboken and costing drivers big bucks. Now, customers have said they are being targeted.

As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported, UberX is the economy version of the popular ride-sharing app Uber. But its drivers aren’t commercially licensed, so whenever they make a pick up in New Jersey, they’re breaking the law.

“It’s cheaper so you use it over a yellow cab,” Hoboken resident Brendan said, who didn’t know it was illegal.

Hoboken officials have launched a crackdown against the UberX drivers, who use unmarked cars. Marcus Escuritos was inside an UberX car during a bust.

“We were waiting at a stop light and all the sudden there was a knocking on the driver’s window. And the driver seemed like he had no idea there was a problem,” said Escritos, of Jersey City. “He rolled down the window and was like: ‘I’m with Uber. I’m an Uber driver.’ And the cop was like: ‘Yes, I know. Everybody out of the car.’”

The problem is that UberX is the first option that appears when one calls a car on the streets of Hoboken, and it doesn’t say anything about being illegal, users said. Thus, passengers and drivers have no idea.

One driver CBS 2 heard from received six tickets in one night, totaling $3,000.

“It’s kind of hard to make one version of the same product illegal when it’s right next to a button that says you can do the legal one,” said UberX user Forrest Weber.

But regular Uber is legal, and now, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer is pushing for UberX to be legal too.

She wrote a letter to state lawmakers, saying she requested “your assistance in adopting legislation to regulate transportation technology companies such as Uber and Lyft so that they are able to operate legally and safely in our communities.”

UberX does not warn its drivers about local regulations, and in a statement appeared to want local police to stop enforcing the law, Schneider reported.

“It’s disturbing when law enforcement abuses their power to pick one small business owner over another. We will continue to stand up for our driver partners,” the statement said.

Passengers caught inside an UberX car in Hoboken will not face fines or tickets, but they will have to leave the cars and find another way to get from point A to point B.

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