NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Spring is in the air, and soon throngs of the rich and famous will flock to Long Island’s East End. Along with tourism come Uber drivers, and now another East End town is trying to curb the flood with new regulations.
From the Uber driver’s seat, Long Island’s East End doesn’t seem very friendly.
First, the town of East Hampton rolled up the welcome mat. Now, Southampton is proposing regulations which operators say will drive them away.
“Saying no to Uber is saying no to technology, no to safety, no more money for drivers, no more availability for cars for people who want fast rides,” Rachid Godihi said.
The proposal requires Uber to follow taxi rules.
They would have to register, pay a $1,000 fee per car, be fingerprinted, and pass a background check.
Officials told CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff that they don’t want to put the brakes on Uber like East Hampton did last year with its residency requirement.
“We certainly don’t want people drinking and driving, so it’s a model that could work out here,” Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said, “We just don’t want to create an unfair advantage for Uber which they currently have.”
Taxi owners who say business was crushed by Uber want an even playing field.
“They come from city, they sleep in cars and only work the weekend. Taking local business away,” All Hampton Taxi Owner Rhahat Mumtaz said.
“It’s not only leveling the playing field, it’s also protection of constituents,” Southampton Town Councilman and bill sponsor, Stan Glinka said.
Riders worry that registration will keep Uber out. Horror stories abound of endless waits and exorbitant fares for standard cabs.
“Sometimes when you call a regular cab out here they’ll give you an hour, hour-and-a-half wait,” one rider said.
“Like fifty bucks, and I’m right down the road,” another added.
Uber called the proposed changes an attempt to protect local taxi interest.
“There is an unquestionable need and demand for Uber in Southampton because taxi service has been historically unreliable,” the company said.
Drivers already undergo fingerprinting and background checks.
Uber is lobbying the state for uniform regulations across New York, like in other states, so that every town and village cannot set up a different road block.