Cab Drivers Shut Down JFK Boulevard to Protest Uber

Cab drivers protest Uber by blockading part of JFK Boulevard on 8 October 2014. Photo: Tom MacDonald/Newsworks

Cab drivers protest Uber by blockading part of JFK Boulevard on 8 October 2014. Photo: Tom MacDonald/Newsworks

By Dustin Slaughter

Dozens of taxi drivers parked their cars in the middle of JFK Boulevard Wednesday in the latest pushback against the ride-sharing service Uber.

Newsworks’ Tom MacDonald reports the drivers oppose legalization of the private company operating in Philadelphia.

“We’re trying to protect the drivers’ earnings and we’re trying to keep the consumer’s safe,” Blunt said. “Not just in Philadelphia today, also in San Francisco today and also in London and Manila Philippines.”

The protest, three cars deep at its height, eventually began driving around City Hall some time past noon before dispersing. The demonstration had been planned to last into the evening, had police not intervened.

The protest is the latest round of opposition against Uber, which also faces obstacles from two judges on the state’s Public Utility Commission. The judges oppose the ride-sharing service because the company was found to be operating illegally in the state before.

Uber has significant support from politicians in Harrisburg, including the bulk of progressive legislators, according to Plan Philly‘s Jon Geeting.

Gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf has also signaled that he would support legalization of the company’s operations. If elected, he would likely sign off on Senator Wayne Fontana’s SB 1457, which would legalize all “transportation network companies”.

Azziz Ali, a cab driver with Freedom Taxi, told Newsworks:

“The message is to who would ride in a cab is to support us. We’ve been here for years, we’re going to stay here, we’re working with you, we are upgrading the cabs to make sure the vehicles are safe,” Ali said. “They are constantly regulated, they are constantly upgraded. We want everybody to be safe riding around the city of Philadelphia.”

During the protest, Uber released a statement:

“Rich taxi medallion owners should spend their time improving customer service, serving underserved communities and investing in new, safe and reliable vehicles, rather than trying to limit competition and choice for consumers.”

Read Tom MacDonald’s full story, “Uber Angst Prompts Protest by Philly Taxi Drivers” at Newsworks.

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