Uber towncar service illegal, DC official says

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Local,Capital Land,Transportation,Liz Essley

A new car service that allows customers to request rides using a smartphone app is illegal in the District, D.C. Taxicab Commission Chairman Ron Linton said at a hearing Wednesday.

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  • Linton said Uber, a company with services across the U.S. that recently launched in D.C., is "operating illegally."

    Linton made the statement when questioned by a taxi cab driver about why the company was allowed to charge higher prices than cabs. Uber charges a $7 base fee and $3.25 per mile. Taxicabs currently charge a $3 base fee and $1.50 per mile.

    Linton told The Washington Examiner it is unclear whether Uber fits into regulations for taxicabs or limousines.

    “At this stage of the game, we just don’t know what they’re doing. We’re looking into it,” he said.

    But Uber executives insist their company is crossing t's and dotting i's.

    "We launched in Washington last month confident that we are compliant with the rules and regulations with the District," Uber's D.C. manager, Rachel Holt, wrote in a blog post on the company's website. "Prior to launching we had conversations with representatives of the taxi commission that helped us understand the regulatory landscape and convinced us that the Uber transportation alternative was legal in the city of Washington, D.C." 

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    Liz Essley

    Staff Writer - Transportation
    The Washington Examiner