Boston Bans Uber

Posted on August 15, 2012 by

[Updated 8/20/2012, 10:05 a.m.: Massachusetts Governor says Uber is “free to continue operating” in the state. Click here to go to update.]

It seems like the world just can’t get enough of Uber, the startup smartphone livery service app that allows users to get a chauffeured car or SUV on demand with a couple of taps on their phone screens. It’s good for users who want a chauffeured vehicle ASAP and it’s good for operators who want to fill downtime by putting some of their metal to work around the city. (Click here to watch a video of Uber’s CEO explaining the service).

But the problem is that Uber has been declared to operate illegally in several of the cities it serves, most recently Boston, where it has been hit with a cease and desist order (scroll down to view the letter).

Related: Uber Breaks Toronto Bylaws

The main issue is that Uber doesn’t play by the same rules that registered livery operators and taxi cab services do. The payment structure of Uber vehicles is a time+mileage-based fare model, unlike the full-disclosure-of-price-before-pickup set fare model of the livery industry, but it doesn’t use a regulated in-vehicle meter that is required of the taxi cab industry.

Instead, the fare is calculated by GPS tracking on the smartphone, which is considered an “unlicensed device to measure mileage,” in Boston.

Uber responded to the cease and desist on its blog: “We strongly believe that the consumer has every right to new, innovative technology that makes their lives better and easier, and that the consumer’s needs should always come first. Uber will continue full speed ahead with the mission of making Boston and the surrounding areas a great place to live and travel…”

The Boston Business Journal reports that the Division of Standards of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which issued the cease and desist order, gave no comment but may issue a statement Wednesday, Aug. 15. 

The city administration has plans to meet with Uber reps “in the near future.”

What really matters?
How do you feel about Uber and what do you think it means for the future of this industry?

What is your biggest concern? Is it the app’s ability to provide instant service? The unregulated, illegal fee structure? The lack of proper licensing and registration?

Please share your thoughts. I’m interested to know what you think are the biggest issues with Uber. Despite the friction it’s faced with regulators, Uber is a tech-tool that may just end up sticking around, especially since it’s popular with consumers. I want to discover not only what this means for our industry, but also how to help operators stay competitive and thriving in the face of this disruptive1 technology.

Pro-Uber Point of View: Why Shutting Down Uber is a Bad Idea for Cambridge, the Commonwealth, and Consumers

— Michael Campos, LCT associate editor


City of Cambridge MA Hearing Decision

1. Disruption is not necessarily a bad thing, nor is it necessarily a good thing; it just is. It is bad or good depending on if you ask someone benefitting from it or someone hurting from it. Most operators might say Uber is hurting them, so by all means, protect what is yours! But keep an open mind, because there may be an opportunity for operators to learn from and improve upon this entire experience.


View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More LCT Blog Blog Posts

September 13, 2017

Create A Handbook Your Employees Will Actually Read

Black and white words on a page are boring and uninspiring; here are some things to consider when creating a how-to guide for your company.

August 29, 2017

Billy The Coach: How To Plan And Prepare For Success

The LCT Summit keynoter starts contributing this week to our blog by asking: What is it you want bad enough to work for?

August 16, 2017

Don’t Let Poor Grammar, Spelling, And Punctuation Ruin Your Image

You are what you write. Make sure you leave a good business impression, especially on social media.

August 8, 2017

Behind The Screens: Why Face Time Matters

Computers and smartphones have conditioned us to text and email our way through life. Here’s how Millennials and managers can work together to break the habit.

July 31, 2017

Let's Not Make AI The New Y2K Scare

Machines will not take away all of our jobs any more than the Y2K scare ushered in Armageddon.

See More

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (0)

Post a Comment



See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - September 2017 $12.95 MOTORCOACH / BUS ISSUE COVER STORY: * Irizar Racks Up A Good Rookie Year * *


Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment


Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close