Uber Observers Catch an Earful At NELA Event

Posted on April 25, 2014 by Tom Halligan - Also by this author

The two young Uber gentlemen listening to the panel session on rogue mobile apps, held on the exhibit floor during the closing session of the New England Livery Association’s (NELA) Seminar and Trade Show Tuesday, underscores the fact that the Uber machine knows it is up against stiff — and growing — resistance from the limousine, taxi and black car transportation industries.

The two Uberites, who looked like they would be more at home at a Starbucks sipping a designer coffee than attending a limousine industry event, paid their way into the open event just to attend the session. But word did spread that they were in attendance.

Not that it mattered. If anything, they’ll have a lot to write in their post-session recon report to Uber management. They both certainly got more than a collective earful of negative shots from panelists Dawson Rutter, president and founder, Commonwealth Worldwide; Robert Werth, president, Diamond Transportation and president of the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA); Alfred LaGasse, CEO of the TLPA.

I noted in my last blog post that Uber and the other rogue transportation app companies are here to stay. After the session, I’m going to hedge on that comment because there appears to be more of a groundswell of opposition growing now that the honeymoon period is over with these new wave of disruptive apps.

Dawson Rutter said that he believes the emergence of rogue app companies “caught politicians by surprise” who were swayed by an initial groundswell of support about these transportation apps.  “But when you see that they operate illegally, don’t have the proper insurance, or licensing, they will realize that they made a mistake and there will be a backlash,” noted Rutter.

The panelists also agreed that  if the taxi industry goes by the wayside because of rogue apps, then who is there to serve people who historically rely on taxis to serve them—the poor, elderly, handicapped, and others who don’t have credit cards, or can’t afford a Uber ride when “surge pricing” kicks in at their whim?

Safety? Insurance? Driver screening? All of these issues are ammo for the industry to lobby politicians to enforce Uber, Lyft and Sidecar to get religion when it comes to rules and regulations.

Discussing the big picture of rogue app companies, panel members stressed that as negative incidents and lawsuits begin to pile up in the future regarding the lack of proper insurance, driver qualifications, and vehicle safety, more scrutiny will be directed on their operational model.

“I never thought the government would allow these companies to operate with commercial insurance policies,” said Robert Werth. “These companies will look you in the eye and lie (about their operations) and they haven’t come forward to be fully transparent … we have to get the facts out there,” he added.

 I’m sure that last comment was duly noted by the Uber guys …












View comments or post a comment on this story. (3 Comments)

More LCT Blog Blog Posts

March 8, 2017

Immigration Issues Can Hit Limo Operators

Illegal or not, immigrants in one California region spend hard-earned money on renting stretch limousines.

March 1, 2017

Did The Dent Fairy Come To Visit You?

Unlike the tooth fairy and baby teeth, the dent fairy never runs out of vehicles.

February 15, 2017

My Unofficial International LCT Show Agenda

The suite parties, charity fundraisers, and off-the-grid get togethers round out a complete global industry trade show.

February 14, 2017

How To Practice Common Sense Customer Service

It's one of the most important and difficult qualities to hire for, since it emerges in unexpected situations on the job.

February 1, 2017

3 Big Fouls From My First Uber Rides

Operators don't have much to worry about if TNC drivers keep acting like this.

See More

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (3)

Post a Comment



See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - June/Fact Book 2017 $12.95 * Facts & Stats * Directors & Guides *


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