Yellow cab drivers and allies protested Gov. Andrew Cuomo's support of Uber outside his Manhattan office yesterday, and said they opposed the app companies' business model.
"There is a great tradition of exploitation in the yellow cab industry, and Uber is the latest facet of it," said New York Taxiworkers Alliance organizer and retired cab driver Bill Lindauer, 72, of Long Island City.
The Alliance was angered when Cuomo opposed a proposed cap on Uber in New York City over the summer. It is also concerned that state legislators will loosen regulations on app companies like Uber, such as by classifying them as transportation network companies through legislation.
A group that includes cabbies, medallion owners, and disability advocates gathered in front of the governor's Manhattan office to demonstrate. Yellow cabs honked when they passed them.
The governor's office declined to comment.
"I am concerned the yellow taxi might just evaporate from New York City," said medallion owner Max Yaloz, 48, who made the investment in 1984.
He said he wants the Taxi and Limousine Commission to consider adding wi-fi to yellow cabs to help them compete against Uber, and that he hopes passengers will start using the yellow cab app Arro.
"It's affecting me, because drivers are moving away from yellow," he said. "It's the symbol of New York."
Edith Prentiss, an advocate for wheelchair-using riders, said she was angered that none of Uber's cars are accessible. She wants the Taxi and Limousine Commission to make it a requirement
"Only the yellow and green [cab] industry are providing service for wheelchair-using people," she said. "They don't have vehicles."