Schneiderman gets in on taxi app rules

The AG wants the city to back off rules.

Updated, Nov. 11

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wants the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission to back off rules for dispatching drivers that rival companies Uber and Lyft are fighting, according to a letter his office released Monday.

The TLC wants for-hire-vehicle bases — the kind that allow Uber and Lyft to operate in the city — to get permission if it wants to send out a car affiliated with another base.Lyft had worried that it would lose drivers if they were forced to choose a single company, while Uber has argued that its drivers earn more money with the looser policy on dispatching drivers.

Schneiderman said the TLC would “needlessly restrict competition” despite its “worthy aims.”

“Requiring agreements between competitors raises serious antitrust issues,” Schniederman wrote. “Ultimately, the proposed rule is likely to lead to market consolidation around a small number of the best-capitalized and most well-known services.”

A TLC spokesman said the agency is reviewing Schneiderman’s feedback

Avik Kabessa of the Livery Roundtable and owner of Carmel car service, said traditional bases have always relied on agreements to make sure drivers were available to its customers.

“The proposed rule is only codifying preexisting culture,” he said. “You never tried to infringe on other base’s drivers without an agreement.”