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E. Hampton supervisor pens letter to guv about Uber concerns

An Uber car idles after dropping of

An Uber car idles after dropping of a passenger in lower Manhattan on July 16, 2015. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

East Hampton Supervisor Larry Cantwell plans to send a letter to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo about the town’s problems with Uber and local taxis in a bid to gain consideration before any statewide regulation of such companies is proposed.

“The governor has announced he intends to introduce legislation with respect to Uber, and I want to bring this to the governor’s attention and get into the discussion issues we have had in respect to vehicles for hire, including taxis and Uber-type applications,” Cantwell said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

Uber is an app-based cab hailing service. Cantwell opposes the idea of having the state control the services and superseding local laws. He declined to reveal what he will include in the letter to Cuomo.

In June, the popular Uber stopped service in East Hampton after more than 20 of its drivers were cited during the Memorial Day weekend for not meeting local licensing requirements. Even before the charges relating to the licensing were made, town officials and local cabbies complained of Uber drivers clogging streets with their vehicles and sleeping overnight in their cars.

Cuomo said in October that he was in favor of creating a “statewide franchise” for companies such as Uber.

“I want him to find a way to include in the legislation changes that would help control the situation we [in East Hampton] have,” Cantwell said. “The details of that we will prepare in a letter and communicate to the governor’s office and state representatives.”

Cantwell said he expected to send the letter “sometime within the next several weeks – it’s not prepared as of yet. We’re going to have some very specific recommendations to make that will help us control public safety and traffic.”

When asked to comment Wednesday on Cantwell’s letter plan and his claims about Uber drivers, Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang declined to give a direct response and instead issued this emailed statement:

“Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers are clamoring for services like Uber across the State - from potential driver-partners who want to use the platform to earn money to riders who want a safe, reliable and affordable way to get around their communities. Uber has the potential to bring 13,000 jobs to New York at a time when the state economy is experiencing a revitalization.”

In November Uber formed “NY Needs Uber,” a growing coalition of supporters seeking passage of a statewide regulatory framework for the app-based ride-sharing service. Included is the New York State Restaurant Association, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and “Sopranos” and “Goodfellas” actress Lorraine Bracco. Last week the Long Island Association – Long Island’s largest business organization – became the first Long Island group to join.

Anfang said that currently the only Uber service available on Long Island is between Nassau County communities and New York City.

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