Kevin McKenna, a dispatcher for Long Beach Taxi has had around a 50 percent drop in his business to Uber drivers operating illegally in Nassau County.
“It’s sad. You know it’s hurting the business and all the way down to the individual drivers that don’t deserve it. These are guys who are trying to make an honest living in their own town,” said McKenna.
Long Beach Taxi gets business from their nightlife scene, which consists of a half a mile of bars in the cities “West End.”
McKenna said Uber drivers pick up passengers in the West End on weekend nights. He tries to combat the Uber drivers by sending out a large number of his cabs but he said the problem is there’s no incentive for them to come in.
“I can’t convince these guys listen if you all come in I know you’re going to make less money but lets just do this for a couple of weeks. Let’s just keep fighting them in numbers,” said McKenna.
“Freddy,” one of Long Beach Taxi’s drivers who only gave me his first name, has been driving for Long Beach Taxi and works mostly on the weekends. He’s seen Uber grow over time and is frustrated by the lack of a level playing field.
“It should be all the same. It should be regulated. I drive in long beach. I get fingerprinted the usual things and Uber doesn’t have to do anything,” said Freddy.
The Nassau County Taxi and Limousine Commission said they have seven investigators on staff who enforce the rules and regulations of the Nassau county taxi and limousine and commission.
Nassau County Taxi and Limousine Commissioner, Greg Mays, said the investigators are in areas where people are likely to take cabs, including industrial parks, shopping malls, train stations, bars, restaurants and concerts venues.
“The investigators are the enforcement agents so they’re out every day going to hot spots looking for illegal for hire vehicle activity which includes transportation network companies that might not be licensed. That can include what the industry calls bandit cabs who are operating out of their cars,” said Mays.
May said part of the issue is NYC has been issuing Uber Drivers licenses and registrations that they have then used to operate illegally in Nassau County.
The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission responded “the TLC has no jurisdictional authority outside of the five boroughs of New York City.”
In a statement from Uber they responded “Currently, there are inconsistent regulations across the State and our goal is work with New York leaders on an approach that allows all New Yorkers to request an affordable, reliable and safe ride at the touch of a button.”