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Cabbies Sue Uber in St. Louis Over Lost Business

Uber has been operating in St. Louis while being sued by the city's Taxicab Commission (and Uber is also suing back), but while locals continue to enjoy the ride-hailing app service, aggrieved taxi operators have joined the parade of lawsuits, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports:

Four taxi drivers are suing Uber and seeking class-action status, alleging they’ve seen up to a 40 percent dip in business since the ride-hailing service began operating in violation of local regulations.

The plaintiffs in the suit filed in St. Louis County Circuit Court are Aaron Vilcek and Jeffrey Hamilton, drivers for St. Louis County Cab; Robert Glynn, who drives for Laclede Cab; and Douglas Uchendi, an ABC Cab driver...

The latest suit, which was filed Friday, alleges that Uber’s service and its drivers are “functionally and legally indistinguishable” from taxi services and taxi drivers in St. Louis and St. Louis County.

“The purpose of the suit is to recognize that Uber is operating illegally and as a result of that, the existing taxi drivers are being harmed,” said Gary Growe, the Clayton attorney representing the taxi drivers.

He said if class-action status is granted, the suit could cover the roughly 1,100 cabdrivers licensed by the taxi commission.

Since Uber began operating, the plaintiffs have seen a drop in revenue of 30 percent to 40 percent compared to the same time period last year due to a decrease in passenger calls, the suit alleges. It also says those drops were directly caused by Uber’s entry into the local taxi market...

The plaintiff’s individual damages are less than $75,000 each, the suit says, and the damages sought in a class-action case would be less than $5 million.

My 2014 feature on Uber and its competitors fighting to please customers against governments small and large.

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  • Aresen||

    All your customers belong to us!

    Even though we treated them like shit.

  • Pompey||

    Fuck cabbies, you giant babies!

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    What would be really funny is if this turns out to be something like those whiny-assed fishermen in Alaska in 1989. I wonder if these hacks have any actual independent data to back up their complaint?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    What's the use of paying to be a favored business if competition is allowed to happen?

  • Sevo||

    I hear the candle-makers are considering a suit against Edison's estate.

  • JPyrate||

    DIRECT CURRENT !!! AC IS FOR EXECUTIONS !!!!!!

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    My buggy whip-making ancestors really missed the boat by not suing Henry Ford.

  • Granny Weatherwax||

    My ancestors (some of them) were Belgian lacemakers, when lace started being made cheaply by machines they were forced to leave their homes and come to America.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    The buggy whip makers, on the other hand, attempt to have their cake and eat it too by suing the Ford estate and capitalizing on the 50 Shades fad.

  • ||

    I never got the 'have your cake and eat it too' saying. Why would anyone want to have cake just for the sake of having cake? You want to have cake so you can eat it.

    The adaptation 'have your Kate and Edith too' seems more apropos. Well, maybe not. You might actually want to Edith Kate too.

    Ok. I re-read that. I am clearly drunk.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Yes.

  • Microaggressor||

    “functionally ... indistinguishable”

    How insulting.

  • Cyto||

    And Wal-Mart put the 5 and dime out of business. And Home Depot killed the neighborhood hardware store. And Microsoft (et. al) put the typewriter business on the skids. And Xerox killed off the carbon paper industry.

    Competition works like that.

    And if you are on the losing end of innovation, it sucks.

    Down here in south Florida the huge housing boom of the early 2,000's saw land values skyrocketing. There used to be lots of trailer parks near the beach where retirees would enjoy their golden years beside the ocean. They pretty much all went out of business as the land suddenly became worth tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. Thousands of people had their retirement plans upended. It was very traumatic. People's lives were negatively affected in permanent ways.

    But suing over it is stupid. Net-net the world is a little better off for each innovation, even if you happen to be the 52 year old middle manager at the buggy whip factory who permanently lost his high-paying gig.

    Each one of these government-granted protection rackets (taxi regulations) blocks innovation and keeps the world a little worse than it would be otherwise. I don't expect the people in the middle of it to get that. But our government officials should be able to see the big picture and be statesman who put the wellbeing of the nation first.

    Yeah, and I want a purple unicorn too.

  • The Last American Hero||

    They ought to be suing the city, not Uber. If they thought they were paying for some sort of exclusivity contract when they got their medallions, they should sue the guy that sold them the medallions.

  • See Double You||

    It's a nice little racket. Lobby for anti-competitive regulations (which more than likely withstand any legal challenge), then sue any competitor for "unfair competition."

  • straffinrun||

    I'm suing the guy with 12' and a Shelby for all that tail he got in back when we were in high school. He owes me for 3 years of Natl Geographic and a Sears catalogue.

  • ||

    Cab drivers must be real idiots. Quit your cab and join Uber, or STFU.

  • JPyrate||

  • See Double You||

    At the bottom of it all is the propriety of the regulations themselves. Unfortunately, any constitutional challenge against them triggers the rational basis test, the most permissive legal test ever devised by the courts. I wish Uber luck in its defense against "unfair competition."

  • JPyrate||

  • JPyrate||

  • __Warren__||

    All you Jindal fans are crushed I'm sure.

  • Raven Nation||

    OT & re-posted from late in the PM links.

    Irony? University of Missouri announces job search for Chair in Constitutional Democracy.

  • Tundra, well-chilled.||

    Dammit, Raven. How many times must we go over this? Irony is like a black fly in your chardonnay. Or rain on your wedding day. Or a "No Smoking' sign on your cigarette break.

    Get it right, wouldya?

  • Raven Nation||

  • __Warren__||

    But the cabbies own the rights to those customers and their money. That's how America works!

  • JPyrate||

    #Cabbiewagesmatter

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Sue the fucking government for putting you out of business with their regulation.

  • straffinrun||

    Or just join Uber.

  • __Warren__||

    You can't spell Uber without rube!

  • cavalier973||

    12'

    ???????

  • cavalier973||

    Dear Reason Editors,

    Please move this comment to just beneath straffinrun's.

    Your Obedient Servant,

    cavalier973

  • cavalier973||

    Dear Reason Editors,

    Please move this comment to just beneath straffinrun's.

    Your Obedient Servant,

    cavalier973

  • cavalier973||

    *slowly reaches for pellet gun while maintaining eye contact with squirrel

  • Copernicus would chip||

    Next on the docket:

    Class action suit: The Citizens of St. Louis vs. St. Louis County Taxis.

    Claim: $100million is damages due to shitty service and overcharging. Also, monopoly.

  • Akira||

    I guess we should get rid of movies with sound to avoid throwing theater pianists out of work. And toss out our refrigerators to put ice delivery men back to work. Think of the JOBBBZZ, people!!

  • Granny Weatherwax||

    These ladies are also all out of a job. And they had a union too!

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