Federal judge: Boston taxi regulations not fair because Uber, Lyft get pass

by Sean Riley


Boston Herald and Commonwealth

A federal judge has ordered the city of Boston to revise its taxi regulations by September, and show why ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft shouldn’t be governed by those rules.

U.S. District Judge Nathanial Gorton’s ruling came yesterday as he dismissed most of Boston taxi medallion owners’ claims against city and state officials. But he allowed cabbies’ claims that their equal protection rights had been violated to move forward, saying so-called transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft are no different than taxis.

“Taxicabs may now be requested in the same manner as TNCs, and TNCs have become fixtures in the transportation-for-hire marketplace, commonly used for the same purposes as taxis,” Gorton wrote. The entire opinion is [HERE

The lawsuit filed in January 2015 claims Boston and the state are unfairly requiring taxi owners to buy expensive medallions while allowing Uber and Lyft to operate without following the same regulations.

“As the value of plaintiffs’ medallions wanes, the medallion financing market has begun to collapse, threatening irreparable harm to the ability of the holders of individual medallions to continue operating in the industry,” Gorton wrote. “Should the balance of hardships continue to shift toward favoring interim relief, the court will respond accordingly.”

“I do think this is a victory for the taxi owners, it does certainly put a tremendous amount of pressure on the city of Boston,” said Jennifer Pinkham, an attorney for the taxi owners.

In a statement, Uber said it is “pleased to see the bulk of these meritless claims were dismissed.”

Bonnie McGilpin, a spokeswoman for Mayor Martin J. Walsh, said the city is still reviewing the order.