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Cab drivers in New York who work with Uber, the on-demand transportation service, recently told Adrienne Jeffries of The Verge that the company is quietly shutting down its taxi service in New York.After being in operation for only about one month, Uber is asking taxi drivers to return company-issued iPhones and stop using the app to pick up passengers.
While Uber CEO Travis Kalanick says that the company is asking “inactive” drivers to return phones, he insists that Uber is still doing taxi trips.
But Uber drivers say that’s not the full story. According to drivers who spoke to The Verge, the company called them into headquarters to pick up their paychecks and promised a bonus for showing up. When they showed up, Uber asked for their phones back and told them the taxi service is no longer available in New York.
Back in September, Uber received a letter from the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission with a reminder that it “has NOT authorised any electronic hailing or payment applications (‘apps’) for use in New York City taxicabs.”
Even though Uber still lists the taxi service in the app, when we tried to request one, it said that there weren’t any taxis available, even in a well-trafficked area of Union Square.
UPDATE: Uber has confirmed that is has shut down its taxi service in New York.
“We did the best we could to get more yellows on the road but New York’s TLC (Taxi and Limousine Commission) put up obstacles and roadblocks in order to squash the effort around e-hail, which they privately have said is legal under the rules,” Kalanick writes on the Uber blog. “We’ll bite our tongues and keep our frustration here to ourselves.”