After running afoul of East Hampton authorities and officials, the app-based car hailing service Uber has ceased operations in the Hamptons town that includes Montauk.
East Hampton Town reports Uber representatives met Friday with town Supervisor Larry Cantwell and code and law enforcement officials in response to complaints of Uber being partnered with unlicensed taxis and vehicles for hire. The town states that more than 20 drivers claiming to be partnered with Uber were charged with unclassified misdemeanors for operating as vehicles for hire without a town license.
The Uber reps told the town that Uber would pull out of the town immediately, according to the town.
“We applaud Uber for taking the responsible step of suspending their operations until such time that they comply with the town’s licensing requirements,” Cantwell said. “The town will not tolerate any vehicles not complying with our regulations, nor will we allow drivers to be sleeping in vehicles for hire, obstructing traffic and taking up limited parking spaces in hamlet centers that should be available for residents and visitors.”
Uber has responded by asking users to call Cantwell and voice their support for the service.
“Today, the East Hampton Town Supervisor is banning Uber,” the company stated in an email to New York City area Uber users. “New rules would require every single Uber driver-partner to have an office in East Hampton to continue to hold their license, which is impossible for our partners. As a result riders like you will be unable to get reliable, safe rides in any part of East Hampton out to Montauk—effective immediately.”
Cantwell noted, “Even in Uber’s absence from the market, there are more than 220 licensed taxis and vehicles for hire and other public transportation options available in the Town of East Hampton ready to provide services to those in need of a ride.”
Uber’s first summer in the Hamptons was 2013 and it returned in 2014. Whether it will resume operations for the summer of 2015 is up in the air.
“There is an unquestionable need and demand for Uber in the Hamptons because taxi service has been historically unreliable,” Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang said Friday. “For the last several summers, Uber obtained local licenses from the town of East Hampton so residents could get reliable and affordable rides with the push of a button. Unfortunately the East Hampton Town Supervisor and Town Board have changed the rules, banning Uber from the town and denying their constituents access to our service.”