BUFFALO, N.Y. — One of the busiest nights of the year for taxis is drawing near, but one company says it will avoid having its cabs in downtown Buffalo on New Year's Eve.
It's a message to lawmakers as the taxi industry fights for survival with the introduction of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft this year.
Liberty Yellow Cab says it keep its cars away from downtown on New Year's. The company will also end its long tradition of giving out free rides to people who've had too much to drink.
“With all the commotion that ride-sharing was going to be the cure-all to stop DWIs. They made that position they're going to solve that issue,” said Bill Yuhnke, Liberty Yellow Cab president. “I decided let them solve that issue.”
Taxi companies argue they're at a disadvantage to ride-hailing because they have different regulations for pricing and insurance requirements.
They presented their case to Buffalo Common Council this week.
“Whether it's ride-share or taxis, I just want to see something fair and I want to protect the residents of Buffalo and visitors who come to Buffalo,” said Joe Golombek, Buffalo Common Council.
Taxi companies are also unhappy about the ride-hailing pickups zones, like the one near KeyBank Center. That's because Uber and Lyft don't have to pay the same fees to the city as cab stands do. Golombek says the Common Council plans to have further discussions about these issues.