Cab drivers rally in protest of Uber

By Karen Castro | kcastro@8newsnow.com

Published 05/29 2015 09:02PM

Updated 05/29 2015 11:49PM

On a daily basis, tourists who try to catch a ride from McCarran International Airport have to deal with long lines and wait times.  So, many people are hoping ride-sharing companies like Uber will soon be able to operate locally.

Nevada legislature approved legislation giving companies like Uber and Lyft the green light; now these companies are just signature away from operating in Nevada.  Something local cab drivers aren't too happy about.

On Friday, in a last ditch effort to prevent Uber's arrival to the state and the Las Vegas valley cab drivers walked off the job Friday.  They were hoping the rally at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and E. Flamingo Road would influence the governor's decision to legalize ride-sharing companies like Uber.

"We don't want to stop working; we love our job; we love our city and communities, but enough is enough.  If you want them to come, regulate them just like you do with the rest of the companies that's all we ask for," said L.D. Willis, cab driver, Yellow Checker Star.

Cab drivers say Uber and companies like Uber isn't safe because it doesn't require background checks or driving safety classes.

According to Uber's website, their drivers undergo a background check and have liability insurance.

When 8 News NOW asked a few tourist what they thought about Uber, the reaction seemed to be mixed.
 
"I like with Uber," Neb, a visitor from Los Angeles resident said.  "I like that people can make a living and they dont have to worry about working for a big company."

"I've always been a fan of cabs, but I've never tried the Uber," said Rachell Allen, visiting from Florida.  "I'm just afraid cause you never know who has been in an accident, or if the car is running right, or if it's going to die on the side of the road.  I always think of that."

It's been an uphill battle to getting Uber this close to doing business in the state.  Drivers for the company did have a short stint in Las Vegas, but they were stopped by the Nevada Taxicab Authority.  Shortly after, Uber was sued, and an injunction by the court injuction stopped all its services.
 
However, Uber never gave up the fight, and the company lobbied in the legislature for months.  Apparently, it paid off because now there are two pieces of legislation sitting on the governor's desk that would regulate ride-sharing companies and implement a 3 percent tax on fares.
  
It's expected to generate tens of millions of dollars, including funding for a new medical school at UNLV.

Uber said their focus is to provide transportation for under-served areas away from the busy Las Vegas Strip and the airport.

"Tens of thousands of Nevadans demanded the return of Uber to the Silver State -- and their collective voices were heard loud and clear," said Steve Thompson, General Manager.  "Thanks to Governor Sandoval and the bipartisan support of the Nevada legislature, riders and drivers can soon get back on the road, with greater access to transportation choices and flexible income opportunities."

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