In the wake of the sudden closure of the Binghamton Yellow Cab business, another local taxi operator is calling on Broome County to do away with its taxi regulations in order to level the playing field with ride-sharing apps.
Bob Pornbeck is the owner of A-1 Courtesy Cab which is now the last remaining large scale taxi business in Greater Binghamton.
Pornbeck has added some new drivers to handle additional business that will come from the demise of Yellow Cab.
However, he says he’s competing at a disadvantage because ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft are not subject to the county’s taxicab regulations.
Pornbeck says Courtesy Cab must pay a $300 per vehicle registration each year, plus $25 twice a year for inspections.
On top of that, a $250 annual business registration.
And he says it’s harder for him to recruit drivers because they must pay $207 for a cab driver permit.
Pornbeck says it’s unjust for Uber and Lyft not pay the same fees while offering the same service.
Pornbeck says, “There’s no difference. The taxi service is the taxi service. When somebody is moving somebody from point A to point B, they’re a taxi. Doesn’t matter how they get the call, the app that they have, it matters the job they’re doing. Which is taxi service.”
Jim Dadamio, Director of Broome Security which oversees and enforces the regulations, says the state law that legalized ride-sharing apps does not allow local municipalities to regulate them.
And he says the registrations and inspections are necessary to keep passengers safe.
He says 28 taxi cab businesses are currently licensed by the county, including roughly 20 independent operators, so he does not believe the costs associated are discouraging people from getting into the taxi business.
Dadamio says the county-wide regulations, enacted in 2009, replaced a patchwork of rules and fees for cabs operating in Binghamton, Johnson City, at the airport and at the bus hub.