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Cab Companies In An Uproar Over ‘Uber’

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – There’s a battle for the roads of Denver between the city’s cab companies and a new transportation service called “Uber.”

The state Public Utilities Commission heard both sides of the argument Monday, and Monday evening Uber held a party.

Uber is an app that allows users to easily and quickly call a car to drive them wherever it is they need to go. But the cabbies in town say it’s unregulated and is price gouging customers.

There’s a lot of down time for the downtown cabbies.

“We follow the regulations, they are not,” a cab driver told CBS4.

Cab drivers say thanks to Uber there’s less business than usual.

“I don’t know how many taxis this city can serve. There are so many unknown taxis and limos we see in this city, so we don’t like them, actually,” the driver said.

Uber is a smartphone app that brings together drivers and customers. It automatically locates where people are by GPS and then they set their pick up location. It doesn’t own the cars that pick people up, but rather it coordinates the rides. It also shows how far away the closest driver is.

It’s all done online. There’s no phone number and the user’s credit card is stored so it bills them automatically. It costs about twice as much as a traditional taxi.

“It starts with our motto, ‘We’re everyone’s private driver,’ “Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said.

Kalanick says quick and simple service is worth the money.

“The taxi industry is not happy about us being in Denver because we not only provide high quality of service with the network of limo companies we work with, but it’s also a very quick pick up,” Kalanick said.

He says all the drivers are regulated by other transportation companies and his business merely fills their down time with customers wanting quick luxury at a price.

Cab drivers say there’s not enough room on the road to share with the newcomer in town. The PUC regulations will decide if Uber is welcome and permitted to compete in Denver.

The judge in Monday’s hearing said he won’t recommend that companies like Uber be under the same regulations that taxi companies are. There will be more hearings next month.

MORE FROM CBS4 PARTNER THE DENVER BUSINESS JOURNAL: Colorado regulators ponder licensing ride arrangers like Uber

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