ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A group of locally owned taxi and limousine operators has filed a lawsuit in Bernalillo County seeking to stop ride sharing services Lyft Inc., Uber Inc., and its drivers from operating in New Mexico, according to a release from the group’s attorney.
The Public Regulation Commission, which regulates taxis and limos, previously ruled that Lyft and Uber were in violation of New Mexico law, but the companies have continued to operate. A PRC hearing officer is considering whether the services violate the state Motor Carrier Act and also may consider whether to draft new rules that might include the services.
The taxi and limo owners are seeking damages under the Motor Carrier Act and the Unfair Practices Act, Michael Cadigan, their attorney said in the release.
“These companies are not creating jobs, they are taking jobs away from taxi and limo drivers who choose to obey the law,” said Steve Abraham, president of Yellow Checker Cabs. “They are also putting New Mexicans and their own drivers at risk, because they don’t have proper insurance.”
Albuquerque Cab Company, Yellow Checker Cab Company, Socorro Cab Company, Giant Cab Company and Carey Limousine are the plaintiffs. The defendants are Lyft, Inc., Uber Technologies, Inc., Hinter NM, LLC (the local subsidiary of Uber), and two drivers against whom the Public Regulation Commission has initiated cease and desist orders.
Both Lyft and Uber say the Motor Carrier Act doesn’t apply to them because they don’t operate commercial taxi businesses, but rather provide online programs for people seeking rides to connect through mobile devices with people who have cars. They own no vehicles, employ no drivers, nor transport passengers.