Uber sees balance of support, opposition at Portsmouth public forum
PORTSMOUTH- Uber drivers pleaded their case at a public forum Wednesday, as the city's taxi drivers continue to call on the Taxi Commission to kick Uber out. Merle White, also known as the "Crabby Cabbie" owns Anchor Taxi, he says if the commission let's Uber stay, then no one should have to follow any rules.
"If you want them to operate in the city then disband this commission and everybody can take their lights off and everything and run the way they want," White said.
The majority of Portsmouth residents who came to speak say they either support Uber as an alternative or at least think the conversation needs to continue. Pat Bagely says she's never used Uber but is interested in the service.
"I think there are enough intelligent people in this city who can figure out how to make this work and have regulations and certainly drivers should be vetted fully," Bagely said.
Many speakers asked the commission to look at how other cities have handled Uber. This, as Uber has agreed to share their data with the city of Boston. Meantime the state of Massachusetts has proposed requiring ride-hailing companies obtain state operations certificates, conduct criminal background checks among other things.
Portsmouth cab companies want to see similar action taken in New Hampshire.
The Taxi Commission will take all of the information they got at the public forum and gather a report when they meet next week. They'll present report to the City Council next month.