Popular app-based taxi service Uber not regulated by state, Hoboken mayor wants new legislation

A popular cell phone app that uses GPS

A popular cell phone app that uses GPS technology to pair riders to drivers is currently illegal in Hoboken. (Credit: News 12 New Jersey)

HOBOKEN - A popular cellphone app that uses GPS technology to pair riders to drivers is currently illegal in Hoboken, but it doesn't appear to be stopping drivers from tapping their way to where they need to go.

When she needs a ride somewhere in Hoboken, Noelle Fraind would rather tap a screen then hail a cab. "My credit card is hooked right up to Uber," she says. "No hassle, and they're there within like a minute, two minutes no matter where I am in town."

Taxi drivers like Eddie Mark, see Uber as unfair competition. He says Uber drivers are not saddled with the same licensing requirements and expenses he faces. "Because we're here, we have to pay the rent," he says. "We have to pay the tax. We have to pay the gas, mechanic. We pay a lot of money to work here."

Mayor Dawn Zimmer believes Uber provides a service Hoboken residents want, but says her hands are tied.
By ordinance, it's currently illegal for drivers to pick up fares if they're not licensed by the city. But the mayor says Trenton needs to act first. "My concern as the mayor is that we need to make sure that we are complying with state law," she says.

Zimmer has already urged local lawmakers to pass legislation that would enable Hoboken to regulate services like Uber and force them to require background checks and insurance.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Uber says, "We will continue to stand up for our driver partners against police intimidation tactics, and we call on New Jersey policymakers to keep working with us and put an end to this deplorable conduct."

Until that legislation passes, authorities say Hoboken drivers should be careful if they plan to pick up customers. They face fines of up to $1,000 if caught.

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