Ocean City Taxi Company Raises Stakes Against New Competitor Ube - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Ocean City Taxi Company Raises Stakes Against New Competitor Uber

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(Photo: MGN) (Photo: MGN)

OCEAN CITY, Md. --  As Uber gains traction in Ocean City established taxi companies are talking about how they plan to raise the stakes against the competition.

Ralph DeAngelus co-owns Taxi Taxi and says Uber's advantage is convenience, so why not make ordering a cab more convenient for riders?

"It's the exact same thing," DeAngelus said, "the only difference is you talk to a live person when you call us and you just press a button when you talk to Uber. That's the only difference. But that's what we're going to go to."

Taxi Taxi says it's working on offering a mobile app that will make the process of ordering a cab simpler and more convenient to customers, a model similar to Uber.

Many cab companies in Ocean City like Taxi Taxi say Uber is operating at an unfair advantage.

DeAngelus says there's a lack of state funding to enforce the rules for Uber. As a result of that, the co-owner said, Uber drivers can charge sky-high prices at peak hours on weeknights and weekends.

"They're doing their business and there's no one down here to make sure that all the regulations and rules put in place for them are being followed. And it's not fair," said DeAngelus.

But Ocean City's Mayor Rick Meehan sees things a little differently.

"The cab companies certainly have some advantages over Uber," Meehan said, "I'm hoping what it does is it makes everyone a little bit better, makes the cab companies step up what they do, maybe provide even better service."

Some cab companies in Ocean City have decided to move their businesses entirely to Delaware where Uber is state regulated.

Uber recently received approval from Delaware to operate in the state with oversight.

Some of the rules include:

--Uber drivers must undergo multi-state and federal background checks.

--Uber must make sure that drivers undergo annual recertification.

--Drivers will have to let Uber know their method of fair payment and provide an estimate fare for a given destination before picking up a passenger.

--Drivers are required to obtain a valid Delaware business license and Uber is supposed to notify drivers of this legal obligation.

But DeAngelus says that's not what Taxi Taxi will do. Instead he says the town's taxi network may seek approval to raise the rate per mile.

The mayor says the city would be open to approving that request.

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