Cab companies call for change

Cab companies call for change

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Cab companies are joining their competitors to rally for regulations for drivers in Myrtle Beach, their target is the controversial ride-sharing service called Uber.

This week, nearly 95 percent of the cab company owners sat down with attorney Jim Irvin and created the South Carolina Safety and Transportation Association.

“Its sole purpose is to provide safety to the riders of taxis in Myrtle Beach and other areas in this state,” explained Irvin.

Cab companies are highly regulated within the city limits, with multiple expenses for medallions, inspections and places to park.

Owners spend thousands every year to keep the cars up to code. Standards include having vinyl seats which are easier to clean and rotating out tires. However, Uber drivers are not held to the same standards.

“They don't tell you who their drivers are, what kind of car, it is impossible to regulate those drivers,” said Irvin.

The group presented to the Myrtle Beach City Council on Tuesday morning, to ask for help in fighting back against unlicensed, unregulated drivers.

“We've asked them to broaden their enforcement of Uber, the people that don't have their license, people basically operating off a website with their own car,” explained Irvin.

During the council workshop, city leaders agreed with the cab companies. Councilmen voiced their understanding that this negatively affects cab drivers and is eating into their profits. They told the group that police officers are performing stings to catch unregistered drivers operating in city limits. If they are caught, drivers can face fines and have their car seized.

In a statement on Uber's behalf, Kaitlin Durkosh wrote: “Rather than trying to stifle competition and consumer choice, these taxi companies should spend their time thinking about how to improve their service for riders and drivers.  From our comprehensive federal, state and local background checks to our $1M primary insurance policy for all trips, Uber is setting the bar for safety in South Carolina.”

Cab company owners said they are looking into creating their own app to be more competitive with app-based companies such as Uber.

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