October 24, 2014 9:47:29 AM
OXFORD -- Oxford officials are discussing what they can do to stop the ride-sharing company Uber from operating in the city.
Uber Technologies Inc. provides a smartphone app that allows people to order rides in privately driven cars instead of taxis. Uber drivers use their personal cars and often do it for extra cash to supplement their income at other jobs.
Police Chief Joey East told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal he considers Uber an unlicensed taxi company and as such cannot operate in the city.
Uber officials argue their business is not an unlicensed vehicle-for-hire service.
The company has been running ads in local media to attract business.
Taxi and limo companies in other areas have objected to Uber, arguing the web-based businesses have an unfair advantage and light regulation. Several municipalities nationwide are also grappling with the issue.
Operating in 45 countries, the company website lists service in more than 120 North American communities from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to San Francisco, California, including most cities that are home to Southeastern Conference universities. Oxford is the only place in Northeast Mississippi listed with Uber.
City Attorney Pope Mallette said Uber apparently does not intend to comply with the taxi ordinances or does not encourage their drivers to comply with the ordinances.
"The profit is apparently too great a motive to stop," Mallette said.
Oxford aldermen updated the taxi ordinance earlier this year, revising their requirements after extensive input both from customers and from taxi owners and drivers. New rules included display of city-issued taxi medallions, offering the option for receipts, fee caps and a requirement to videotape the interior of taxis and limos while in service.
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