Uber Drivers face towing, fines at Newark Airport
Newark's chief prosecutor has warned Uber Technologies Inc. that the company's drivers are repeatedly violating the city's taxicab ordinance, and that those operating at Newark Liberty International Airport and Penn Station in Newark will have their cars towed and face fines.
"I have instructed our police department effective Feb. 22 to immediately tow Uber drivers operating in and around Newark Airport and Newark Penn Station," wrote Evans C. Anyanwu, the city's chief prosecutor, in a letter sent late last month to Salle Yoo, Uber's general counsel in San Francisco.
"After Feb. 22, the continued violation of the city's laws will result in civil and criminal penalties for Uber and its drivers," said the letter, a copy of which was obtained Wednesday by The Record.
Uber said Wednesday it is not backing away from that business, and would not advise drivers, who are independent contractors, to avoid those areas.
"Instead of trying to restrict competition and consumer choice, Newark should be welcoming the thousands of drivers who use Uber to earn income and support their families," said company spokesman Craig Ewer in an e-mail.
"We'll continue to stand by our driver-partners by fully compensating those subject to unjust fines or citations as a result of the city's actions," Ewer said.
The app-based car-for-hire service has been operating largely unregulated in New Jersey for a couple of years and says it has about 15,000 independent contractor drivers in the state. Limousine and taxi drivers in Newark and elsewhere in New Jersey complain that Uber drivers are not properly licensed or insured.
Uber said it provides $1.5 million in commercial liability insurance for drivers in New Jersey, which is the amount required under a state limousine law.
However, the state Department of Banking and Insurance has warned consumers and those who drive for app-based car-for-hire companies that such coverage has not been tested in the courts.