Battle Brewing Between Uber And DC Taxi Commission

The chauffeured-car service’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, gives us an exclusive update on the conflict.

By: Carol Ross Joynt

Kalanick responds to the impounding and ticketing of an Uber car this morning. Photograph courtesy of Uber.

The drama is heightening between the upstart luxury livery service Uber, which is trying to make inroads in Washington, and the DC Taxicab Commission. The San Francisco–based Uber began service here last month. This week, the District’s taxi commission accused the service of “being illegal.” One of Uber’s cars was impounded and the driver ticketed this morning for not having insurance, according to CEO Travis Kalanick, who says the driver “did have insurance. We don’t know why he got ticketed.”

Kalanick says he’s made attempts via e-mail to reach Taxicab Commission chairman Ron Linton or a member of his staff, but has received no response. He admits he has not tried phoning. He asks The Washingtonian to post his e-mail address—travis@uber.com—hoping that Linton will see it and contact him. “I am happy to have him send me an e-mail directly.”

Kalanick says the driver, who had his car impounded and ticketed, “doesn’t know what he’s done wrong,” and adds that he himself has received no ticket or citation.

“We have a lawyer we’re working with on this,” he says, “but it’s hard for a laywer to do anything with no official complaint and no statute. So far, Linton has only talked to the media, but not to us.”

For more on Uber, read our earlier interview with Kalanick.