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Massachusetts taxi drivers will sue over ride-sharing law

Two groups of Massachusetts taxi drivers agreed Friday afternoon to sue the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in federal court over a new ride-sharing law signed only hours earlier, the American Media Institute has learned.

 

The new law violates the taxi operators’ constitutional right to equal protection of the laws, their attorney, Jenifer Pinkham, said late Friday.

 

“The law that’s on the books says cities and towns have exclusive authority to regulate taxi cabs,” Pinkham said. 

But the law signed Friday lightly regulates ride-sharing services statewide, while forbidding municipalities from imposing additional rules. That leaves taxi operators burdened with much more restrictive and more costly regulations, she said.

“If the state wants to create some sort of floor and let cities and towns regulate them further, that’s fine. But preemption is not something the industry can accept,” Pinkham said.

 

The Boston Taxi Owners Association and a statewide taxi group called Mass Tip agreed Friday to sue the state, Pinkham said.

 

She also represents taxi drivers and owners in two separate lawsuits filed earlier this year against Boston and Cambridge. Those suits also allege that lighter regulations on ride-sharing services are a violation of the Constitution’s equal-protection clause.


No one at Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s press office could be reached for comment. A spokesman for Lyft declined to comment.