ATLANTIC CITY — When state regulations took effect this summer allowing ride-hailing services to operate here, longtime Atlantic City Yellow Cab Co. owner Murray Rosenberg said his business would suffer.
Seven months later, Rosenberg says the 102-year-old, family-owned company might have to cut back its services because of the competition.
While the company plans to continue to operate, it will have to change its approach, Rosenberg said. Atlantic City Yellow Cab Co. has been considering ceasing operations of its central dispatch and two-way radio system, he said.
If so, the company would keep its cars on the streets and in places such as casinos and in taxi stands, but the 24-hour dispatch system to send cabs to riders would be eliminated. Rosenberg was not set on a date for the changes.
“We were trying to reduce our expenses any way we can,” Rosenberg said. “It’s certainly not something we want to do.”
Former Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation in February 2017 that set safety standards and consumer protections for ride-share companies and drivers who use apps to pick up passengers, such as Uber and Lyft.
Under that law, which took effect May 1, transportation networks can legally operate among municipalities, and cities cannot impose their own regulations on drivers and cannot issue tickets just because they aren’t operating with a commercial driver’s license.
Uber drivers had expressed frustration about receiving tickets from city mercantile officers for not having a commercial license, but Rosenberg and Atlantic City Director of Licensing and Inspection Dale Finch said they had concerns the taxi and limo industries would suffer.
Finch said the taxi company advised his office they plan to terminate the two-way radio system.
“I knew it was coming,” Finch said. “Uber and Lyft are putting a tremendous dent in the taxi industry — not only in the city, but everywhere.”
Finch said he would like to be able to regulate the ride-hailing services, but the legislation has his hands tied.
Rosenberg said the drivers with the ride-hailing services don’t have the same expenses the taxi industry does and don’t have commercial licenses. As of this summer, Atlantic City had 250 taxi medallions, for which taxi drivers each paid an annual fee of $60 plus a $150 annual fee for each medallion.
According to Uber, each ride is covered by $1.5 million of commercial insurance the company maintains.
Danielle Filson, a spokeswoman for Uber, said in a statement that Uber provides transportation for about 2 million riders in New Jersey and employs “tens of thousands” of drivers in the state.
“We are glad that elected officials took action to provide strong, commonsense statewide regulations,” Filson said in a statement.
Taxi companies in the city and around the country will need to adapt to the changing industry, Finch said.
Rosenberg said the company has been experimenting with a model that could help their business, such as a remote dispatch system and an app.