GOP lawmaker sides with online taxi services in cabbie rift

A Republican member of the House is siding with popular online cab services like UberX and Lyft in an ongoing standoff with Washington, D.C. taxi drivers on Wednesday. 

The union that represents taxi drivers in Washington is holding a slow-morning caravan near the Capitol to protest the fact that internet-based taxi services don't face the same regulations as rank-and-file operators. 

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) took to Twitter on Wednesday to side with the online on-demand taxi services. 

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“Cab unions snarling D.C. traffic,” Franks tweeted. “If your business' success depends on regulating competition out of business, you're doing it wrong.” 

The Washington, D.C. Taxi Operators Association, which is affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union, said its protest was meant to highlight an ongoing problem facing traditional taxi drivers across the country. 

“The services, such as UberX and Lyft, are operating illegally in the city and are stealing work from D.C. taxi drivers,” the union said in a news release.  

“Last year, the city gave the services an extension to operate until regulations were in place,” the news release continued. “The extension ended several months ago but the city failed to enact fair regulations, giving the private sedan services a big competitive edge. There’s a risk to the public as well. For example, drivers for the private sedan services are not required to undergo thorough background checks.”

Traffic delays that were caused by the taxi protest are affecting driverless car rides that were scheduled for lawmakers on Wednesday.