Back on Friday, I shared news that Uber, the high-tech luxe car dispatch service, had run into a spot of trouble with Massachusetts regulators. Bay State authorities questioned whether Uber’s smartphone-based GPS metering system met the state’s standards of commerce.
On Tuesday, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick alerted the company’s Boston-area patrons to the issue, saying it was the company’s “strong belief that the technology and service we offer does not violate existing law and regulations.” That was followed by a flurry of angry tweets and e-mails to important people up that way, and lo and behold, the Commonwealth changed its tune on Wednesday.
A statement from Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration announced that because GPS metering devices are in fact currently being evaluated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Uber’s system is “currently not out of compliance with state law and free to continue operating.”
“Massachusetts is a leader in innovation and we applaud Uber’s innovative spirit and welcome their competition into the commercial passenger transportation market,” said the statement, from Barbara Anthony, the state’s head of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.
Patrick tweeted Wednesday evening about the resolution:
Boston Mayor Tom Menino also tweeted in support:
Perhaps you’re wondering: Why does this matter to me, a user of Uber’s services in D.C.?
Because District officials, while somewhat accommodating to Uber and its Twitter army, have not been entirely so, and now it seems D.C. is again the main battleground in Uber’s sporadic fights with regulators. Expect to hear more at a D.C. Council hearing this fall.