By Philip Marcelo, Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — Taxicab and rideshare drivers are debating about regulating popular transportation companies like Uber and Lyft at a packed public hearing in downtown Boston.

Gov. Deval Patrick, who leaves office Jan. 8, wants to give the state the power to regulate rideshares, which allow users to request and pay for a car service through their cellphone.

Uber (WBZ-TV)

Uber (WBZ-TV)

But cab drivers and other industry representatives complained Wednesday that the state is trying to legitimize an industry that has been operating illegally for years, at the expense of the highly-regulated taxi industry.

Officials from Uber and Lyft support the proposal but suggested some changes.

They also defended their business model, which they said offers a safer, more reliable and lower cost transportation option as well as additional job opportunities for local residents.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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