Uber announced that new rules around congestion and traffic in New York City threaten its business model. On Friday, this company filed a lawsuit against the city that tries to remove a law that limits the number of time drivers can spend cruising certain busy parts of Manhattan without a passenger.
an Uber spokesman mentioned that “Drivers’ flexibility is already being threatened by Mayor de Blasio’s regulations, and the cruising cap will only make that worse. This arbitrary rule used a flawed economic model, did not take into account how drivers are affected by previous regulations.”
In August 2018, New York City first passed a law that capped the number of ride-hailing vehicles that are allowed on its streets from services like Uber and Lyft.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio mentioned that this decision aimed to fight congestion and provide higher wages to drivers.
The law was set to expire after one year, but the city voted to extend it indefinitely in June.
With this development, the cap additionally set a limit on how many empty vehicles can “cruise” the streets of Manhattan’s central business district. Currently, cars can be empty in set parts of the city for only 31% of the time, except after 11 p.m. The cap doesn’t apply to wheelchair accessible vehicles or all-electric cars.
Currently, another new rule that Uber is fighting in its lawsuit is a ban that the city instituted on giving out new licenses to for-hire vehicles (FHV). The ban is set to last through August 2020.
Seth Stein, the spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio mentioned that “Extending the cap on the issuance of new FHV vehicle licenses for at least the next year in tandem with the cap on cruising is not only legal, but it will also bring needed relief to congested streets and hardworking drivers. “The City’s rules make our streets safer and is in the best interest of all New Yorkers.”
For over the last year, New York City has been cracking down on ride-hailing services. Along with passing laws around congestion, it set rules around minimum wages for drivers, ensuring they get at least $17.22 per hour.