This Website use Cookies OK

Read more NEW YORK News News

Uber files lawsuit against NYC to stop new law that would impose cruising cap on for-hire drivers


The city is driving for-hire vehicle operators to distraction with an arbitrary new cruising cap law that is neither feasible nor fair, according to a lawsuit filed by Uber Friday in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Drivers are already saddled with a myriad of fees and regulations not shared by yellow taxi operators, and a cap on cruising will only make it harder for them to earn money, the Uber lawsuit said.

“While reducing congestion in Manhattan is an important goal—and one Uber has publicly and vocally supported—the August 2019 rule is the product of a rushed and unlawful process, including reliance on flawed and arbitrary economic modeling, which was designed to arrive at a predetermined result that is likely not even feasible,” Uber argued in court papers.

“No city in the country has implemented an FHV cruising cap setting cruising at any level, yet the city selected its cruising cap number arbitrarily without even considering less restrictive options, without consulting with the affected companies about its impact," the suit alleges.

At issue are new rules that limit the amount of time for-hire vehicles dispatched by Uber, Lyft and others can spend cruising without passengers in the most congested parts of Manhattan.

The city has been flooded with vehicles, and officials have been pushing various proposals to provide congestion relief.

But Uber officials said the rules are unnecessarily rigid, and were implemented over the objection of city council members and community groups. A dozen council members called on the Taxi & Limousine Commission to put off a vote on the cruising cap until a new TLC commissioner is appointed.

“Drivers’ flexibility is already being threatened by Mayor de Blasio’s regulations, and the cruising cap will only make that worse," Harry Hartfield, an Uber spokesman, said in a statement. “This arbitrary rule used a flawed economic model, did not take into account how drivers are affected by previous regulations, is preempted by the state and was voted on despite the objection of City Council members and community groups.”

But City Hall said it’s not backing away from the cruising cap.

“We will continue fighting for the people of New York City against a company that seeks to put profit first, and the people and drivers they serve last,” said Seth Stein, a spokesman for Mayor de Blasio. “Extending this cap for at least the next year is not only legal, it will bring needed relief to congested streets and hardworking drivers.”

Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, said the cap is needed to protect drivers’ incomes.

"Uber has plenty of money to sue against life-saving rules that protect drivers drowning in a race to the bottom — but apparently not enough money to actually pay drivers,” Desai said. "Last week, Uber blamed the minimum wage and utilization rate on the company’s decision to log drivers off. Now, Uber wants to be able to flood the streets without limit and keep app drivers with their cars empty for longer, all the while wiping out yellow taxis and other sectors.”