New York, USA — Uber filed a lawsuit against New York City following the passing of a new rule that would limit the amount of time drivers can cruise certain parts of the city without a passenger.
The New York City council first passed the aforementioned law last August of 2018. This new rule set a limit on how many empty vehicles can “cruise” the streets of Manhattan’s central business district. Subsequently, this forced ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft to reduce deadheading from 41 percent to 31 percent.
Furthermore, the law should supposedly last for only a year, but the city voted to extend it indefinitely in June.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio claims he supports the commission’s decision to extend the cap. “The City’s rules makes our streets safer and is in the best interest of all New Yorkers,” he says. Moreover, he claims that it would “prevent app companies from “taking advantage of hardworking drivers, choking our streets with congestion, and driving workers into poverty.”
However, an Uber spokesperson claims that the cruising cap threatens Uber’s business model. “This arbitrary rule used a flawed economic model, did not take into account how drivers are affected by previous regulations,” the spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, drivers are experiencing varied effects following the implementation of the law. Some drivers say it led to less rides, while others say they’re now earning more than before.
Bhairavi Desai, the executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, also showed his support for the new law. “Uber has plenty of money to sue against life-saving rules that protect drivers drowning in a race to the bottom,” he says. “But apparently not enough money to actually pay drivers.”