Uber fights major crackdown in New York
The battle between Uber and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is heating up.
The New York City Council is considering legislation, perhaps as soon as Thursday, which would cap any additional licenses for Uber and other taxi services.e Blasio has argued that the rapid growth of Uber in the city — 2,000 new cars a month, according to the mayor — is a threat to quality of life, as well as to drivers facing more and more competition.
At a press conference Monday, he said there are already many more Uber cars in New York City than there are yellow taxis.
And he rejected a suggestion from Uber that he engage in an online debate with them.
“Uber is a multibillion dollar corporation, and they’re acting like one. They’re looking out for their corporate bottom line,” de Blasio said.
Uber has been fighting back.
There are ads all over New York City featuring people identified as Uber drivers, all minorities who worry about their jobs. “I was pretty much struggling to make ends meet,” said one driver identified as Jashiel. “When I finally came to Uber, it was probably the best thing that happened in my life.”
De Blasio denied that any current Uber drivers would be hurt by the city legislation.
“All the Uber cars out there will continue, and they will continue to grow, just not as exponentially as they were before,” he said. “And that will give us a chance to come up with appropriate regulations.”
Uber has also put a “de Blasio” tab on its app, which shows New York riders needing to wait 25 minutes for a car if the mayor’s new regulations go through.
“This is what Uber will look like in NYC if Mayor de Blasio’s Uber cap bill passes,” said the app. It provides a link for Uber users to email de Blasio and the city council.
Uber and its supporters claim that de Blasio is simply working on behalf of New York’s medallion taxi industry, which reportedly gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to his 2013 election campaign.
“Millionaire medallion owners don’t need help. People like us do,” said another person identified as a Moises in the Uber ad now blanketing New York airwaves.