In what could be called a victory for budget-minded city dwellers nationwide, the New York City Council recently decided not to cap the number of Uber vehicles allowed to operate within the city. However, this is simply a small battle within a greater war. Mayor Bill de Blasio and his comrades have only been backed down temporarily. A four-month study has been commissioned to discover the effect Uber’s vehicles have on the city’s bustling traffic scene. The company’s growth will not be capped during this time period, countering the bill that proposed it should be.
Since Uber burst on the scene in 2011, the value of the yellow cab “medallion” has decreased, causing an uproar from the yellow taxi industry; a New York City institution not accustomed to direct competition. De Blasio‘s opponents have painted him as being a proponent of the traditional yellow cab; a bureaucratic puppet aiming to shoot down the city’s travel alternatives. The yellow cab industry contributed financially to the mayor’s campaign.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, who has publicly feuded with de Blasio, expressed his support of Uber and its supporters in NYC. In what could be called “none of his business,” the governor leaped on the opportunity to further his rivalry with the mayor.
The mayor’s counterparts declare a concern for travel times and excessive traffic caused by unregulated drivers for hire. The number of Uber drivers has increased 60% in the last 4 years according to a NY Times article. The idea is to reevaluate the entire car service industry, says first deputy mayor Anthony E. Shorris, in an attempt to improve mass transit facilities for disabled passengers and raise revenue. The effect of such a booming growth of industry is something necessary to evaluate and analyze according to the mayor’s supporters.
According to the agreement struck Thursday, Uber and the city will cooperate during the evaluation period; Uber sharing its data, pulling ads criticizing the mayor, and even removing an offensive feature from its app called “de Blasio view.” The feature showed riders the amount of time it would take to get a ride if the mayor’s proposed cap succeeded. However, Uber will continue to grow at its current rate of 3%, which was considered detrimental to the analysis by the mayor’s office.
In the bigger picture, the mayor has proposed to limit Uber’s growth to a rate of 1% while the corporation currently enjoys a 3% growth rate.
Both sides claim marginal victories. Uber is happy there will be no cap, for the duration of the study, while the mayor’s team gained the corporation’s data and cooperation. However, yellow cab drivers were upset with the agreement and expected the mayor to stomp on Uber’s growth prior to analysis.
Will de Blasio protect New York City against what has been called “Wal-Mart on wheels?” Will Uber continue to enjoy unregulated growth and revolutionize the car service industry as we know it? To be continued…