New York now has a law that limits the amount of time application drivers can travel without passengers in busy areas. It is clear that Uber didn’t like that. The reaction came in the form of a judicial process moved against the city last Friday (20).
This is not the only measure in force in the region. Uber also went to court to overturn a rule that prohibits the issue of new licenses for app drivers until August 2020.
The company does not hide that both decisions hamper its operations: “the rules can threaten the viability of the travel sharing system as it currently exists, compromising the benefits that this model has created for users and drivers”.
Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York, does not seem concerned about this. He defended the new regulation saying that the measures will protect New Yorkers from “a company that seeks to put profit first.”
Still in the understanding of the mayor, the two measures are important because they will help to reduce congestion in the city. For other advocates, the limitations should also help clear paths for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport vehicles.
In its defense, Uber recognizes the congestion problem and claims to take steps to alleviate it. An example: the company says it charges an additional fee of US $ 2.75 in races requested in areas with very heavy vehicle traffic as a way to indicate to the user that the request is better to be made at another point or time.
For the company, limiting the time that drivers can travel without passengers is “imperfect and arbitrary”, so it does not solve the problem. In the lawsuit taken to the Manhattan Supreme Court, Uber further claims that the decision violates laws that prohibit cities from interfering in state policies.
Today, New York City requires drivers not to spend more than 41% of their time traveling without passengers. However, that percentage will drop to 36% in February 2020 and 31% six months later.
The new regulation is based on a survey by the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), which found that 30% of vehicles in Manhattan are related to rental services, with the majority being used by platform drivers. like Uber and Lyft.
The survey also found that these cars spend, on average, 41% of their time circulating empty (ie, with drivers waiting for race requests). In practice, the new law requires Uber and the like to take steps to shorten this period.