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Lyft Files Lawsuit Against NYC For Cruising Limits

New York City taxi

Lyft has filed a lawsuit against New York City over a mandate limiting the time its drivers are allowed to spend cruising in Manhattan without passengers, Cnet reported on Friday (Oct. 11), following a similar lawsuit by rival Uber last month.

The suit asks that the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission’s (TLC) cruising rule be invalidated. The law imposes a 31 percent cap on cruising time for most vehicles before 11 p.m. Lyft says the mandate is based on old, inaccurate TLC data and doesn’t hold taxis to any caps. 

“Lyft supports comprehensive congestion pricing, which is the most effective way to reduce traffic,” Lyft spokeswoman Campbell Matthews said in a statement to Cnet. “But the TLC’s rushed, arbitrary approach would be a significant step backward for transportation in New York City, which for years has suffered from an inefficient taxi medallion system created by the TLC. This rule is not a serious attempt to address congestion, and would hurt riders and drivers in New York.”

The firm called the rule “highly damaging” and said it was based on “outdated, unreliable data.”

The law was first passed by New York City in August 2018, limiting the number of ride-hailing cars that could be on the street at once. The move was intended to combat congestion and up drivers’ paychecks. Although the measure was supposed to expire in August of 2019, the city voted to keep it and expanded the law to prohibit empty cars in parts of the city 69 percent of the time before 11 p.m. There is an exemption for wheelchair-accessible vehicles and also for all-electric cars.

The taxi industry has remained structurally identical to what it was in 2006 — and even 50 years before that — with drivers who are struggling to make ends meet. And that’s before considering the taxi medallion fiascos that have burdened some of them with onerous debt that they may never be able to repay.

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