The new regulations are meant to boost driver pay and help to lessen congestion in the city. Lyft recently took similar action due to city regulations.
Lyft and Uber both oppose the rules, saying it hurts drivers’ wallets and that it cuts off people in low-income areas from adequate transportation. The New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) implemented new laws against rideshare companies that operate in the city.
“Time and again we’ve seen Mayor [Bill] de Blasio’s TLC pass arbitrary and politically-driven rules that have unintended consequences for drivers and riders,” Uber said in a statement.
TLC Commissioner Bill Heinzen said that the rules hold ride-hailing companies accountable and help make sure they don’t oversaturate the market during peak traffic times.
The new laws involve a cap on how many for-hire cars can be on the road at a time and also establish a minimum pay scale. Drivers also won’t be able to “cruise” as long anymore, or drive around waiting for someone to pick up.
By February, cruising rates need to be down 5 percent, and then later by another 10 percent. Right now, the level is at 41 percent. If ride-hailing companies don’t comply, they’ll either be fined or lose the privilege of being able to operate in the city.
Ridesharing vehicles are estimated to make up around 33 percent of peak traffic hours. Uber countered by saying that there was no proof showing that cutting drivers would positively affect traffic congestion.
Lyft said while its locking out drivers during low-demand times, it also shows them where there’s high demand, or when restrictions are lifted.
The New York Taxi Workers Alliance said Uber was lying to its drivers.
“Uber is now spreading fear and disinformation to New York drivers, attempting to convince workers that rules protecting their livelihoods are to blame for Uber’s greedy policies,” the union said in a statement.