Uber Pushing Back On New York City’s Plans To Put Limits On For-Hire Vehicle Fleet Expansion

Uber's campaign against Mayor Bill de Blasio has spread to its ride-hailing app.

Uber’s campaign against Mayor Bill de Blasio has spread to its ride-hailing app.

In Uber’s quest to take over the world, expansion is key — the more drivers it has on the roads picking up passengers, the better its business will do. But in New York City, the company will have to fight to grow its fleet as local authorities consider putting limits on just how many for-hire vehicles will be cruising the streets.

City officials could vote as early as next week to limit increases in what’s called new for-hire vehicles (FHV), reports the AFP, as soon as a study on their impact on traffic comes out.

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration could put limitations of just 1% increase in FHVs per year for companies with more than 500 vehicles, and 5% on those that have between 20 and 499 vehicles.

“What is good for Uber may not be good for New York City,” city hall spokesman Wiley Norvell said, noting that there are currently more than 20,000 Uber vehicles in the city, compared to 13,857 yellow cabs.

Every month there are 2,000 new permits granted for FHVs, of which Uber cars are just a part. Average traffic speed has gone down about 9% between 2010 and 2014, reports say, and city hall says NYC’s streets just might not be able to handle a “tide of new vehicles.”

Uber is fighting back with a campaign to sway customers to its side, sending out emails and petitions as well as airing TV ads accusing the mayor of “pushing the agenda of his big taxi donors.” City hall has called the campaign “misleading.”

The ride-sharing service also added a “de Blasio tab” to its app to show users how much longer they’d have to wait for a ride if the bill putting limits on FHV expansion wins approval.

“New York overall would not see a reduction in congestion from capping for-hire vehicles using Uber, but instead would halt progress made through technological innovation over the past years,” the company said. “Uber technology has helped expand service to those who were previously underserved.”

Uber locks horns with New York city hall over plans to limit fleet expansion [AFP]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.