Andrew Cuomo Sidesteps City Hall’s War With Uber

Uber charges passenger 16K for a 30-minute ride (Photo: Bloomberg/ Getty Images)

The Uber app. (Photo: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images) (Photo: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the explosion of the ride-sharing industry is an issue New Yorkers will have to grapple with statewide, but stopped short of taking sides in the de Blasio administration’s battle with Uber.

Mr. Cuomo, speaking after an unrelated event in Breezy Point, Queens today, said he would be “reviewing” Uber’s explosive growth.

“There’s a lot of upside to what they do, there’s a car-pooling feature that they offer that could possibly even reduce the number of cars on the road and reduce the cost,” Mr. Cuomo told the Observer. “On the other hand, they are catching on like wildfire which could possibly increase the numbers so it has to be studied so it’s something we’re now reviewing because it is going to have an impact beyond New York City.”

Mr. Cuomo declined to weigh in on a pair of City Council bills that would drastically cap the growth of ride-sharing services. Mayor Bill de Blasio is pushing the legislation, citing concerns over workplace protections for drivers and growing congestion, but Uber is mounting an aggressive counter-attack. The company created an anti-de Blasio option within the ride-hailing app and is running television ads pointing to the amount of working class people they employ.

Mr. de Blasio, a proud progressive Democrat, is now pitted against another prominent Democrat: Uber’s chief adviser is David Plouffe, the architect of President Obama’s 2008 campaign. Mr. Plouffe argued this week that Mr. de Blasio is too beholden to the taxi and limousine industry, which faces increased competition from Uber.

No matter the outcome of the Council vote, Mr. Cuomo insisted counties throughout the state would have to decide how to handle the ride-sharing industry.

“This is not a city issue. This is going to be an issue for cities all across the state so it’s something that we are looking at because obviously these companies operate in New York City–they also operate in Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester et cetera,” he said.

A vote on the bills may be scheduled as early as next week, sources say.