Continuing their war of words with e-hail giant Uber, a top de Blasio administration official charged that the company is catering to the affluent slices of the outer boroughs.
Defending the taxi industry, particularly green cabs that operate beyond Manhattan, First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris said 75 percent of Uber’s fleet remains in the central business district of Manhattan. And the rest, he said, doesn’t necessarily help low-income New Yorkers.
“Frankly, some of the outer borough communities that it serves are serviced in need of service but they’re not necessarily low income communities or struggling communities,” Mr. Shorris said on NY1 last night. “They’re services or places where people can afford to pay the very high fares that are charged, particularly the surge pricing fares.”
An Uber spokesman said Mr. Shorris’ charges were false, claiming that surge pricing occurs in less than 10 percent of all trips and an Uber is, “on average,” cheaper than a taxi. The spokesman said 73, and not 75, percent of Uber trips originate in Manhattan. (During periods of peak demand, Uber will hike its fares, a practice that has been criticized.)
Mayor Bill de Blasio is backing a pair of bills that would drastically curtail the ride-sharing industry’s growth, as well as mandate a study to examine Uber’s impact on roadway congestion. City Hall has argued Uber’s booming fleet is likely tied to slowing traffic in Manhattan. As Uber has aggressively pushed back at the mayor, running slick ads accusing Mr. de Blasio of killing jobs for poor minorities, City Hall has expanded their criticism, flaying Uber for their lax workplace protections and regulatory fights with cities across the world.
But even if the legislation Mr. de Blasio supports passes the City Council as soon as tomorrow, his fight with Uber may not be over. The company, employing former operatives from the Obama, Bloomberg and Cuomo administrations, has corralled support from prominent city Democrats, including Comptroller Scott Stringer and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. At least two members of Congress, Carolyn Maloney and Hakeem Jeffries, voiced their support for Uber.
Mr. Shorris said Uber just needs to know it can’t expect to grow exponentially in New York City.
“We need to have a regulatory strategy that addresses that issue–it’s just not a regulatory strategy that should tolerate unlimited growth of one particular company or even a couple of companies at the expense of everyone else,” he said.