Voters oppose Mayor Bill de Blasio’s attempts to limit the growth of Uber, the e-hail app, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released this morning.
After fierce opposition from Uber last month, Mr. de Blasio temporarily withdrew a proposal to cap how quickly Uber can add cars to its fleet. Mr. de Blasio had argued rising congestion in Manhattan could be attributed to Uber’s rapid expansion.
But voters oppose 47 to 40 percent the proposal to limit Uber cars, according to the poll. Voters also said 53 to 34 percent that a limit on Uber would not reduce traffic.
“Mayor Bill de Blasio was forced to back-track on his plan to limit the number of cars Uber could use, probably a good idea since more voters oppose the cap,” said Quinnipiac University Poll Assistant Director Maurice Carroll.
Uber’s fierce PR campaign against Mr. de Blasio played a role in his declining poll numbers, City Hall argued last week. With the help of Obama, Bloomberg and Cuomo administration veterans, Uber spent millions on television ads to portray Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, as a puppet of the yellow taxi industry, which opposes the e-hail giant and donates generously to Mr. de Blasio. Mr. de Blasio fought back by charging that the company is another greedy corporation trying to flout governmental regulations.
Voters say 65 to 18 percent that elected officials are trying to limit Uber because of campaign donations from the yellow cab industry rather than the best interest of the city, according to the poll. There is widespread agreement in every party, gender, racial, age and borough group.
But Uber is still not the preferred mode of transit for New Yorkers. Traditional car service is the preference for 43 percent of voters, while 24 percent prefer a yellow cab and 19 percent prefer Uber. It’s also a bit of an unknown quantity, despite the controversy: only 21 percent of New York City voters have used Uber. The e-ahil app has a 42–15 percent favorability rating, though 40 percent don’t know enough about it to have an opinion.
A spokeswoman for Mr. de Blasio, Karen Hinton, said the mayor is “reviewing an effort” to improve the for-hire car industry, including yellow taxes. “This exercise is designed to make life for New Yorkers a lot easier so that when they need a cab, they can find a safe, accessible ride, fairly priced. At the end of the day, we believe New Yorkers will be pleased with the result,” she said.
Updated with comment from Ms. Hinton.