July 22, 2015
(Ferenstein Wire) -New Yorkers overwhelmingly oppose placing caps on the number of Uber cars. In a poll of 500 people in Manhattan conducted by the Ferenstein Wire with Google Surveys (methods detailed here), 66% of respondents said they opposed placing limits on the number of cars that Uber could have on New York City streets.
“It is no surprise that an overwhelming majority of New Yorkers are joining the New York Times, NY Daily News and NY Post in their opposition of Mayor de Blasio’s proposal to cap Uber,” an Uber spokesperson wrote to The Ferenstein Wire.
New York Mayor de Blasio and a number of city councilmen have come under intense scrutiny for proposals regulating Silicon Valley ride-hailing services. De Blasio’s plan would limit ride-hailing companies with more than 500 for-hire drivers to 1% growth, until the city finishes a study examining whether such companies are causing traffic congestion (Uber and Lyft both plan for thousands of new drivers).
Essentially, the plan makes Uber more like cab companies, which artificially limit the number of drivers on the road. The New York Times editorial board, among many others, have been quick to criticize this as a poor way to alleviate traffic congestion.
The NYT editorial board’s opinion seems to jive with the available evidence: MIT found that with Uber’s new carpoooling service, 95% of all taxi trips could be shared, dramatically reducing overall city traffic congestion. Taxis do not have this option.
As a result, Uber argues that the proposed regulation is more to protect the taxi industry (a major donor to Mayor de Blasio) than it is about congestion. I’m inclined to agree: two years I ago I predicted that Mayor De Blasio would regulate the sharing economy and side with unions — exactly as he is doing now.
Either way, New Yorkers are generally not a fan of the proposal.
“[U]ber isn’t the problem,” wrote one of the survey’s respondents. “[I] support a law limiting the amount of new drivers for uber and the grand total of available uber cars in the street but nowhere near as harsh as de blasio would want it,” wrote another respondent.
The city will be voting on this and other related proposals in the near future. Methodological details of the survey can be found here.
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