Following yesterday's surprise announcement that the city had reached a deal with Uber, and would not be voting on legislation to temporarily cap Uber's growth at 1% after all, Mayor de Blasio has declared that he is still on track to regulate the $40 million ride-sharing app.
At a press conference in Queens this morning, the Mayor told reporters, "Uber is a multi-billion corporation looking out for its own interests and its own profitability. Let's not kid ourselves about their motivations." We thought they just wanted to do us a solid when the L isn't running!
A big part of this regulation is going to come in the form of mandatory data sharing. According to de Blasio spokesman Wiley Norvell, Uber will now be required to share data about the start times of all of its trips, as well as pick-up and drop-off locations, routes, and trip speeds (before the agreement, Uber only shared the time and pickup locations of each trip). Norvell added that, "We have a shared commitment with Uber to maintaining confidentiality of raw data," and that "this will significantly improve the quality of our traffic analysis."
This morning on CBS the mayor reiterated that Uber has agreed to a four month study of its impact on traffic and the environment, and yesterday Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris made it known that "Uber has also agreed to maintain its approximate current rate of growth and not flood the streets with new licenses and vehicles." The Mayor's office clarified that Uber has agreed not to add as many drivers as possible in the coming months, in anticipation of a cap somewhere down the line.
De Blasio told CBS, "Here's a limit that they've agreed to so we can do a study," adding, "If we ultimately believe there needs to be a cap or some type of additional regulation we'll do that. But for now we get to study and see what the real impact is... If we need to go in a different direction, that's fine."
In the month leading up to yesterday's decision, both the DOT and TLC argued that an uncapped study of traffic and environmental impact would be futile, since a growth cap allows analysts to study baseline conditions.
De Blasio reiterated that Uber has contributed to increased congestion in the city, and that "no private company gets to dictate the rules to government." He also listed some regulations that he'd like to see applied to the app—handicap accessibility, for one, and a surcharge to benefit public transit, both of which already apply to yellow cabs.
Mayor de Blasio to Uber: "There will be rules, I don't care how much money they have, there will be rules." pic.twitter.com/qgDeAKbgjf
— Stephen Nessen (@s_nessen) July 23, 2015
In Queens, de Blasio told the assembled crowd that, no matter what happens, Uber will always be "substantial" in New York City. "That’s a fact that has been lost very quickly in this discussion," he said. "They’re going to be a presence. They do bring value-added. But there’s real issues."
CBS anchor Charlie Rose put it more succinctly: "It seems like Uber, whenever it's challenged, simply gets its way in the end."