New York imposes restrictions on Uber
The city council of New York is restricting Uber’s taxis. The municipal council decided on Wednesday that no new permits would be given for one year. In this way, the city hopes to reduce the problems of the enormous growth in the number of cars offering transport services.
Minimum rates for taxi drivers
According to Mayor Bill de Blasio, this could put an end to the traffic jam in the city and the meagre rewards of drivers. The city can now determine the minimum rates of pay for taxi drivers. The growth of Uber and Lyft, has driven traditional yellow taxi drivers to despair. They see their business disappear or have to work extremely hard to earn a reasonable income. However, Uber drivers are not much better off, because they too often earn barely 15 dollars net per hour.
Suicide among taxi drivers
New York is even struggling with suicides among taxi drivers. Apps such as Uber are pointed with the finger. Competition is fierce and revenues are falling. Six drivers have committed suicide in New York in recent months. Over the past year, traffic in the streets of Manhattan has been stagnating more and more, due to all the Ubers and their relatives driving around in search of passengers – the average speed is now 7,5 kilometres per hour.
A yellow cab has more rights in Manhattan, but yellow taxis do need the infamous medallion, which they often bought for hundreds of thousands of dollars. An Uber driver is allowed to pick up passengers anywhere, and has never had to invest in an expensive medallion. These medallions, invented in the 1930s, were intended to limit the number of taxis. There are now 13.000 taxis with medallions, but there are also 65.000 Ubers and consorts.
Uber gets nervous
Uber, a company worth tens of billions of dollars, has vehemently opposed the new regulation. It fears that other American cities will follow the example of New York. Outside the US, national and local governments have already restricted, or at least attempted to restrict Uber’s activities. This is already the case in Canada, Brazil and Italy.
The company responds and has already called thousands of customers to ask if they can call council members and tell them they can’t do without Uber, and the app itself also contains warnings: “Some of the proposals (from the city council) are worthwhile, but others will make Uber more expensive and less reliable”.