The war is long from over, but it looks like at least one battle between Uber and the Bill de Blasio administration has reached a ceasefire. For now.
Just days before the New York City Council was set to vote on a proposal that would cap Uber, putting a freeze on new drivers, the two have reached an agreement of sorts.
According to the New York Times, de Blasio and the City Council have nixed plans to cap the number of new Uber drivers while a four-month study on the effects of Uber and other on-demand car service companies was conducted. The study will still take place, but new Uber hires will not be blocked during its duration.
A City Council proposal had originally called for Uber’s growth to be halted in the city until the study on traffic and the environment could be completed. De Blasio quickly threw his weight behind it.
Uber always maintained that the move was “less about traffic congestion” and more about “political contributions.”
The fight between companies like Uber and Lyft and the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission goes all the back to their first days of operation in the city. The yellow-cab industry has been adamant about its opposition to Uber, a company that’s become the number one greatest threat to NYC’s cab industry. De Blasio counts the yellow cab industry among his biggest campaign donors.
Uber pulled out all the stops to fight the Council and de Blasio. Just last week, Uber pretty much trolled the hell out of the mayor by adding a “de Blasio” ride option inside its app.
It wasn’t a real ride option, of course, just a way for Uber to show how long it would take to get a ride if de Blasio’s Uber freeze went into effect.
The company started an online petition as well.
“New York overall would not see reduction in congestion from capping for-hire vehicles using Uber but instead would halt progress made through technological innovation over the past few years. Uber’s technology has helped expand service to those who were previously underserved, providing a safe and reliable transportation option to all New Yorkers while looking to a future with fewer cars on the roads — not more,” said Uber.
This debate brought out Uber’s friends in high places, as well.
Limiting new for-hire vehicle licenses and taking away jobs from New Yorkers is not the answer.
— ashton kutcher (@aplusk) July 21, 2015
— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) July 22, 2015
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also took issue with de Blasio’s Uber freeze.
The agreement between Uber and the Council requires Uber to give up some data it’s been holding onto for the study, and a spokesperson for de Blasio said that “Uber must adhere to the agreement … otherwise the cap gets put back on the table.”