Uber and Lyft, the major players of the app-based ride-hailing industry, criticized New York City’s plans to tighten regulation on their services.
The two companies complained that new regulations would hinder innovation and take away their competitive advantage over traditional taxi services.
On Thursday, Michael Allegretti from Uber told the NYC’s Taxi and Limousine Commission that the proposed regulation would “crush” Uber drivers. But the commission replied that the new rules don’t introduce major changes in the established legal framework.
According to new rules, ride-hailing companies must brief the commission on the updates they make to their on-line apps. That doesn’t mean that authorities seek industry secrets, as Uber and Lyft stated.
“It’s not software, it’s not source code or any advanced programming,”
argued TLC’s Chairwoman Meera Joshi.
Under the new rules, the TLC will also ask from app based companies to submit general trip data such as date, time, and location. Yet, Uber said that such requirements would harm its customers’ privacy.
The commission pledged that they were not interested in passenger information. But the industry and drivers claim that more regulation would translate into additional burdens to the industry.
Mr. Allegretti even tried to make commissioners feel guilt for trying to “undermine progress” by “setting a global standard for embracing the future.”
Lyft was also displeased with the new regulations. The company was bothered by the new requirement to limit drivers to only two phones.
The San-Francisco-based company explained that its drivers work for other companies, as well, and use a separate phone for each. So limiting the number of the devices they can use may force them to choose the largest companies.
TLC’s incoming regulation will also set new rules on fares and airport pickups.
The NYC taxi commission also wants to regulate how riders agree with “surge pricing,” an extra fee paid during rush hours and how disabled people can book a wheelchair-accessible car.
Also, the commission announced that it is working with airport authorities from New York and New Jersey to find designated parking lots for ride-hailing companies’ vehicles so that they won’t hinder traffic.
While the commission was discussing the new regulation with ride-hailing firms, dozens of demonstrators gathered outside its Manhattan offices Thursday to protests against the new proposals. Some drivers complained that the TLC was not only looking to rein Uber, but also to shut it down. The new regulations may be voted on June 18.
Image Source: Times Union
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