Uber has won this round of legislative jiu-jitsu with the New York City government, which means that we, the passengers, have lost. On Friday, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced that the transportation giant would not be facing regulations or limits on its surge pricing, despite outcries in the city and across the country following the absurd New Year’s prices. Furthermore, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office released an extensive 12-page summary of its $2 million study into traffic conditions within the city, and found that Uber is not, in fact, the sole driver of worsening congestion.
This pair of announcements may herald the thawing of highly contentious relations between Uber and de Blasio, who drew the ire of the Silicon Valley startup last year when he suggested limiting the number of Ubers allowed in the Big Apple. But it doesn’t really do anything for the riders either — sure, you won’t have to worry about having fewer Uber drivers available when you need to get home from that party in an outer borough, but you’ll still have to pay an arm and leg’s worth of surge pricing. And if you’re trying to get somewhere during rush hour, you can probably forget about it.
According to the study’s findings, drivers ended up with an average of 74 hours in delays over the course of 2014, and “the annual cost of lost time due to congestion delays was approximately $14.7 billion.” Needless to say, the city is looking for solutions to this ongoing problem, which appears to be largely driven by construction, an increasing population, and freight movement. Not Uber or Lyft.
“We are pleased to release the findings of our study and look forward to continued work with the City Council and industry partners to create comprehensive proposals to address accessibility, consumer and employee safety, mobility and securing support for our public transit system,” mayoral spokesman Peter Kadushin said is a statement. And it looks as though Uber is ready to let bygones be bygones as well, with the company’s New York general manager Josh Mohrer noting, “We are supportive of several of the proposals presented today, especially efforts to empower drivers by giving them more freedom to partner with companies across the industry.”
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