After weeks of full-throated lobbying and celebrity interventions, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio is backing away from his crusade against Uber's expansion plans. Previously, de Blasio insisted that NYC needed to put a cap on the number of Uber drivers operating in the city while officials launched a thorough analysis of the toll that Uber was taking on the city's traffic congestion.
City Hall was poised to decide whether or not to cap Uber this Thursday, but it would appear as if de Blasio’s thrown in the towel ahead of the vote. Going forward, the city will still conduct its study of Uber, but the company will be allowed to continue its fast-paced growth in the meantime. In addition to the analysis, City Hall has called for Uber to share some of its internal data to assist in the city’s assessment of Uber’s impact, but it’s unclear whether or not the company will cooperate.
Uber is dealing with similar battles in major cities across the world, but given just how important New York is to them as their largest U.S. market, they were more than ready to fight de Blasio over the cap. The San Francisco-based company unleashed its full fury against deBlasio in the form of old-school lobbying, a barrage of attack ads, and enlisting the help of high-profile celebrities to rally around the hashtag #UberMovesNYC.
Though it’s recently been the focus of protests around the world, Uber has been steadfast in defending itself against the challenge from de Blasio’s office, which it saw as being in bad faith.
“Well, first of all, the mayor’s never cared about congestion before,” Uber’s New York general manager told Fusion. “If I were mayor and congestion was my top priority, I would think about: why are 2.7 million people coming into the city every day in their own car?”