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NYC Lawyers Seek to Uphold "Cruising Cap" for Rideshare

NYC lawyers want an appeals court to maintain the rules on Uber and Lyft to prevent traffic congestion. Recently rules imposing a time limit on cars from e-hail companies were thrown out by a judge.

by Clayton Guse, New York Daily News / January 23, 2020
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(TNS) — New York City lawyers want an appeals court to uphold rules meant to keep e-hail giants like Uber and Lyft from clogging city streets.

Rules limiting how much time cars operating for e-hail companies can spend in Manhattan below 96th St. without a passenger were tossed by Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Lyle Frank last month.

City lawyers hope appellate judges will overturn Frank’s ruling and let the rules stand.

The rules — dubbed a “cruising cap” — aimed to reduce street congestion by requiring the companies’ drivers to spend no more than 36% of their time without a passenger in the zone starting in February. Regulators planned to lower the limit to 31% come August.

Uber and Lyft both sued against the rules, and in his ruling Dec. 23, Frank labeled them “arbitrary.”

“There is scant rationale for why the 31% number was chosen," Frank wrote — adding that “there is simply no indication where the number came from.”

But acting Taxi and Limousine Commisioner Bill Heinzen said the figures are based on hard data.

“These anti-congestion rules are based on trip data showing the apps’ operators in the most congested parts of the New York City,” said Heinzen. “The record demonstrates the negative effects of 85,000 new vehicles on the city’s streets.”

The city’s appeal is the latest turn in a years-long battle between e-hail companies and regulators who want to reduce street congestion in Manhattan’s busiest areas.

Uber in September sued the city over a rule that prohibits the registration of any new app-based for-hire vehicles unless they’re wheelchair accessible or electric vehicles. Frank dismissed that suit in November.

And last January Lyft sued to block minimum wage rules for app-based drivers, claiming the law gave an unfair advantage to Uber. That lawsuit was dismissed in May, three months after Lyft representatives falsely claimed the company had won a temporary restraining order in the case.

“This administration refuses to stand by while big corporations clog our streets with cars," said mayor's office spokeswoman Olivia Lapeyrolerie. "We’re appealing the court decision to ensure that hardworking drivers and New Yorkers are protected.”

©2020 New York Daily News Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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