Mayor de Blasio said Friday he’s reviving his failed bid to regulate companies like Uber — four days after a livery driver who blamed lawmakers for his financial ruin killed himself in front of City Hall.
“We have to find better ways to regulate the for-hire vehicle sector in general,” de Blasio said on WNYC radio. “We have to come back and look at what is a single, comprehensive vision for the future of our for-hire vehicle sector that can make sense to everyone involved.
“That’s something we’re going to be working on in the coming months to see if we can put together,” he added.
De Blasio’s comments came in response to a question about Douglas Schifter, a cash-strapped livery driver who committed suicide Monday.
Hours before killing himself at the gates of City Hall, Schifter penned a lengthy Facebook post blasting de Blasio, Gov. Cuomo and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg for “destroying a once-thriving industry.” He called Uber a “known liar, cheat and thief.”
In 2015, de Blasio attempted to put the brakes on Uber’s growth in the Big Apple.
But the mayor faced opposition from some City Council members, and shelved the idea after the ride-hailing company launched an aggressive campaign against the proposed regulations.
“In the rush of events, instead of figuring out how to slow down and resolve outstanding issues, at a certain point there was a decision to just pull away,” he said. (New York Post).
Instead, the city conducted a $2 million traffic study, published in 2016, that found Uber didn’t “drive the recent increase in congestion.”
De Blasio insisted he has a better shot of getting the City Council on board now, since tens of thousands more for-hire vehicles have flooded the roads, increasing congestion.
“I think we are seeing more and more impact from the for-hire vehicles,” he said.
In 2013, there were 47,000 for-hire vehicles in the city. Today there are nearly 130,000, according to Taxi & Limousine Commission spokesman Allan Fromberg. The number of yellow taxis has remained about the same.
Councilman Stephen Levin, who introduced a bill in 2015 calling for a freeze on Uber growth until the traffic study could be completed, said he’s now ready for a second push.
“What we’ve seen over the last three years is the exact trend accelerated,” he said, adding that Schifter “brought up some good points.”
Levin reintroduced his bill this year, and is calling for “some kind of freeze” on for-hire vehicles while another study is conducted.
- There is a need for regulating Uber, Lyft and others.