New York City

Uber cap lawsuit dismissed

A Manhattan Supreme Court judge dismissed the company’s suit against a New York City law.

New York City traffic.

New York City traffic. Shutterstock

Ride-hailing giant Uber suffered a blow last week when a Manhattan Supreme Court judge dismissed the company’s suit against a New York City law that capped the issuance of new for-hire vehicle licenses. Uber challenged the law, enacted in August 2018, arguing in part that the city had exceeded its authority in instituting the cap, but the judge found that the city acted within its rights in doing so. “We’re disappointed that the (city Taxi and Limousine Commission’s) cap that punishes drivers who are forced to rent vehicles will remain in effect,” Uber spokesman Harry Hartfield said in a statement.

The ruling is good news for the city, which recently extended that same cap on new for-hire vehicle licenses, along with new regulations limiting how long drivers can cruise without passengers below 96th Street in Manhattan. But Uber and Lyft have both now challenged those new regulations in lawsuits. Uber argues that the cruising time rules threaten to undermine the company’s ride-hailing model. That litigation is still ongoing, and though it’s unclear what effect last week’s ruling dismissing Uber’s original lawsuit will have on the remaining litigation, some experts don’t predict a markedly different result. 

“It's the once-dominant ride-hail company as aging slugger: still aiming for the fences but now swinging through the third strike,” said Bruce Schaller, a transportation policy expert and former deputy commissioner at the New York City Department of Transportation. “I don't expect a different result on the next at-bat.”

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