City Council’s assault on Uber isn’t really about congestion

Even before the City Council voted 39-6 to impose a one-year cap on Uber and other for-hire vehicles, Speaker Corey Johnson had confessed the truth: “This is not going to solve the problem” of traffic congestion.

The council’s goal, he later clarified, was simply to “do our best” to cut congestion, “or at least not add to it.”

The actual fix, he said, is “congestion pricing, which is a separate issue.”

Right: The real point of this package of bills was simply to give something to Uber’s opponents, especially in the struggling yellow-cab industry. Which, as Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens) put it, “is like putting a cap on Netflix subscriptions because Blockbusters are closing.”

Other bills set a minimum wage for drivers for Uber and other services, and aim to impose regulatory parity with yellow cabs.

The cap has two carve-outs: There’s no limit on new wheelchair-accessible vehicles, and neighborhoods that can show they are under-served could get added cars.

Overall, though, it’s what Jason Snead called it in Wednesday’s Post: a bid to “turn the clock back on a decade of innovation and all the benefits that have flowed from it.”

This follows the council’s similar effort to rein in Airbnb, which is similarly hated by vested interests but loved by those who use the service. Funny — it didn’t used to be the progressives who tried to stand athwart history shouting: “Stop.”

Johnson says the council might let the cap expire after a year, but experience suggests the opposite: Once enacted, it’ll never disappear, as the city keeps “studying” the issue.

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