NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City already has a congestion problem, and now a new report shows that ride-sharing apps such as Uber, Lyft and Via are adding to it.
As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, traffic congestion in Manhattan is part of the fabric of New York City. Weaving through isn’t easy, and some drivers agree with the report by former Department of Transportation Deputy Commissioner for Traffic and Planning Bruce Schaller – saying the boom of ride-sharing services are partially to blame.
Truck driver Juan Carlos said the ride-sharing cars are clogging the streets.
“Uber and Lyft all those companies are making the city, like, crazy!” Carlos said.
Yeldy Echavarria has been an Uber and Lyft driver for three years.
“We have more drivers now,” Echavarria said. “That is making the roads more congested.”
Right now, there are more than 103,000 active for-hire vehicles, including traditional car service and ride hailing app-based cars. That is more than double the amount in 2013, when there were just more than 47.
That same year, there were less than 3,000 app company-based cars. Now there are more than 68,000.
“There’s a lot of competition,” Carlos said.
CBS2 reached out to Mayor Bill de Blasio to see how the city plans to curb the congestion, but his office did not respond.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office said Wednesday, “The governor has been clear – we need to reduce gridlock and identify a dedicated funding stream to the MTA.”
Cuomo has been criticized for his support of congestion pricing, so in October, he organized a panel called Fix NYC to come up with other solutions. One possibility is a new ride fee on for-hire vehicles in Manhattan, which could encourage riders to opt for more affordable mass transit.
“By my calculations, you can raise $475 million a year with a surcharge like that, with a $3 surcharge,” Schaller said.
Schaller conducted a study that found app-based cars are increasingly unoccupied, causing unnecessary congestion.
“There are thousands of vehicles in Manhattan, and that’s where those vehicles need to be used in an efficient way and not running around empty,” Schaller said.
Cuomo is still waiting to hear suggestions from Fix NYC. The panel is expected to release its recommendations by the end of the year.
Some transportation experts suggest a cap on the number of app-based cars serving the city. The de Blasio administration proposed a cap in 2015, but quickly dropped the plan.