NYC Council Expected To Vote Thursday On One-Year Cap On Company's Growth


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Uber kicked off a city-wide jobs tour at Queensbridge Park in Long Island City, Queens, on Tuesday as the city considers limiting the number of for-hire vehicles on the streets.

Drivers interested in joining Uber got the chance to learn about the company from hundreds of driver-partners and its general manager.

But while the company plans to hire more drivers, there’s an uproar over Uber and City Hall’s efforts to crackdown on its expansion.

Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to put the brakes on the company’s plans to hire an extra 10,000 drivers. On Monday, he turned down an offer for a live debate with Uber.

“I do not debate with the heads of private companies over their own self interest,” de Blasio said.

On Tuesday, Uber exec David Plouffe went on the offensive.

“It’s a cap on jobs, killing over 10,000 jobs,” he told CBS This Morning. “At the end of the day I think the taxi industry has showered the mayor, the council president with a lot of money and this is payback.”

Uber recently launched television ads attacking de Blasio over the cap measure in the City Council.

Senior mayoral advisor Phil Walzak said Uber’s ads are misleading and replete with personal attacks, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.

“Too many times we see big, multi-million corporations muscle in, play the bully and try to make sure that local governments don’t do anything to enact common sense regulation,” Walzak said.

On Thursday, the City Council is expected to vote on a bill that would cap Uber’s growth for one year as the city studies its impact on traffic congestion and air pollution.

Hundreds showed up at the Uber job fair, hoping the City Council doesn’t go through with the cap.

“We’re here because at the end of the day, Uber is helping pay their bills. They have a job at the end of the day,” said Uber driver Ibrahim Mansaray of the Bronx.

“It’s hard enough to get a job already and Uber has provided that opportunity,” a college student from Brooklyn added.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer wants the City Council to delay the vote. He believes a study should come before a decision on a cap is made.

“It makes no sense to arbitrarily cap Uber and other for-hire vehicle companies before we study the impact of congestion on the streets of New York,” Stringer said in a statement released Tuesday. “We need to make sure that our transportation system works for everyone, including the city’s traditional yellow cabs, for-hire drivers, and most importantly the riding public.”

Stringer said the city shouldn’t try to stifle innovation, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported.

“And we can’t grow businesses if we limit for-hire vehicles just to the Midtown core,” the comptroller said.

Walzak told CBS2’s Marcia Kramer the statistics back up the city’s concerns.

“We have congestion and traffic snarls in the city,” Walzak said. “Miles per hour averages are down in the city. We just want to take a moment to study the impact of this industry.”

During the job fair, which also acted as a rally, prospective drivers were urged to fight back against the City Council’s proposal to curb for-hire vehicles.

“Every week, 25,000 people take their first Uber ride. This cap would only allow 200 new driver-partners to come to Uber over the entire year,” Uber general manager Josh Mohrer said.

Supporters said the cap would affect minority communities in the outer boroughs where most Uber drivers live, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.

“Uber is about creating opportunities in our communities,” state Assemblyman Michael Blake said. “This is not just about getting someone a ride; this is about giving someone a chance.”

The de Blasio administration has questioned just how good the Uber jobs are. The company has come under fire for taking large commissions from drivers’ paychecks.