If you believe the folks at Uber, city residents who don’t live in Manhattan are soon going to remember how hard it is to get a cab outside of Midtown.
With remarkable swiftness for the typically-sluggish City Council, local lawmakers have put a bill in the express lane that would cap the current number of for-hire cabs, halting the growth of companies like Uber and Lyft.
That growth has already metastasized into massive congestion on our city’s streets. Since 2015 – when an Uber cap was last pushed by Mayor de Blasio – the number of for-hire vehicles has gone up by more than 50% -- from about 63,000 to more than 100,000. If you walk, bike, or drive around the city, it’s hard to avoid the feeling that every other car has a license plate that starts with “T” and ends with “C”. While this may be great for you if you’re on your Uber app, the boom has almost completely shut down traffic in midtown and downtown Manhattan.
There are other ways to unclog the streets – including creating congestion pricing or making the subways a more palatable alternative. But these aren’t mutually exclusive solutions – and good luck getting the state legislature to tackle our mass-transit mess.
An Uber cap in 2018 is a little like closing the garage door after all the cabs have already left – but at least it’s an acknowledgment that there’s a problem. Now we need a fleet of solutions.