EDITORIAL

Getting a ride has changed

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City council is considering enacting new local laws they say will help with traffic congestion in Manhattan, and maybe give the taxi industry the boost they need.

The problem? It’s going to come at the cost of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft.

The primary proposal would create a moratorium on new ride-hailing drivers while the city studies transit habits of residents, and likely limiting the number of pickups that can take place in the city’s most congested corridors.

Limiting Uber and Lyft could work in Manhattan, but it would be devastating to the outer boroughs, like the Bronx, where taxis aren’t so common, and neither is efficient public transit.

The beauty of apps like Uber and Lyft is that anyone can be a driver — as long as they pass the background checks and have a reliable car — meaning thousands of New Yorkers are earning extra money, or the income they need to support themselves and their families. They are only paid if they pick up fares — a system that allows the market to manage itself. If the drivers aren’t transporting enough passengers to make it worth their while, they simply stop driving and move on to something else.

If there are more than 100,000 ride-hailing vehicles in New York City now, then it’s because the demand for such services are that great. And if that demand starts to drop, the market will simply correct itself, because those drivers will depart from the system.

It’s true Uber and Lyft have hit yellow taxis hard. But maybe the city needs to review its old-fashioned medallion system, and see how 21st century New Yorkers move around the city.

Want to cure congestion in Manhattan? Implement congestion pricing that would discourage cars from entering busy parts of the city already served by nearly every mode of public transit ever created.

Communities like ours don’t have that convenience, and we depend on not just our ride-hailing companies, but our for-hire vehicles as well. 

Let the market dictate how these services should work in New York, and don’t take these options away from us.

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