Uber sued the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission on Friday, arguing its plans to mandate the amount of time app-based hacks spend without passengers are government overreach.
The TLC approved new rules last month requiring that by August 2020 drivers for Uber, Lyft and their competitors spend no more than 31 percent of their time cruising without fares.
But Uber’s suit in Manhattan Supreme Court asserts that the congestion-tackling rule is based on faulty data, and violates the state’s “preemption” laws that prohibits the city from getting in the way of state policies — in this case, the congestion pricing program approved by the legislature earlier this year.
“While reducing congestion in Manhattan is an important goal…. [the rule] is the product of a rushed and unlawful process, including reliance on flawed and arbitrary economic modeling, which was designed to arrive at a predetermined result that is likely not even feasible,” according to the suit.
Earlier this week, members of the Independent Drivers Guild, a driver group that receives some funding from Uber, staged an hours-long vehicle slowdown in protest of Lyft and Uber’s respective decisions to abruptly deactivate drivers at times and locations that demand is low.
The companies blame their deactivation policies on the need to comply with the upcoming cruising rule, as well as previously-instituted driver pay rules that also govern time without passengers.
Both rules were authorized by 2018 legislation approved by the city council with the support of Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“We will continue fighting for the people of New York City against a company that seeks to put profit first, and the people and drivers they serve last,” spokesman Seth Stein said in a statement.