Photograph by Victor J. Blue — Bloomberg via Getty Images

The number of Uber drives may not be able to keep up with demand if de Blasio has his way.

By Laura Lorenzetti
July 16, 2015

New Yorkers’ wait times for an Uber could get a lot longer if a new city bill passes that would cap the number of drivers allowed to traverse New York City streets. Just how long could those wait times get? Take a peek in Uber’s new “de Blasio” tab to find out.

Uber and city governments have been at odds for awhile now, and now New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is trying to slow the ride-sharing apps explosive growth locally, citing worsening Manhattan traffic. A new proposal, if passed by the City Council, would cap Uber’s growth pending the outcome of a study on traffic patterns.

Such a move would cripple Uber, causing long wait times for customers as the supply of vehicles falls short of the growing demand. But, the company isn’t going down without a fight. It added the new “de Blasio” tab within its app in New York on Thursday, showing projected wait times for cars if the proposal is approved.

 

Uber also hasn’t been shy about what it sees as the motivation behind the move: politics.

For hire vehicles have expanded by more than 60% since 2011, and that’s put major pressure on the yellow cab industry which makes its money from costly medallion sales for the rights to drive a cab. The industry was also a major contributor to de Blasio’s campaign.

“I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck,” said David Plouffe, former Obama campaign manager and chief advisor to Uber. “I think this is less about traffic congestion than it is about political contributions.”

The legislation would restrict growth by base, so each company base with more than 500 vehicles could expand only 1% during the study period. Uber has 10 such bases around the city and said they were recording about 3% growth per month.

Read More: Uber is now more valuable than at least 72% of the Fortune 500.

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