Uber is fighting New York City legislation to put a cap on ride-sharing services by going straight to its customers.
The proposal is being considered by the City Council and will limit ride-hailing vehicles, according to the New York Times. The legislation will halt any future for-hire vehicle licenses from being issued for one year, except in the case of vehicles that are also wheelchair accessible.
Uber has confronted the legislation by making calls directly to its consumers, urging them to support the ride-sharing company by calling their local officials, BuzzFeed News reported. The company is offering to connect consumers to their local officials, and are encouraged to say over the phone, “I support Uber.”
BuzzFeed News reporter Amber Jamieson said an Uber representative offered to connect Jamieson to a local official by phone to support the ride-sharing service. When Jamieson declined, the representative asked, “You want the fares to go higher?”
Not only are Uber representatives calling customers, the company also has an in-app message to notify riders about the legislation. “Arriving now: Higher prices and increased wait times,” one message read.
“Uber has launched an App takeover so New Yorkers can read the Council’s bills for themselves,” one Uber spokesperson said in a statement, reported by TechCrunch. “We believe New Yorkers will join us in supporting living wages for drivers and opposing a cap that will harm outer borough riders who have come to rely on Uber because of the unreliable, or non-existent subway.”
A spokesperson with Lyft told TechCrunch the legislation will affect wait times and will “prioritize corporate medallion owners above the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers.” Joseph Okpaku, Lyft’s Vice President of public policy argued in a Medium post that the legislation would impact communities of color who risk being “denied equal transportation options.”
But some Uber riders were not happy to have the company reach out to them by phone. “Figure out a way to deal with it on your own. Just be better,” one person wrote to the company in a tweet, while demanding they stop calling. Another person shared on Twitter that they thought the call was a scam.