NEW YORK VERSUS UBER: Trouble in NYC

 “We are pausing the issuance of new licenses..” By Todd Horwitz, Bubba Trading

 

For Uber Technologies Inc. and Airbnb Inc., New York City has been a cradle of growth, with its 8.5 million residents and burgeoning tech startup scene. But the high-flying tech firms are also finding that their biggest U.S. market is generating its own obstacles.

This week, New York has passed legislation that could hamper the Silicon Valley heavyweights at a crucial moment as they prep for potential initial public offerings expected as early as next year. Some investors and executives of the companies have privately expressed concern that New York’s restrictions could spur other cities to follow suit.

The proposal to cap ride-hail companies led to a clash among interest groups with taxi industry officials saying the companies were dooming their business and Uber mounting a major advertising campaign to make the case that yellow cabs have a history of discriminating against people of color.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Corey Johnson, the City Council speaker, said the bills will curtail the worsening traffic on the streets and improve low driver wages. “We are pausing the issuance of new licenses in an industry that has been allowed to proliferate without any appropriate check or regulation,” Mr. Johnson said before the vote, adding that the rules would not diminish existing service for New Yorkers who rely on ride-hail apps.

“More than 100,000 workers and their families will see an immediate benefit from this legislation,” Mr. de Blasio said, referring to the city’s army of for-hire drivers. “And this action will stop the influx of cars contributing to the congestion grinding our streets to a halt.”

But Uber has warned its riders that the cap could produce higher prices and longer wait times for passengers if the company cannot keep up with the growing demand. Ride-hail apps have become a crucial backup option for New Yorkers swept up in the constant delays on the city’s sputtering subway, as happened on Wednesday when signal problems again snarled train lines across a large swath of the city. Ride-hail services have also grown in neighborhoods outside Manhattan where the subway does not reach.

Todd “Bubba” Horwitz

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Financial Markets & Political Commentary

 

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About the author

Todd Horwitz - Author of “Average Joe Options“. Todd began his trading career in 1980 at the CBOE. He was one of the original traders in the OEX & helped start the SPX. He is a member the CME where he trades S&P futures as well as foreign currencies & is a regular contributor to CNBC, Bloomberg, BNN, Fox & many other major news networks.