Lew Leone is the vice president and general manager of WNYW-FOX 5. He is taking to the airwaves with his thoughts on current affairs. It's called "Lew's View." In this commentary, Mr. Leone talks about the controversy over Uber.
Uber and other ride-sharing apps have upended the taxi industry in New York City. Some see this as progress while others like progressive Mayor Bill de Blasio want to limit their growth.
This week there was a last minute deal hours before the mayor and City Council were ready to vote to fix Ubers growth at 1 percent. The agreement calls for a 4-month study of traffic congestion before making a decision. Uber ran numerous TV ads to defend their position and most people think this forced the delay. I however think that it was this Tweet by supermodel Kate Upton which embarrassed de Blasio: ".@BilldeBlasio Why do you want to return to days when only those in Midtown & Lower Manhattan could get a ride? #UberMovesNYC."
You see, I think that is Uber's best and most progressive argument that they can help eliminate a Tale of Two Cities.
I really like Uber because it totally eliminates one of the most contentious and annoying practices of hailing a cab. "Upstreaming."
Well I do agree that we need some rules. However, I don't think those rules should limit our choices, defeat entrepreneurship and capitalism, inhibit progress and make it harder to work, live and do business in New York City. To be sure it is a very complicated issue and the traditional yellow taxis are highly regulated, which currently gives Uber an advantage especially the ability to use surge pricing as demand increases. I think the rules and regulations which the city imposes on this new industry should strive to create a level playing field for the cabbies and the Uber drivers.
A little competition never hurt anyone. In fact it will expand the choices for tourists, commuters, and residents, encourage better customer service, help maintain reasonable prices, create jobs and make it easier to navigate our great city.