Fighting another Attempt to Balance out the Ride-Haling Landscape

Despite being smart beyond all known limits, human beings have failed rather sensationally at not making mistakes. This dynamic, in particular, has already been reinforced quite a few times throughout the history, with each testimony practically forcing us to look for a defensive cover. We will, however, solve our conundrum in the most fitting way possible, and we’ll do so by bringing regulatory bodies into the fold. Having a well-defined authority across each and every area was a game-changer, as it instantly concealed our many shortcomings. Now, the kind of utopia you would generally expect from such a development did arrive, but at the same time, it failed to stick around for very long. Talk about what led to the stated setback, the answer will literally touch upon technology before it covers anything else. You see, the moment technology got its layered to take over the scene, it allowed every individual an unprecedented chance to exploit others for their own benefit. In case this somehow didn’t sound bad enough, the whole runner soon began to materialize on such a massive scale that it expectantly overwhelmed our governing forces and sent them back to the drawing board. After a lengthy spell in the middle of nowhere, though, it seems like the regulatory contingent is finally ready to make a comeback. The same has turned more and more evident in recent times, but interestingly enough; a new lawsuit might just do a lot to decide whether this trend holds up or not.

Uber is officially set to sue the the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) over a fare hike for ride-hail apps and taxi drivers. To give you some context, the TLC, on 15th November 2022, voted to increase the per-minute rates of ride-hail drivers by 7.42% and per-mile rates by 23.93%. While these hikes were predominantly conceived to incentivize drivers and satisfy the surging passenger demand, Uber viewed them from a completely different standpoint, as it deemed the decision as “dramatic, unprecedented and unsupported.” The ride-hailing giant doubled down on its criticism of the move by citing how it forces the company to spend an additional $21 million to $23 million per month, with the increased costs likely to land on the riders’ shoulders and cause potentially permanent loss of business and customers.”

“A rate increase of this magnitude may very likely result in higher rider fares,” reads the lawsuit. “Those higher fares, in turn, will depress the number of rides requested through the Uber platform. Fewer requested rides translates into fewer opportunities for Drivers to earn fees. The Challenged Rule could very well have the effect of harming Driver earnings, undermining the purpose of these regulations.”

In response to Uber’s lawsuit, the TLC also issued a statement, which said:

“Just in time to steal Christmas from New York families, Uber is suing to stop the raise the TLC enacted for app drivers after months of public hearings, years of stalled wages, and the pandemic decimating incomes. Uber’s Grinch move is on top of denying a fuel surcharge to only NYC drivers when costs skyrocketed due to record high inflation, forcing drivers in one of their most profitable markets to choose between groceries and fueling up.”

This is, of course, not the first time Uber has tried to block a legislation that was purposed around protecting gig workers. Back in 2020, the company was at the forefront of a movement to formalize Proposition 2022, which defined ride-hail and gig workers as independent contractors, not employees, and thus not eligible for certain labor protections. Later, Uber also filed an appeal to block AB-5, California’s controversial law on the employment status of gig workers.


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