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Civil rights groups join Uber and Lyft against proposed car freeze



Uber car logoSpencer Platt/Getty Images

  • Civil rights groups joined Uber and
    Lyft in
    opposing proposed legislation
    to limit
    the amount of ride-sharing vehicles in New York
  • Some Black and Latino New Yorkers fear racial
    discrimination by yellow cabs and for-hire
  • Uber has launched a social media campaign against the
    proposed legislation, including the hashtag

Civil rights groups joined Uber and Lyft in their fight against
the New York City Council’s proposed plan to place a
cap on the number of vehicles that ride-share services can
operate in the city.

After City Council Speaker Corey Johnson revealed his
proposal to place a freeze
on new ride-sharing vehicles
allowed in New York City, the N.A.A.C.P., the National Urban
League, and the National Action Network
all joined
 Uber and Lyft in publicly opposing the
proposed legislation. 

According to
an article published on Sunday
by the New York Times, some
Black and Latino New Yorkers feel that getting to their
destinations is harder for them as yellow taxis deliberately pass
them up on the street. 

Dr. Johnnie M. Green Jr., a pastor in Harlem,
told the
New York Times, “It’s a racial issue. The people
that champion the crusade against Uber do not have a problem
hailing yellow cabs.”

Neither the N.A.A.C.P. nor the National Urban League responded to
Business Insider for comment. 

On Saturday, Reverend Al Sharpton spoke publicly at the
Harlem headquarters of his organization, the National Action
Network. Sharpton stood in-front of an audience and loudly
denounced City Council’s proposed cap on Uber and Lyft cars
saying, “I’m trying to get to work, I’m trying to get to school.
I want somebody that’s gonna pick me up.” 

The City Council’s proposed legislation would place a
one-year freeze
 on any new ride-sharing vehicles
(driving for companies like Lyft or Uber) while studying what
effect the growth of ride-sharing services has had on New York
City. Mayor Bill DeBlasio
voiced support
for the plan in a radio interview on Friday.

City Council is motivated to limit the amount of ride-sharing
vehicles on the road because of increased
in New York City, and the fact that multiple
yellow cab and for-hire vehicle drivers
have killed themselves
in the past year.  

According to
Curbed New York,
 Speaker Johnson said he
understood the concerns of civil rights groups but stressed that
the existing vehicles wouldn’t be taken off the streets — only
the addition of new ones would be stopped for a year-long period
to examine their full impact.

The City Council could vote on the measure as early as
August 8.

Uber spokesperson Danielle Filson said in a statement to Business
Insider: “New Yorkers have been demanding that our
leaders fix the subways; instead, they have decided to break
Uber. Capping Uber will strand riders in the outer boroughs where
subway service is the worst.” 

Uber has already mobilized
a $1 million advertising campaign
against the initiative,
including the use of the hashtag #DontStrandNYC.


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