Facing a new regulatory crackdown that they say will severely impact their business, Uber and Lyft made an unusual proposal to New York City’s government: stand down, and in exchange we’ll bail out struggling yellow taxi drivers. The response they got was a curt no thanks. The proposal — to create a $100 million “hardship fund” to support individual taxi medallion owners — was “summarily rejected” by the City Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office, Joe Okpaku, Lyft’s vice president for public policy, told The Verge. “It’s a little bit astonishing to us.” Of course, there were strings attached. The ride-sharing companies, including carpooling service Via, wanted the city to drop its proposals to cap the number of new Uber and Lyft vehicles and set a wage floor for drivers. In exchange, they said they would create this fund, in partnership with the Robin Hood Foundation, that they claim would pay out “tens of thousands of dollars” to individual medallion owners “right away.” The companies would contribute $20 million a year for five years to the fund to support medallion owners. It was intended to help individual medallion owners, though, and not corporate owners who hold multiple medallions. A spokesperson for Uber said the company does not comment on private conversations. Uber and Lyft claim a cap on vehicle licenses would send wait times soaring and driver earnings plummeting. They also say a cap would disproportionately affect outer borough residents, including low-income communities and people of color. “The cap… [Read full story]
The Verge is an ambitious multimedia effort founded in 2011 to examine how technology will change life in the future for a massive mainstream audience.
Our original editorial insight was that technology had migrated from the far fringes of the culture to the absolute center as mobile technology created a new generation of digital consumers. Now, we live in a dazzling world of screens that has ushered in revolutions in media, transportation, and science. The future is arriving faster than ever.