Mayor de Blasio Rejects Uber's Call for a Live Debate

Mayor de Blasio is rejecting Uber's call to have a live debate about their differences.

The ride-hailing service invited de Blasio Monday to participate in a live-streamed conversation about the company's future in New York.

De Blasio declined the invitation, saying he doesn't debate private corporations. He added that, in his words, "Uber is a multibillion-dollar corporation, and they're acting like one."

The de Blasio administration is attempting to put the brakes on the robust expansion, saying that the flood of new cars could further snarl Manhattan's clogged streets and arguing that the Uber system isn't equitable for drivers and residents.

His administration supports a proposal to cap Uber's growth for a year while its impact is studied. The City Council is expected to weigh the proposal this week.

The San Francisco-based Uber, meanwhile, accuses the mayor of being in the back pocket of the yellow taxi industry, attempting to stifle free enterprise and innovation while hurting the low-income neighborhoods that make up the core of his political support.

Uber debuted a "de Blasio" mode on its app that projects increased wait time if a cap is instituted. And on Friday, it aired a TV commercial that claimed the cap would hardest hit minorities in outer-borough neighborhoods who sometimes have trouble getting yellow taxis.

"Mayor de Blasio's plan to stop Uber will cost 10,000 jobs, hurt undeserved areas and make wait times for Uber cars skyrocket," Plouffe said this week. "It's not progressive and not right."

Uber claimed that City Hall is acting under pressure from yellow cab operators who are worried about falling taxi medallion values — and who are significant donors to de Blasio and some council members.

The administration scoffed at the idea, noting that Uber has sparked unrest and litigation in London, Paris and California. The company has spread across the globe and become wildly successful, worth an estimated $40 billion, while dispatching 25,000 cars on New York's streets, as opposed to 13,000 yellow taxis. It's also become a political flashpoint, as Republican presidential candidates hail it as a model of the free market while some Democrats — including de Blasio — have expressed reservations.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us