September 20, 2019 / 7:40 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Uber sues New York City over new 'cruising and licensing caps

(Adds details from lawsuit, comment from mayor’s spokesman)

NEW YORK, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Uber Technologies Inc sued New York City on Friday, seeking to void a new rule limiting how much time its drivers can spend in busy areas of Manhattan without passengers, saying the rule threatens to undermine Uber’s ride-sharing model.

In the complaint filed in New York state court in Manhattan, Uber also challenged the city’s extension through August 2020 of a ban on new licenses issued to for-hire vehicles. The city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission was also named as a defendant.

Seth Stein, a spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, defended the rulemaking, saying it would protect New Yorkers “against a company that seeks to put profit first.”

The “cruising cap” rule sets a 31% limit on how much time drivers of for-hire vehicles can drive without passengers in Manhattan south of 96th Street. It was intended to reduce street congestion.

Uber said that while it has “publicly and vocally supported” reducing congestion in Manhattan, the cruising cap was based on “flawed and arbitrary” economic modeling.

“The rule would threaten the viability of the ridesharing model as it currently exists, jeopardizing the benefits this model has created for riders and drivers,” Uber said. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York Editing by Chris Reeseand Leslie Adler)

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