BY MICHAEL ALLEGRETTI
The transportation industry has always been a job creator for residents of Brooklyn and Queens, among the other outer boroughs. And with the latest technological advances in the for-hire vehicle industry like Uber, more jobs have been created in recent years, and could be created in the future, than ever before.
Uber is a technology company, and our mobile app connects riders and drivers at the touch of a button. We entered the New York City market in May 2011, providing a seamless alternative for New Yorkers to move around while simultaneously creating economic opportunities for local drivers.
From day one, we worked closely with New York City leaders, ensuring that we complied with local regulations for the for-hire vehicle industry. All driver-partners in New York City are licensed under the Taxi and Limousine Commission exactly the same way as any other for-hire vehicle driver — facing the same background checks, insurance requirements and driving standards — in the city. Our partners wait in the same lines, show the same documents, and go through the same process. Period.
But what’s unique about Uber driver-partners is that they are all small business owners who use the Uber platform for lead-generation. The Uber platform offers flexibility and freedom for drivers to be their own bosses, working on a schedule that makes sense for them. Many of our driver-partners work part time, and on average, Uber driver-partners in New York City use the platform 29 hours per week.
We have planned to add 10,000 new driver-partners to the Uber platform by the end of the year, offering the same economic opportunity and flexibility that our existing driver-partners love. But Mayor de Blasio and the City Council are pushing Intro. 842, which would cap Uber’s growth while studying our industry’s impact on congestion. Under this proposal, thousands of job opportunities for New Yorkers would be destroyed, as it would only allow us to add 201 vehicles to our platform over the next year.
The bottom line is that this bill would have a devastating impact on outer borough job creation, mostly in Queens and Brooklyn, where 7,100 jobs are at stake. And worst of all, more than 700 drivers who have already signed up to join Uber would be kicked to the curb because of this proposal.
This proposal will also prevent us from keeping up with demand for Uber in NYC, where each week, 25,000 New Yorkers use Uber for the first time, increasing wait times in places like Ridgewood and Bay Ridge. Today more than 25 percent of Uber’s trips start, end or are within the outer boroughs; for yellow taxis, it’s a mere 6 percent. This proposal will ensure that Brooklyn and Queens residents cannot get a reliable ride when they need it most.
A progressive administration should be putting the outer boroughs first. I hope Mayor de Blasio and the City Council withdraw support for this proposal, and help spread real economic opportunity to the New Yorkers who need it most.
Michael Allegretti was born and raised in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. He is the senior policy manager for Uber in New York City.