Win for Uber and Lyft as NYC’s Cruising Cap is Struck Down

On December 23, the New York County Supreme Court struck down New York City’s so-called “cruising cap” in a major win for rideshare providers such as Uber and Lyft. The cruising cap limits how much time rideshares can spend in cruising busy Manhattan streets without passengers in an attempt to reduce congestion. The court found the cruising cap rule arbitrary and capricious and struck down the rule before it came into effect.

The decision and stated, “[I]t is problematic that the time a driver is travelling to pick up a passenger in the ‘Congestion Zone’ 3, after a fare has already been agreed upon and a car has been dispatched, is included in the calculation of ‘cruising.’” Further, “there is no indication congestion is caused by the time a driver drives to pick up a passenger, but rather is caused by the ‘roughly 8 minutes a driver spends waiting for the next trip, either parked, double parked or driving to an area where the driver expects to get another trip. Because of high demand for on-street parking in the Manhattan core, most drivers are either double-parked or driving, both of which contribute to congestion.’ … As such, the TLC has not shown any rational basis for why ‘Cruising’ should include the time that vehicles head to pick up identified passengers.”

Additionally, no reasoning was available as to how the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) arrived at the specific figure for its cruising cap –  drivers can spend 31 percent of their time in the designated area without passengers.

The New York TLC passed the rule with the goal of reducing traffic in Manhattan, where ride-share vehicles account for about a third of peak traffic.

“We look forward to working with state and city leaders to address New York City’s transportation challenges with the only true solution to congestion: comprehensive congestion pricing,” Lyft said in a statement.

The court’s decision is a win for Uber and Lyft. The court said the cruising rate time should not include time drivers spend traveling to pick up passengers that have requested a pickup and ride.