Chalk it up as a win for women, whether intentional or not: Mayor Bill de Blasio temporarily withdrew from his drawn-out battle against Uber, ensuring women’s access to safe, reliable rides home for a few months longer.
After facing public backlash by the ride sharing mega-company, its unhappy customers and even celebrities like Kate Upton, de Blasio dropped a plan that would have capped the number of for-hire cars allowed in New York City through April 2016.
Uber said the proposed policy, which was scheduled for a vote as early as today, would have crippled customers’ ability to get cars on-demand, causing wait times to “double or even triple” in New York City. Even worse than long wait times was the effects de Blasio’s legislation was poised to have on women trying to make it in the Big Apple. Had the mayor moved forward with his plan, he would have restricted women’s access to a service that enables us to be more safe and self-reliant.
As I argued earlier this week, Uber, for some, is more than a ride home. The affordable car service is a way out of a bad date, a reliable ride home at the click of a button, and a sense of security on dangerous streets. Taking that away would send women backward in time.
To reach a deal, Uber agreed to work with the mayor’s administration on a joint transportation study investigating the traffic and environmental effects for-hire companies have on the city.
“We look forward to a real partnership with the for-hire vehicle industry along with genuine data-sharing that will give us a better picture of their impact on our streets,” New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said in a statement.
Once that study is complete, which is slated to take four months, de Blasio will reassess the situation.
Before he does that, there’s one more study the mayor might consider to measure the impact ride-sharing services have in his city: Do women in New York feel safer when using Uber? If the answer’s yes, then nobody should ever take it away.