Judge Rules Against New York City’s Cruising Cap, Victory for Uber and Lyft

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(Reuters/Lucy Nicholson/File)

Judge Lyle Frank of the Supreme Court of State of New York struck down a new rule limiting how much time drivers for ride-hailing services can spend cruising streets in busy areas of Manhattan without passengers, Reuters reported Monday afternoon. The ruling is considered a victory for Uber and Lyft, who filed suit against the rule in September. The judge said in his decision that the city’s cruising cap was “arbitrary and capricious.”

With the goal of reducing traffic congestion in Manhattan, the city passed the rule in August.

The mayor’s office said it was reviewing its options, including a possible appeal of the ruling.

In a statement, the mayor’s spokeswoman said, “We put these rules in place to protect hardworking drivers and New Yorkers—and we’ll fight to keep them.”

The ruling does not affect New York City’s other laws regarding ride-hailing, including a cap on the number of app-based, for-hire cars and minimum pay for the city’s 80,000 ride-share drivers.

Uber welcomed the decision, saying in a statement, “Uber remains committed to fighting for driver flexibility in the face of politically motivated regulations and to stand up for policies that actually combat congestion.”

Lyft, which filed a separate lawsuit, said “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.”

To prepare for the laws, both Uber and Lyft locked out drivers from their apps over the past months at times and in areas of low demand.

The cruising cap, which was scheduled to come into effect in February 2020, set a limit on how much time drivers of app-based vehicles may drive or wait without passengers in Manhattan south of 96th Street. Under the new rule, the maximum would have fallen from 41% to 36% in February 2020 and 31% by August.