Car-for-hire services Uber and Lyft scored a victory in their battle with regulators as the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission agreed to drop part of a controversial rule the companies opposed, amNewYork has learned.
The TLC confirmed that language requiring a company dispatching an unaffiliated driver get permission from that driver’s home base will be nixed ahead of a vote on Thursday. The spokesman did not explain why the language was pulled.
Requirements for handing over trip data and prohibiting the dispatching of vehicles from another class of cars will remain in the TLC’s proposal.
Uber protested that the rule would hamper its drivers’ ability to make money by using other services during their down time, while Lyft feared its competitors would have a lock on the pool of drivers with lucrative offers. Both companies operate in the city through for-hire-vehicle bases.
“All New Yorkers benefit from increased transportation options and we thank the TLC for preserving choice for both consumers and drivers,” Lyft spokesman David Mack said in a statement to amNewYork.
Uber did not return a request for comment.
The rule had been controversial to the point that Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wrote in a letter to the TLC last week that it would “restrict competition” and raise “serious antitrust issues.”
The Livery Roundtable, a group for bases, had lauded the TLC for pushing a rule that had long been industry practice.
“We’re not fighting the existence of Uber or Lyft. We’re very happy to compete with them on a regulated platform,” Tarek Mallah, a founding member of LRT and general manager of Dial 7, said.
He added that his company would risk being unable to pick up a customers if he has drivers grabbing fares for several other companies.
“There’s no prediction, there’s no intelligence on being able to service your consumers,” he said.