Uber's famous for using aggressive tactics. Its latest stunt is aimed directly at New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio. The company added a tab to the app to illustrating what would happen if the mayor's new "Uber cap" bill passes.
When you fire up the app, the new "De Blasio" tab is along the bottom where you usually select what kind of Uber service you want. De Blasio service is terrible. When you select it in Manhattan, De Blasio option gives you a staggering wait time of 25 minutes. In Brooklyn, it says "no cars." Both options implore you to click on the prediction to find out why you can't get a car faster.
Fusion reports that the reason Uber will suddenly be terrible is that Mayor De Blasio wants to pass legislation to curb Uber's driver growth to 1 per cent while the city conducts a traffic congestion study set to end in September 2016. The car-hailing service has correctly seen this as a handout to the angry taxicab lobby, which fiercely opposes Uber's growth.
Uber's just doing what Uber has always done in contentious situations, so there's not much more to say about the tactics. As for the larger issue: Uber's growth poses a number of problems in New York and elsewhere. The service is almost completely unregulated, raising safety concerns, and its workers are treated terribly. De Blasio's legislation certainly isn't an immediate fix to these problems. To be sure, Uber's publicity campaign is an exaggeration, and in the absence of real solutions, maybe it's not the worst idea for the city to hit pause while officials dream up a solution to Uber's challenges.