Council proposes a law to curb Uber surge pricing shock

The City Council wants to make sure that when Uber posts a quote to potential users, they stick to it.Theodore Parisienne/for New York Daily News

The City Council wants to make sure that when Uber posts a quote to potential users, they stick to it.

Uber passengers will avoid the sticker shock of surge pricing under a package of taxi industry bills the City Council passed Thursday.

The bill would require apps like Uber to provide riders with a fare quote or range of prices upon request.

“When you book your Uber and check how much it should cost, you will not be surprised with an outlandish charge when it comes time to pay,” Councilman Dan Garodnick (D-Manhattan) said at a news conference before the vote.


Under the legislation, the final cost of the ride cannot be 20% higher than the quote.

Councilman David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn), a critic of surge pricing, praised the price transparency bill as a needed consumer protection, but said he will still push for a cap on sky-high prime time prices. Uber defends surge pricing as a way to get drivers on the road to meet demand.

“The next logical step in fact would be a cap,” he said. “We continue to hear from people all the time how they believe that the pricing is outrageous and they believe like they’re being taken advantage of by Uber and other similar companies,” Greenfield said.

Meanwhile, the Council also voted to crack down on drivers for Uber and other apps, livery and black car companies from poaching passengers in Manhattan’s core and airports from yellow cabbies.

Fines for illegal street pickups will shoot from $500 to $2,000.

The Daily News reported Thursday that Uber-affiliated cars received 2,825 tickets for unauthorized pickups — a fifth of all pickup infractions over a 14-month period ending in March.

NOV. 21 2014 FILE PHOTOJulio Cortez/AP

Disability advocates want the City Council to mandate Uber to provide wheelchair-accessible rides.

Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang said the app giant backs the Council package, which also allows Taxi and Limousine Commission black cars to stay on the road longer and creates a universal license for hacks that will work across sectors.

The City Council, however, was criticized for what was left out of the package.


Disability advocates, who want a mandate on Uber to provide wheelchair-accessible rides, slammed lawmakers.

An Uber spokeswoman said the app brings wheelchair-accessible yellow and green cabs to disabled passengers “quickly and reliably.” But the advocates say Uber’s solution is dumping the issue onto the TLC when they want to use actual Uber cars.

“Tell Uber that they have no choice, they don’t make the rules when it comes to how you provide services in the city,” said Dustin Jones of United for Equal Access New York.

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito did not rule out future legislation on surge pricing and wheelchair accessibility in cabs that pick up passengers through apps.

“This was just the beginning of a conversation when it comes to the for-hire vehicle industry,” Mark-Viverito said.

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