Uber Technologies Inc. is continuing its street fight with the Big Apple in a lawsuit opposing a cap on how many "for-hire vehicles" can get on the city's streets.
The ride service says the suit is a last resort in the brawl with the local government, and that New York City is overstepping its authority with the year-long cap on Uber and similar vehicles as regulated in Local Law no. 147 that was signed Aug. 14.
The city, however, has said the company is clogging its streets with traffic "in a race to the bottom."
"No legal challenge changes the fact that Uber made congestion on our roads worse and paid their drivers less than a living wage. The City's new laws aim to change that," said Seth Stein, spokesman for the city's Transportation Department, in a statement provided to TheStreet.
Claiming that the city is overreaching with its legislation, Uber says that New York state law gives cities the power to cap taxicabs but "not app-based" or other types of for-hire-vehicles, and that previous similar legislative efforts have "failed." It also says the rule has stifled some 3,000 potential for-hire drivers since the moratorium went into effect.
Uber and ride-share rival Lyft are both planning highly anticipated initial public offerings this year.
Arguing that the city really wants to extend the cap indefinitely, Uber also claims the cap will prevent drivers from making earlier pay minimums put in place by the city last year.
"The City Council's new law guarantees a living wage for drivers, and the administration should not have blocked New Yorkers from taking advantage of it by imposing a cap," said Uber spokesperson Harry Hartfield in an email to TheStreet. "We agree that fighting congestion is a priority, which is why we support the state's vision for congestion pricing, the only evidence-based plan to reduce traffic and fund mass transit."
Earlier this year, however, Mayor Bill de Blasio defended the reasoning for the cap.
"We finally put caps on Uber and the other ridesharing services," said de Blasio in a Jan. 25 interview on the Brian Lehrer Show, according to a transcript. The mayor said the caps were to "create more fairness and stop this race to bottom with the wages of drivers, you know, both yellow [cab] and for-hire drivers."
He continued, "we're going to put ongoing caps in place on the for-hire vehicles and we're going to work to increase the wages and benefits the drivers, so clearly I do not want to see a surcharge harm them."
This story has been updated.