Mayor Bill de Blasio rejected Uber’s call for a live debate on Monday.
Uber extended an offer to discuss in a live-streamed online debate de Blasio’s proposal to freeze the amount of drivers for-hire car services can hire in one year as the city investigates the effects these companies have on NYC.
In an open letter to the Mayor, Josh Mohrer, Uber’s general manager for New York City, invited de Blasio to discuss any “new concerns” over the Internet “so all New Yorkers can watch.” De Blasio rejected the offer during a Monday morning press conference.
“I do not debate with heads of private companies over their own self-interest,” de Blasio said. “Uber is a multi-billion dollar corporation, and they’re acting like one.”
In a Daily News op-ed, de Blasio expressed concern over excess congestion caused by too many Uber drivers, consumer overcharges and lack of access to disability-friendly transportation.
Uber claimed its drivers are well-paid and the service is valuable because it goes places yellow taxis do not, including minority neighborhoods. To refute the claim that Uber does not provide disability accessible transportation, the company referred to its wheelchair accessible service, UberWAV.
An online debate is the latest in a string of shots Uber has pulled against the de Blasio administration. The company held protests against the proposal outside the mayor’s office, offering free rides to the rally. It has released television ads urging New Yorkers not to let de Blasio “strand New York” by pushing “the agenda of his big taxi donors.”
Last week the company released a “de Blasio” button on its app that, when pressed, makes all the cars on the map disappear and the wait times increase tenfold.
The e-hail app bill is expected to be voted upon as early as Thursday.