From NY Daily News:
The communication lifted our spirits: Just under the Freedom of Information Law deadline, City Hall invited us to pick up digitized copies of documents related to Mayor de Blasio’s $2 million consultant’s study of things Uber.
Slip the disc into a computer and up pop file after file with not a single file containing contract records, such as a request for proposals and the consultant contracts themselves.
Presumably, those show what de Blasio tasked the consultants with doing and how they earned their keep. His aides promise they are still looking. Huh? How hard can they be to find?
Meantime, the extant paper trail of the mayor’s quest to rein in the car-hailing app service puts to rest doubt about his fealty to the yellow taxi moguls who had hoped to shut down a threat to their industry — and whose campaign dollars helped pave his path into City Hall.
In a Daily News Op-Ed last summer, de Blasio thundered that “overwhelming” traffic congestion driven by Uber obligated him tightly limit new Uber licenses, as well as to study the matter.
The mayor also warned of dimming economic prospects for cab drivers, whose plight he has compared to that of low-wage Walmart workers.
Then he spent the $2 million, discovered he was wrong and, ultimately, was embarrassed into releasing a skimpy report months after the fact.
The documents produced thus far by the administration are heavily blacked out, for no reason other than that the law permits the mayor to black out certain types of information. He can cover it up, so he covers it up.
Nonetheless, it’s clear that, from the very start of the review, the mayor’s staff found that riders and drivers were shifting from taxis to Uber for better deals without increasing the total number of rides in the city.
Pages of data about taxi industry economics, including the plummeting value of taxi medallions, also make clear that the focus was on medallion holders’ fight for survival.
It further turned out Ubers are much more likely than cabs to park between rides, while cabs are more likely to cruise — increasing traffic. This detail was conspicuously missing from the mayor’s January report — and all on its own made an expedition into the mayor’s files worthwhile.
More to come, if only City Hall can find those darned contracts.
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