Poll: NY voters believe Uber limits motivated by donations

AP News
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Posted: Aug 10, 2015 8:11 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Sixty-five percent of city voters say they believe political campaign contributions by the yellow-taxi industry are behind efforts by some elected officials to limit the growth of the Uber ride-hailing service, according to a poll released Monday.

The Quinnipiac University poll comes just weeks after Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio dropped a plan to impose a yearlong cap on Uber's expansion in the face of a $3 million ad campaign that accused him, in part, of being beholden to yellow-cab donors.

Just 18 percent of voters said efforts to curb the San Francisco-based company's growth were in the city's best interest. And 53 percent said limiting the number of Uber drivers would not reduce traffic congestion.

Maurice Carroll, the assistant poll director at Quinnipiac, said voters believe the argument that halting Uber's growth would decrease traffic is "baloney."

De Blasio spokeswoman Karen Hinton said the mayor is working with legislators to improve the for-hire car industry on a range of issues, from safety to driver pay.

But some taxi cab industry donors were confused by the perception that they're pulling strings at City Hall.

"If our campaign contributions were influencing anything, I'm not sure what it is," said Arthur Schwartz, a spokesman for Melrose Credit Union.

An official at that organization, David "Taxi Dave" Pollack, bundled more than $80,000 in donations for de Blasio, according to records.

Schwartz said his coalition of 5,300 taxi medallion owners opposed the mayor's one-year ban on Uber growth.

Uber has agreed to turn over ride data to city officials, who also want the company to contribute funds to the transit network, in exchange for taking off the cap during a four-month study of the company's impact on traffic.

The number of Uber drivers has exploded in recent years, climbing to 25,000 cars. There are about 13,000 yellow cabs.

An Uber spokesman said the company wouldn't comment on the poll, which surveyed 1,108 voters from July 30 to Aug. 4. Its margin of error is 2.9 percentage points.

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