Cornegy Leans Toward Uber In Dispute With City


As the City Council readies for a reported vote next Thursday on whether to place a one-year cap on the growth of popular car services such as Uber while it conducts a traffic study, it is far from certain if City Council members representing Central Brooklyn will give the measure a thumbs up.

Among those against the cap is Small Business Committee Chair and Bed-Stuy City Council Member Robert Cornegy Jr., who said in his June 30 testimony before the City Council’s Transportation Committee hearing on the issue that while he supports a plan to study the impacts that growth in this industry are having on the city, “I cannot support imposing draconian limits on growth while a study takes place.”

City Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr.
City Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr.

“What I’ve seen in Bed-Stuy & Crown Heights is that New Yorkers are benefiting from the recent growth in this industry. They’re benefiting through the jobs that have been created and those that have been improved. Drivers are earning more, with more flexibility and they’re using that income and time to fulfill their goals for themselves and their families. Riders have benefited from this growth, as well. Constituents who like to call up their local car service can still do that, but others, who’ve been frustrated by the difficulty of getting a reliable ride home or to another destination frequently utilize the service,” said Cornegy in his testimony..

Of the 10 sponsors of the bill to put a cap on services like Uber, only two  – prime sponsor Stephen Levin and Canarsie/Flatlands City Councilman Alan Maisel – were from Brooklyn.

Recently, Maisel’s district has been flooded with Uber mailers attacking his support for the cap as his district is among the worst in the borough so far as access to public transportation and his constituents both find work with and utilize for-hire app-based companies like Uber.

According to Uber statistics, more than 6,000 of their drivers are from Brooklyn, and more than a quarter of all Uber rides are to, from or within the outer boroughs compared to just 6 percent of traditional taxi trips.

City Councilman Alan Maisel
City Councilman Alan Maisel

Maisel admitted that Uber provides a good service, but said he won’t be bullied. “The question is whether or not the city has a right to try to see the impact services like Uber has on the city. The City certainly has the right to ensure new industries follow the rules,” said Maisel.

But the jury is still out on how other Central Brooklyn’s lawmakers – particularly in the communities of color – will vote.

Meanwhile, Uber is quick to point out that the taxi lobby continues to be a major financial contributor to the de Blasio Administration.

“Mayor de Blasio is pushing the agenda of big taxi donors at the expense of New Yorkers. His plan to stop Uber will kill 10,000 jobs – primarily in the outer boroughs – and make wait times for Uber rides double or triple,” said an Uber Spokesperson