New York’s Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) is hobbling Uber. The agency, which licenses taxicabs in New York City, is temporarily suspending five out of six of the company’s car hubs until they hand over electronic records of drivers’ trips. The decision was outlined in a ruling published on Tuesday, with Uber saying that they will continue to operate in the city routing all their drivers through their single remaining base.
A spokesperson for Uber told the New York Business Journal that the company was "continuing a dialogue with the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission on these issues," and that they would continue to "operate legally in New York City, with tens of thousands of partner drivers and hundreds of thousands of riders relying on the Uber platform."
Uber says that trip data is a trade secret; Uber's competitors don't agree
The TLC is requesting that Uber divulge data including "the date of trip, time of trip, pick up location, and license numbers," and that the company pay a $200 fine for each of its NYC bases. Uber has protested that this information constitutes trade secrets, and that sharing it could damage the company’s position in the market. They also object that sharing such data could be a violation of drivers’ privacy.
Ann Macadangdang, the hearing officer at the administrative tribunal, responded that these objections should be dismissed, especially as the company has previously shared the same information without protest in the past. Uber’s competitors — including Lyft — share this data as a matter of course. A spokesman for the TLC told the New York Business Journal that the legal dispute was the only communication that the commission had with Uber: "There's no open dialogue of which I am aware."