[By Don Jacobson]

A New York judge has struck down a proposal to limit the time Uber and Lyft drivers can cruise around Manhattan without carrying riders.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Lyle Frank ruled Monday the city’s bid to cut down on traffic congestion by imposing new limits on ride-hailing services was illegal, calling the proposed rules “arbitrary” and “without sound basis in reason.”

The decision means New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his Taxi and Limousine Commission must now rewrite the proposed regulations.

The “cruising cap” sought to bar Uber and Lyft drivers, beginning in February, from spending more than 36 percent of their time without a passenger throughout most of Manhattan. That restriction would have tightened to just 31 percent in August.

City officials said the restrictions were necessary to stem worsening congestion that’s resulting from an influx of ride-share services in New York City’s busiest traffic corridors.

Frank sided with critics who took issue with how leaders arrived at the percentages, and how the city or drivers could practically monitor such a restriction.

“There is scant rationale for why the 31 percent number was chosen,” he wrote, adding that “there is simply no indication where the numbers came from.”

Uber said in a statement it’s pleased with the decision.

New York City deputy press secretary Olivia Lapeyrolerie defended the effort and promised an appeal.

“We put these rules in place to protect hardworking drivers and New Yorkers — and we’ll fight to keep them,” she said.

~source