E-Hail Regulation in Global Cities

Meera Joshi, Nicholas Cowan, Olivia Limone, Kelsey McGuinness, Rohan Rao

In recent years—and with increasing speed—global cities are exercising their authority to regulate e-hail services such as Uber, Ola, Lyft, and Didi. This report, by the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation, describes the current and future regulatory strategies of 13 international cities for e-hail services. To craft stronger regulation in the future, cities can learn from each other's regulatory approaches to leverage the power of shared information. To compete in the future, e-hail services can adapt their business models to meet increasing government regulation.

Regulation targets the same urban challenges the services were expected, but have yet, to solve. E-hail service in cities was predicted to reduce car dependency, yet their success has often added to vehicle congestion in city centers. As a result, the introduction of e-hail services has served as a catalyst for cities to implement new policies and fees aimed at congestion mitigation. Working for an e-hail service was promoted as offering an easy, flexible way to quickly supplement income. Yet today, millions of e-hail drivers are pressing for government regulation to protect driver pay and to improve working conditions.

Although cultures, currencies, languages, and road systems differ among nations, growing e-hail services pose similar challenges for their dense cities. Cities must continue to focus their regulatory attention on key areas in order to ensure that the explosive growth of e-hail services does not inhibit the rapid and safe flow of vehicles in their jurisdiction. These include data access to set and maintain service standards; fees to generate local revenue for public transit, infrastructure, and accessibility; policies to limit the environmental effects of more cars on the road; and regulatory protection for millions of passengers and drivers. 

Skyline of Global Cities
Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management