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Uber sues to block New York’s cap on new ride-hailing vehicles

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UberUber has filed a new lawsuit against the city of New York.Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

  • Uber has sued New York City to block a cap on new ride-hailing vehicle licenses. 
  • The company says it supports a living wage for drivers, but that the cap will not have the intended effect of fighting congestion. 
  • Earlier this month, Lyft sued to block the implementation of a new minimum wage for drivers, saying the methodology unfairly favors Uber. 

New York City’s cap on new ride-hailing vehicles amounts to a “ban first, study later” approach, Uber argued in a lawsuit filed Friday in New York State Supreme Court.

In August, the city council passed a 12-month cap on new for-hire vehicle licenses, which Uber fought heavily at the time. Friday’s lawsuit was a last-ditch effort by the company to continue to provide what it says are good jobs to drivers, many of whom are first-generation immigrants.

“Rather than rely on alternatives supported by transportation experts and economists, the City chose to significantly restrict service, growth and competition by the for-hire vehicle industry, which will have a disproportionate impact on residents outside of Manhattan who have long been underserved by yellow taxis and mass transit,” the lawsuit reads.

“By choosing to ban first and study later, the City has blamed FHVs for a problem without making any attempt to determine whether capping FHVs would meaningfully address the problem,” it continued. 

In a statement to Business Insider, Uber spokesperson Harry Hartfield said the cap would not help ease the congestion that some studies have shown ride-hailing firms like Uber have helped to exacerbate:

The City Council’s new law guarantees a living wage for drivers, and the administration should not have blocked New Yorkers from taking advantage of it by imposing a cap. We agree that fighting congestion is a priority, which is why we support the state’s vision for congestion pricing, the only evidence-based plan to reduce traffic and fund mass transit.

New York also passed a law to guarantee drivers a minimum wage of around $17 per hour after expenses, which was set to go into effect this month. Uber supported that rule, while Lyft and Juno, two smaller competitors, sued to block its implementation, arguing the methodology unfairly favored Uber.

A spokesperson for the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Uber suit. 

During an interview with WNYC’s Brian Lehrer in January, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio expressed continued support for the cap, in order to to stop a “race to the bottom” in wages.

“We finally put caps on Uber and the other ridesharing services so that we could create more fairness and stop this race to bottom with the wages of drivers,” he told Lehrer

“We’re going to put ongoing caps in place on the for-hire vehicles and we’re going to work to increase the wages and benefits the drivers,” he said.

Do you work at Uber? Have a news tip? Contact this reporter at grapier@businessinsider.com. Secure contact methods available here. 

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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