In New York City, it's a street fight between Uber and City Hall. Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration wants to curb Uber’s growth in the city until the completion of a study on the company’s impact on NYC’s already congested streets. The San Francisco-based startup has responded to the administration's moves with a “de Blasio” mode that projects a longer wait time if a cap on Uber cars is established.

Backlash is a familiar tune for the ridesharing service, and Uber has a record of winning turf battles despite opponents' efforts. Sometimes, Uber doesn't get its way, as happened when the California Labor Commission's Office ruled that a driver who had sued the company be treated as an employee as opposed to as an independent contractor. (Uber is appealing the decision.) 

But usually, founder Travis Kalanick and his multi-billion-dollar war chest find a way to prevail. Given Uber’s track record across the country, it looks like de Blasio may be at a disadvantage in sparring with the taxi alternative. Here are a few times Uber got in a bar fight and walked away happy. 

Washington, D.C.

The district’s city council passed Public Vehicle-for-Hire Innovation Amendment Act late in 2012 to allow and regulate what the law referred to as “digital dispatch” companies including Uber, ending a long ban. Opponents in the city had decried Uber’s business model as one that did a disservice to consumers with practices such as surge pricing.

Nevada

When Uber started offering rides in Las Vegas last October, a handful of Uber cars were promptly impounded, and the following month, a judge issued an injunction against the company. But late this spring, the Nevada legislature voted to allow operation of Uber and other similar companies.

The win hasn’t been all hunky dory. A couple days after the legislative vote, taxi drivers protested saying Uber needed to follow the same rules as taxi companies if it was going to offer the same service, local media reported.

San Francisco International Airport

The San Francisco-based company has even faced challenges on its home turf – and, you guessed it, triumphed in achieving access.

Uber and fellow rideshare services Lyft and Sidecar were operating illegally at SFO until the airport and the companies struck a deal in October, allowing the startups to send their drivers there as long as the services paid the airport certain fees. 

So how does Uber do it? Thilo Koslowski, vice president and automotive practice leader of research firm Gartner, told the Los Angeles Times after the Nevada ruling that Uber uses a “punch approach” to secure its place in a new market.

"They punch themselves into the market, break glass, upset people and then figure out how to bring everybody together in a more friendly way," Koslowski told the Times.

Published on: Jul 20, 2015