In a decision issued last week, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission can restrict in-vehicle commercial advertising in for-hire vehicles, including yellow cabs, Uber, and Lyft. The decision reverses an earlier ruling by a district court holding that the ban violated the First Amendment rights of advertisers.
New York City’s TLC regulates for-hire vehicles in the city. For nearly 20 years, the TLC has prohibited commercial advertising in for-hire vehicles, except on screens installed in yellow cabs called “Taxi TV,” which otherwise allow patrons to use credit cards to pay their cab fares. Noncommercial messages are permitted to be displayed in for-hire vehicles. Vugo is a company that wished to sell a software platform for advertising in Uber and Lyft vehicles, which are not otherwise equipped with Taxi TV. The TLC rules prohibited Vugo’s proposal, and Vugo sought relief in federal court.