NY City Council Poised to Impose Cap on Uber and Lyft

Kenny Grant
August 9, 2018

Although a number of cities have tried to shut down Uber and Lyft altogether, or attempted to force the companies to operate exactly the same as taxicabs, this marks the first time a major city has passed legislation that will regulate ride-hailing apps as their own industry.

The New York City Council approved a cap on app-based ride-hail vehicles during a vote Wednesday - curbing the number of those cars allowed on the streets of NYC for a year. New York City Council is set to consider legislation this week that would cap ride-hailing vehicles in the city and set a minimum pay rate for drivers.

The legislation before the Council calls for a 12-month moratorium on most new for-hire vehicle licenses to give the city time to study how the rapid expansion of ride-hailing services affects the city's traffic, and how the council can ensure drivers of hired cars and yellow cabs earn a living wage.

New York City is the first major US market to place a cap on Uber and similar services, which could inspire other cities to adopt legislation as they grapple with the effects of ride-hailing services.

The one-year cap - which won't apply to wheelchair accessible vehicles or in certain underserved areas deemed not to be affected by congestion - is meant to make way for a study on longer term regulations and standards for the industry.

During the freeze, the Taxi and Limousine Commission and Department of Transportation will study driver income, traffic congestion, efficient use of vehicles and service impact in different areas.

Now the legislation heads for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's desk, who is expected to sign it.

The company said it will continue to work with New York City government and state leaders for solutions to keep up with the growing demand, such as congestion pricing.

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Following his statements on Twitter, Dorsey directed his followers to an article further explaining the platform's rules. YouTube and Spotify reacted similarly. "This is what serves the public conversation best", Dorsey said.

In a statement, Lyft decried the measure's passage - arguing the cap would make hailing a ride more hard across the city, particularly in less dense areas.

Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang said the pause on new vehicle licenses 'will threaten one of the few reliable transportation options while doing nothing to fix the subways or ease congestion'.

Six city taxi drivers have committed suicide in recent months under the financial pressure, according to the New York Taxi Workers Alliance.

Lawmakers who backed the measure cited congestion in the city and hoped that it would stop the decline in compensation for drivers, according to WABC in NY. "And this victory belongs to New Yorkers and our allies who have stood with us to say, not one more death, not one more fallen driver crushed by poverty and despair".

"And you know that yellow don't pick up black".

Uber spokesman Josh Gold said a cap on new licenses would reverse the progress made extending service to neighborhoods poorly served by traditional taxis.

Most drivers in NY work full time and are often immigrants without higher education.

That argument has gotten support from some civil rights activists like the Rev. Al Sharpton, who have long criticized the yellow cab industry for discrimination and profiling of minorities. Uber is not going away'.

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