NYC moves to rein in Uber with cap on ride-hail vehicles

City Council vote on ride-share cap

City Council vote on ride-share cap

The New York City Council voted Wednesday to set a cap on the number of ride-hailing vehicles in the city, a move that will see Uber and Lyft's growth curtailed.

The first such cap by any major US city was part of a package of measures that also includes setting a minimum wage for drivers. We take the Speaker at his word that the pause is not meant to reduce service for New Yorkers and we trust that he will hold the TLC accountable, ensuring that no New Yorker is left stranded.

"We are pausing the issuance of new licenses in an industry that has been allowed to proliferate without any appropriate check or regulation", Corey Johnson, the City Council speaker, told the New York Times before the vote.

Supporters of the law, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, said it will ease gridlock and improve wages. The unchecked growth of app-based for-hire vehicle companies has demanded action - and now we have it. Uber and Lyft had objected to the proposal, arguing it would increase wait times and make rides harder to find in neighborhoods across the city.

"The City's 12-month pause on new vehicle licenses will threaten one of the few reliable transportation options while doing nothing to fix the subways or ease congestion". It also establishes a minimum wage for drivers, who had previously been exempt from the state's higher than average hourly compensation requirements.

In a committee meeting on Wednesday, New York City Councilmembers cited concerns over pay and quality of life for the 80,000-some drivers now working as independent contractors under Uber and Lyft. That's in contrast to 14,000 taxi drivers. Those wage concerns aren't limited to taxi drivers, though - in fact, the New York Times reports that almost 40 percent of the city's ride-hailing drivers qualify for Medicaid because their take-home wages are that low.

This cap is the first of its kind in the country, and if it proves successful in addressing issues related to ride hailing, other cities could follow suit. But critics said it will make it harder, and more expensive, to get around.

"We're going to aggressively go after the 40,000 existing [for-hire vehicle] licenses to add to the 80,000 that we already dispatch to", Gold said.

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