New York City Council Votes to Cap Uber and Lyft

Enlarge  A Lyft ride-hailing vehicle moves through traffic in Manhattan

The cap, the first to be imposed in a major city, will last for one year while the city conducts a survey on the impacts of the ride-hailing fleets.

The New York City Council on Wednesday approved a cap on the number of ride-hailing vehicles in the city.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he meant to sign the bills into law, which would start the 12-month period where no new for-hire vehicle licenses would be issued, with an exception for wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

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"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", she said, adding that the company would work "to pass real solutions like comprehensive congestion pricing".

Uber and Lyft users might have to wait a bit longer for a ride when the cap is put in effect - or they could just walk to the curb and lift up an arm, like we all used to. "We are thankful to the New York City officials who listened to the stories of drivers who are struggling to support their families and stood by us in this fight", the guild's executive director, Ryan Price, said in a statement. The hits to the taxi industry reportedly contributed to the deaths of multiple drivers in past months. "Our city is directly confronting a crisis that is driving working New Yorkers into poverty and our streets into gridlock", de Blasio said. Almost one in five qualify for food stamps. "It would also allow the Commission address incomes for app-based drivers, 85 percent of whom now make below minimum wage".

Ride-hailing companies aren't exactly pleased. Several members of the committee did not respond to a request for comment. By passing the proposal, NY becomes the first city in the country to impose these limitations. That wouldn't bode well for Uber, which is considering going public next year. These include a minimum wage for drivers (although Lyft has expressed reservations about the prescribed mechanism to achieve it) and the waiving of TLC fees for wheelchair-accessible cars.

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