Economy

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

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

For-hire drivers and their supporters rally in favor of proposed New York City legislation that would put a cap on ride-hailing vehicles outside the headquarters of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, which also houses offices of Uber and Lyft, August 6, 2018 in New York City.

The New York City Council voted on Wednesday to cap the number of Uber and other ride-hail vehicles, imposing a one-year freeze on new vehicle licenses as the city studies the demand for and effects of such services on traffic in the area. 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. They say the growth of ride-hailing apps has also worsened traffic congestion.

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.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio praised the vote, saying the council's actions will ease congestion in city streets and protect more New Yorkers from earning less than minimum wage. Uber said the Council's legislation would make rides more expensive and less reliable.

"We will never stop working to ensure New Yorkers have access to reliable and affordable transportation in every borough", he said.

In emails to almost 5 million New Yorkers last month, Uber said riders would face higher prices, longer wait times and less service in the city's outer suburbs by drivers. London threatened not to renew Uber's license to operate in the city, but relented after Uber agreed to share anonymous trip data with city planners, limit its operating hours, and make other changes.

An ABC investigation found many licensed taxi drivers have warned of the mounting human toll due to industry deregulation, with livelihoods wiped out and increasing pressure on families.

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The New York Taxi Workers Alliance, an 18,000-member union representing the city's taxi drivers, hailed the council's vote as a victory.

The company said it would also reach out to vehicle owners with existing for-hire licenses and try to recruit them to work for Uber.

"Max" from RideShare Drivers United has also welcomed the move in NY.

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

But opponents said Uber and Lyft provide needed service to neighborhoods outside Manhattan that are poorly served by yellow cabs.

New York's move could shape regulations being considered in other cities concerned by the rise of ridesharing services.

Drivers previously pushed for a cap on new competition in 2015, but were beaten back by ride-hailing companies. Uber is not going away'.