NYC sets limit on Uber and Lyft vehicles

Marco Green
August 9, 2018

NY plans to cap ride-hailing services including Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc., becoming the first US city to take such a step.

Another source on the council, however, told Crain's that the legislature was still tweaking the bill in the lead-up to the vote so as to mollify the ride-hail industry while keeping the cap in place. They say the growth of ride-hailing apps has also worsened traffic congestion.

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. No new licenses will be issued for a full year as the city studies the issue further; legislation also allows the city to set a minimum pay rate for drivers, who, as legal contractors, are not subject to federal or state minimum wages.

Uber has campaigned against the legislation, warning riders that a cap on drivers will create higher prices and longer waits for cars.

The cap was given support from New York's taxi industry, which has seen wages falling and drivers expressing concern over long-term employment. Picture taken September 21, 2017. The insider was unsure of the exact nature of these last-minute amendments, but another source suggested that a final draft of the bill might allow now licensed Uber and Lyft cars to be rented to other drivers, possibly creating yellow-taxi-style fleets of ride-hail cars.

Lyft vice president of public policy Joseph Okpaku panned the vote in a statement, saying that the measure "will bring New Yorkers back to an era of struggling to get a ride, particularly for communities of color and in the outer boroughs".

"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", Uber said in a statement.

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. Lyft has acquired the Motivate bike-sharing company.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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