New York City puts the brakes on Uber, Lyft

Ivan Schwartz
August 9, 2018

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.

Why it matters: This makes NY the first major American city to set a cap on ride-hailing vehicles or to set pay rules for gig drivers.

Yellow cab drivers and anti-congestion campaigners have pushed for regulation after the number of app-based cars soared in recent years.

The City Council approved a package of bills Wednesday that included a one-year moratorium on new licenses for for-hire vehicles while the city studies the rapidly changing industry.

They said the growth of ride-hailing apps has also worsened traffic congestion. "We hope this is the start of a more fair industry not only here in New York City, but all over the world", the labor group's founder, Jim Conigliaro Jr., said in a statement.

The legislation imposes a one-year ceiling on non-wheelchair-accessible for-hire vehicles while the city undertakes a study on the impacts of ride-hailing.

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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, a progressive Democrat, vowed to sign the bill into law, claiming that it would "stop the influx of cars contributing to the congestion grinding our streets to a halt".

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. The same companies are now pushing back on the new proposals, including telling users through social media and on their apps that the legislation could make rides more scarce and more expensive. "We will never stop working to ensure New Yorkers have access to reliable and affordable transportation in every borough". Three were taxi drivers reportedly facing financial issues. That's in contrast to 14,000 taxi drivers. Around 13,500 yellow cabs had the special licenses, called medallions, needed to pick up passengers on the street.

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.

"Workers and NY leaders made history today".

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

'Uber as you know it is going to be Uber as you know it, ' Cumbo said. Which, as Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens) put it, "is like putting a cap on Netflix subscriptions because Blockbusters are closing". If passed, the legation would make New York City the first major American city to set a limit on ride-hailing vehicles.

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