Published: Thu, August 09, 2018
Economy | By Shawn Conner

NYC votes to cap Uber and Lyft vehicles

NYC votes to cap Uber and Lyft vehicles

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. 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.

"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 spokesperson Josh Gold told The New York Times in a statement.

It makes NY the first major United States city to limit the number of app-based rides and to impose pay rules, with authorities under pressure to act over pollution and worsening 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.

Now the legislation heads for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's desk, who is expected to sign it.

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He said many ride sharing drivers did not fully understand the costs of their job.

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

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.

By a 39-6 vote, the City Council passed a bill Wednesday that caps the number of for-hire vehicle licenses for a year.

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Six city taxi drivers have committed suicide in recent months under the financial pressure, according to the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. "And this victory belongs to New Yorkers and our allies who have stood with us to say, not one more death, not one more fallen driver crushed by poverty and despair". 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.

Right: The real point of this package of bills was simply to give something to Uber's opponents, especially in the struggling yellow-cab industry. Several thousand more drivers worked for black auto companies that dispatched vehicles by phone, mostly in the outer boroughs of Bronx, Queens, Staten Island and Brooklyn, where yellow cabs generally wouldn't travel.

The move to tighten regulation in NY was in part prompted by several recent driver suicides.

NY is not the only city where ride-hailing apps are facing scrutiny.

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Flaws in that system, like racial profiling and inadequate demand, "made it easy for Uber, Lyft and the others to come in, say, 'We're going to provide a much better service, '" he said.

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