New York City Council Votes to Cap Uber and Lyft

New York City caps Uber and Lyft vehicles — a first-in-the-nation move

New York City caps Uber and Lyft vehicles — a first-in-the-nation move

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. 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 legislation was supported by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said it would help "stop the influx of cars" causing congestion in the city.

According to the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, those app-based vehicles made 17 million trips in February 2018, up from 6 million in February 2016.

Uber and Lyft look to be headed into a brick wall at the City Council, which is poised to vote August 8 on legislation that will cap the tech firms' vehicle count in the five boroughs for a year.

"Uber will do whatever it takes to keep up with growing demand and we will not stop working with city and state leaders... to pass real solutions like comprehensive congestion pricing", a spokesperson said.

Backers of the proposals said both the traditional yellow cab industry and drivers for app-based services are suffering as Uber cars flood the city's streets. "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".

This comes in the wake of reports that the rise of ridesharing services has depressed the price of taxi medallions and sharply cut into driver earnings. "If they think that's the right thing to do, there's nothing stopping them from doing that". But he said better regulation is needed.

Supporters of a cap have said the regulations will protect drivers, fairly regulate the industry and reduce congestion.

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But that growth has brought New York's iconic yellow cabs to their knees and since December, six yellow-cab drivers have committed suicide.

'Uber as you know it is going to be Uber as you know it, ' Cumbo said.

That system was smashed when the city began allowing passengers to use smartphone apps to hail cars nearly anywhere.

He claimed there were double the number of ride-share cars as taxis in Sydney and Melbourne, and that a similar move in Australia may be too little too late. They are valued at such a huge amount of money. Drivers no longer have the income to pay them off. "We will survive, '" he said. "I would rather be dead". Which, as Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens) put it, "is like putting a cap on Netflix subscriptions because Blockbusters are closing". Uber said the Council's legislation would make rides more expensive and less reliable.

"We're really concerned about the process and the speed with which the council is trying to ram this through", said Joseph Okpaku, vice president of public policy at Lyft.

NY is not the only city where ride-hailing apps are facing scrutiny. Sharpton wrote on Twitter.

"This is an industry that has seen explosive growth over the last three years", said Johnson.

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