NYC sets limit on Uber and Lyft vehicles

Uber app

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.

A vote from the New York City council Wednesday will likely lead to higher fares on ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, and it might spread to other cities soon. The new regulations, which restrict new licenses from being issued and stipulate a minimum wage for drivers, last for one year, and are the first of their kind to be imposed in a U.S. city.

Uber said in a statement: "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".

The New York City Council approved a package of bills Wednesday that includes implementing a one-year freeze on new for-hire vehicle licenses as the city explores ways of reducing traffic congestion.

Many Uber drivers joined the taxi industry in supporting the proposal. The regulation didn't specify a dollar amount, but a report presented to the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission last month by the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics suggested $17.22 an hour, which would be $15 plus the overhead costs of operating a vehicle.

Supporters of the law, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, said it will ease gridlock and improve wages.

"Uber will do whatever it takes to keep up with growing demand and we will not stop working with city and state leaders, including Speaker Johnson, to pass real solutions like comprehensive congestion pricing", Uber said in a statement. The drop in incomes has demoralized many drivers and the New York Taxi Workers Alliance said there have been six suicides among cab and livery drivers in recent months.

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.

Around 80,000 drivers work for at least one of the big four app-based companies in NY, compared to 13,500 yellow cab drivers, it found. "We will never stop working to ensure New Yorkers have access to reliable and affordable transportation in every borough". "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".

Supporters of ride-hailing services say they are needed, especially outside of Manhattan, where it can be hard to hail a yellow cab.

"And you know that yellow don't pick up black". Which, as Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens) put it, "is like putting a cap on Netflix subscriptions because Blockbusters are closing".

NY is not the only city where ride-hailing apps are facing scrutiny. People of color and immigrants predominate among yellow cab drivers.

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