Date
17 October 2018
New regulations on ride-hailing services will help ease traffic congestion on New York streets, the city's mayor Bill de Blasio said. Photo: Reuters
New regulations on ride-hailing services will help ease traffic congestion on New York streets, the city's mayor Bill de Blasio said. Photo: Reuters

New York City votes to cap Uber, Lyft vehicle licenses

The New York City Council on Wednesday voted to cap the number of licenses for ride-hailing services for one year, dealing a blow to firms such as Uber and Lyft, Reuters reports.

The first such cap by any major US city was part of a package of measures that also includes setting a minimum wage for drivers, according to the report.

The measures are aimed at reducing traffic congestion and increasing driver paychecks in the wake of the explosive growth of for-hire vehicles.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he intends to sign the bills into law, which would start the 12-month period where no new for-hire vehicle licenses will be issued, with an exception for wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

“This action will stop the influx of cars contributing to the congestion grinding our streets to a halt,” the mayor was quoted as saying in a statement.

The number of ride-hailing vehicles operating in the city has jumped from about 12,600 in 2015 to about 80,000 this year, according to the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. About 14,000 yellow cabs operate in the city.

The effort to cap the services in New York was opposed by ride-hailing businesses, including Uber, Lyft and Via.

“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.

Lyft said: “These sweeping cuts to transportation will bring New Yorkers back to an era of struggling to get a ride, particularly for communities of color and in the outer boroughs.”

Via, which operates shared rides with established stops, hopes the city will make an exception for carpools, which it says reduce congestion and provide drivers with the most money.

In emails to nearly 5 million New Yorkers last month, Uber said riders will face higher prices, longer wait times and less service in the city’s outer suburbs by drivers.

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.

“New York City is the first city in the country enact drivers’ demands into legislation,” it said on its website.

The union had pointed out earlier that there have been six suicides among cab and livery drivers in recent months due to a drop in incomes in the wake of ride-hailing services such as Uber.

– Contact us at [email protected]

RC

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe