The New York City Council voted on Wednesday (8/8) in favor of a cap on the number of vehicles from Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing services on the road in NYC, CNBC reports. The Council also voted to set a minimum driver wage equivalent to the yellow cab wage for app-based drivers.
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".
New York City is the first major USA market to place a cap on Uber and similar services, which could inspire other cities to adopt legislation as they grapple with the effects of ride-hailing services. "We are thankful to the New York City officials who listened to the stories of drivers who are struggling to support their families and stood by us in this fight", the guild's executive director, Ryan Price, said in a statement.
Now the legislation heads for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's desk, who is expected to sign it.
"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.
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".
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City officials said that in the intervening years the number of for-hire vehicles on the streets has surged from 63,000 to more than 100,000, forcing drivers to compete for scarce fares and making it hard for any of them to earn a living wage.
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.
About 80,000 now operate throughout the city, versus just 13,500 yellow cabs. There are about 14,000 taxi drivers in the city.
The TLC, which regulates taxis and is a powerful force in NY politics, commissioned a study recently in a bid to underscore the chaos and push city authorities into taking action.
"Max" from RideShare Drivers United has also welcomed the move in NY. 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.
Uber spokesman Josh Gold said in an interview Wednesday that the company will shift its strategy from opposing efforts to freeze the number of vehicles, to gobbling up the outstanding for-hire vehicle licenses available under the new cap.
New York's move could shape regulations being considered in other cities concerned by the rise of ridesharing services. Uber is not going away'.