New York City has hit Uber with a cap on new cars

Sarah Tew  CNET

Sarah Tew CNET

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.

NY just became the first city in the nation to cap the number of ride-sharing vehicles and require Uber, Lyft, and other companies to pay drivers a minimum rate. The council also voted to require drivers get paid minimum wage.

The New York City Council voted Wednesday to freeze new vehicle licenses for one year while the city studies ways of reducing traffic congestion, among other steps.

A TLC study found that 80,000 vehicles in New York City operate as app-based ride services, and accomplish a staggering 17 million rides per month.

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Many Uber drivers joined the taxi industry in supporting the proposal. But the lawmaker still thought the 12-month moratorium on new Taxi and Limousine Commission-licensed cars working for "high-volume for-hire services" would cruise through.

Mayor Bill de Blasio still needs to sign it into law, but it's believed that he will do that soon.

About 80,000 vehicles are now used for so-called "ride sharing", in which drivers get a hail through an app.

Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang said the pause on new vehicle licenses 'will threaten one of the few reliable transportation options while doing nothing to fix the subways or ease congestion'.

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The legislation also allows the city to set a minimum pay rate for drivers and minimum fares for the industry.

The Independent Drivers Guild, which represents more than 65,000 app-based drivers such as those from Lyft and Uber, on Wednesday celebrated.

"Max" from RideShare Drivers United has also welcomed the move in NY.

But that growth has brought New York's iconic yellow cabs to their knees and since December, six yellow-cab drivers have committed suicide. That's in contrast to 14,000 taxi drivers. "The unchecked growth of app-based for-hire vehicle companies has demanded action-and now we have it".

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"And you know that yellow don't pick up black".

Drivers previously pushed for a cap on new competition in 2015, but were beaten back by ride-hailing companies.

The relative lack of resistance-Uber and Lyft have spent a fraction of the amount on lobbying this year as they did three years ago and have not run attack ads on politicians who have received money from yellow-cab medallion holders-may owe to the council's decision to package the cap with other bills that the firms support.

"They're talking about putting a cap on Uber, do you know how hard it is for black people to get a yellow cab in New York City?" Uber is not going away'.

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