Published: Thu, August 09, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

NY moves to cap Uber, app-ride vehicles

NY moves to cap Uber, app-ride vehicles

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

As the New York City Council considers new regulation of ride-hailing companies, Council Speaker Corey Johnson said companies such as Uber and Lyft won't derail his effort to protect drivers and manage traffic congestion with "an 11th-hour offer to help the taxi industry". The City Council also passed a bill today addressing minimum pay for drivers.

"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 company said in a statement.

Uber has blazed the trail for the ride-hailing industry by ignoring local regulations, clashing repeatedly with city governments and often threatening to shut down service in response to legislation.

The one-year cap - which won't apply to wheelchair accessible vehicles or in certain underserved areas deemed not to be affected by congestion - is meant to make way for a study on longer term regulations and standards for the industry.

The New York City Council on Wednesday approved a cap on the number of ride-hailing vehicles in the city. "Our city is directly confronting a crisis that is driving working New Yorkers into poverty and our streets into gridlock", de Blasio said. Uber said the Council's legislation would make rides more expensive and less reliable.

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.

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The Amalgamated Transit Union, on the other hand, applauded the city council's actions as a step toward protecting rideshare drivers, thousands of which have joined the union.

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.

The Independent Drivers Guild, a labor group representing more than 60,000 app-based professional drivers in the city, said the wage floor was the culmination of a two-year battle aimed at eliminating a so-called "loophole" that allowed Uber and Lyft to subvert minimum wage requirements by classifying drivers as contractors.

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

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

Uber spokesman Josh Gold said a cap on new licenses would reverse the progress made extending service to neighborhoods poorly served by traditional taxis.

"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?" The law does not put a cap on new drivers.

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