NYC moves to rein in Uber with cap on ride-hail vehicles

New York City is making every Uber ride more expensive – here’s why they did

It also sets a precedent that other cities could follow, which would spell trouble for ride-hailing firms.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he meant to sign the bills into law, which would start the 12-month period where no new for-hire vehicle licenses would be issued, with an exception for wheelchair-accessible vehicles. Uber said the Council's legislation would make rides more expensive and less reliable.

The package of bills approved Wednesday by the New York City Council calls for, among other things, a one-year freeze on new for-hire vehicle licenses as the city explores ways of reducing traffic congestion.

For generations, taxi drivers in NY were protected by rules restricting competition.

Yellow taxi drivers, subject to regulated pricing, have found themselves working harder for less return, while the value of a required taxi vehicle license, a medallion, has dropped precipitously. Ride-hailing services have an estimated 80,000 of the 120,000 available for-hire vehicle licenses in NY, the companies say. About 14,000 yellow cabs operate 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. The Council also voted to set a minimum driver wage equivalent to the yellow cab wage for app-based drivers.

"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", he said in a statement following the vote.

"We will never stop working to ensure New Yorkers have access to reliable and affordable transportation in every borough", he said.

"Workers and NY leaders made history today".

'Uber as you know it is going to be Uber as you know it, ' Cumbo said. "We will survive, '" he said.

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.

"We're really concerned about the process and the speed with which the council is trying to ram this through", said Joseph Okpaku, vice president of public policy at Lyft.

Opponents of the legislation said Uber and Lyft provide much-needed service to areas outside of Manhattan that aren't served by traditional taxis. London cab drivers are planning legal action hoping to receive "millions of pounds in lost earnings". By passing the proposal, NY becomes the first city in the country to impose these limitations.

"This is an industry that has seen explosive growth over the last three years", said Johnson.

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