New York City Uber cap to be decided today


New Yorkers who regularly rely on Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing services to travel around the city's five boroughs may find the apps less convenient in the next year.

Why it matters: This makes NY the first major American city to set a cap on ride-hailing vehicles or to set pay rules for gig drivers.

The package of bills passed also allows city officials to create a minimum pay rate for drivers, The New York Times reported.

"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. (It's worth noting that companies can get around the hiring freeze if they're adding licenses specifically to enhance accessibility, something both the MTA and ride-hailing apps are severely lacking.) The start date was not specified during the meeting nor in the text of the bill.

Many Uber drivers joined the taxi industry in supporting the proposal.

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The bill stipulates a 12-month cap on all new for-hire-vehicle licenses, unless they are wheelchair accessible, as well as minimum pay requirements for app drivers - regulated by the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). Mayor Bill de Blasio released the following statement, saying he is prepared to sign the bill into law: "Our city is directly confronting a crisis that is driving working New Yorkers into poverty and our streets into gridlock".

The company said it will continue to work with New York City government and state leaders for solutions to keep up with the growing demand, such as congestion pricing.

About 80,000 vehicles are now used for so-called "ride sharing", in which drivers get a hail through an app. It comes in the wake of reports about the declining price of taxi medallions and taxi driver suicides.

Lawmakers who backed the measure cited congestion in the city and hoped that it would stop the decline in compensation for drivers, according to WABC in NY. "We will never stop working to ensure New Yorkers have access to reliable and affordable transportation in every borough".

"No one is going to be destroyed by what happened today", Bhairavi Desai, the executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, said after the vote.

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"Max" from RideShare Drivers United has also welcomed the move in NY. London threatened not to renew Uber's license to operate in the city, but relented after Uber agreed to share anonymous trip data with city planners, limit its operating hours, and make other changes.

Most drivers in NY work full time and are often immigrants without higher education.

Supporters of ride-hailing services say they are needed, especially outside of Manhattan, where it can be hard to hail a yellow cab. People of color and immigrants predominate among yellow cab drivers.

NY is not the only city where ride-hailing apps are facing scrutiny.

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