On Wednesday, the New York City Council voted 36-6 to effectively cap the rapid-fire growth of ride-hailing services like Uber, Lyft, and Via and by nudging their fleets of black cars off the road and forcing companies to pay drivers a living wage. The Council also voted to set a minimum driver wage equivalent to the yellow cab wage for app-based 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", said Uber spokesperson Danielle Filson.
At the end of July, we learned that the New York City Council was looking into capping the number of ride-sharing vehicles in the city while it tried to figure out related issues like congestion. However, lawmakers hope the limitations will help reduce congestion and protect taxi drivers who have seen a steep decline in income.
Now the legislation heads for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's desk, who is expected to sign it.
She said Uber will do whatever it takes to keep up with growing demand for its service and will work with city and state officials to pass "real solutions" like congestion pricing for cars in Manhattan. The drop in incomes has demoralized many drivers and the New York Taxi Workers Alliance said there have been six suicides among cab and livery drivers in recent months.
"We will never stop working to ensure New Yorkers have access to reliable and affordable transportation in every borough", he said.
It also gives the TLC the power to regulate minimum rates of fares, minimum pay for drivers and create a new rulebook for app companies.
"Our city is directly confronting a crisis that is driving working New Yorkers into poverty and our streets into gridlock".
Yellow taxi drivers have been pushing for this legislation because they say the rapid growth of ride-hailing services is destroying their industry. 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.
"We're going to aggressively go after the 40,000 existing [for-hire vehicle] licenses to add to the 80,000 that we already dispatch to", Gold said. 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.
Supporters of ride-hailing services say they are needed, especially outside of Manhattan, where it can be hard to hail a yellow cab. The law does not put a cap on new drivers.
NY is not the only city where ride-hailing apps are facing scrutiny.