Tuesday, 14 August, 2018

NYC becomes first U.S. city to impose Uber/Lyft cap

Uber and Lyft predicted to lose cap battle City Council vote on ride-share cap
Russell Knight | 09 August, 2018, 02:31

Wall Street Journal editorial page writer Jillian Melchior and GOP communications strategist Lee Carter on how New York's city council may approve a one-year cap on new licenses for Uber and other ride-sharing vehicles. The unchecked growth of app-based for-hire vehicle companies has demanded action - and now we have it. The Council also voted to set a minimum driver wage equivalent to the yellow cab wage for app-based drivers.

The City Council voted Wednesday on a package of bills that includes a one-year moratorium on new licenses for for-hire vehicles while the city studies the rapidly changing industry.

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. Hundreds of cab owners couldn't earn enough to pay for their vehicle leases and taxi-license medallions, and economic desperation became a factor in at least six driver suicides since November.

But opponents say the regulations could result in longer wait times and higher prices for ride-hail services. 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.

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Ride-hailing companies aren't exactly pleased.

Lyft said: "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". Although a number of cities have tried to shut down Uber and Lyft altogether, or attempted to force the companies to operate exactly the same as taxicabs, this marks the first time a major city has passed legislation that will regulate ride-hailing apps as their own industry.

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.

Last month Uber's CEO and Lyft's president both addressed the traffic congestion complaints at a technology conference in Aspen, Colorado.

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