New York City Uber cap to be decided today

Andrew Cummings
August 9, 2018

With the Council set to vote Wednesday, Johnson said Uber, Lyft, and Via offered to pay for a $100 million "hardship fund" for taxi drivers with the aim of blunting legislation the ride-hailing giants fear might curtail their growth.

The cap will halt new ride-hailing vehicle licenses for one year while the council investigates how to mitigate issues that came with the influx of companies like Uber and Lyft, mostly related to congestion and driver wages. The council also voted to require drivers get paid minimum wage.

The legislation before the Council calls for a 12-month moratorium on most new for-hire vehicle licenses to give the city time to study how the rapid expansion of ride-hailing services affects the city's traffic, and how the council can ensure drivers of hired cars and yellow cabs earn a living wage.

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.


"It's critical for New York to regulate minimum fare rates - the only source of income for drivers - across the taxi and app-dispatch sectors, so no worker gets left behind", wrote councilmember Adrienne Adams in a New York Times op-ed. The regulation didn't specify a dollar amount, but a report presented to the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission last month by the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics suggested $17.22 an hour, which would be $15 plus the overhead costs of operating a vehicle.

Now the legislation heads for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's desk, who is expected to sign it.

They also said black and Hispanic New Yorkers need ride-hailing apps because yellow cab drivers often won't stop for them.

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.


Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang said the pause on new vehicle licenses 'will threaten one of the few reliable transportation options while doing nothing to fix the subways or ease congestion'. That's in contrast to 14,000 taxi drivers.

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

Most drivers in NY work full time and are often immigrants without higher education. By passing the proposal, NY becomes the first city in the country to impose these limitations.

That argument has gotten support from some civil rights activists like the Rev. Al Sharpton, who have long criticized the yellow cab industry for discrimination and profiling of minorities.


Flaws in that system, like racial profiling and inadequate demand, "made it easy for Uber, Lyft and the others to come in, say, 'We're going to provide a much better service, '" he said.

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