Uber and Lyft predicted to lose cap battle

Sarah Tew  CNET

"We are pausing the issuance of new licenses in an industry that has been allowed to proliferate without any appropriate check or regulation", Corey Johnson, the City Council speaker, told the New York Times before the vote.

The New York City Council is set to vote on whether to impose a one-year cap on new licenses for Uber and other ride-sharing vehicles.

"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.

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) has supported the legislation and is expected to sign it into law.

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New York City is the first major USA market to place a cap on Uber and similar services, which could inspire other cities to adopt legislation as they grapple with the effects of ride-hailing services. The hits to the taxi industry reportedly contributed to the deaths of multiple drivers in past months. The new regulations, which restrict new licenses from being issued and stipulate a minimum wage for drivers, last for one year, and are the first of their kind to be imposed in a United States city.

Ride-hailing companies aren't exactly pleased. Those wage concerns aren't limited to taxi drivers, though - in fact, the New York Times reports that almost 40 percent of the city's ride-hailing drivers qualify for Medicaid because their take-home wages are that low. "We will never stop working to ensure New Yorkers have access to reliable and affordable transportation in every borough".

"New York City is the first city in the country enact drivers' demands into legislation", it said on its website.

Not a single council member Crain's consulted believed the measure would fail, as it did three years ago, and several described Uber's and Lyft's efforts this time around as anemic-consisting of little more than "boilerplate emails" from users and occasional text messages from lobbyists. These include a minimum wage for drivers (although Lyft has expressed reservations about the prescribed mechanism to achieve it) and the waiving of TLC fees for wheelchair-accessible cars.

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