NYC sets limit on Uber and Lyft vehicles

Enlarge  A Lyft ride-hailing vehicle moves through traffic in Manhattan

New York City is poised to become the first major US city to impose a cap on Uber and other app-based ride-hailing services.

The City Council approved a package of bills Wednesday that included 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 praised the vote, saying the council's actions will ease congestion in city streets and protect more New Yorkers from earning less than minimum wage.

The one-year cap - which won't apply to wheelchair accessible vehicles or in certain underserved areas deemed not to be affected by congestion - is meant to make way for a study on longer term regulations and standards for the industry.

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".

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.

Gold said the outstanding 40,000 licenses belong to black auto and livery drivers, workers Uber will aim to recruit.

The cap, the first to be imposed in a major city, will last for one year while the city conducts a survey on the impacts of the ride-hailing fleets.

'Uber as you know it is going to be Uber as you know it, ' Cumbo said.

Uber has blazed the trail for the ride-hailing industry by ignoring local regulations, clashing repeatedly with city governments and often threatening to shut down service in response to legislation.

There's also an eclipsing number of ride-hailing vehicles on the road compared to taxis: About 80,000 drivers in the city are affiliated with four ridehailing companies - Juno, Lyft, Uber and Via - according to a recent report from The New School's Center for New York City Affairs.

"More than 65,000 working families will be getting a desperately needed raise because of today's vote".

The guild says nine in 10 of its members drive for ride-hailing companies as their primary source of income, underscoring the need for a minimum wage. Officials have pushed for congestion-based pricing and measures such as ride-hailing revenue taxes - that aim to capitalize on the growth of ride-hailing to supplement public transit.

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