City Council vote on ride-share cap

New York City caps Uber and Lyft vehicles — a first-in-the-nation move

It didn't take long for that cap to actually be voted into existence.

The New York City Council approved a cap on app-based ride-hail vehicles during a vote Wednesday - curbing the number of those cars allowed on the streets of NYC for a year.

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

The effort to cap the services in New York, Uber's largest USA market, was opposed by ride-hailing businesses, including Uber, Lyft and Via. 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. The hits to the taxi industry reportedly contributed to the deaths of multiple drivers in past months.

"Our city is directly confronting a crisis that is driving working New Yorkers into poverty and our streets into gridlock". Almost one in five qualify for food stamps.

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The legislation passed today also requires ride-sharing companies to have a minimum pay rate for drivers.

Ride-hailing companies aren't exactly pleased. "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", said Joseph Okpaku, Lyft's vice president of public policy, in an emailed statement. Uber did not immediately return a request for comment. By passing the proposal, NY becomes the first city in the country to impose these limitations. 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.

Ride-hailng apps such as Uber, Lyft and Via had vocally opposed the measure, arguing it would hurt city residents where fewer taxis and public transportation options are available.

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.

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