New York is the first major US city to cap licences for ride-hail services such as Uber and Lyft.
New York’s City Council has voted in favour of a cap on the number of licences issued for ride-hail vehicles, affecting services such as Uber and Lyft. It will also set minimum pay conditions for drivers.
Yellow cab drivers and anti-congestion campaigners have pushed for a clamp-down following a sharp rise in the number of app-based taxi services in the city in recent years.
There are 80,000 ride-hail cabs in New York, compared to 12,600 three years ago, according to the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). There are around 13,500 yellow cabs.
The bill, which will be signed into legislation next week, will put in place a year-long moratorium on new ride-hail vehicle licences, with the exception of wheelchair-accessible cars.
The New York TLC will also have the power to set minimum fare rates and minimum pay rates for drivers.
Sending a message
“The City is sending a clear message: we’re putting hardworking New Yorkers ahead of corporations,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The City Council has spoken boldly, and now we can act. We are taking immediate action for the benefit of more than 100,000 hard-working New Yorkers who deserve a fair wage, and halting the flood of new cars grinding our streets to a halt.”
A statement from Uber said: “The city’s 12-month pause on new vehicle licences will threaten one of the few reliable transportation options while doing nothing to fix the subways or ease congestion.”
Lyft is quoted as saying: “These sweeping cuts to transportation will bring New Yorkers back to an era of struggling to get a ride, particularly for communities of colour and in the outer boroughs.”
Earlier this week, San Francisco announced that Uber and Lyft have agreed to pay a percentage of tax on trips in the city. The money will be used towards transportation infrastructure costs.