NYC becomes first U.S. city to impose Uber/Lyft cap

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New York City moved Wednesday to regulate the explosive growth of Uber and other app-based ride services with a temporary cap on new licenses for ride-hailing services. "It would also allow the Commission address incomes for app-based drivers, 85 percent of whom now make below minimum wage".

A new report ordered by New York City regulators calls for a $17.22 minimum wage for ride-hail drivers.

Supporters of the cap bill say it will protect the financial stability of drivers already in the city as well as taxi drivers and reduce road congestion.

Mayor Bill de Blasio still needs to sign it into law, but it's believed that he will do that soon. The unchecked growth of app-based for-hire vehicle companies has demanded action - and now we have it.

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Uber has campaigned against the legislation, warning riders that a cap on drivers will create higher prices and longer waits for cars.

But 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'.

"Our city is directly confronting a crisis that is driving working New Yorkers into poverty and our streets into gridlock".

City officials said that in the intervening years the number of for-hire vehicles on the streets has surged from 63,000 to more than 100,000, forcing drivers to compete for scarce fares and making it hard for any of them to earn a living wage.

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"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", Joseph Okpaku, Lyft's vice president of public policy said.

But Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo, a Democrat, said Uber will still be available despite the moratorium on new cars.

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.

In a committee meeting on Wednesday, New York City Councilmembers cited concerns over pay and quality of life for the 80,000-some drivers now working as independent contractors under Uber and Lyft. That wouldn't bode well for Uber, which is considering going public next year.

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