NYC reins in Uber with cap on ride-hail vehicles

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Backers of the proposals said both the traditional yellow cab industry and drivers for app-based services are suffering as Uber cars flood the city's streets.

The package, opposed by major ride-hailing companies, is aimed at reducing traffic congestion and increasing driver paychecks in the wake of the explosive growth of for-hire vehicles.

At the end of July, we learned that the New York City Council was looking into capping the number of ride-sharing vehicles in the city while it tried to figure out related issues like congestion.

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.

"We hope this is the start of a more fair industry not only here in New York City, but all over the world", the labor group's founder, Jim Conigliaro Jr., said in a statement.

The first such cap by any major USA city was part of a package of measures that also includes setting a minimum wage for drivers. "In the meantime, Uber will do whatever it takes to keep up with growing demand and we will not stop working with city and state leaders, including Speaker Johnson, to pass real solutions like comprehensive congestion pricing".

In a statement Uber spokesperson Danielle Filson said the council's decision would not improve congestion in the city.

The legislation also allows the city to set a minimum pay rate for drivers and minimum fares for the industry. That's in contrast to 14,000 taxi drivers.

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance, an 18,000-member union representing the city's taxi drivers, hailed the council's vote as a victory.

Civil rights groups say a cap would give minorities less ride options to get around the city.

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

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he meant to sign the bills into law, which would start the 12-month period where no new for-hire vehicle licenses would be issued, with an exception for wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

"We're going to aggressively go after the 40,000 existing [for-hire vehicle] licenses to add to the 80,000 that we already dispatch to", Gold said.

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