NYC reins in Uber with cap on ride-hail vehicles

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

The City Council voted Wednesday on a package of bills that includes a one-year moratorium on new licenses for for-hire vehicles while the city studies the rapidly changing industry.

The legislation also allows the city to set a minimum pay rate for drivers and minimum fares for the industry.

Backers of the proposals say both the traditional yellow cab industry and drivers for app-based services are suffering as Uber cars flood the city’s streets. They say the growth of ride-hailing apps has also worsened traffic congestion.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said he plans to sign the bills into law.

“Our city is directly confronting a crisis that is driving working New Yorkers into poverty and our streets into gridlock. The unchecked growth of app-based for-hire vehicle companies has demanded action – and now we have it,” he said after the vote. “More than 100,000 workers and their families will see an immediate benefit from this legislation. And this action will stop the influx of cars contributing to the congestion grinding our streets to a halt.”

But opponents say Uber and Lyft provide needed service to neighborhoods outside Manhattan that are poorly served by yellow cabs.

Uber released the following statement:

“The City’s 12-month pause on new vehicle licenses will threaten one of the few reliable transportation options while doing nothing to fix the subways or ease congestion. We take the Speaker at his word that the pause is not intended to reduce service for New Yorkers and we trust that he will hold the TLC accountable, ensuring that no New Yorker is left stranded. 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.”

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