NEW YORK — New York City, the largest U.S. market for Uber, is becoming the first city in the country to regulate the growth of app-based rides.
Uber drivers lined up for hours to register their cars Monday, the day before Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio was expected to sign a bill placing a temporary cap on new licenses, according to The New York Times.
Once the legislation becomes law, no new licenses will be granted for a year, with the exception of wheelchair accessible vehicles.
The City Council approved a package of bills that included the moratorium while the city studies the rapidly changing industry. The legislation also will allow the city to set a minimum wage for app-based drivers.
Backers of the proposals said both the traditional yellow cab industry and drivers for app-based services are suffering as for-hire cars flood the city's streets. They said the growth of ride-hailing apps has also worsened traffic congestion.
"Today, New York City is hitting pause on the economic hemorrhaging that has left tens of thousands of immigrant families in chaos and despair," the New York Taxi Workers Alliance said in a statement Tuesday.
"Driver incomes across all sectors have been in a downward spiral as Uber and Lyft flooded our streets," the advocacy group said. "The immediate cap on new for-hire vehicles puts a stop to that. Now, yellow taxi, green cab, black car, livery, Uber and Lyft drivers can finally hope for stability."
Opponents of the legislation say Uber and Lyft provide much-needed service to areas outside of Manhattan that are underserved by traditional taxis. They also said black and Hispanic New Yorkers need ride-hailing apps because taxi drivers often won't stop for them.
"They're talking about putting a cap on Uber, do you know how difficult it is for black people to get a yellow cab in New York City?" The Rev. Al Sharpton previously tweeted.