City Council vote on ride-share cap

City Council vote on ride-share cap

On Wednesday, the New York City Council voted 36-6 to effectively cap the rapid-fire growth of ride-hailing services like Uber, Lyft, and Via and by nudging their fleets of black cars off the road and forcing companies to pay drivers a living wage. The unchecked growth of app-based for-hire vehicle companies has demanded action - and now we have it.

The package of bills passed also allows city officials to create a minimum pay rate for drivers, The New York Times reported. The drop in incomes has demoralized many drivers and the New York Taxi Workers Alliance said there have been six suicides among cab and livery drivers in recent months.

Mayor Bill de Blasio released the following statement, saying he is prepared to sign the bill into law: "Our city is directly confronting a crisis that is driving working New Yorkers into poverty and our streets into gridlock". And this action will stop the influx of cars contributing to the congestion grinding our streets to a halt.

Another source on the council, however, told Crain's that the legislature was still tweaking the bill in the lead-up to the vote so as to mollify the ride-hail industry while keeping the cap in place. Hundreds of cab owners couldn't earn enough to pay for their vehicle leases and taxi-license medallions, and economic desperation became a factor in at least six driver suicides since November. "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", said Joseph Okpaku, Lyft's vice president of public policy, in an emailed statement.

Via, which operates shared rides with established stops, hopes the city will make an exception for carpools, which it says reduce congestion and provide drivers with the most money.

Uber and Lyft users might have to wait a bit longer for a ride when the cap is put in effect - or they could just walk to the curb and lift up an arm, like we all used to. About 85% of drivers for app-based companies earn less than $17.22 an hour, according to an industry study by the New School's Center for New York City Affairs. By passing the proposal, NY becomes the first city in the country to impose these limitations.