New York City Council passed regulations on ride-hail companies on Wednesday, capping the number of vehicles on the road for one year and requiring that drivers to be paid a minimum wage.
Council Speaker Corey Johnson said earlier that the regulations are intended to protect drivers, fairly regulate the industry and reduce congestion. The year-long cap on new licenses for ride-hailing vehicles will take place while the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) studies the effects of ride-hail service in the city. The cap would not apply to new wheelchair-accessible vehicles or new vehicles serving an area demonstrating need in a way that does not increase congestion.
App-based ride services account for 80,000 vehicles in New York City, and provide 17 million rides per month, according to a study by The New School for the TLC. The surge in ridership coincided with increased resident frustration with the local subway system. The move to cap the number of vehicles could result in longer wait times and higher prices for rides with companies like Uber and Lyft.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement that “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.”
“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,” Uber said in a statement. “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.”
Lyft’s vice president of public policy Joseph Okpaku said in a statement that “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. We will never stop working to ensure New Yorkers have access to reliable and affordable transportation in every borough.”
This story is developing. Please check back for updates.