NY votes to cap Uber and Lyft services

Uber app

With the Council set to vote Wednesday, Johnson said Uber, Lyft, and Via offered to pay for a $100 million "hardship fund" for taxi drivers with the aim of blunting legislation the ride-hailing giants fear might curtail their growth.

New York City is reining in the growth of Uber, Lyft and other app-based ride services with a temporary cap on new cars picking up fares. The Council also voted to set a minimum driver wage equivalent to the yellow cab wage for app-based drivers.

Uber has blazed the trail for the ride-hailing industry by ignoring local regulations, clashing repeatedly with city governments and often threatening to shut down service in response to legislation.

"The minimum wage is great for drivers in today's bill and I think a temporary cap will help them along the way as well", Independent Drivers Guild founder Jim Conigliaro Jr. said during an interview on FOX Business' "Making Money" on Wednesday.

The bill stipulates a 12-month cap on all new for-hire-vehicle licenses, unless they are wheelchair accessible, as well as minimum pay requirements for app drivers - regulated by the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC).

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. 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.

Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang said the pause on new vehicle licenses 'will threaten one of the few reliable transportation options while doing nothing to fix the subways or ease congestion'.

"New York City is the first city in the country enact drivers' demands into legislation", it said on its website.

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Around 80,000 drivers work for at least one of the big four app-based companies in NY, compared to 13,500 yellow cab drivers, it found.

"This victory belongs to yellow cab, green cab, livery, black auto, Uber and Lyft drivers who united together in our union to transform our shared struggle and heartbreak into hope and strength", Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the NYTWA, said in a statement.

The Amalgamated Transit Union, on the other hand, applauded the city council's actions as a step toward protecting rideshare drivers, thousands of which have joined the union.

"Workers and NY leaders made history today".

At the same time, the value of the medallions that are required to operate a yellow cab has plunged from more than $1million to $200,000 or less, forcing many medallion owners into bankruptcy.

"And you know that yellow don't pick up black".

NY is not the only city where ride-hailing apps are facing scrutiny.

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