Uber and Lyft predicted to lose cap battle

Uber app

Independent Drivers Guild founder Jim Conigliaro Jr. and Fox News contributor Liz Peek discuss New York's vote to cap the number of ride-sharing vehicles allowed in the city.

The New York City Council on Wednesday passed a cap on the number of ride-hailing vehicles allowed to operate in the city, in a major blow to companies like Uber and Lyft.

The legislation will also enable the city to set a minimum pay rate for drivers.

"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", said Uber spokesperson Danielle Filson. There are now more than 100,000 ride-hailing app vehicles from companies like Uber and Lyft on city streets. However, lawmakers hope the limitations will help reduce congestion and protect taxi drivers who have seen a steep decline in income.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, a progressive Democrat, vowed to sign the bill into law, claiming that it would "stop the influx of cars contributing to the congestion grinding our streets to a halt".

"We will never stop working to ensure New Yorkers have access to reliable and affordable transportation in every borough", he said.

City officials said that in the intervening years the number of for-hire vehicles on the streets has surged from 63,000 to more than 100,000, forcing drivers to compete for scarce fares and making it hard for any of them to earn a living wage.

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.

"We're going to aggressively go after the 40,000 existing [for-hire vehicle] licenses to add to the 80,000 that we already dispatch to", Gold said.

But that growth has brought New York's iconic yellow cabs to their knees and since December, six yellow-cab drivers have committed suicide.

The TLC, which regulates taxis and is a powerful force in NY politics, commissioned a study recently in a bid to underscore the chaos and push city authorities into taking action. "And this victory belongs to New Yorkers and our allies who have stood with us to say, not one more death, not one more fallen driver crushed by poverty and despair".

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

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

The New York City Council originally mulled a similar ban in 2015, but it stepped away from the issue before any legislation was approved. Which, as Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens) put it, "is like putting a cap on Netflix subscriptions because Blockbusters are closing".

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