Automobiles

NYC sets limit on Uber and Lyft vehicles

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 cap, the first to be imposed in a major city, will last for one year while the city conducts a survey on the impacts of the ride-hailing fleets.

Lawmakers who backed the measure cited congestion in the city and hoped that it would stop the decline in compensation for drivers, according to WABC in New York.

The package of bills passed also allows city officials to create a minimum pay rate for drivers, The New York Times reported

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) has supported the legislation and is expected to sign it into law. He attempted to pass a cap in 2015 but faced intense opposition from Uber at the time.

Ride-hailng apps such as Uber, Lyft and Via had vocally opposed the measure, arguing it would hurt city residents where fewer taxis and public transportation options are available.

Lyft vice president of public policy Joseph Okpaku panned the vote in a statement, saying that the measure "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," he said.

And Josh Gold, a spokesman for Uber, told Tthe Times in a statement that the cap "will threaten one of the few reliable transportation options while doing nothing to fix the subways or ease congestion."

The company said it would also reach out to vehicle owners with existing for-hire licenses and try to recruit them to work for Uber.

However, the Independent Drivers Guild, which includes Lyft and Uber drivers, celebrated the passage of the new bills, highlighting the new minimum wage for drivers. Drivers had rallied in support of the measures outside the council meeting on Wednesday

"It's not easy taking on Silicon Valley behemoths, but we kept on fighting for what we know is right and today the workers prevailed. We are thankful to the New York City officials who listened to the stories of drivers who are struggling to support their families and stood by us in this fight," the guild's executive director, Ryan Price, said in a statement.

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