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New York City Looking to Cap the Number of Uber & Lyft Vehicles

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【Summary】New York City officials are moving to limit the number of vehicles driving for Uber and other ride-hailing services as part of an aggressive move to address the worsening congestion. If the legislation is passed, New York will become the first major U.S. city to set a limits on the number of ride-hailing vehicles allowed to operate.

Eric Walz    Jul 27, 2018 12:40 PM PT
New York City Looking to Cap the Number of Uber & Lyft Vehicles

Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft have changed the landscape in New York City, with thousands of Uber and Lyft vehicles competing with New York taxis to pick up passengers. Along with disrupting New York City's taxi industry, the ride-hailing companies are accused of causing an increase in traffic, with thousands more vehicles on city streets looking for riders.

Now city officials are looking to limit the number of ride-sharing vehicles clogging Manhattan streets.

The New York Times reported that city officials are moving to limit the number of vehicles driving for Uber and other ride-hailing services as part of an aggressive move to address an increase in traffic congestion. If the legislation is passed, New York will become the first major U.S. city to set a limits on the number of ride-hailing vehicles allowed to operate.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio suggested that the time has finally come to rein in the app-based ride-hailing industry.

For riders, the convenience of on-demand transportation means that thousands more vehicle ares driving in Manhattan waiting to pick up passengers. This increase in vehicles is resulting in trips taking longer, especially in popular areas.

The proposal supported by the City Council speaker, Corey Johnson, would halt the issuance of new for-hire vehicle licenses while the city conducts a yearlong study of the industry. The licences are a requirement for Uber drivers operating in New York. Vehicles that are wheelchair accessible would be exempt from the freeze.

Mr. Johnson, a Democrat who became City Council speaker in January, said that it was clear that something needed to be done to address the the number of ride-hailing vehicles clogging city streets.

"This is the plan that we came up with and in my heart I believe it's the best path forward," Mr. Johnson said in a statement. "Our goal has always been to protect drivers, bring fairness to the industry and reduce congestion. That's what this proposal does, and it represents the broad outlines of what we think our next steps should be as a city to help the industry."

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Uber immediately criticized the proposal, arguing that it would hurt its customers, especially those who live in the boroughs outside Manhattan, where the growth of ride-hailing services in neighborhoods ill served by public transit helped them achieve a milestone and surpass yellow cabs in the number of daily riders.

"The City Council's Uber cap will leave New Yorkers stranded while doing nothing to prevent congestion, fix the subways and help struggling taxi medallion owners," said Josh Gold, a spokesman for Uber. "The Council's cap will hurt riders outside Manhattan who have come to rely on Uber because their communities have long been ignored by yellow taxis and do not have reliable access to public transit."

This week in New York, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) officials said the popularity of Uber and other ride-hail apps had been a factor in the continuing decline in subway and bus ridership.

However, some transit advocates say the main reason riders are abandoning the subway and bus system is because of poor service and companies like Uber are simply offering a better option.

It is the second attempt by New York City to control the number of Uber vehicles. In 2015 Mayor Blasio backed down and decided not to pursue a cap on ride-hailing licenses in New York until a transportation study was conducted.

At the time, Uber fought back in an unusual way, by adding a "de Blasio feature" to the Uber app, which displayed that fewer available cars and longer wait times would be likely under the proposed growth limits.

Since 2015, the number of for-hire vehicles in the city has surged, rising to more than 100,000 vehicles, from around 63,000, according to the city.

In addition, the City Council looking to address the lack of pay for the industry. The City Council looking to establish minimum pay rules for Uber and Lyft drivers, a step that would make New York the first major American city to establish a pay minimum for drivers.

The council may vote on the measures as early as Aug. 8.

New York city is not alone. San Francisco and Boston have both explored similar plans to ease traffic caused by the surge in ride-hailing vehicles.


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