New York City Council votes to limit number of Uber, Lyft vehicles

A protester holds a sign memorializing New York City taxi drivers who have committed suicide. The demonstrators at City Hall on Tuesday favor of a cap on Uber Lyft and other ride-hailing vehicles

The Council also voted to set a minimum driver wage equivalent to the yellow cab wage for app-based drivers. A surge in ridership has coincided with increased resident frustration with the local subway system.

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 NY.

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. (It's worth noting that companies can get around the hiring freeze if they're adding licenses specifically to enhance accessibility, something both the MTA and ride-hailing apps are severely lacking.) The start date was not specified during the meeting nor in the text of the bill.

The effort to cap the services in New York, Uber's largest USA market, was opposed by ride-hailing businesses, including Uber, Lyft and Via.

The City Council approved a package of bills Wednesday that included a one-year moratorium on new licenses for for-hire vehicles while the city studies the rapidly changing industry.

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Other board members mentioned in the statement included Robyn Denholm, Ira Ehrenpreis, Antonio Gracias and Linda Johnson Rice. But after the markets opened Wednesday morning, Tesla's stock edged downward about 1 percent, to $375.

Uber has warned of increased wait times and raised fares as a result of the cap, but, as NY Times reports, many taxi and Uber drivers support the regulations, and hope that they'll lead to more passengers for each driver, and increased wages.

In a committee meeting on Wednesday, New York City Councilmembers cited concerns over pay and quality of life for the 80,000-some drivers now working as independent contractors under Uber and Lyft.

The legislation passed today also requires ride-sharing companies to have a minimum pay rate for drivers. The hits to the taxi industry reportedly contributed to the deaths of multiple drivers in past months.

This cap is the first of its kind in the country, and if it proves successful in addressing issues related to ride hailing, other cities could follow suit.

"Our city is directly confronting a crisis that is driving working New Yorkers into poverty and our streets into gridlock". That wouldn't bode well for Uber, which is considering going public next year.

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