New York City votes to cap Uber, Lyft vehicle licenses

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In emails to almost 5 million New Yorkers last month, Uber said riders would face higher prices, longer wait times and less service in the city's outer suburbs by drivers.

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. "We take the Speaker at his word that the pause is not meant to reduce service for New Yorkers and we trust that he will hold the TLC accountable, ensuring that no New Yorker is left stranded", the company said in a statement. Although a number of cities have tried to shut down Uber and Lyft altogether, or attempted to force the companies to operate exactly the same as taxicabs, this marks the first time a major city has passed legislation that will regulate ride-hailing apps as their own industry.

Downtown at City Hall, the Taxi Workers Alliance rallied Tuesday, saying the cap is a way to alleviate financial stress for yellow cab drivers but many feel otherwise.

The legislation institutes a one-year freeze on new licenses for Uber, Lyft, and other ride-hailing apps - meaning no new drivers can be hired, regardless of demand - starting 120 days after the bill becomes law.

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. He attempted to pass a cap in 2015 but faced intense opposition from Uber at the time. That's in contrast to 14,000 taxi drivers.

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

'They're talking about putting a cap on Uber, do you know how hard it is for black people to get a yellow cab in New York City?' Rev. Al Sharpton wrote on Twitter. Those wage concerns aren't limited to taxi drivers, though - in fact, the New York Times reports that almost 40 percent of the city's ride-hailing drivers qualify for Medicaid because their take-home wages are that low.

Gold said the outstanding 40,000 licenses belong to black vehicle and livery drivers, workers Uber will aim to recruit.

'Uber as you know it is going to be Uber as you know it, ' Cumbo said.

In a statement, New York Mayor Bill De Blasio (D) commended the Council for its vote, arguing the cap would "stop the influx of cars contributing to the congestion grinding our streets to a halt".

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