NY just capped the number of Uber, Lyft vehicles

Uber app

Uber app

New York City is hitting the brakes on fast-expanding ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft.

As the New York City Council considers new regulation of ride-hailing companies, Council Speaker Corey Johnson said companies such as Uber and Lyft won't derail his effort to protect drivers and manage traffic congestion with "an 11th-hour offer to help the taxi industry".

The first such cap by any major USA city was part of a package of measures that also includes setting a minimum wage for drivers.

The package of bills approved Wednesday by the New York City Council calls for, among other things, a one-year freeze on new for-hire vehicle licenses as the city explores ways of reducing traffic congestion.

At the end of July, we learned that the New York City Council was looking into capping the number of ride-sharing vehicles in the city while it tried to figure out related issues like congestion.

The one-year cap - which won't apply to wheelchair accessible vehicles or in certain underserved areas deemed not to be affected by congestion - is meant to make way for a study on longer term regulations and standards for the industry.

Mayor Bill de Blasio still needs to sign it into law, but it's believed that he will do that soon.

The company said it will continue to work with New York City government and state leaders for solutions to keep up with the growing demand, such as congestion pricing. But critics said it will make it harder, and more expensive, to get around. "We will never stop working to ensure New Yorkers have access to reliable and affordable transportation in every borough".

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.

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

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.

"This victory belongs to yellow cab, green cab, livery, black vehicle, Uber and Lyft drivers who united together in our union to transform our shared struggle and heartbreak into hope and strength", Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the NYTWA, said in a statement.

"Max" from RideShare Drivers United has also welcomed the move in NY.

Around 80,000 drivers work for at least one of the big four app-based companies in NY, compared to 13,500 yellow cab drivers, it found.

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