NYC reins in Uber with cap on ride-hail vehicles

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Uber has campaigned against the legislation, warning riders that a cap on drivers will create higher prices and longer waits for cars.

Supporters of the law, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, said it will ease gridlock and improve wages. De Blasio called the growth of ride-hailing a "crisis" and said the services are clogging streets and "driving New Yorkers into poverty".

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

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The legislation passed today also requires ride-sharing companies to have a minimum pay rate for drivers.

FILE PHOTO: An illuminated sign appears in a Lyft ride-hailing vehicle in Los Angeles, California, U.S. September 21, 2017.

Uber spokesman Josh Gold said in an interview Wednesday that the company will shift its strategy from opposing efforts to freeze the number of vehicles, to gobbling up the outstanding for-hire vehicle licenses available under the new cap.

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They said the growth of ride-hailing apps has also worsened traffic congestion.

They said they are trying to broaden their services by reducing reliance on cars, which can be seen in Uber's acquisition of JUMP bikes and a deal with Lime scooters. That wouldn't bode well for Uber, which is considering going public next year.

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.

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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". The drop in incomes has demoralized many drivers and the New York Taxi Workers Alliance said there have been six suicides among cab and livery drivers in recent months. "We can not allow the so-called "gig economy" companies to exploit loopholes in the law in order to strip workers of their rights and protections". Critics of the cap worry ride-hail vehicles will become tougher to find and more expensive, while NYC taxi drivers, who often lament that ride-hail services threaten their earning potential, consider the vote a major win.

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