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NYC votes to cap ride-hailing cars and set minimum driver wage

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The New York City Council voted on Wednesday to cap the number of ride-hailing cars in the city as part of a set of bills that will also set a minimum wage for drivers, and halt new licenses while it studies the impact of ride-hailing.

Why it matters: This is a blow to companies like Uber and Lyft, which have historically resisted such regulations. Mayor Bill de Blasio attempted to introduce a cap in 2015, but dropped the plan after pushback from ride-hailing companies.

The details:

  • Vehicle registrations for three main ride-hailing services (Uber, Lyft, and Via) will be paused for 12 months while the city studies the industry's impact. New drivers can still get new registrations via the Taxi & Limousine Commission.
  • The bills include some wiggle room for the companies. For example, the TLC will have the discretion to allow for more vehicles if there's a drop in availability in the city's outer boroughs. The companies are also allowed to add more wheelchair accessible vehicles to their services.
  • According to Lyft, its NYC drivers currently earn $24.14 per hour on average, before expenses, and about $16.42 per hour after expenses, which it says is close to the TLC's goal of $17.22 per hour.

Statement from Uber:

"The City’s 12-month pause on new vehicle licenses will threaten one of the few reliable transportation options while doing nothing to fix the subways or ease congestion. We take the Speaker at his word that the pause is not intended to reduce service for New Yorkers and we trust that he will hold the TLC accountable, ensuring that no New Yorker is left stranded. In the meantime, Uber will do whatever it takes to keep up with growing demand and we will not stop working with city and state leaders, including Speaker Johnson, to pass real solutions like comprehensive congestion pricing."

From Lyft:

"These sweeping cuts to transportation will bring New Yorkers back to an era of struggling to get a ride, particularly for communities of color and in the outer boroughs. We will never stop working to ensure New Yorkers have access to reliable and affordable transportation in every borough."