New York Votes Through Uber & Lyft Vehicle License Cap

A proposal that would see new hires in ride-sharing halted for the time being in New York City has passed a vote in city council. The policy states that no new vehicle licenses for ride-sharing services will be issued for one year. All that’s left now is for New York City mayor Bill de Blasio to sign the bill, which will codify it into city law. He is fully expected to sign the bill some time in the next few months, since he has personally spoken well of the initiative in the past.

The cap mainly targets Uber and Lyft, the two largest ride-sharing entities. According to city officials, the rapid growth of ride-sharing has caused congested roadways, among other issues. One of the more unique issues facing New York that other markets may not struggle with is the fact that New York City issues licenses for all professional drivers, so many Lyft and Uber drivers used to be taxi drivers. Given the transit infrastructure in the city, the taxi industry used to be one of the dominant ways to get around before Uber and Lyft arrived. Now, there are somewhere around 80,000 ride-sharing cars out and about, and less than half as many taxis, speaking across categories. Since ride-sharing services are often far cheaper than traditional taxis, and can easily be gotten on demand, they have stolen away most of the business that the taxi industry would likely otherwise be getting, on top of sending fare prices plummeting. This has caused many taxi drivers to change careers, and caused significant economic hardship for the ones that stay in the industry.

The voted measure will halt new vehicle registrations for one year, though existing drivers should be able to change vehicles if needed. This means that Uber, Lyft and others like it will be unable to experience any real growth during this time. New York City will reportedly be using this breathing space as a period to examine ride-sharing’s impact on the city and decide on a more permanent measure. Lyft’s VP of public policy chimed in on the matter, saying, “We will never stop working to ensure New Yorkers have access to reliable and affordable transportation in every borough.”

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