In a setback for ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, The New York City Council has voted in favor of a cap on the number of for-hire delivery and transportation vehicles that can ply on the streets of the Big Apple. The council has voted to stop the issuance of new for-hire vehicle licenses for a year as it closely gauges the booming industry.
The vote means that Uber and Lyft can’t add more cars to their platforms for one year but they could still be granted licenses for wheelchair-accessible vehicles. It’s also possible for NYC’s Taxi and Limousine Commission to issue licenses in certain neighborhoods where there aren’t a lot of for-hire vehicles. The bill is due to be signed by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio who has previously expressed his support for the cap.
Uber and Lyft are understandably against a cap on the number of for-hire vehicles. They say that this is going to lead to longer wait times and will also impact the service’s reliability in the city, particularly in the outer boroughs.
City council speaker Corey Johnson says that this isn’t going to make much of a difference to New Yorkers expect that they sometimes may have to wait an extra 12 to 15 seconds when they order a car. “If they depend on an Uber or a Lyft — that’s not going anywhere,” he added.
“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,” said a spokesperson for Uber.
“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,” said Joseph Okpaku, vice president of policy for Lyft.