New York City Council caps Uber and Lyft vehicles

August 8, 2018

The New York City Council on Wednesday voted to impose a one-year freeze on new licenses granted to Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing vehicles.

The city said that the measure will allow it to determine a long-term solution to mounting traffic congestion. The number of licensed ride-share vehicles in New York skyrocketed from fewer than 13,000 in 2015 to 80,000 currently. By contrast, New York has issued only about 14,000 yellow cab medallions.

MORE: New York City to vote this week on historic cap for Uber, Lyft ride-sharing vehicles

“The unchecked growth of app-based for-hire vehicle companies has demanded action—and now we have it," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.

There are some exemptions to the moratorium, however: wheelchair-accessible vehicles and those licenses applied for to serve parts of the city that would "not substantially contribute to traffic congestion."

Additionally, the City Council voted on a minimum wage for ride-share drivers that's equivalent to yellow cab driver wage. Uber and Lyft will be required to provide New York City with data on usage and charges.

Uber and Lyft are both opposed to the license-granting hold. Together, they've spent about $1 million lobbying the City Council to oppose the measure.

"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," Uber said in a statement.

Taxi drivers favored the cap, which is the first of its kind for a city in the U.S. As cellphone app-based ride-sharing has become more popular, taxi and ride-share drivers have said they've struggled to find enough passengers to fill a day's shift.

The measure will now head to de Blasio's desk to be signed into law. 

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