New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

New York Business Journal NYC Council Readies Legislation to Cap Uber, Lyft Drivers by Anthony Noto

NYC Council Readies Legislation to Cap Uber, Lyft Drivers

The New York City Council is expected to vote next month on a series of bills that address the impact of ride-hailing services like Uber Technologies and Lyft Inc.

The council is considering five bills in total. Each one is aimed primarily at reducing traffic congestion and increasing driver paychecks.

The legislation is just the latest development in an ongoing debate over how to solve the increase of for-hire vehicles and an uptick in suicides among financially challenged yellow taxi drivers.

One of those bills imposes a one-year freeze on new licenses for "ride-hailing" vehicles that traditionally work for the San Francisco-based car service companies. Uber and Lyft both have offices in Long Island City.

During that year, cars will not be taken off the road. And during that time, Mayor Bill de Blasio's office plans to study the impact of these on-demand services, and if specific areas of New York City are inconvenienced by the cap.

De Blasio voiced his support for the council's legislation on Friday.

Some civil rights groups are saying the cap will hurt New Yorkers and their ability to get around, especially since subways aren't always reliable. For example, the city closed the N train tunnel for five months with no notice.

These civil rights groups are also joining Uber and Lyft to oppose a proposed cap on new licenses for for-hire vehicles.

Per The New York Times, a cap on new for-hire vehicles would adversely impact minorities, including Africans-Americans and Latinos. The report cites the NAACP and Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, who say those groups are often refused service by the city’s yellow cab industry.

One opponent to the plan is Queens Rep. Donovan Richards Jr., who wants the yellow cab industry to address the concerns people of color have about taxis.

Ben Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side, said he was against the cap as well.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson supports the cap to pass.

“I understand the concerns about people of color being denied service, but I want to make clear that we are not diminishing service,” Johnson told the Times. “The vehicles that are out there now will remain out there.”

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