The New York City Council is considering measures aimed at curbing the growth of ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft as they examine what impact the companies might have on issues including congestion.
The council is considering five different bills, including one where the city would temporarily halt issuing new licenses allowing for-hire drivers to operate as a year-long study on how services like Uber and Lyft are affecting the area is conducted. The lone exception would be wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
“We aren’t taking away any service that is currently being offered to New Yorkers,” City Council speaker Corey Johnson said of the proposal. “We are pausing the issuance of new licenses in an industry that has been allowed to proliferate without an appropriate check.”
Another draft proposal calls for minimum payments to for-hire drivers as well as exploring minimum fares for rides. In one other proposal, a high-volume transportation license for companies serving more than 10,000 trips a day would be introduced.
“Our goal has always been to protect drivers, bring fairness to the industry, and reduce congestion,” said Johnson. The council’s effort “represents the broad outlines of what we think our next steps should be as a city to help the industry.”
In a statement, Uber said any cap on the number of for-hire drivers operating in New York won’t fix issues such as increased congestion. “The Council’s cap will hurt riders outside Manhattan who have come to rely on Uber because their communities have long been ignored by yellow taxis and do not have reliable access to public transit,” reads the statement.
Uber also launched a campaign including TV spots encouraging New Yorkers to reach out to council members and speak out against the proposals.
The proposals arrive as concerns mount over whether Uber, Lyft and related ride-hailing services make traffic worse. A study published Wednesday by Schaller Consulting, a firm specializing in urban transportation policy, said ride-hailing services make traffic worse, even when factoring in carpool options such as UberPool and Lyft Shared Rides aimed at reducing congestion.
This isn’t the first time New York City attempted to curb the number of for-hire drivers on its streets. In 2015, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio attempted to adopt a similar plan to cap the number of Uber drivers operating in the city before backing down, reports The New York Times.
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.
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