NYC votes to stop Uber's unchecked growth, give drivers a minimum wage

NYC will cap the number of Uber and Lyft vehicles on its streets

NYC votes to stop Uber's unchecked growth, give drivers a minimum wage

Although a number of cities have tried to shut down Uber and Lyft altogether, or attempted to force the companies to operate exactly the same as taxicabs, this marks the first time a major city has passed legislation that will regulate ride-hailing apps as their own industry.

Why it matters: This makes NY the first major American city to set a cap on ride-hailing vehicles or to set pay rules for gig drivers. "It would also allow the Commission address incomes for app-based drivers, 85 percent of whom now make below minimum wage".

The New York City Council approved a package of bills Wednesday that includes implementing a one-year freeze on new for-hire vehicle licenses as the city explores ways of reducing traffic congestion. "We are thankful to the New York City officials who listened to the stories of drivers who are struggling to support their families and stood by us in this fight", the guild's executive director, Ryan Price, said in a statement. Critics of the cap worry ride-hail vehicles will become tougher to find and more expensive, while NYC taxi drivers, who often lament that ride-hail services threaten their earning potential, consider the vote a major win.

"Our city is directly confronting a crisis that is driving working New Yorkers into poverty and our streets into gridlock", New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. "We will never stop working to ensure New Yorkers have access to reliable and affordable transportation in every borough".

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That report recommended a guaranteed income of $17.22 an hour for drivers - the city's $15 minimum wage is due to come into effect at the end of 2018 - plus a supplement to mitigate against rest time. The increased competition has slashed the value of yellow cab taxi licenses from more than $1 million in 2014 to less than $200,000 today.

Yellow taxi drivers have been pushing for this legislation because they say the rapid growth of ride-hailing services is destroying their industry.

But that growth has brought New York's iconic yellow cabs to their knees and since December, six yellow-cab drivers have committed suicide.

"The unchecked growth of app-based for-hire vehicle companies has demanded action", he added, "and now we have it".

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"Workers and NY leaders made history today".

"And you know that yellow don't pick up black".

Opponents of the legislation said Uber and Lyft provide much-needed service to areas outside of Manhattan that aren't served by traditional taxis.

'They're talking about putting a cap on Uber, do you know how hard it is for black people to get a yellow cab in New York City?' Rev. Al Sharpton wrote on Twitter. Which, as Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens) put it, "is like putting a cap on Netflix subscriptions because Blockbusters are closing".

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