Ten months after NYC implemented a one-year cap on licenses for new ride-share drivers working with Uber and Lyft – and with New York’s landmark congestion pricing law close to becoming a reality – Mayor Bill de Blasio is planning to make the cap permanent, according to the NY Post, which obtained a draft press release of the announcement.
The number of for-hire vehicles on city streets ballooned in the months leading up to the imposition of the cap in August, with the city registering 2,000 new vehicles per month. Uber complained that the city’s cap hit drivers’ pocketbooks, as drivers rushed to borrow money to buy and register vehicles earlier than they had anticipated.
After the city passed its cap, the state passed congestion pricing rules and the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission passed new minimum wage requirements for drivers.
The limit will almost certainly lead to higher costs for New Yorkers, who are increasingly reliant on ride-hail apps for transportation as the subway deteriorates.
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De Blasio’s plans for congestion pricing for riders traveling through the busiest parts of midtown Manhattan are also expected to hit both drivers and passengers in their wallets. The plan is close to passing the state legislature.
Uber criticized the mayor’s plans and compared them to a new medallion system, which enriched lenders.
“The Mayor’s cap will create another medallion system – the same kind that bankrupted drivers and enriched lenders,” Uber rep Alix Anfang said. “Not only is the Mayor’s policy hurting app drivers by forcing them to pay exorbitant fees to rent a car, but he has proposed nothing to fix the current medallion system that only benefits lenders and taxi insiders.”
De Blasio, in his draft announcement, called his plans a victory for workers. While Uber shares moved lower on Wednesday with the broader market, some traders apparently saw the news as a buying opportunity.
Uber is currently suing the city over the driver cap.