New York to restrict Uber, Lyft licences

  • 09/08/2018
New York to restrict Uber, Lyft licences to 'ease congestion'.
Photo credit: Getty file

The New York City Council has agreed to cap the number of licences for ride-hailing services such as Uber for one year, in the first such cap by any major US city.

The decision deals a blow to the companies that have relied on the largest US metro area for a major source of their revenue.

It was part of a package of measures aimed at reducing traffic congestion and increasing driver pay in the wake of the explosive growth of for-hire vehicles and a rash of suicides among New York's Yellow Cab drivers, who have seen their incomes fall.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he intended to sign the package into law.

"This action will stop the influx of cars contributing to the congestion grinding our streets to a halt," he said in a statement.

The number of ride-hailing vehicles operating in the city has jumped from about 12,600 in 2015 to about 80,000 this year, according to the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission.

About 14,000 yellow cabs operate in the city.

The effort to cap the services in New York, Uber's largest US market, was opposed by ride-hailing businesses, including Uber and rivals Lyft and Via.

"The City's 12-month pause on new vehicle licences will threaten one of the few reliable transportation options while doing nothing to fix the subways or ease congestion," Uber said in a statement.

"These sweeping cuts to transportation will bring New Yorkers back to an era of struggling to get a ride, particularly for communities of colour and in the outer boroughs," Lyft said.

In emails to nearly 5 million New Yorkers last month, Uber said riders would be hurt most by the limit on numbers, and would face higher prices, longer wait times, and less service in the city's outer suburbs by drivers.