New York City is the first major US market to place a cap on Uber and similar services, which could inspire other cities to adopt legislation as they grapple with the effects of ride-hailing services. A surge in ridership has coincided with increased resident frustration with the local subway system.
However, lawmakers hope the limitations will help reduce congestion and protect taxi drivers who have seen a steep decline in income.
The company said it would also reach out to vehicle owners with existing for-hire licenses and try to recruit them to work for Uber.
Uber has campaigned against the legislation, warning riders that a cap on drivers will create higher prices and longer waits for cars. The cap will halt new ride-hailing vehicle licenses for one year while the council investigates how to mitigate issues that came with the influx of companies like Uber and Lyft, mostly related to congestion and driver wages.
Mayor Bill de Blasio attempted to pass similar legislation in 2015, but was defeated by a complex counter-campaign from Uber. Those wage concerns aren't limited to taxi drivers, though - in fact, the New York Times reports that almost 40 percent of the city's ride-hailing drivers qualify for Medicaid because their take-home wages are that low. The study recommended a $17.22 hourly minimum wage after expenses, arguing the measure would cover the costs of owning and driving a vehicle in the city and allow for paid time off. City officials would set the wage.
Gold said the outstanding 40,000 licenses belong to black auto and livery drivers, workers Uber will aim to recruit.
"These sweeping cuts to transportation will bring New Yorkers back to an era of struggling to get a ride, particularly for communities of color and in the outer boroughs", Joseph Okpaku, Lyft's vice president of public policy said.
"We're going to aggressively go after the 40,000 existing [for-hire vehicle] licenses to add to the 80,000 that we already dispatch to", Gold said.
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