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NYC Council Limits Uber & Lyft Rides for Study

The New York City Council  voted on a package of bills aiming to regulate the for-hire vehicle industry.

Ride services include 80,000 vehicles in New York City, and provide 17 million rides per month, according to a study by The New School for the TLC. A surge in ridership has coincided with increased resident frustration with the local subway system.

Introduction 144-B, sponsored by Council Member Stephen Levin,  equires the Taxi and Limousine Commission to study and decide whether to adopt vehicle utilization standards or regulations on the number of for-hire vehicle licenses. During this one-year study, no new for-hire vehicle licenses would be issued, with an exception for wheelchair accessible vehicles. The TLC would also be able to issue licenses if it determines there is a need in a particular geographic area and there isn’t a substantial effect on congestion.

“In a just a few years, the number of for-hire vehicles in our city has increased dramatically, snarling traffic and sparking a race to the bottom where all drivers are struggling to make more than poverty wages. An average of 2,000 additional vehicles hit the streets every month while drivers already spend nearly half their time with empty seats. Doing nothing or endlessly waiting for others to act is not a feasible option. This bill is a measured response that empowers the TLC to study the issue during the temporary pause on issuance of new FHV licenses. I thank my council colleagues for their support and Speaker Johnson for his thoughtful and responsible approach throughout the process,” said Council Member Stephen Levin.

“More than 100,000 workers and their families will see an immediate benefit from this legislation,” said NYC Mayor del Blasio “And this action will stop the influx of cars contributing to the congestion grinding our streets to a halt.”

Introduction 890-B, sponsored by Council Member Brad Lander, requires the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) to set minimum payments to for-hire vehicle drivers for trips dispatched by high-volume for-hire services. TLC would also be required to study payments for other for-hire vehicle trips and would be authorized to set payments for those trips as well as set minimum rates of fare.

“I’m proud that my bill to make New York City the first major U.S. city to establish a minimum pay standard and living wage requirement for Uber and Lyft drivers is part of the City Council’s much-needed legislative package on for-hire vehicles. I strongly support the full package, which is our best opportunity to protect drivers, level the playing field, reduce congestion, and support accessibility. Huge thanks to the courageous for-hire drivers for organizing tirelessly and ringing the alarm bell on driver pay, and the Taxi and Limousine Commission and Council Speaker Corey Johnson for taking leadership on this issue,” said Council Member Brad Lander.

Due to financial difficulities from too many ride hailing dirvers,  six taxi driver suicides in recent months.