Uber and Lyft predicted to lose cap battle

A protester holds a sign memorializing New York City taxi drivers who have committed suicide. The demonstrators at City Hall on Tuesday favor of a cap on Uber Lyft and other ride-hailing vehicles

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.

NY plans to cap ride-hailing services including Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc., becoming the first USA city to take such a step.

Uber has campaigned against the legislation, warning riders that a cap on drivers will create higher prices and longer waits for cars. However, lawmakers hope the limitations will help reduce congestion and protect taxi drivers who have seen a steep decline in income. The hits to the taxi industry reportedly contributed to the deaths of multiple drivers in past months.

Lawmakers who backed the measure cited congestion in the city and hoped that it would stop the decline in compensation for drivers, according to WABC in NY. Almost one in five qualify for food stamps. The new regulations, which restrict new licenses from being issued and stipulate a minimum wage for drivers, last for one year, and are the first of their kind to be imposed in a United States city.


FILE PHOTO: An illuminated sign appears in a Lyft ride-hailing auto in Los Angeles, California, U.S. September 21, 2017.

Lyft said: "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". "We will never stop working to ensure New Yorkers have access to reliable and affordable transportation in every borough".

The New York City Council originally mulled a similar ban in 2015, but it stepped away from the issue before any legislation was approved.

Not a single council member Crain's consulted believed the measure would fail, as it did three years ago, and several described Uber's and Lyft's efforts this time around as anemic-consisting of little more than "boilerplate emails" from users and occasional text messages from lobbyists. Since then, the number of ride-hailing vehicles on NY roads has more than tripled, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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