Car Industry

New York City could soon cap the number of ride hailing vehicles

Uber et al's growth hasn't been without its downsides.

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While ride-hailing services such as Uber have given riders more options for getting around town, they've also proven a bit of a nuisance. Now New York City is prepared to do something about it.

The New York City Council is considering legislation that would cap the number of ride-hailing vehicles, The New York Times reports. The legislation would stop new for-hire vehicle licenses from being issued while the city spends a year investigating ride-hailing services as part of a new study.

Several hundred Uber drivers and their supporters strike in front of Uber's Queens offices in New York on Monday, February 1, 2016.

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"Our goal has always been to protect drivers, bring fairness to the industry, and reduce congestion. That's what this proposal does, and it represents the broad outlines of what we think our next steps should be as a city to help the industry," said Corey Johnson, the City Council's speaker, in an emailed statement.

"The City Council's Uber cap will leave New Yorkers stranded while doing nothing to prevent congestion, fix the subways, and help struggling taxi medallion owners," Uber said in an emailed statement. "The Council's cap will hurt riders outside Manhattan who have come to rely on Uber because their communities have long been ignored by yellow taxis and do not have reliable access to public transit."

New York City is Uber's largest US market, and it shows. The New York Times reports that more than 100,000 for-hire vehicles are now on city streets, up from about 63,000 in 2015. Those cars haven't exactly replaced taxis, but rather supplemented them, making congestion worse in parts of the city and causing havoc for taxi companies and other professional drivers. Falling wages and long-term employment concerns have allegedly contributed to the deaths of several drivers in past months.

New York City first looked into capping the number of ride-hailing vehicles in 2015, but the City Council stepped back from any potential ban before one could be enacted.

This isn't the only ride-hailing legislation the City Council is considering. NYC is also looking into improving driver pay, The New York Times reports, because the influx of ride-hailing drivers and the service's low prices means that drivers are having trouble making a living wage. The Times' story points to a study that claims 40 percent of ride-hailing drivers in NYC qualify for Medicaid due to low income.