Skip to main content

New York aims to become first U.S. city to cap Uber, other ride-sharing services

New York City is moving toward becoming the first major U.S. municipality to cap ride-sharing services, sparking a tsunami of protest on Friday from Uber and others, which warned that those living in far-flung neighbourhoods will suffer most.

The City Council is considering five bills aimed primarily at reducing traffic congestion and increasing driver paychecks in the wake of explosive growth of for-hire vehicles and a rash of suicides among financially challenged yellow taxi drivers.

“We are pausing the issuance of new licenses in an industry that has been operating without checks,” Council Speaker Corey Johnson told reporters on Friday.

Story continues below advertisement

The council’s move to vote on the measures as soon as Aug. 8 is the city’s second try to restrain an industry that has grown exponentially since Mayor Bill de Blasio’s failed 2015 attempt to rein it in.

Resurrection of the effort in New York – Uber’s largest U.S. market – outraged ride-hailing businesses, including Uber, Lyft and Via.

In an e-mail barrage to nearly five million New Yorkers on Friday, Uber said riders would be hurt most by the squeeze, facing higher prices, longer wait times and less service in the city’s outer reaches by drivers more heavily dependent on higher demand in Manhattan, only adding to, rather than reducing, congestion.

“@NYCCouncil I’m a New Yorker, and I rely on @Uber to get around the city, especially when public transit isn’t available. Don’t leave me stranded and #DontStrandNYC,” tweeted thousands of New Yorkers, some using a link provided in the Uber e-mail.

Since Uber and other app-based services debuted in New York City about five years ago, the industry has grown to more than 100,000 cars, according to the Taxi and Limousine Commission. At the same time, less demand for New York’s iconic yellow cabs has decimated that one-time route to middle-class income.

Six struggling professional drivers – including three yellow cab drivers – have killed themselves in recent months.

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance cheered the City Council’s pledge to move ahead with the bills.

Story continues below advertisement

The impending New York City limits come amid a worldwide effort to crack down on ride-hailing companies, including a move by Honolulu’s city council to cap fares charged when demand spikes.

London, in a test of Uber’s new senior management, in June, issued a probationary licence to operate as long as Uber can show it has improved on safety and other concerns.

Reuters

Report an error
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter