Last week, New York City became the first major U.S. city to place a cap on the number of ride-share drivers operating within the city limits.
A Unified Front
In another first for a major U.S. city, the New York City Council ruled driver’s should also make a required minimum wage. In a comment regarding the rulings, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio lauded the city council for the vote stating the cap would “Stop the influx of cars contributing to the congestion grinding our streets to a halt.” Mayor De Blasio confirmed he plans to sign the bill.
A Minimum Wage
In a recent study conducted by the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission, the commission also sited a minimum wage of $17.22/hour as fair for drivers in order to offset the cost of owning and operating a vehicle within the city limits. The study was sited by the city council in its ruling. City officials will determine the actual rate.
Ride-Share Pushes back
In their objection to the proposal, both Uber and Lyft claimed the efficiency of their model relies on having as many drivers on the road as possible in order to reduce rider wait times. The ruling implements a one-year freeze on the hiring of new drivers, a move the ride-share companies claim will do little to ease the city’s congestion. The new regulation will certainly mean greater competition between the ride-share companies to recruit and keep existing drivers on their platforms.
A New Ride-Share Strategy
At present, there are 120,000 for-hire vehicle licenses within the city, 80,000 of which currently belong to ride-share drivers. According to Uber spokesman Josh Gold, “We’re going to aggressively go after the 40,000 existing licenses to add to the 80,000 that we already dispatch to.”
Leveling the Playing Field
The new measure comes in large part due to mounting pressure placed on the city council by the taxi industry. In recent years, ride-share services have cut incomes for taxi drivers dramatically, making it difficult for them to make a living wage. It is hoped the new regulation will ease these concerns and once again level the playing field between the taxi and ride-share industries.