New York City set to cap number of new Uber permits

Lloyd Doyle
August 9, 2018

"There will be more wages for the drivers and things will get better", SN Singh, a taxi driver for more than 40 years, said on a recent morning as he waited at the taxi parking lot near Kennedy International Airport.

City Council members are also set to vote on a number of other similar proposals, which would set minimum pay rules for app drivers, and could decide to vote as early as Wednesday of this week.

- Tensions are running high for drivers who operate for-hire vehicles and those with medallions in New York City. The number of for-hire vehicles, which was 63,000 when the cap was proposed in 2015, has surged to more than 100,000 vehicles.

New York's city council is poised to approve a one-year cap on new licenses for Uber Technologies and other ride-sharing vehicles as part of a sweeping package of regulations meant to reduce traffic and halt the downward slide in drivers' pay.

New York's growth cap and pay floor each would be the first in the United States, said Uber spokesman Jason Post.

Also, people who live in the outer boroughs worry they will be left stranded.

The Taxi Workers Alliance, a driver advocacy group that opposed a minimum pay measure last month over concerns it might hurt some drivers' incomes, backed the rewritten version. "That alone is a reason to call a time out and assess what's going on here".

They see it as the only way to help yellow cab drivers, who have been overwhelmed by debt since Uber and Lyft took off.

The RDSU also asked that Uber should permit the drivers to choose out of the UberPool system-in which the passengers share with others and raise UberX base rates by at least fifteen per cent, to account for the ever-rising increase in vehicle maintenance and the on-road prices.

An Uber spokeswoman told AAP the company wanted successful driver-partners so it had invested in technology to encourage more riders to share tips about the best times and places to drive.

Lyft, the second most popular app, has joined Uber in opposing the cap and says that almost a quarter of its drivers could leave because of routine turnover, leading to a shortage of drivers over the next year if a cap is adopted.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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