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New York Could Become First Major U.S. City to Cap Uber and Similar Vehicles

Discussion in 'News' started by njn, Jul 27, 2018.

  1. njn


    New York Could Become First Major U.S. City to Cap Uber and Similar Vehicles

    By Emma G. Fitzsimmons
    • July 26, 2018
    New York City officials are moving to cap the number of vehicles driving for Uber and other ride-hailing services as part of an aggressive move to address mounting concerns that their explosive growth has led to worsening congestion and low driver wages.

    The legislation being considered by the City Council would make New York the first major American city to set a limit on ride-hailing vehicles, which in a relatively short period of time have transformed the transportation networks in cities across the world. Mayor Bill de Blasio, while stopping short of fully endorsing the proposal, suggested that the time had come to rein in the industry.

    The proposal supported by the City Council speaker, Corey Johnson, would halt the issuance of new for-hire vehicle licenses, except for vehicles that are wheelchair accessible, while the city conducts a yearlong study of the industry.

    It is the second attempt by New York City — Uber’s largest United States market — to cap the company’s vehicles after a failed effort by Mr. de Blasio in 2015. Since then, the number of for-hire vehicles in the city has surged, rising to more than 100,000 vehicles, from about 63,000 in 2015, according to the city.

    Mr. de Blasio, Mr. Johnson and other elected officials have raised concerns about the decimation of the once-thriving taxi industry and the increasing gridlock on city streets. Questions over the impact of ride-hailing services have also become more visceral: Six professional drivers have killed themselves in recent months, including three taxi drivers.

    New York’s strong stance toward Uber comes at a time when other cities are grappling with how to respond to the challenges posed by the remarkable rise of ride-hail apps. Last month, Uber won back its license to operate in London after agreeing to stricter regulations.

    A series of proposals before the City Council — all seeking to tackle problems in the industry — would also move to set minimum pay rules for app drivers, a step that would make New York the first major American city to establish a pay minimum for drivers. The City Council could vote on the measures as soon as Aug. 8.

    Mr. Johnson, a Democrat who became City Council speaker in January, said that it was clear that something needed to be done to grapple with the disruption in the taxi and for-hire vehicle industry.

    “This is the plan that we came up with and in my heart I believe it’s the best path forward,” Mr. Johnson said in a statement. “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.”

    Uber, setting the stage for what could be another fierce fight, immediately blasted the proposal, arguing that it would hurt its customers, especially those who live in the boroughs outside Manhattan, where the growth of ride-hailing services in neighborhoods ill served by public transit helped them achieve a milestone and surpass yellow cabs in the number of daily riders.

    “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,” said Josh Gold, a spokesman for Uber. “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.”

    Mr. de Blasio’s office worked with the City Council on the proposals and Eric Phillips, a spokesman for the mayor, said City Hall would monitor the legislation and hoped that it would help drivers and decrease congestion.

    “The mayor was out front on this issue when few people were,” Mr. Phillips said in a statement. “He is pleased it’s getting the attention it deserves from the Council.” Any bill passed by the Council to regulate ride-hailing services would have to be signed by Mr. de Blasio before taking effect.

    This week, transit officials said the popularity of Uber and other ride-hail apps had been a factor in the continuing decline in subway and bus ridership. But some transit advocates say the main reason riders are abandoning the subway and bus system is because of terrible service: Uber is just offering an attractive alternative.

    The City Council is also moving to regulate Airbnb, another tech company that has upended a long established industry — in this case, hotels. Uber’s leaders have signaled that they were open to discussing new regulations, but they have adamantly opposed any cap.

    On Thursday, as city officials began to discuss the cap, Uber released a new ad to oppose the proposal. The ad focused on the difficulty some New Yorkers — particularly people of color — face in hailing a taxi. It shows vehicles vanishing from the app. “If the New York City Council gets its way, all of this could disappear,” the ad says.

    Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat in his second term, engaged in a bruising battle with Uber during the 2015 debate over a cap. The company introduced an app feature, known as “de Blasio view,” that showed riders lengthy projected wait times if a cap was approved.

    But Uber’s reputation has taken a hit in the years since it successfully fended off the mayor. The company was rocked by accusations of gender discrimination and harassment in its workplace, and its founder resigned last year.

    Still, Uber and other apps like Lyft are popular in New York. The City Council’s legislative package would change the way these apps operate, licensing companies that provide more than 10,000 daily trips as high-volume transportation services with separate regulations. Under the bills, city officials could also set standards for how often a vehicle must be occupied by a passenger, to reduce the time spent driving around the city while empty.

    Mr. Johnson’s office said that it hoped the proposals would push companies to add more wheelchair-accessible vehicles — a longstanding problem in the industry.

  2. Buckiemohawk


    Here come the regulations... Here come the regulations... (Everybody sing)
    Karl Marx and everythingsuber like this.
  3. Uber and Lyft always have the same argument — if you cap them, people will be left stranded. HERE’S WHY THAT ARGUMENT NO LONGER WORKS: People are being left stranded, regardless of their pick-up location, due to less than minimum-wage earnings — this isn’t 2015 anymore. Kick rocks! Cap each other them, fire the excess drivers, and give each of them unemployment. A majority will have a few months to look for another job, and perhaps get a second chance at life.
    mrpjfresh and Five Star like this.
  4. Michael - Cleveland

    Michael - Cleveland Moderator

    Great Lakes
    Thanks for posting the article - you beat me to it! :)

    Here's the VERGE article:

    Uber and Lyft are facing a major crackdown in New York City
    A new bill would cap the number of ride-hailing vehicles on the road
    Jul 27, 2018, 10:29am by Andrew Hawkins - The Verge

    New York City officials are moving to restrict the number of Uber and Lyft vehicles allowed on the road as part of a move to contain the massive growth in the for-hire vehicle industry that has been blamed for worsening congestion and low wages for drivers.

    The legislation that’s being considered by the City Council would make New York City one of the first cities to cap the number of ride-hail vehicles on its streets, according to the New York Times. Council Speaker Corey Johnson, a Manhattan Democrat, supports the measure, while Mayor Bill de Blasio has voice support for new rules for ride-hail companies. De Blasio proposed his own attempt to cap Uber and Lyft vehicles in 2015, but eventually dropped it after a bruising battle with the app companies. The City Council could vote on the measures as soon as August 8th, the Times says.

    There’s a package of bills under consideration. One would freeze new for-hire vehicle licenses for 12 months while the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission studies “utilization, congestion, driver income, and neighborhood service. Another would create a new category and licensing framework for Lyft and Uber, in which the city could limit future permits by geography and potentially decline to renew a permit if a “need” for the service isn’t demonstrated.

    For their part, Uber and Lyft are portraying the cap as an attack on outer-borough residents, especially minorities, who lack access to public transit and are often passed over by yellow cabs. It is almost identical to the argument presented by these companies three years ago. On Thursday, as officials began discussing the proposal, Uber quickly released an ad that depicted available vehicles disappearing from its app as a result of the cap.

    “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,” said a spokesman for Uber. “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.” A spokesperson for Lyft added, “This would take New York back to an era of standing on the corner and hoping to get a ride.”

    The explosion of ride-hail vehicles in New York City, while wildly popular among riders, has been a source of almost constant strife for policymakers, disability advocates, taxi medallion holders, and driver groups. They complain that Uber and Lyft have been allowed to dominate the market without having to follow many of the same rules that apply to taxis. This has led to a glut of drivers that has outstripped demand, driving down wages and increasing traffic congestion.

    Taxi medallion owners have seen the value of their licenses drop steadily since Uber’s arrival. Saddled with debt, some taxis drivers have committed suicide — six in as many months. Council members are also considering a bill that would set minimum pay rules for app drivers.

    The number of new vehicles on the road has surged since the last time a cap was up for debate, growing from 63,000 in 2015 to over 100,000 today. These new vehicles have added an unprecedented number of new miles driven in New York City, according to a recent analysis by traffic analyst Bruce Schaller. Trip volumes have tripled in the last year and a half and 600 million of driving miles were added citywide. In addition, Schaller found evidence that ridership was shifting from public transportation to ride-hailing apps.

    The Council thinks a vehicle cap is the way to go, but not all groups agree. The Independent Drivers Guild, which represents Uber and Lyft drivers, has called for a cap on new drivers rather than a limit on vehicles. “Limiting new TLC drivers will mean fewer cars on the street and more work per hour for current drivers — [for-hire vehicle] and taxi drivers alike,” the group says. “What’s more, a limited pool of drivers will force apps and taxi bosses to compete for drivers, which could mean better pay, better policies and app improvements.”

    Some experts suggest that the best way to regulate the growth in app vehicles is not a cap, but congestion pricing that would charge vehicles to enter the most congested parts of Manhattan. That money could then be used to improve subway and bus service, which could attract riders back to transit and create a better balance in the city.

    I don't understand why NYC is considering such draconian measures that require regulation and absurd expense for the city. All they have to do is get the TNCs to agree to limit the number of cars that can SIGN ON to the app at any given time, in any given location. I swear, these people all get paid to make things more complicated than necessary.
  5. UBERPROcolorado


    First, one must consider that NY is controlled by liberals. Liberals are notoriously bad at business and allow their feelings to over-ride common business sense.

    Second, the politicians are in bed with the unions. Uber is not going to give “pay to play” money to the NY politicians. The Taxi industry has lined politicians pockets for decades. So the politicians need the cabs back on the roads to keep the politicians in the money.

    I doubt that New Yorkers really want Uber/Lyft gone and the disgusting taxis as their only option.
  6. njn


    New commercial promotes children without car seats; 0:15 and 0:20.

    Less congestion at 0:24 when all the ants disappear.

    Last edited: Jul 27, 2018
  7. It's about time. I hope this goes thru and sets a precedent nationwide.
  8. I do not believe NYC requires car seats in Taxi/Uber as Uber in NYC is a registered and licensed car service, hence public transport (a car seat is not required in a bus).

    In NJ, I also believe taxis do not require car seats (Uber legally does). I tell my pax with kids to call a taxi after I get my cancel fee (Instead I usually see them ping me again as I dricve away).
  9. This is not the start of a trend for other cities
    This is NYC
    A very unique environment
    Like no other city in the world

    So great, it was named twice
    New York, NY

    Michael - Cleveland likes this.
  10. njn


    New York Drivers of yellow medallion taxicabs and for-hire vehicles and their passengers, are exempt from laws regarding car seats and seatbelts. Keep in mind, the TLC encourages everyone in the vehicle to buckle their seatbelts while riding in a cab. There are no Taxi and Limousine Commission rules regarding this, as it is a State exemption. Passengers with children are encouraged to bring their own car seats, which the drivers must allow passengers to install.

    New Jersey
    law requires that children under age 8 who weigh less than 80 pounds be secured in a child safety seat or booster seat, preferably in the rear of the vehicle. ... "There is no exception excluding taxi cabs from that law" in New Jersey

    I was surprised to find out that child seats are not required for uber in all of NY state. Last year there was some question if the exemption included FHV. I suppose a TLC driver could get fined on the way to EWR. Either way, uber made a conscience decision to show images of babies without car seats.
    HudsonDriver4Hire likes this.
  11. W0w dude... this is the second time I've caught you with that BS... you def. have to be either an Uber employee or something..

    You said the politicians are in bed with the unions? taxis don't even have a real union here.

    Second Uber isn't going to "pay to play"?
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/uber-spends-1-8m-lobbying-albany-2017-article-1.3572383 ... and that's strictly $1.8 million to NY politicians.. and that was only the first half of the year... you're literally making things up.

    No one is saying for Uber/Lyft to be gone... people are complaining about the traffic and it's a FACT Uber/Lyft and etc are congesting the roads... it's not even up for debate or anything... again just making things up.
  12. Having access to the Uber app might someday be like owning a medallion.
  13. Fuzzyelvis


    I think the cars need to be capped but I am curious as to how they would know who's driving around empty.
  14. I am surprised, I thought taxis were exempt in NJ. (even though I knew they and Uber were exempt in NYC (I was not aware it was a state wide exemption).
    It will not change my advice to pax, as I simply do not want their rugrats in my car. Let the taxis take them.

    Do you have the NJ link? If they are not exempt in taxis why are they exempt in buses?
  15. njn


    Looks like school buses are no longer exempt. Only a few states require seat belts in school buses NJ is one of them.

    "... each school bus as defined in R.S.39:1-1 shall be equipped with seats ... seat belts of the lap belt type for each seating position on the bus or other child restraint systems that are in conformity with applicable federal standards."
  16. SurgeMasterMN


    Sounds good cut all drivers under a 4.95 nationwide time to do some QC.
  17. I was not thinking about school buses but bringing an infant on the NJ Transit 36, 112, etc. (trains, planes, light rail, boats = different rules)
    Obviously, car seats are not required, but they are vehicle transportation.

    Can you link to the saying taxis are not exempt?
    Because if the law says "all motor transport" bus drivers should be checking their customers unless exempt.
  18. Your judgement is flawed.
    What “common business sense” we are really talking about here? You should consider the fact that NYC is the richest city in the World, some business actually lose money in order to have a presence here(I can give you several examples).
    Not the case with Uber. Records show that the company did over 2 billion dollars worth of business in NY last year. Even while subsidizing Uberpool, the company cleared $350 million dollars in profit. So, they’re not leaving this market anytime soon.
    And you’re right, New Yorkers sure don’t want yellow cabs as our only option. But to assume that the second option HAS to be Uber and ONLY UBER, is a fable that Uber likes to tell people to see if sticks. NYC has survived decades with yellow cabs and black car services just fine. And in the end, Uber is basically just that, a glorified car service company with an app.

    I love when tea-party republicans from 1500 miles away write about NYC and it’s politics. Like they know exactly what goes on here, what’s wrong here and how to fix it...
    I’m sure that, if presented with facts, this guy’s answer to the problem would be “build that wall!!”
  19. Lol right? dude was straight up making things up... "Uber isn't going to pay to play"... like dude NY is one of the only cities probably in the US keeping Uber afloat.. they're not leaving NYC.

    There's one thing starting a debate on opinions.. but some people on here just straight up lie. It's so funny when you see people from all these other cities across the country that run a completely different system than the taxi/FHV industry in NYC chime in with their "facts" about how everything is run here. I caught this dude another time with some bold face lies before... I'm more than sure it's a fake account by an Uber employee at this point.

    Even funnier how when it's a topic about NYC somehow EVERYONE starts having connections to NYC.. "I know exactly how everything works there.. I lived in Westchester with my grandparents during a summer 35 years ago"..... lol.. people are hilarious.

    Wait... is this your comment or a part of the article you posted?

    you think you're going to get Uber/Lyft to agree to limit the amount of vehicles on the road? because they tried that in 2015 and Uber ran that huge campaign and paid off a ton of people to get that wiped out..

    oh you want to limit the amount of vehicles in a specific location at a given moment? so drivers can drive to a location and just not pick up fares to raise the surge? and you think THAT'S more simple than just capping the amount of vehicles being put on the road?

    How is this an absurd expense for the city? you know what's an absurd expense? Uber filling the roads with vehicles causing traffic everywhere and then championing the law to charge customers to get below 96th street because of the traffic they've caused.
    Bro Olomide and Five Star like this.
  20. Michael - Cleveland

    Michael - Cleveland Moderator

    Great Lakes
    That was my comment.

    I never said they would... I said that instead of regulating the TNC, all the city would need to do is get them to agree to manage the number of drivers on the road at any given time, in any give place. Put the onus on the TNCs to act responsibly - and put the cost on the TNCs. (A driver that needs to make $ who can't go online in Manhattan, will head to Yonkers or the Bronx or Brooklyn and a not-so-serious driver will just stay home. No driver is just going to drive around spending precious gas when they can't get online and earn $. At worst, they would just 'park it' until they could go online, still removing them from the flow of traffic).

    Oh, that's different than limiting the number of drivers allowed to drive by the city?
    Yes - infinitely simpler to allow the TNC's computer systems to manage how many drivers can be online in one area at any given time - and infinitely more effective since it's dynamic, responding to real-time demand.

    Government taking over the management responsibilities of private companies is absurd.
    That's ironic - not absurd... but the congestion issue is not something entirely attributable to Ubers... and you know that. There are 60,000 Black Cars in NYC - and most of those were in NYC before Uber - and of those 60,000, 45,000 now associate ALSO with Uber. Cab rides per day have dropped in NYC by 25% since 2010 (which means fewer cabs on the road) - and of the 15,000 to 25,000 Uber registered drivers in NYC, on average, only 5,000 - 7,000 are on the road at any given day at any given time. NYC has never been a 'take a leisurely drive through the streets' kind of city. (Yes, I'm a NYer - and I'm old). The streets have always been packed with traffic.


    Ok... NYC is controlled by liberals (which would come as a surprise to say, for instance, one of the largest developers in NYC - maybe you've heard of him... his name is Donald. J. Trump.
    Yeah... which is why this (according to you) 'liberal-controlled' city has an annual economy of $1.2 Trillon. That's Trillion - with a "T". (Oops - that 's not true: MANHATTAN's economy alone is that large - that # doesn't include the other 4 boroughs of NYC).

    That's a CITY economy that's the third largest economy in the US, smaller only to the entire STATE of California and the entire STATE of Texas. Folks like Michael Bloomberg & George Soros would probably be surprised to hear they suck so badly at business. The fact is that the rich and powerful in NYC are pretty closely matched conservative to liberal and democrat to republican.
    Not sure where you get your news (although I have a good idea), but Uber has been 'paying-to-play' in NYC one way almost since day one. New Yorkers would love to see fewer cars on the road - as long as their car can remain and they can get a ride from a cab or Uber within seconds.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2018
    Mista T likes this.

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