New York’s City Council is set to approve a one-year cap on new licenses for ridesharing vehicles. According to Bloomberg, the move is part of a package of regulations aimed to reduce traffic and stop a decrease in drivers’ pay. The regulations are set to be voted on this Wednesday (Aug. 8). If passed, New York would be “the first U.S. city to impose such limits and set a floor on compensation for the industry’s workers.”
The plan is backed by Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who opposed a similar proposal by Mayor Bill de Blasio three years ago. Johnson says he doesn’t buy Uber’s argument that a one-year “pause” will take away job opportunities and transportation in neighborhoods outside Manhattan.
“This time around is worlds different,” Johnson said. “Congestion is worse now, and there are so many for-hire vehicles on the road. We also can’t forget the crushing financial and emotional hardship drivers of all types face.”
Earlier this month, it was revealed that rideshare companies Uber, Lyft and Via Transportation tried to stop the council vote with an offer to set up a $100 million fund to help New York City’s taxi medallion owners. The proposal would have the companies contribute $20 million per year into a “hardship fund,” which would be used to bail out taxi drivers who bought into the old system at great cost, but are unlikely to recoup their investment.
However, council members rejected the deal.
“If they really wanted to help the owner-drivers who are facing financial hardship, they could still do that on their own, but it’s not going to affect how we arrive at a public-policy solution,” Johnson said.
The council bills also set a minimum pay standard, after a study last month found that 85 percent of rideshare drivers earn less than the proposed standard of $15 an hour. If they got the 22.5 percent raise in net pay, they would bring in an extra $6,345 annually.