What to Know
- NYC announced temporary cap it imposed last year to regulate the number of ride-share licenses in the city has been extended indefinitely
- NYC, the largest American market for Uber, became the first city in the United States to regulate the growth of app-based rides last August
- City officials announced crackdown on Uber "cruising" after data apparently showed Uber flooding Manhattan with empty cars looking for fares
New York City announced Wednesday that the temporary cap it imposed last year to regulate the number on for-hire licenses in the city has been extended indefinitely and introduced a second cap aimed at reducing "cruising" time.
New York City, the largest American market for Uber, became the first city in the United States to regulate the growth of app-based rides last August when Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill placing a temporary cap on new licenses for a year, with the exception of wheelchair accessible vehicles.
The City Council approved the 2018 package of bills that included the moratorium of the temporary cap while the city studied the rapidly changing industry.
Also on Wednesday, de Blasio, speaking in front of drivers, announced a crackdown on big-corporation "cruising" after data apparently showed Uber and other corporations flooding Manhattan with empty cars, cruising around for fares. This practice is not only crushing yellow cabs, but it is exacerbating congestion.
Because of this, the newly introduced cap on the cruising time will mandate companies to reduce empty cruising to just 31 percent, by February 2020, of the time vehicles are on the road.
Strict penalties will be enforced, including the Taxi and Limousine Commission's right to suspend or revoke a company's license to operate in the city. For-hire ride companies, like Uber, could also face a heft fine of $1 million a month if they are found exceeding the percentage of empty cruising vehicle permitted.
The city is proposing capping the percent of time that for-hire vehicles can "cruise" without passengers south of 96th Street.
These caps will take effect no later than Aug. 14, according to city officials, who also say that together they are expected to cut congestion, increase speeds in the eveing rush hour by 10 percent and increase driver earning citywide by up to 20 percent.
De Blasio said for far too long big corporations focusing on for-hire rides, have taken advantage of "hardworking people" and these caps will help city drivers make better wages.
Opponents have previously said that app-based rides like Uber and Lyft provide much-needed service to areas outside of Manhattan that are underserved by traditional taxis. They also said black and Hispanic New Yorkers need ride-hailing apps because taxi drivers often won't stop for them.
"They're talking about putting a cap on Uber, do you know how difficult it is for black people to get a yellow cab in New York City?" The Rev. Al Sharpton previously tweeted.