Uber (and Lyft, of course) drivers and taxi drivers hope a cap on the number of ride-hailing vehicles would improve wages and reduce congestion.
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.