New York City Council Proposes Cap on Number of Ride-Hailing Vehicles

To support the taxi industry and reduce congestion, the New York City Council could cap the number of ride-hailing vehicles operating in the city. The cap could be a first major step toward a new era of transportation regulation.
July 30, 2018, 8am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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A 2016 Uber add in New York City.
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"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," reports Emma G. Fitzsimmons.

If the proposed legislation is approved by the New York City Council, it would be the first city in the United States to set a limit on ride-hailing vehicles, according to Fitzsimmons. "Mayor Bill de Blasio, while stopping short of fully endorsing the proposal, suggested that the time had come to rein in the industry," but the mayor also supported a cap, which eventually failed, in 2015. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson proposed the current cap.

Fitzsimmons presents the news of the proposed cap on the number of ride-hailing vehicles in context of the rapid transformation that transportation network companies have had on transportation. That transformation had had significant consequences—for the taxi industry, for congestion, and on the infiltration of mobile app technology into every aspect of daily life.

Andrew J. Hawkins provides coverage of the story for The Verge, and Reuters also reported the news, reflecting the importance of the development for New York, but also for the ongoing, big questions about how cities will regulate transportation in an era of innovation that already includes dockless bikes and electric scooters, and could one day could also include self-driving cars. So far, some cities have proven willing to regulate the number of dockless bikes and to regulate the use of electric scooters, but transportation network companies and companies testing autonomous vehicles have leveraged their industry might (or their popularity with the public) to avoid significant regulation.

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Published on Thursday, July 26, 2018 in The New York Times
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