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Proposed Policy Would Cap Number of For-Hire Drivers

New York City is considering a cap on the number of new for-hire drivers (including transportation network companies) while the city studies the impact of for-hire vehicles on the city's congestion.
July 13, 2015, 8am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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According to an article by Johana Bhuiyan, "the city council and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration have proposed a yearlong freeze on growth of all for-hire vehicle companies while the city conducts a study of traffic patterns, congestion, and air quality."

"In Uber’s case, the cap would limit the ride-hail giant to just 201 new drivers for the year," adds Bhuiyan.

The article's analysis covers two of the implications of the proposed policy: first is the possibly crippling effect the cap on drivers would have on Uber's business, and the second is the possibly faulty logic about congestion that inspired the policy proposal.

On that latter issue, Bhuiyan cites data from a city report published last year [pdf], which found variations in traffic speed by about one mile per hour dating back to the year 2007. "Though traffic did decrease in 2014, perhaps this was a return to the city’s norm of 2007, rather than a clear linear downward pattern," writes Bhuiyan.

Bhuiyan also quotes Uber spokesperson Matt Wing to speculate that New York's political leadership is being less than honest about ht emotivations for the new policy. Wing states: "The de Blasio administration is pushing a policy to cap Uber that is contradicted by their own data….Given this information was conveniently left out of the city’s proposal, can anyone honestly still say their motivation is solving congestion?"

In 2014, Seattle implemented a similar cap on the number of drivers that transportation network companies like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar could hire. City officials rescinded the policy just a month after approving the cap.

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Published on Friday, July 10, 2015 in BuzzFeed News
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