New York City officials will vote this week on whether or not to cap the number of ride-sharing vehicles from apps like Uber and Lyft at the current level and bar any new vehicles from operating, save those that are handicap accessible.
As the The New York Times reported Monday, this has caused a stir among both traditional taxi and ride-hailing drivers alike, many of whom showed support for the cap, which would be the first of its kind among major American cities. As cab driver S.N. Singh told The Times, “there will be more wages for the drivers and things will get better.”
Drivers that are in support of the bill, both from taxi companies and within Uber and Lyft, claim that a spike in traffic, drop-off in productivity, and steep decline in the value of taxi medallions from over $1 million down to less than $200,000 are all results of ride-sharing’s currently unchecked rise in the city. In the last few months, six taxi and ride-sharing drivers have committed suicide, some claiming financial hardship as the primary motive.
The companies that operate these vehicles, on the other hand, have an opposite perspective on the matter.As Uber spokesperson Josh Gold said in a statement, “it boggles the mind that the Council would take action to help drivers with an earnings bill while at the same time hurt drivers who can least afford to pay higher rental costs through a cap bill.”
The number of ride-sharing vehicles in the city has surged to over 100,000 today from just about 63,000 in 2015, causing drivers to sit idly for hours at airports, parking lots, and other locations to wait for rides that are becoming increasingly scarce. Uber, however, also argues that the rise in available vehicles has helped accessibility for those not on the island of Manhattan, who have fewer public transit options and are fed up with the higher rate of delays and service cancellations on the subway and buses in recent years.