On Wednesday, August 15th, 2018, NYC Legislators moved to limit the number of new Uber and Ride Service licenses that can be approved within the city.
This move comes after the massive growth and expansion of the ride services throughout the city.
The legislation will see dramatic changes to the pay-for-ride services in the big apple: Including in the bills is a full ban of distribution of new licenses to drivers within the NYC area that will last for one year (unless renewed or extended) to give the city time to assess and investigate the nature of the shifting industry. The legislation will also allow the city to create somewhat of a worker’s union among drivers, and set a minimum wage for them that will take priority over those imposed by Uber – but only for drivers operating within the city.
This may prove very useful to current drivers, who have become displeased by Uber’s repeated actions to lower and lower driver pay since the creation of the service.
Jim Conigliaro Jr., the founder of the Independent Drivers Guild, says the new bill will bring positive changes for both Taxi and Uber drivers everywhere, stating that over 65,000 families will be seeing a “desperately needed pay raise” due to the passing of this legislation.
The New York Taxi Workers Alliance also had something to say about this legislation: Alliance president Bhairavi Desai sets a positive precedent against companies like Uber and Lyft, who seek to return NYC workers to “a time of sweated labor, destroying lives and livelihoods across the planet.”
Uber, on the other hand, has a different perspective. Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang says the bill is a big step in the wrong direction, and states that the city stopping Uber from handing out new licenses does nothing to fix the issues of congestion that currently run rampant through the clogged NYC streets.
She states that Uber will not be giving up on the legal battle, and will talk to legislators about ‘real solutions’ for the congestion, while doing its best to keep up with rising demands for its services.
But would more Uber vehicles on NYC streets really solve the issue? The congestion discussed by NY State Legislators has become a very real problem that has been made worse by the appearance of paid cab-like services such as Lyft and Uber. While waiting for a cab might be an annoyance on city streets, this event has shown that the solution to this issue is not to increase the number of vehicles acting as cabs. With a sizable portion of the vehicular city traffic occupied by drivers attempting to traffic customers around – drivers that often need to stop or slow down to let customers off or on – everyone’s rides become much longer and a lot more expensive.
This overpopulation of drivers hurts not only those getting the cab rides, but also the cab drivers, other non-cab drivers just trying to get to work, and eventually even services like Uber, who will end up with more unsatisfied customers than ever before. Because of this, an unchecked Uber in a place like NYC is a very dangerous possibility.
Yes, if left to its own devices, the growth would eventually subside due to the aforementioned issues, but it is possible that this legislation has managed to dodge the worst parts of that growth curve altogether. Hopefully, after this year is up, legislators will work with NYC officials to find a solution that works for everyone.
And maybe someday, the Yellow Taxi Cab and the unmarked Uber driver can live together in harmony.