The New York City Council voted to regulate the number of vehicles from ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft on Wednesday. This will be a year-long cap and will freeze the issuance of new licenses for now. Additionally, the Council will require that the companies ensure drivers are paid a minimum wage.
According to a study by The New School for the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), such ride services’ apps have 80,000 vehicles in New York City and provide 17 million rides per month. As much as app-based ride services have become essential in our daily lives, it is not surprising that this news was met with many reactions, both good and bad.
Proponents said that such regulations will provide ways to regulate this industry, which has created suffering taxis and greater traffic. The biggest victims of the popularity of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are the yellow cab drivers. Uber-like vehicles outnumber yellow taxis by four to one ratio in New York.
Corey Johnson, the city council speaker, said more than a third of these app-based ride vehicles are empty, according to a report. Thus, not only will this new law help curb the infamous congestion in the streets of New York City, but will also make the lives of the cab drivers better.
On the other hand, opponents said the new regulations could result in higher prices for ride-hailing services and longer wait times for customers. This makes sense, since although demand will remain the same, the supply will decrease, which can likely result in higher prices and less convenience.
However, according to the aforementioned report, Uber and Lyft could pay drivers 22.5% more without raising prices for riders. Johnson also said that New Yorkers “can rest assured,” as this new cap will most likely only add an extra 12 to 15 seconds wait.
Both sides are very justified with their reactions to this new law. It makes sense from the government’s perspective to ease congestion and support the cab drivers. On the other hand, since NY public transportation is known for having large delays all the time, such a cap can potentially create inconvenience for people in the city.
However, this law’s significance doesn’t just end with the New Yorkers. This can act as a model and potentially lead the way for other cities that have been struggling with the same issues regarding the ever-more-popular ride-hailing apps. The extent to which this cap can impact the business is still not sure, but it is definitely worth paying attention to, especially if you are an Uber or Lyft user as well.
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