In an effort aimed at helping the struggling taxi industry with an eye on increased congestion, New York City’s city council “rushed” to a vote that resulted in a one-year ban on car owners looking to to join rideshare companies as drivers.
The move makes New York City the first major American city on stop new vehicle licenses for ridesharing companies and services. This obviously impacts ride-hailing apps Lyft, Uber, Via and Juno. Here’s the email we got from Via:
We were incredibly moved by the outpouring of support from the many thousands of you who sent emails and called your elected officials these past few days. Your voices were definitely heard – several Council Members spoke about being overwhelmed by the response from Via riders.
Yesterday, the City Council voted on a series of bills to regulate the ride-hailing industry in NYC. We were pleased to see the Council make a serious effort to improve standards for driver pay and vehicle utilization – both issues we care deeply about. As a recent TLC report showed, Via drivers earn 50% more than their peers working with other services, and vehicles on the Via platform achieve the highest utilization in the city.
We were disappointed, however, that the Council chose to ignore overwhelming public opposition and approve a cap on the number of for-hire vehicles in the city. By imposing a “taxi medallion” system on ride-hailing, the Council risks degrading service and increasing prices, without providing any benefits to drivers.
Most troubling, the cap blocks the addition of new high-capacity vehicles that reduce congestion and offer the highest earnings to drivers. Without these vehicles, Via will be forced to rely on existing, smaller sedans, which are far less efficient. Our hope is that the TLC will use the discretion it was afforded by the Council to exempt such high-capacity vehicles from the cap.
Despite the cap, rest assured Via will remain the most reliable and affordable way to get around NYC. We believe shared rides are the only way to provide affordable and convenient transportation that reduces congestion and emissions, while allowing drivers to earn the highest pay, and we’re proud to have built the most advanced shared rides platform in the world.
In the next year, the city will study the impact of the industry as well as the ban. The new bill also opens the door for the city to set a minimum pay rate for rideshare drivers.
“More than 100,000 workers and their families will see an immediate benefit from this legislation… and this action will stop the influx of cars contributing to the congestion grinding our streets to a halt.” said Bill de Blasio, the city’s mayor.
With a cap on new drivers and the city thinking about minimum wages, this is a boon for the current rideshare drivers out there. Not only will this help taxi drivers, rideshare drivers, but should also boost the bottom lines and interest in rental car companies and car share companies like Getaround and Turo.