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Uber, Lyft Dealt Blow as NYC Council Votes to Cap Licenses for Rideshare Vehicles

Illustration for article titled Uber, Lyft Dealt Blow as NYC Council Votes to Cap Licenses for Rideshare Vehiclesem/em
Photo: Drew Angerer (Getty)

In a stunning blow to companies like Uber and Lyft, the New York City Council today approved a one-year halt on issuing new licenses to rideshare drivers.

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The yearlong halt will give the council time to survey the current state of ridesharing in the city, and potentially enact minimum pay rules for drivers using these services.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has been a strong proponent of these measures against rideshare companies, which have rapidly expanded in New York and drawn criticism for traffic congestion issues in the city.

We’ve reached out to Uber and Lyft for comment and will update when we hear back.

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In a statement to the New York Times, Uber claims,“The City’s 12-month pause on new vehicle licenses will threaten one of the few reliable transportation options while doing nothing to fix the subways or ease congestion.” Lyft emailed Gizmodo to state that “These sweeping cuts to transportation will bring New Yorkers back to an era of struggling to get a ride, particularly for communities of color and in the outer boroughs.

Congestion is far from the only issue this package of bills hopes to address. The low wages these drivers earn has been documented widely in the press, and the effects these companies have was brought into stark contrast by a rash of taxi drivers died by suicide earlier this year.

In a statement, the Amalgamated Transit Union called the vote “an important first step in the fight for justice for rideshare drivers” and criticized companies like Uber and Lyft for “withholding a livable wage, affordable health insurance, overtime pay, retirement plans, workers’ compensation coverage, unemployment insurance and the right to join a union to collectively bargain on their own.”

[NYT]

Updated to include a statement from Lyft

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Senior reporter. Tech + labor /// bgmwrites@gmail.com Keybase: keybase.io/bryangm Securedrop: http://gmg7jl25ony5g7ws.onion/

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DISCUSSION

In a statement, the Amalgamated Transit Union called the vote “an important first step in the fight for justice for rideshare drivers” and criticized companies like Uber and Lyft for “withholding a livable wage, affordable health insurance, overtime pay, retirement plans, workers’ compensation coverage, unemployment insurance and the right to join a union to collectively bargain on their own.”

Even before Uber and Lyft came along, they were all independent contractors leasing from the medallion owners, because NYC, in its infinite wisdom, decided to allow the medallion owners to be people other than the cab drivers (and decided to allow them to be leased). At least the ride-share companies provide an app, versus being parasitic middlemen.