New York City Approves Cap On Uber Drivers, Sets Minimum Wage

Update: As previewed earlier, and expected, New York’s city council dealt a political blow to Uber and other app-based car-for-hire companies by approving a one-year industry-wide cap on new ride-hail licenses and giving the city Taxi & Limousine Commission authority to set minimum pay standards for drivers.

As Bloomberg reports, the council voted against a similar cap proposed by Mayor Bill de Blasio three years ago after Uber mounted a television ad campaign and mobilized drivers and customers to oppose it. App-based licenses have since increased to more than 80,000 from 12,600 and provide 17 million rides per month, according to the city Taxi & Limousine Commission.

Council Speaker Corey Johnson said earlier that the regulations are intended to protect drivers, fairly regulate the industry and reduce congestion.

“We are not taking away any service that is currently being offered to customers,” Council Speaker Corey Johnson said at a City Hall news conference. “This is about supporting and uplifting drivers.”

The year-long cap on new licenses for ride-hailing vehicles will take place while the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) studies the effects of ride-hail service in the city. The cap would not apply to new wheelchair-accessible vehicles or new vehicles serving an area demonstrating need in a way that does not increase congestion.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement that "Our city is directly confronting a crisis that is driving working New Yorkers into poverty and our streets into gridlock. The unchecked growth of app-based for-hire vehicle companies has demanded action – and now we have it."

In response, Uber warned that the cap will hike rates, increase wait times and generally result in worse service.

"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," Uber said in a statement. "We take the Speaker at his word that the pause is not intended to reduce service for New Yorkers and we trust that he will hold the TLC accountable, ensuring that no New Yorker is left stranded."

And there you go 'Murica: the government once again stepping in to make your life so much nicer.

How long before some enterprising politician does something about this...

Infographic: Male Uber Drivers Outearn Their Female Counterparts | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

It seems like men should be restricted from driving in more lucrative locations (areas with higher rates of crime and more drinking establishments) - some kind of affirmative action that forces women to drive more frequently (like men do)?

[NOTE - During a typical week, a male driver would earn an average of $397.68 compared to a female driver taking home $268.18 on average. When it comes to hourly earnings, however, things are far more equal with men earning $21.28 and women earning $20.04.]

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The New York City Council is voting on Wednesday on a series of measures which would significantly harm ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft, after a handful of bills were formally presented to the City Council last Wednesday

The bills, supported by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Corey Johnson, are widely expected to pass - and include a one-year cap on new taxis while the city studies the booming industry. The legislation would also allow New York City to set a minimum pay rate for drivers. 

“This legislative package we believe will bring fairness to an industry experiencing an upheaval,” Speaker Corey Johnson told The Wall Street Journal. “We think it will reduce congestion and help drivers.”

In June, we noted the epidemic of New York cab driver suicides, as lifelong drivers have watched their retirements vanish as the value of a once-coveted taxi medallion has cratered, and the ultra-competitive ride-sharing services have kept driver wages low.

In the past five years, sale prices of taxi medallions, a license to pick up street hails in Manhattan, have plummeted from more than $1 million to less than $200,000. -WSJ

In May, taxi driver Yu Mein Chow, a 56-year-old immigrant living in Queens, was found dead - floating down the East River near the Brooklyn Bridge. Seven years ago, Chow financed a $700,000 taxi medallion that allowed him to operate a cab throughout the city. Shortly after, he realized with the introduction of ridesharing apps that his ability to service the debt was unsustainable; only instead of declaring bankruptcy, he chose to end his life.

The ride-hailing companies argue that their businesses add value to the community. 

“City Council’s proposals would bring us back to an era of struggling to get a ride, particularly for those in communities of color and outer boroughs,” said Lyft spokesman Adrian Durbin, who urged council members to delay the vote so that drivers and riders could have more time to comment.

“A 12-month pause on new for-hire vehicle licenses will leave New Yorkers stranded while doing nothing to prevent congestion, fix the subways, and help struggling taxi medallion owners,” said a spokeswoman for Uber. 

Following an unsuccessful 2015 bid by de Blasio to cap ride-hailing companies in 2015, the services have ballooned in popularity throughout the city. As the Journal notes, "At that time, there were 25,000 ride-hailing vehicles on the streets, according to the Taxi and Limousine Commission. Today, there are more than 80,000 such vehicles. They dwarf the roughly 30,000 livery and traditional black cars, 13,587 yellow taxis and 2,300 green taxis."

Uber and Lyft have also been blamed for adding to New York's notorious road congestion. 

Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, said Wednesday’s vote “sends a message of hope and solidarity to a workforce that has struggled in isolation for too long.”

Ride-hailing companies say they provide a service to people traditionally neglected by the taxi industry, such as those in the outer boroughs and people of color who are sometimes avoided by cabdrivers. They add that they also provide an alternative for commuters who are regularly let down by the city’s subway and bus systems.

Lead sponsor of the minimum wage bill, Councilman Brad Lander, appeared at a Tuesday rally in support of the legislation, saying that the package of bills "puts New York City on a path to sensible regulation of for-hire vehicles." 


hedgeless_horseman z0na8an0z Wed, 08/08/2018 - 12:48 Permalink


We cannot possible allow competition to drive down prices for the public!  That would be Un-American!

“This legislative package we believe will bring fairness to an industry experiencing an upheaval,” Speaker Corey Johnson told The Wall Street Journal.

Who could have possibly foreseen this type of anti-dog-eat-dog legislation in the transportation sector?

The Anti-dog-eat-dog Rule is passed by the National Alliance of Railroads in section 145, allegedly to prevent "destructive competition" between railroads. The rule gives the Alliance the authority to forbid competition between railroads in certain parts of the country. 

I am Hank Rearden's complete lack of surprise.  

In reply to by z0na8an0z

Endgame Napoleon Donald J. Trump Wed, 08/08/2018 - 14:14 Permalink

People need to be reasonable about wages. Depending on the industry, employers have limits and can only pay so much. However, employers need to be RATIONAL, not weighing labor costs in an exaggerated manner, while regarding other costs as just part of the price of doing business.


In reply to by Donald J. Trump

Endgame Napoleon bismillah Wed, 08/08/2018 - 14:09 Permalink

Ditto for non-licensed people in insurance. Ditch the rigged double standards. Don’t make licensed agents take additional tests every two years, paying the state more money to maintain those licenses, while whole call centers are staffed with almost nothing but unlicensed moms with spousal income, child support that covers rent or welfare-covered rent, free EBT groceries & up to $6,431 in refundable child-tax-credit cash. The couple of licensed “signers” just have the $10-to-$12-per-hour wages to cover all household bills. Take the unlicensed Obamacare reps. How cutthroat. Likewise, don’t put undue burden on franchise owners who paid much more to get an agency, sometimes taking on debt like those cabbies.

It is NOT even close to fair to deregulate part of the market, while heavily regulating another part of the same market, putting financial burdens from the state on one half but not on the other, especially when those with the state-imposed expenses are almost guaranteed to lose. Take a multi-licensed, childless woman, applying for the many, many mom-gang jobs dominated by unlicensed employees. 

It the inverse of the privileged half of our welfare-rigged labor market, where womb-productive citizens and noncitizens do not need wages sufficient to cover all household bills since—as interviewers tell you—“the women we have working here have somethin’ comin’ in” Some workers are advantaged in the labor market by unearned income from government (or a spouse) that enables them to accept whatever pay employers offer up, often in exchange for libertine absenteeism privileges for moms, mom-bonding rituals at work like baby-mommy-look-alike-bulletin-board-decorating contests and above-firing standards for mom-gang members who fail to meet quotas. Other workers pay the state fees, take the biannual tests, meet the quotas every month, come to work every day and stay all day, yet are in a worse position than those who don’t. 




In reply to by bismillah

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Endgame Napoleon Wed, 08/08/2018 - 17:50 Permalink

One more oh-woe-is-me pity party post. Maybe if you learned how to do something useful people would pay you more. Or, this is a novel idea, you could work for yourself and be self employed. But with the shitty attitude you have, good luck trying to get people to support your business. Your attitude is your problem. Just one more pathetic female blaming everyone else rather than looking in the nearest mirror and figuring out the problem isn't everyone else. It's you.

In reply to by Endgame Napoleon

jin187 bismillah Wed, 08/08/2018 - 15:23 Permalink

You can't just "buy a medallion".  The medallions are fixed in number, and mostly owned by individuals and cab companies.  In order to buy one, you have to find a driver or company that doesn't want one anymore, and buy it off of them.  Telling someone to just "buy a medallion" is akin to telling someone to just buy a membership to Augusta National, or Bilderberg.

In reply to by bismillah

beemasters SilverRhino Wed, 08/08/2018 - 13:05 Permalink

"In May, taxi driver Yu Mein Chow, a 56-year-old immigrant living in Queens, was found dead - floating down the East River near the Brooklyn Bridge. Seven years ago, Chow financed a $700,000 taxi medallion that allowed him to operate a cab throughout the city. Shortly after, he realized with the introduction of ridesharing apps that his ability to service the debt was unsustainable; only instead of declaring bankruptcy, he chose to end his life."

So instead of blaming the cost of taxi medallion, they blame Uber? Interesting....but not as interesting as blaming "Russia hack" for Democrats' misdeeds, though.

In reply to by SilverRhino

hedgeless_horseman beemasters Wed, 08/08/2018 - 13:06 Permalink


Seven years ago, Chow financed a $700,000 taxi medallion that allowed him to operate a cab throughout the city. 

There is a reason usury is a sin.

Debt kills.

How many poor immigrants, like Chow, must die before we ban these high-capacity automatic-withdrawal money lenders?

There is no reason for anyone to have a $700,000 loan.  

You don't see this type of tragedy in other nations that have banned loans.

We need to close the SBA loophole!


In reply to by beemasters

847328_3527 hedgeless_horseman Wed, 08/08/2018 - 13:19 Permalink

Shameful the Democrats will not allow competition. But, in keeping with their socialist philosophy, they want total control of private companies---i.e., stuff that don't belong to them.

Bad, bad Demorats!

When I was overseas I used Uber and Grab and they were 20-30% cheaper then the local cabs. Uber was much better then grab esp since Grab may keep you dangling and simply not show up or cancel.

+8 for Uber

On the other hand, Air B&B was dismal in my experience. Won't use them again.

In reply to by hedgeless_horseman

jin187 SilverRhino Wed, 08/08/2018 - 15:19 Permalink

The taxi medallion scam is the reason they're having this problem in the first place.  If it didn't take someone's life savings to get one of those obsolete medallions, the taxi drivers wouldn't be washing their mouths out with buckshot.  Uber also solves the problem the medallions were created to solve more efficiently, which is having NYC filled with empty cabs roving the streets looking for customers.  You actually order an Uber to show up when you want one, so there are exactly as many Uber cars as needed at all times.

In reply to by SilverRhino

Canadian Dirtlump lock-stick Wed, 08/08/2018 - 12:43 Permalink

shitty laws to protect people from shitty laws which have hurt people thanks to other shitty laws long since on the book which hurt many others all lobbied by many groups over the years who care about their bottom line and aren't above spending some money to fuck the rest of us..


Crooked Corporatism at it's finest.

In reply to by lock-stick

bowie28 Canadian Dirtlump Wed, 08/08/2018 - 13:02 Permalink

Exactly.  Try getting a cab in NYC during rush hour or any time it's raining.  If you're lucky enough to find an available cab it's most likely filthy and has no AC and a driver who hasn't showered in weeks. 

Along comes a new service that is better and cheaper and instead of improving their service to compete the cab cartel runs to gov to shut down their competitors.  Sucks that you went into debt to buy a medallion from the gov mafia and now it's worth a fraction of what you paid but that's life.  Don't expect everyone else to suffer for your loss.

Not surprising at all though.  Since Deblasio came in there has been a steady increase of garbage, homeless, and drug addicts all over the streets.  Rather than fix that he's going to try to shut down a service that was desperately needed and actually improved life for the citizens.


In reply to by Canadian Dirtlump

Handful of Dust Raymond K Hessel Wed, 08/08/2018 - 17:36 Permalink

OK, Raymond, you're an exception. I also know lots of great people in NYC but it's simply too crowded. I remember reading a study from that city hospital up there (Bellevue?) that found 4/5 New Yorkers are neurotic.

Worse yet, they said about half of that group is actually psychotic!

I honestly do not understand why 8 million New Yorkers did not vote for Trump when they see what a mess NYC is. I keep telling my buddies up there...."move out of the city into clean air, no crime and much less congestion."

Like talking to the wall.

In reply to by Raymond K Hessel

Buckaroo Banzai lock-stick Wed, 08/08/2018 - 12:44 Permalink

In related news, an inspection of taxi medallion title transfer records indicated that a certain Mr. Shlomo Shekelstein accumulated thousands of medallions during the recent unfortunate price downturn.

Mr. Shekelstein, a well-known supporter of Mayor DeBlasio, could not be found to comment on the recent regulatory developments regarding Uber.

In reply to by lock-stick