Legislation would curb for-hire vehicles

Several bills have been introduced to the NYC city council in an effort to curb the number of ride-hailing services.

Councilman Stephen Levin is sponsoring one of the bills that would call for a year-long study of the for-hire vehicle industry and its impact on the city. During that year, there would be a pause on for-hire vehicle licenses, so that means no new drivers. The legislation also aims to reduce congestion and make the industry more fair for yellow cab drivers.

“It has become exceedingly difficult to make a living because there are so many cabs competing for people to take rides. And that has nearly doubled in the last 4 years,” said Levin.

Uber released an ad urging its customers to reach out to the city council to oppose the legislation. Joseph Okpaku is the VP of Public Policy for Lyft. He thinks tens of thousands of potential drivers will be struggling to support their families.

“You see a lot of people join the platform just to address short-term need and money so people come and go off the platform. If people are leaving the Lyft platform during the period of this moratorium there is no ability to actually allow more drivers to get back on,” said Okpaku.

Mack Richardson uses for-hire vehicle services every weekend. 

“I’ve never seen a green cab come out here. The fact that I live in Brooklyn and the MTA is either underfunded or using their money inproperly with the trains and the buses don’t work properly, Lyft and Uber is literally the only way I get around on time,” said Richardson.

The legislation was introduced to the city council a few months ago, but it’s getting a lot of attention now because it was just significantly modified. The council will vote on the bills before the end of the year.