Many people in New York City likely thought this was coming.
And it did, signaled formally by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signing of legislation earlier this week that puts a one-year freeze on new licenses granted ride-hailing companies across the city.
That of course applies most centrally to Uber, but also affects Lyft and other companies.
The buzz behind the moratorium was about a perceived “it’s getting out of control” feeling expressed by legislators, city regulators and traditional taxi businesses. One city lawmaker said that the timeout being called owed to an unbridled industry allowance “to proliferate without any appropriate check or regulation.” The new law also mandates a minimum wage for drivers.
Uber officials say that they support the wage hike and will do everything legally possible to satisfy growing demands for taxi-alternative transportation services.
Indeed, Uber might have some solid options there. The law’s language stipulates a freeze only on license grants for new vehicles. It says nothing about the number of drivers that ride-share companies can employ. Thus, those entities can conceivably use new drivers to operate already licensed vehicles that are occasionally idle. Uber principals say that they will also reach out to employed taxi drivers who might want to change companies or supplement their incomes with additional driving.
The city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission will conduct a study during the moratorium to assess ride-sharing companies’ effects on the metro transit industry. Uber officials say that they will be closely tracking that to ensure that regulators “will hold the TLC accountable.”