New York Enacts Ridesharing Cap, Throws In Driver Wage Rule

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio took an aggressive stance against two of the problems presented by the massive growth of the ridesharing industry by signing a proposal that would put a one-year freeze on new driver hires, and even threw in a measure that would allow the city to set a minimum hourly pay rate for drivers of for-hire vehicles. According to the latest reports, this measure could see the minimum hourly compensation for drivers go as high as the equivalent of $17.20 per hour. Mayor de Blasio said of the new rules that the city was "putting hardworking New Yorkers ahead of corporations." The New York Taxi Workers Alliance echoed that sentiment, saying that the rule is effectively "hitting pause on the economic hemorrhaging" caused by the rapid growth of ride-hailing services.

Uber spoke up about the new regulations, saying that the city's new rules don't consider "consequences for hard-working drivers who have been saving up to get out of a rental and into a car they own." Opposition has also come in the form of arguments over underserved areas outside of Manhattan, and race has even been brought up; the Reverend Al Sharpton, among others, has insinuated that traditional yellow taxi cabs are more likely to pass up prospective passengers of color, making ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft essential for transport.

The bill passed the city council last week and was seemingly amended to include the pay regulations, among other new bits, before being signed by the mayor. The new regulations affect all for-hire cars, not just app-based ridesharing services. This means that current rental car drivers for hire cannot register their own cars and for-hire vehicles that end up totaled or otherwise out of service cannot be replaced. Between the hiring freeze and the mandatory pay raises, which will reportedly go into effect by October, riders can likely expect a drop in coverage over the next year, as well as a significant rise in price for all types of for-hire transit. It's entirely possible that some outfits may hold their ground on pricing despite the raises so as not to incite a race to the top, but this may not be a feasible long-term approach, depending on a number of factors like profit margin, overhead and overall revenue.

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