NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Plans for a double cap on for-hire vehicles in the city was announced Wednesday.
One extends an already existing cap on the number of vehicle licenses and the other limits how long those cars can cruise around without passengers.
But, as CBS2’s Alice Gainer found out, not everyone is on board with the idea.
Some app-based drivers were among those standing behind the announcement that the city would continue to cap the number of for-hire vehicle licenses.
“Whatever driver you asked, compared to last year, every driver will tell you he’s making more and more today. This is because of the cap. It really help us a lot, and we hope it’s going to continue,” driver Saidou Sidive said.
But one Uber driver who has been with the company from the beginning disagreed, saying he sees no difference in the number of passengers he picks up.
“It’s about the same, honestly. It’s about the same. I haven’t seen a decrease in traffic, either. It’s about the same,” Brady Guerrero said.
Another kind of cap was announced Wednesday, too, one on how long for-hire companies can let the vehicles cruise without passengers below 96th Street. It would require companies reduce cruising to just 31 percent of the time vehicles are on the road.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he believes this will speed up traffic below 60th Street by about 10 percent.
“If a trip took you 10 minutes before, it’ll take you nine minutes,” de Blasio said. “As we said, people might wait a little bit longer to get that for-hire vehicle, a certain number of seconds.”
Meanwhile, many yellow taxi drivers have suffered financial crisis over the past few years.
“We have had nine driver suicides,” said Bhairavi Desai, the executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. “In January 2019 there were more foreclosures of individual medallions than the entire years of 2015, ’16 and ’17. The poverty has been choking this workforce.”
Desai said the cap is the first step in stabilizing an over-saturated market.
However, Uber released a statement that reads in part, “Not only is the mayor’s policy hurting app drivers by forcing them to pay exorbitant fees to rent a car, but he has proposed nothing to fix the current medallion system that only benefits lenders and taxi insiders.”
So how will the city enforce the cruising cap? Officials said by tracking movement through GPS and imposing stiff penalties.
The cap on licenses will exclude wheelchair-accessible vehicles and all-electric vehicles. The city said the Taxi and Limousine Commission will watch closely to see if companies increase lease rates to drivers, and if they do the city will just increase the minimum wage.