No more drivers are needed, at least for now. After experiencing massive growth over the last several years, the e-hail companies Uber and Lyft have stopped accepting new drivers in New York City.
"For me, to be real, I think it's good," said David Cosme, who drives for both companies.
Uber and Lyft blame city regulations for the hiring freeze.
"Good for the current drivers that are here now, because it's going to increase their fares and increase how much money they can make day by day," said Brendan Sexton, the executive director of the Independent Drivers Guild.
Since February 1, e-hail companies have had to pay their drivers a minimum rate that the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) set. It comes to about $17.22 an hour after expenses.
With some exceptions, the TLC stopped issuing new vehicle licenses in August, when the City Council approved a one-year moratorium.
"We did it in New York under my committee. Under my direction, we did it," Bronx Councilman Rubén Díaz Sr. said. The For-Hire-Vehicle Committee he chaired was dissolved in February after he made controversial remarks about gay people in the council.
"That committee was a good committee. They should bring it back," he added.
These regulations were the city's response to a wave of drivers taking their own lives. The rapid growth of e-hail cabs hurt drivers' earnings and increased traffic congestion. Close to 121,000 licensed for-hire vehicles drive on New York City streets.
The TLC says daily trips have continued to grow in all parts of the city, so the moratorium has not significantly affected car availability. Experts say it's still too early to tell if these regulations will have a long-lasting impact.
"New York has definitely led the way in taxi and for-hire vehicle legislation, but it's hard to know yet how successful the measures have been," said Sarah Kaufman, associate director of NYU Rudin Center for Transportation.
In the meantime, Uber and Lyft continue fighting regulation. On Wednesday, a state Supreme Court judge dismissed Lyft's lawsuit against the minimum pay rate. Uber's lawsuit against the moratorium is still pending.
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