One year ago, New York became the first city in the United States to temporarily cap the number of ride-sharing vehicles in order to study the impact of the ride-sharing industry. Now, it is extending that cap for another 12 months.
The NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission voted unanimously on Wednesday on the extension, as well for a new rule around “cruising,” which would limit the time ridehail drivers can spend roaming streets without passengers during peak hours. The idea is to cut down on under-use of drivers as well as to ease traffic.
According to the TLC’s research, published in June 2019, for-hire drivers spend over 40% of their total work time driving the streets looking for passengers. Under the new rule, which is effective immediately, for-hire vehicle companies have until February 2020 to get that time down to 36% or below when driving below 96th Street during core weekday and weekend hours. By August 2020, it will need to be down to 31% or below. The companies could face fines and escalating licensing sanctions should they exceed the limits.
Regulatory changes in New York City could provide a model for other cities eager to rein in ridehailing firms that have increased congestion even as they’ve revolutionized transportation.
Earlier this week, City Lab reported on a new Uber and Lyft joint analysis into how their vehicles are contributing to what’s referred to as “vehicle-miles-traveled.” Their vehicles are responsible for “significant portions of VMT in six major urban centers” the analysis found, but their “combined share is still vastly outstripped by personal vehicles.”
While New York City was not included in the analysis, it’s safe to say some cities may look to New York City for leadership on how to regulate their own streets.