New York City puts the brakes on Uber, Lyft

A protester holds a sign memorializing New York City taxi drivers who have committed suicide. The demonstrators at City Hall on Tuesday favor of a cap on Uber Lyft and other ride-hailing vehicles

NYC will cap the number of Uber and Lyft vehicles on its streets

Anti-discrimination proponents have backed vehicles dispatched by app as providing a way for people of color to obtain a ride reliably, rather than be illegally ignored by street-hailed cabs, and offering far better access to get picked up or dropped off outside of limited core areas of the city.

NY is not the only city where ride-hailing apps are facing scrutiny.

Other bills set a minimum wage for drivers for Uber and other services, and aim to impose regulatory parity with yellow cabs.

The legislation will now go before Mayor Bill de Blasio, also a Democrat, who is expected to sign it.

The vote is considered a major setback for companies like Uber, since NY is the largest USA market for a lot of them.

The City Council voted Wednesday on a package of bills that includes a one-year moratorium on new licenses for for-hire vehicles while the city studies the rapidly changing industry.

City officials said that in the intervening years the number of for-hire vehicles on the streets has surged from 63,000 to more than 100,000, forcing drivers to compete for scarce fares and making it hard for any of them to earn a living wage. About 14,000 yellow cabs operate in the city.

It comes after the city was forced to shelve plans in 2015 to cap the number of vehicles operated by Uber, after the multibillion-dollar corporation fought tooth and nail against the legislation in a slick ad campaign.

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"More than 100,000 workers and their families will see an immediate benefit from this legislation", De Blasio said.

"This victory belongs to yellow cab, green cab, livery, black auto, Uber and Lyft drivers who united together in our union to transform our shared struggle and heartbreak into hope and strength", Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the NYTWA, said in a statement.

"Workers and NY leaders made history today. It's not easy taking on Silicon Valley behemoths, but we kept on fighting for what we know is right and today the workers prevailed", said Ryan Price, the executive director of the Independent Driver's Guild. Which, as Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens) put it, "is like putting a cap on Netflix subscriptions because Blockbusters are closing".

Around 85 percent earn substantially less than the equivalent of a $15-an-hour minimum wage, according to the TLC-commissioned study. "The unchecked growth of app-based for-hire vehicle companies has demanded action - and now we have it", he said after the vote.

Last year, London's transport authority stripped Uber of its license over safety concerns, but the corporation appealed the decision and was allowed to continue operating while the case was heard.

FILE PHOTO: An illuminated sign appears in a Lyft ride-hailing auto in Los Angeles, California, U.S. September 21, 2017.

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