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In major defeat for Uber and Lyft, New York City votes to limit ride-hailing cars

The New York City Council voted on Wednesday in favor of a cap on the number of for-hire delivery and transportation vehicles on the city’s streets, striking a stunning blow to tech companies like Uber and Lyft.

The council voted to halt the issuance of new for-hire vehicle licenses for 12 months while it studies the booming industry. Under the cap, Uber and Lyft could still be granted licenses for wheelchair-accessible vehicles — which both companies sorely lack — but would be prevented from adding new ride-hail vehicles for one year. The city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission could also issue licenses in particular neighborhoods that are running low on ride-hail vehicles. Another bill that passed would establish a $15 living wage for drivers. The bills now go to the desk of Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has indicated his support for a cap.

Uber and Lyft have argued that the cap will lead to longer wait times and less reliable service in the city, especially in the outer boroughs. But according to city council speaker Corey Johnson, a Manhattan Democrat, New Yorkers won’t notice a difference in their day-to-day travel — aside from perhaps an extra 12 to 15 seconds taken when they order a car.

“I think New Yorkers can rest assured,” Johnson said. “If they depend on an Uber or a Lyft — that’s not going anywhere.”

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