NYC mayor, TLC announce plan to extend ride-share vehicle license cap, reduce empty car cruising time

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a plan Wednesday to extend the cap on the number of ride-share licenses allowed and institute a new cap on how long those vehicles are allowed to drive with no passengers.

The plan created by the Taxi and Limousine Commission extends the cap that was signed into law in August 2018 and will force ride-share companies to limit their drivers' cruising time in Manhattan under 96th Street to approximately one-third of the time they're on the road.

Officials say ride-share drivers cruise with no passengers approximately 41 percent of the time.

The empty vehicle cruising cap will be in effect weekdays from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and on weekends from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and the ride-share companies will have until August 2020 to reach the cruising time target.

"For too long, app companies have taken advantage of hardworking drivers, choking our streets with congestion and driving workers into poverty," Mayor de Blasio said. "That era will come to an end in New York City. Last year we took the first step, and this year we're going further with new restrictions on how many empty cars these companies can have on our streets. That means higher wages for drivers and less congested streets for our city."

Officials say these caps are expected to decrease congestion and increase speeds during the evening rush by up to 10 percent and can increase the hourly pay of drivers by up to 20 percent with reduced empty vehicle cruising time.

"With this new policy, New York City is holding companies accountable for the underutilization of drivers and oversupply of vehicles that have choked the city's streets," acting TLC Commissioner Bill Heinzen said. "This innovative approach represents a major win for our hardworking drivers and the city as a whole. It shows how cities nationwide can take back control of their streets."

The new plan comes days after the mayor announced efforts to help taxi drivers, including that medallion owners will no longer have to pay the TLC to renew their medallions and the creation of an assistance center for drivers.

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