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NYC Taxi Industry Responds to Rising Uber Numbers with Proposed Cap
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22 Mar 2015 12:55 PM EST

-by Yuliya Geikhman, Staff Writer; Image: NYC Taxi in Times Square (Image Source: Nick Harris / nickharris1 on Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0)

A proposed limit to livery cabs, or black cars, follows the news that ride-sharing company Uber has more taxis in service than NYC’s yellow cabs.

Uber boasted last week that there are 14,088 cabs in service through its service, more than the 13,587 yellow medallion cabs operating through the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). The NYC taxi industry is now getting ready to propose a cap on livery cars like Uber’s services.

The proposal is still in the works, but limiting or altogether stopping the growth of the industry would allow city officials to study what impact the influx of taxis in service are having on the city’ traffic, parking, and pollution.

The number of yellow cabs on the street at any time is regulated by legislature passed in 1937. Uber, on the other hand, wants to give jobs to 1 million women by 2020. NYC’s proposed halt to Uber’s growth would reign the company in a bit, and give the city a chance to make sure the cars aren’t causing too many problems for the rest of New Yorkers.

Tweeps Phillips, executive director of the Committee for Taxi Safety, told USA Today: "It's remarkable that this one company is able to put vehicles on the road willy-nilly without anyone saying what this means for traffic conditions or parking or the environment. It's like the city fell asleep."

Uber’s head of communications for Northeastern U.S Matthew Wing believes this has less to do with caring about the state of the city, and more to do with TLC wanting to maintain control over their territory.

"The facts clearly show that Uber is changing New York City's transportation ecosystem for the better," said Wing.

Uber drivers, according to Wing, focus more on areas “where taxis don’t go” like the outer-boroughs. The company also encourages carpooling, through the Uber Pool service.

Wing concludes that "It is not surprising that the taxi industry would try to stop this progress and any effort to offer more drivers better earning opportunities.”

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