New York City passed laws to "cap the number of for-hire vehicles for a year while the city studies the booming industry. The bills also allow New York to set a minimum pay rate for drivers." According to the NYTimes, NYC is Uber's largest market.
NYC is also a hotbed of discontent for Uber workers. Conditions of employment are evidently so bad that, "[t]he battle over Uber’s future in New York has been prompted in part by growing concerns over financial turmoil among drivers — a problem underscored by six driver suicides in recent months." Taxi drivers, displaced by Uber drivers, also celebrated the cap.
Uber has had several other issues, as well--the NYTimes cites worker complaints about "gender discrimination and harassment", additionally, you may recall the self-driving Uber vehicle that killed a pedestrian in Arizona.
Uber and Lyft, of course, are upset with the move. They argue that it will force them to charge higher prices, and according to an Uber spokesperson, "'[t]he City’s 12-month pause on new vehicle licenses will threaten one of the few reliable transportation options while doing nothing to fix the subways or ease congestion.'" One Republican who voted against the measures said "that limiting Uber to help yellow taxis was similar to regulating Netflix, the streaming service, to help Blockbuster, the video rental chain."
This hits upon one of the great issues of our time--the explosion of technological growth and our inability to reckon with its consequences. Ride-sharing companies are an incredible innovation in that they make personal transportation far easier. But in our zeal to embrace innovation, lots of people end up losing out. The same story plays out in many ways. Facebook and the ease of spreading fake news and accessing user data, among other sins; Google and privacy concerns; problems keep arising. Yet, the innovations themselves are valuable.
To what extent should Uber be regulated? Are the concerns about its disregard for workers valid, or is this just a play by a taxi industry on its last legs to survive a little longer?