New York City has approved a bill to place a cap on the number of licences issued for ride-hailing services and has set minimum pay conditions for drivers.

According to the BBC, yellow cab drivers in the city have called for the licence cap in recent years, with records showing there are now about 80,000 ride-hail cars on the road versus 13,500 yellow cabs.

Signs held by taxi drivers in front of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) protesting against Uber and Lyft claimed 42 per cent of ride-hail cars were “empty at all times”. They also referenced six taxi drivers who had taken their own lives since December, which union groups had attributed to financial pressure caused by increased competition from ride-hailing services.

The bill places a 12-month ‘pause’ on issuing licences for new ride-hail cars, except those that are wheelchair accessible.

It also gives TLC the power to set and regulate minimum fare rates and pay for drivers, as well as to create rules for app-based companies.

New York mayor Bill de Blasio, who supported the bill, said he believed it would ease congestion in the city.

In a statement, Uber said the bill “will threaten one of the few reliable transportation options while doing nothing to fix the subways or ease congestion”.

Lyft claimed New Yorkers would struggle to find rides, “particularly for communities of colour and in the outer boroughs”.

A study commissioned for the TLC found 85 per cent of app-based drivers net below its recommended minimum hourly wage of US$17.22 per hour despite accounting for more than 17 million trips per month in the city.

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