The insider was unsure of the exact nature of these last-minute amendments, but another source suggested that a final draft of the bill might allow now licensed Uber and Lyft cars to be rented to other drivers, possibly creating yellow-taxi-style fleets of ride-hail cars.
The New York City Council voted on Wednesday to place a one-year freeze on new licenses for ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. The new regulations, which restrict new licenses from being issued and stipulate a minimum wage for drivers, last for one year, and are the first of their kind to be imposed in a U.S. city.
"Our city is directly confronting a crisis that is driving working New Yorkers into poverty and our streets into gridlock", New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a tweet, saying he would sign the bills into law. "The unchecked growth of app-based for-hire vehicle companies has demanded action-and now we have it".
Uber and Lyft look to be headed into a brick wall at the City Council, which is poised to vote August 8 on legislation that will cap the tech firms' vehicle count in the five boroughs for a year.
Lyft said the move would "bring New Yorkers back to an era of struggling to get a ride, particularly for communities of colour and in the outer boroughs".
The legislation before the Council calls for a 12-month moratorium on most new for-hire vehicle licenses to give the city time to study how the rapid expansion of ride-hailing services affects the city's traffic, and how the council can ensure drivers of hired cars and yellow cabs earn a living wage.
The TLC, which regulates taxis and is a powerful force in NY politics, commissioned a study recently in a bid to underscore the chaos and push city authorities into taking action.
"Workers and NY leaders made history today".
Uber has blazed the trail for the ride-hailing industry by ignoring local regulations, clashing repeatedly with city governments and often threatening to shut down service in response to legislation. "We think they've actually filled a need", he said.
Mr Jools said making sure drivers got the minimum wage would be the best way to level the playing field.
The cap was given support from New York's taxi industry, which has seen wages falling and drivers expressing concern over long-term employment.
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"And you know that yellow don't pick up black".
That system was smashed when the city began allowing passengers to use smartphone apps to hail cars nearly anywhere.
This will not decrease the number of those cars now on the street.
One unforeseen development has been the plunging value of the traditional taxi medallions.
"If they want to raise their prices or lower their prices, that's up to them", he said. They were considered such a ticket to guaranteed income, banks allowed owners to borrow huge sums against them for home mortgages or school loans. Drivers no longer have the income to pay them off.
"We would like to see a committee whose job is to check the expenses of the vehicle to find out what the cost is to the driver per kilometre", he said.
An ABC investigation found many licensed taxi drivers have warned of the mounting human toll due to industry deregulation, with livelihoods wiped out and increasing pressure on families. "I would rather be dead". With that in mind, Uber said it will ask current drivers to share their vehicles with new drivers.
About 80,000 vehicles are now used for so-called "ride sharing", in which drivers get a hail through an app.
"We're really concerned about the process and the speed with which the council is trying to ram this through", said Joseph Okpaku, vice president of public policy at Lyft.
But opponents said Uber and Lyft provide needed service to neighborhoods outside Manhattan that are poorly served by yellow cabs. People of color and immigrants predominate among yellow cab drivers.
The New York City Council originally mulled a similar ban in 2015, but it stepped away from the issue before any legislation was approved.