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Riders Wonder: With Uber as New York’s Plan B, Is There a Plan C?

[Read more about the vote to cap the growth of ride-hail vehicles.]

The cap was supported by many transportation advocates who say the ride-hail cars have contributed to worsening traffic in Midtown and Lower Manhattan, and by taxi drivers whose financial plight has become precarious in the past year, underscored by a spate of suicides. Bruce Schaller, a transportation consultant who has studied the ride-hail services, said that it was only a matter of time before city officials took action. Since Uber successfully fended off Mr. de Blasio’s efforts to impose a limit three years ago, the number of for-hire vehicles in the city has soared from about 63,000 to more than 100,000.

“You can’t have Uber and Lyft growing forever in Manhattan without having total gridlock,” Mr. Schaller said. “At some point, the city was going to have to say enough — and they have now said enough.”

But Alix Anfang, a spokeswoman for Uber, said the city’s “12-month pause” on issuing new vehicle licenses will threaten a reliable transportation option for New Yorkers without improving the reliability of the subways outside Manhattan. “As Uber continues to grow in communities outside of Manhattan, we will do whatever it takes to ensure that no New Yorker who needs a ride is left stranded,” she said.

Nisha James, 34, a nanny from Brooklyn, said she felt the cap on the ride-hail services had been a Manhattan-centric decision without regard for what it will mean for riders in the other boroughs. “I don’t think they were thinking about anywhere else,” she said, adding that the cap will likely send her and other Uber riders back to public transit when they cannot get a car. “The subway or the bus is going to be more crowded now,” she said.

As she waited for an Uber outside the Atlantic Terminal, a major transit hub, Carmel Maurice, a client coordinator from Brooklyn, said she was angry about the city’s decision. “I feel like it’s unfair,” she said, adding that the reason that she had given up on public transit in Brooklyn was that “it’s never reliable, it’s never on time.”

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