Although a number of cities have tried to shut down Uber and Lyft altogether, or attempted to force the companies to operate exactly the same as taxicabs, this marks the first time a major city has passed legislation that will regulate ride-hailing apps as their own industry.
NY plans to cap ride-hailing services including Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc., becoming the first US city to take such a step.
The first such cap by any major USA city was part of a package of measures that also includes setting a minimum wage for drivers.
"The 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", said Uber spokesperson Danielle Filson. However, lawmakers hope the limitations will help reduce congestion and protect taxi drivers who have seen a steep decline in income.
The legislation imposes a one-year ceiling on non-wheelchair-accessible for-hire vehicles while the city undertakes a study on the impacts of ride-hailing. "Our city is directly confronting a crisis that is driving working New Yorkers into poverty and our streets into gridlock", de Blasio said.
In a statement, Lyft decried the measure's passage - arguing the cap would make hailing a ride more hard across the city, particularly in less dense areas.
Six New York taxi drivers have committed suicide this year amid difficulty of earning a living, according to the group.
Around 80,000 drivers work for at least one of the big four app-based companies in NY, compared to 13,500 yellow cab drivers, it found.
The New York Taxi Workers Alliance, an 18,000-member union representing the city's taxi drivers, hailed the council's vote as a victory.
"Max" from RideShare Drivers United has also welcomed the move in NY.
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. Several thousand more drivers worked for black auto companies that dispatched vehicles by phone, mostly in the outer boroughs of Bronx, Queens, Staten Island and Brooklyn, where yellow cabs generally wouldn't travel.
Right: The real point of this package of bills was simply to give something to Uber's opponents, especially in the struggling yellow-cab industry.
The move to tighten regulation in NY was in part prompted by several recent driver suicides. People of color and immigrants predominate among yellow cab drivers.
New York's move could shape regulations being considered in other cities concerned by the rise of ridesharing services.
Flaws in that system, like racial profiling and inadequate demand, "made it easy for Uber, Lyft and the others to come in, say, 'We're going to provide a much better service, '" he said.