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New York shelves effort to limit Uber growth

An Uber representative speaks to people during the kick off of a citywide jobs tour in the Queens borough of New York on July 21, 2015.

[NEW YORK] The city of New York has capitulated in its bitter feud with Uber, agreeing on Wednesday to shelve plans to cap the number of vehicles operated by the online ride-booking service.

The deal averts a head-on collision between New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and the multibillion-dollar corporation, fought in the halls of power in an aggressive Internet and TV ad campaign.

Under the agreement, the city will carry out a four-month study on the effect of Uber and other for-hire operators on the city's traffic problems and pollution.

The council had been preparing to vote this week on a bill seeking to impose severe restrictions on Uber.

"The cap legislation currently before the city council will be tabled (set aside) throughout the traffic study process," the mayor's office said Wednesday.

The bill had sought to limit Uber's growth to one percent in the coming year to study the impact of the car service on traffic and pollution.

Under the deal, Uber will release data "above and beyond what has previously been provided," the mayor's office said.

The mayor's office called the agreement "smart and fair." The city will have until the end of November to examine the impact of all for-hire vehicles on traffic congestion.

The California-based Uber had fought tooth and nail against the legislation in slick ad campaign.

The company said it has 26,000 Uber driver-partners in New York, far surpassing the city's 13,587 iconic yellow taxis.

It alleged that the mayor wanted to destroy 10,000 jobs and deprive taxi-starved city boroughs outside Manhattan of a vital service. It also accuses Mr de Blasio of being under the sway of the taxi industry, which makes big political contributions.

Official statistics show that yellow cabs are falling out of favour with customers.

The average number of trips per day in April 2015 was 435,459, down 10 per cent compared to 487,275 in the same month last year.

New York's Taxi and Limousine Commission says there are now around 63,000 "for-hire vehicles" in the city, including livery cars, black cars and luxury limousines.