On August 8, the New York City Council will vote on 5 bills related to for-hire vehicles. We agree with the Council that drivers in NYC should earn a living wage, and we support efforts to address this goal. However, we oppose a separate Council proposal that would cap the number of for-hire vehicles. Please read on to see where we stand.
Some proposals we support:
TLC-licensed drivers in New York City should earn a living wage.
We agree, and we support the Council’s efforts to help make this a reality.
Fees paid to the City by drivers who operate Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) should decrease.
The Council wants to waive City licensing fees for drivers who operate WAVs. We support this proposal—it would help the entire industry as we aim to successfully complete 90% of WAV requests while lowering average wait times (a set of goals we agreed to meet earlier this year).
A proposal we do not support:
A freeze on the number of for-hire vehicles in New York City.
The proposed legislation would limit the number of for-hire vehicles for at least 12 months and give the TLC the ability to continue the freeze indefinitely. The taxi medallion system is a real-world example of a cap not working. Demand for rides has grown every year since Uber entered New York City, and with a public transit system in crisis, this trend is likely to continue. If there are not enough driver-partners on the road to meet growing demand, reliability for riders could decline, and they would likely choose other transportation options instead of requesting Uber trips.
Furthermore, if you are renting your vehicle, it’s possible that a limit on for-hire vehicle licenses could increase your rental costs over time—this is another reason we oppose it.
What the experts are saying
Transit advocates, civil rights leaders, and editorial boards agree—putting a cap on Uber and other apps won’t solve the city’s street congestion problem.
“In reality, this cap would do little on its own to reduce congestion or improve the lives of drivers.” – The New York Times
“As the City Council rushes to freeze the growth of Uber and other for-hire vehicles, no less than the Rev. Al Sharpton is raising an inconvenient truth: It’s a hit on minorities and the poor…Plus, the case for the cap is weak. Any slowdown in traffic may have more to do with Mayor de Blasio’s lower speed limits, bike lanes, pedestrian plazas, construction projects and traffic other than Uber & Co.” – New York Post
“The City Council should table the Uber and Lyft cap and direct the TLC to implement the earnings standard for app-based drivers as quickly as possible. The Council should also pass a home-rule resolution calling on the legislature to enact comprehensive congestion pricing in early 2019. – Charles Komanoff for Streetsblog
“Now, a proposal by the City Council to place a one-year freeze on for-hire vehicle licenses is being opposed as a civil rights issue by organizations such as the National Urban League, the National Action Network and the N.A.A.C.P.” – New York Times
Does the proposed legislation affect my ability to drive with Uber?
No. If you are an active driver whose vehicle is already licensed with the TLC, you can keep driving as you normally would.
We will keep you informed on this legislation as we know more. Thank you for standing up for New Yorkers who rely on Uber—and thank you for driving alongside us.