Due to the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), as of March 19, 2020, certain restrictions on the ability to go online with Uber have been temporarily removed. The Planner tool also has been suspended, as drivers can now go online at any time of the day. During this time, the number of trips completed will not impact future Planner status.
Regulations passed by Mayor de Blasio’s Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC)—and the response from other companies, such as Lyft—have significantly affected how Uber can operate in New York City. As a result, we’ve made some changes to how the Driver app works across all 5 boroughs.
We know that all the changes to the city’s regulations since 2018 have been frustrating to drivers, and we’re doing our very best to support you as we work to respond to the TLC’s rules.
The TLC rules
Since August 2018, the TLC has implemented rules that (1) limit the number of for-hire vehicles that can drive with apps like Uber in NYC, and (2) effectively restrict the number of drivers who can go online. The rules have caused us to change the way drivers can go online with Uber. Going forward, rider demand will determine how many drivers can be online at the same time.
How these regulations will impact drivers
Some drivers may start to notice they can’t go online during certain times or in some areas across the 5 boroughs. If there is low demand for rides in an area, fewer drivers will be able to go online there. On the other hand, more drivers will be able to go online in areas where lots of riders are requesting trips. This means it’s more likely you can get online at the busiest times and places across the entire city. Over the coming weeks, we’ll introduce an in-app map that will highlight alternative areas in real time where it’s busier and where you may be able to go online instead.
Questions drivers might have
- Q: Where in NYC is this happening?
A: The TLC rules apply to all of NYC, so drivers may experience these changes anywhere in the 5 boroughs.
- Q: Who do these changes apply to?
A: These changes apply to all TLC-licensed drivers who complete trips with Uber in NYC, with the exception of the following drivers, who will be able to go online anytime, anywhere in NYC:
- WAV drivers
- Drivers who have completed at least 425 trips with Uber in the prior month and have at least a 4.8-star rating
- Uber Black and Uber SUV drivers who have completed at least 95 Black/SUV trips in the prior month and have at least a 4.8-star rating.
Please note that the qualifications for going online anytime may change in the future as we try to make improvements to improve the driver experience and respond to the TLC Rules
- Q: What will happen if I can’t go online?
A: We want all drivers to be able to go online when and where they choose, but the TLC’s regulations forced these changes. If you’re trying to drive in an area where there isn’t enough rider demand at that time, you will not be able to go online; however, you’ll be able to access a map (coming to the Driver app soon) that will give you real-time information indicating where rider demand is higher. Alternatively, at your discretion, you could try going online in your area at a busier time or reserve times to go online in advance from your Driver app, if you qualify.
- Q: How does the number of trips I’ve driven with Uber affect my ability to get online? What about my star rating?
A: Drivers who have completed 425 trips (or 95 Uber Black/SUV trips) with Uber over the prior month and who have at least a 4.8-star rating (reflecting riders’ preferences) will have the ability to go online anytime and anywhere across the 5 boroughs. Drivers who don’t meet the criteria to go online anytime will have the option to choose guaranteed times to go online from the Driver app. You can choose times for the following week starting on these days (depending on the number of trips you’ve completed in the prior month and your star rating):
Trips Uber Black / SUV trips Star rating Reserve times as soon as... 425 95 4.8+ Go online anytime 285 65 4.8+ Wednesdays at 10am 165 35 4.8+ Thursdays at 10am Any Any Any Fridays at 10am
The number of trips you’ve completed will be updated every month. For example, your eligibility for March is based on trips completed in February; in April, it will be based on trips completed in March. Again, please note that the qualifications listed above may change in the future, as we try to improve the driver experience and address the TLC Rules.
- Q: If only a limited number of drivers can be online at once, what determines who gets priority to drive?
A: Drivers who reserve their times to drive in advance will be able to go online during those times—guaranteed. Drivers who have unlimited access to going online (see above) will also be able to go online whenever they’d like. If there is still rider demand for trips after that, additional drivers will be able to go online on a first-come, first-served basis. This means there may still be times when drivers will be able to go online without reserving times, but that will be determined by rider demand at that time, in that area.
- Q: What else should we expect regarding the TLC’s rules?
A: We’re continuing to explore ways to help NYC drivers adjust to these regulations. Our goal is to help as many of our current partners make money through the Uber platform as possible. In the meantime, we’re here to support you along the way. And as always, we encourage you to reach out to your local elected officials to let them know how you feel about these TLC regulations and explain how they’ve affected you.
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