The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission approved, on Tuesday, approved new measures that would enact minimum pay requirements for all app-based for-hire vehicles (FHV) like Juno, Lyft, and Uber. The new pay structure goes into effect early next year, setting a gross pay floor of $26.51 per hour. They reached this number based on an estimated $17.22 per hour, without expenses.
There has been much scrutiny, over the past few years, regarding what Uber and Lyft drivers actually earn (or, rather, what the companies actually pay their workers). As a matter of fact, both companies—as popular as they are—have faced lawsuits over driver wages.
This agreement comes after a TLC-commissioned labor study confirmed “growing evidence of declining driver pay.” This very same study also concluded that roughly 85 percent of drivers in NYC were not earning the local minimum wage, which is $15 an hour. At the end of the day, then, this new pay structure requirement should increase a driver’s average take-home pay be approximately $9,600 a year.
As you might expect, worker advocacy groups like the Independent Driver’s Guild and the Amalgamated Transit Union celebrate these new regulations. IDG founder Jim Conigliaro said, in a press statement, that all workers deserve to earn a fair and livable wage. And the New York Taxi Workers Alliance—who actually scribed the bill—comment that this is the first push back against app driver pay cuts, something that appears to be a common business practice of both Lyft and Uber.
As might also be expected, the rideshare companies this bill supposed to target are not as happy about it. In response, Lyft and Uber have both warned that while they certainly agree that workers should earn a livable wage, these changes will lead to definite fare increases that will be higher than necessary. Lyft even claims that this proposal will actually undermine competition because it will allow specific companies to pay their drivers lower wages than other companies or to disincentive drivers from taking fares to and from areas outside of Manhattan.