On Sept. 25, Council Member Francisco Moya introduced a bill in the City Council aimed at protecting For-Hire Vehicle (FHV) drivers from predatory lease and rental agreements. Thelegislationwould mandate that the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) extend its authority to regulate leases, rentals, lease-to-own and conditional purchases to FHV drivers, including Liveries, Black Cars and High-Volume FHVs.
This regulatory protection already exists for yellow cab drivers. Currently, when a driver leases a car for use as a yellow cab, the TLC caps the cost of that car at $42,900 over 156 weeks, or $275 a week. There are reports of FHV drivers paying more than twice that amount – well beyond the value of the vehicle.
The bill has been assigned to the Transportation Committee, which is chaired by Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.
Some industry advocates are calling for the TLC to limit lease payments to roughly $350 a week, including insurance fees. They say that, without a safeguard in place, FHV drivers are being swept into a downward spiral of deepening debt.
TLC spokesperson Rebecca Harshbarger said the agency is “investigating the issue and will determine whether to take action.”
Uber spokesperson Harry Hartfield said that the TLC “should allow drivers to use their own vehicles.”
Drivers say that setting limits on payments would give them more stability to plan a life without constant onerous financial burdens.