For-hire drivers in New York City will see an expansion of their benefits package, as a result of their participation in the Black Car Fund (BCG), now that the BCF was able to increase its surcharge by half a percentage point. These benefits will be particularly helpful for drivers as the industry continues to struggle from the effects of the ongoing pandemic.
State legislature voted last year to approve the surcharge increase on For-Hire Vehicle (FHV) services, from 2.5 to 3%, which helps the BCF provide new, yet-to-be-determined benefits on top of the telemedicine care for drivers, workers’ compensation, safety courses, and wellness classes that come free to drivers.
“In these difficult times, we must ensure that for-hire drivers in New York have access to benefits that help them cope with COVID-19 and allow them to maintain both their physical and financial health,” said Ira Goldstein, executive director of the BCF. “The Black Car Fund plays an essential role in the livelihoods of drivers and their families, and drivers play an essential role in getting New York moving again. Now is the time to step up and give drivers more help when they need it the most.”
The BCF serves as a safety net for up to 125,000 FHV drivers across the state, providing benefits that many drivers otherwise would not enjoy. Staten Island Senator Diane Savino and Harlem Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez brought the vote to both chambers in Albany to allow the surcharge increase in 2019.
“For-hire drivers risked their health to get essential workers to-and-from jobs at hospitals and fire stations during the toughest moments of the pandemic. We must continue to be here for them as they were for all of us,” said BCF Executive Chairman Berj Haroutunian. “This increase in benefits will help strengthen the safety net for independent workers who need to stay healthy to provide for their families.”
The BCF is still deciding which benefits can be added; more details will be announced in the coming weeks.