By Brendan Sexton

It sometimes feels like there’s a bullseye on the back of every For-Hire Vehicle (FHV) driver in the City. We were targeted with the new state congestion tax this year, while the construction vehicles, buses, commercial and delivery vehicles that block full lanes of traffic every day got off scot-free. The tax on FHV trips was already much higher than yellow taxi rides, and now the disparity is even worse – with the average FHV trip being taxed over $5, while taxi rides are taxed closer to $3.

To add insult to injury, the city just announced it is outlawing FHV drivers from displaying advertising, which could provide drivers with thousands of dollars per year in sorely needed extra pay. Meanwhile, we are still fighting for restroom access and the basic dignity of FHV relief stands.

It is important to note that, in the face of this constant barrage of threats, we have achieved some important advancements. In NYC, we led the way in organizing for better pay and benefits – and while there is still much to be done, we should be proud of how far we have come. 

We forced Uber to add tipping to the app, which has put over a billion dollars in drivers’ pockets. We won free telemedicine benefits, free glasses, free counseling, a death benefit, and more, for all black car and app-based drivers. We even launched our first “English as a second language” classes this summer.

We invite you to join us and march in the Labor Day parade to show our solidarity as working drivers, to celebrate our wins, and show strength in the face of many threats to our livelihood. The parade will be held on Saturday, September 7. We will be gathering at 44th Street and 5th Avenue at 9:30am.

We led a grueling, years’ long campaign to raise our pay and win the protection of a minimum rate. But the pay is falling short, and the TLC is failing to crack down on those breaking the rules; instead, they rushed through even more rules to restrict FHVs. So, we called on the City Council to hold emergency hearings on these issues and they agreed to do so. This is the power of us raising our voices together!

Please stand with us at City Hall on September 10 at 1:00pm to call on the TLC to enforce the pay rules, raise our minimum pay rates and crack down on apps and predatory leasing companies that are hampering our ability to make a living.  

It sometimes feels like there’s a bullseye on the back of every For-Hire Vehicle (FHV) driver in the City. We were targeted with the new state congestion tax this year, while the construction vehicles, buses, commercial and delivery vehicles that block full lanes of traffic every day got off scot-free. The tax on FHV trips was already much higher than yellow taxi rides, and now the disparity is even worse – with the average FHV trip being taxed over $5, while taxi rides are taxed closer to $3.

To add insult to injury, the city just announced it is outlawing FHV drivers from displaying advertising, which could provide drivers with thousands of dollars per year in sorely needed extra pay. Meanwhile, we are still fighting for restroom access and the basic dignity of FHV relief stands.

It is important to note that, in the face of this constant barrage of threats, we have achieved some important advancements. In NYC, we led the way in organizing for better pay and benefits – and while there is still much to be done, we should be proud of how far we have come. 

We forced Uber to add tipping to the app, which has put over a billion dollars in drivers’ pockets. We won free telemedicine benefits, free glasses, free counseling, a death benefit, and more, for all black car and app-based drivers. We even launched our first “English as a second language” classes this summer.

We invite you to join us and march in the Labor Day parade to show our solidarity as working drivers, to celebrate our wins, and show strength in the face of many threats to our livelihood. The parade will be held on Saturday, September 7. We will be gathering at 44th Street and 5th Avenue at 9:30am.

We led a grueling, years’ long campaign to raise our pay and win the protection of a minimum rate. But the pay is falling short, and the TLC is failing to crack down on those breaking the rules; instead, they rushed through even more rules to restrict FHVs. So, we called on the City Council to hold emergency hearings on these issues and they agreed to do so. This is the power of us raising our voices together!

Please stand with us at City Hall on September 10 at 1:00pm to call on the TLC to enforce the pay rules, raise our minimum pay rates and crack down on apps and predatory leasing companies that are hampering our ability to make a living.  

The Mayor reports that drivers are making an extra $500 per month as a result of the pay raise, which is an important step forward, but falls far short of the minimum wage guarantee we were promised. When the big app companies are forced to pay drivers fairly, it helps reduce our hours on the streets and helps drivers across the FHV industry.

Since June we have been complaining to the TLC that Lyft has been kicking drivers off the app to avoid paying a fair wage, but the TLC has failed to stop them. As a result, many drivers are now working more hours than before as they drive around until they can get on the app, adding to the congestion the city is so concerned about. Plus, the permanent vehicle cap has turned thousands of drivers into veritable “slaves” to fleet owners. 

Stand with us to call on the TLC to crack down on these exploitative companies.

Being an FHV driver isn’t easy, but together we ARE making a difference. Sometimes the most important thing you can do is simply show up. 

Show the politicians your face. Tell them about your struggles to support your family. Tell them about the rental companies that charge hidden fees. 

This September, we are asking ALL of you to show up. Keep up to date on all the news and where and when to show up by signing up at drivingguild.org.

Brendan Sexton is Executive Director of the Independent Drivers Guild. The IDG is a Machinists Union affiliate, which represents and advocates for more than 70,000 app-based drivers in NYC. Follow the IDG on twitter at @drivingguild.

Black Car News
Article by Black Car News

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