The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), on December 4, announced the passage of its landmark comprehensive Driver Income and Transparency Rules. The rules, passed by the TLC’s Board of Commissioners, are expected to significantly increase the earnings of more than 80,000 For-Hire Vehicle (FHV) drivers who work for large app companies, as well as providing other important benefits for drivers across multiple sectors.
“Convenience costs [money], and going forward, that cost will no longer be borne by the driver,” said TLC Chair Meera Joshi. “Today’s rules will raise driver earnings by on average $10,000 a year and require companies to be completely transparent on how they calculate pay and car leasing costs. Companies are saying paying drivers fairly will cause longer wait times and higher prices. But I believe all New Yorkers are willing to pay a little more and wait a little longer so the people transporting them are able to provide for themselves and their families.”
The passage of these rules follows a groundbreaking, TLC-commissioned report by the New School’s Center for New York City Affairs and the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics at the University of California, Berkeley. The analysis found that 96% of high-volume FHV drivers earn less than $17.22 – the independent contractor equivalent of a $15 minimum wage. It also revealed that their median earnings declined more than 10% between 2016 and 2017. Analysis of driver expenses has also shown that drivers spend an average of $425 a week on the operation of their vehicles.
The rules (which can be viewed in detail at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/downloads/pdf/driver_income_rules_11_29_2018.pdf), set a per-minute and per-mile minimum trip payment formula, which the TLC anticipates will represent a raise to 96% of the 80,000 drivers who work for Uber, Lyft, Via, and Gett/Juno (the High Volume FHV service providers) in New York City.
While the companies themselves will be held responsible for ensuring they pay the driver at least the regulated minimum for each trip they dispatch, drivers will have an innovative resource to assist them in calculating the earnings owed them. The TLC has designed and made available a Driver Pay Calculator that will assist them in determining the earnings they are due.
To closely-monitor the effects of the new policy, the TLC will begin to receive from high-volume FHV app companies detailed fare information, more extensive trip data, and data on passenger wait times.
High volume FHV drivers will receive higher minimum pay for wheelchair accessible vehicles to account for the additional expense of operating these vehicles. More wheelchair accessible taxi owners will be able to receive payments of $14,000 a year when a car is put on the road, and then $4,000 a year while in service. The TLC recently doubled payments to wheelchair accessible taxi drivers per trip.
The rules also set new minimum pay rates for out-of-town trips, where drivers spend greater time without a passenger while returning to New York City.
Drivers will also receive detailed pay and deduction information, as well as lease information that is written in plain language, specifies all costs, and receipts that itemize all deductions and charges. The rules reduce the maximum amount that taxi fleets can charge drivers for credit card processing, saving the average fleet driver $1000 a year.
The administration anticipates the new rules being in effect as of mid-January 2019.
Source: NYC TLC