New York City raises minimum pay for Uber and Lyft drivers

Uber and Lyft drivers operating in New York City will soon be earning more as the mayor has announced an increase.

If you live in New York City and have always wondered whether you should try the gig economy by signing up to drive for Uber or Lyft, or both, now might be the time to consider getting behind the wheels. Ride-hail drivers are set to earn more with Mayor Eric Adams’ announcement that stipulates the least amount drivers can be paid per mile and minute. The minimum earnings are now $1.161 and $0.529, respectively. This translates to about a 5.3 percent increase in income for the drivers.

This is the second time the city has increased the rates in four years. The first time a raise was implemented, drivers earned about half a billion dollars more in the first six months, boosting the drivers’ income significantly.

New York City is an expensive place to live, and the town wants to protect the gig economy drivers who have to put up with the same rising living costs. The city also wants to help them cope better with the ravages of the pandemic.

However, the city is not aiming to set passenger fare or minimum wage but only regulates the minimum amount the for-hire vehicle companies can pay their drivers per trip. The new policy applies only to TLC-licensed for-hire vehicle bases that handle more than 10,000 trips per day. This description fits only Uber and Lyft.

In his remarks, Adams said, “Today, a group of New Yorkers who have put themselves and their families at risk throughout the pandemic are getting the help they need and deserve,” said Mayor Adams. “Drivers have served on the frontlines and have been there for their neighbors — driving them around the city and delivering food to those in need. This is about respect and paying each one of these individuals a fair and decent wage. I am proud to stand with these drivers and honor their sacrifice by giving them the raise they have earned.”

According to Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, a group that advocates for ride-hail and taxi drivers in the city, “Uber, Lyft, and Via drivers are part of the largest private-sector workforces in the state. They are the anchor in many neighborhoods and are majority immigrants of color working to transition out of poverty. We all know the price of basic needs, like bread and milk, have gone up, and, for drivers, so have operating costs, like fuel and repairs. This 5.3 percent raise will help thousands of families find security and give many the chance to live under better conditions.”

The new minimum payments will kick in from March 1st, and about 90,000 drivers operating in New York City will benefit. The drivers have tried to form a union to negotiate for better pay and benefits, but they have not been able to do so despite many demonstrations.

Elsewhere, Uber and Lyft are battling to avoid being forced to classify their drivers as employees instead of independent contractors. The status quo allows Uber and Lyft to avoid paying benefits.

“Gas prices have skyrocketed, insurance rates have soared, and all of life’s necessities cost more,” said Brendan Sexton, executive director, Independent Drivers Guild. “We are thankful that the mayor recognized this reality and acted swiftly to adjust minimum pay rates accordingly. When IDG helped win the first minimum pay rates in the country for drivers, we knew the pay rate would need to be adjusted. And Mayor Adams knows how to get stuff done. We look forward to working with Mayor Adams on additional steps to assist struggling FHV drivers.”

Written by HackerVibes

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