New York City has become the first to pass new minimum wage requirements for companies like Uber and Lyft. The vote, passed Tuesday by the New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) has set a new hourly rate for drivers of USD 17.22 per hour after expenses. The Independent Drivers Guild indicates that it is the new pay rules are to be applied to car services such Uber, Lyft, Via and Juno, go into effect at the end of the year.
According to a report by The Washington Post, Jim Conigliaro Jr., founder of the Independent Drivers Guild, explained in a statement, “Today we brought desperately needed relief to 80,000 working families… All workers deserve the protection of a fair, livable wage and we are proud to be setting the new bar for contractor workers’ rights in America.”
The ride-hailing companies expressed concerns that the new rules will result in longer wait times and higher prices. While the concerns are legitimate, TLC Chair Meera Joshi claimed that providing a living wage to drivers is key. “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,” Joshi said according to the Post.
Lyft, in a statement to Engadget, raised concerns regarding undermined competition, as the new pay rules are expected to allow certain companies to pay lower wages and discourage drivers to to providing services to and from areas outside Manhattan. “Lyft believes all drivers should earn a livable wage and we are committed to helping drivers reach their goals… Unfortunately, the TLC’s proposed pay rules will undermine competition… These rules would be a step backward for New Yorkers, and we urge the TLC to reconsider them,” Lyft explained.