Raise for High-Volume, For-Hire Vehicle Drivers Fulfills Promise to Put Much-Needed Money in Pockets of Working-Class, Immigrant New Yorkers
NYC’s Groundbreaking Pay Standard Guarantees Drivers Minimum Take-Home Pay for Each Trip, Significantly Increasing Driver Earnings.
NEW YORK –New York City Mayor Eric Adams today gave a raise to hard-working essential workers, many of whom are immigrants, and all who helped New Yorkers get around the five boroughs during the COVID-19 pandemic. With today’s order from the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), drivers for high-volume, for-hire vehicle services will see their minimum pay rates increase by 5.3 percent.
“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.”
“A few years ago, New York City set a national and international standard, guaranteeing minimum pay rates for app drivers, and other cities have followed suit and now look to us as a model,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “Today, we continue this important and landmark protection by ensuring that 2022 driver minimum pay rates represent the real increases we all feel in the price of goods and services.”
“TLC-licensed drivers are among the hardest-working New Yorkers, and I am incredibly proud of their dedication to serving our city,” said TLC Commissioner and Chair Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk. “I am committed to working to advance the entire industry and improve conditions for all of our licensees. The increase in the minimum pay for high-volume, for-hire drivers being announced today is a critical step forward, and I extend my gratitude and congratulations to our drivers.”
“This raise helps keep the city’s promise to keep app drivers out of poverty wages and on the path to a dignified and secure living,” said Bhairavi Desai, executive director, New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA). “NYTWA proudly worked with Deputy Mayor Joshi to establish this first-in-the-country standard in 2018, and, today, we are proud to stand with Mayor Adams, the deputy mayor, and the TLC chair to announce the implementation of the increase in time and distance pay rates on all New York City trips based on a rise in the Consumer Price Index, an adjustment we expect annually to move forward as required under the rules.
The raise is triggered by NYTWA’s demand letter to the TLC on drivers’ right to the raise under TLC regulation, and we are thankful for Mayor Adams’ swift action. 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. Today is a good day. Thank you, Mayor Adams.
Effective March 1, 2022, for most high-volume, for-hire vehicle trips, the minimum driver pay rates will increase to $1.161 per mile and $0.529 per minute. Per TLC rules, the rate of increase reflects the change in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers for the New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania metropolitan area, which increased 5.3 percent from 2019 to 2021.
Enacted in 2018, the city’s minimum driver pay standard for high-volume, for-hire services has significantly increased earnings for the majority of drivers working for high-volume companies. Drivers earned nearly $500 million more in the first six months the policy was in place than in the same period the previous year. The rules do not set the passenger fare or establish a minimum wage, but instead regulate the minimum amount the largest for-hire vehicles companies must pay drivers for each trip.
High-volume, for-hire services refer to TLC-licensed for-hire vehicle bases that dispatch more than 10,000 trips per day. Currently, two companies have these licenses: Lyft and Uber.
“Today’s announcement by Mayor Adams affirms New York City’s world-leading role in regulating gig companies to ensure that tens of thousands of gig workers are fairly compensated for the essential services they provide,” said James Parrott, director of economic and fiscal policies, Center for New York City Affairs at The New School, and a co-author of the TLC study that led to the implementation of the city’s driver pay standard.
In most cities where these services exist around the world, drivers struggle to secure fair compensation from gig companies. The TLC’s regulation ensures that drivers are fairly paid for their time and expenses. This cost-of-living adjustment makes a big difference for workers given the high inflation we’re experiencing right now and is a reminder that New York State needs to adjust its statutory minimum wage level for the inflation that has taken place over the past three years.
“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