The tussle between ride hailing apps and drivers continues—and the drivers may have just gotten the upper hand.
On Monday, New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission—a New York City government agency—released a report advocating for a wage increase for ride-hail drivers.
The study, conducted by two economists, suggests that drivers should be given a raise to $17.22 an hour after expenses or an hourly wage of $15 with an allowance for paid time off. That amounts to a 22.5% increase to net pay or $6,345 a year; 85% of the city’s ride-hail drivers now make less than this proposed minimum.
Jim Conigliaro Jr., founder of the Independent Drivers Guild, which represents around 65,000 app-based drivers across New York City, told Reuters that the study “confirms” what the drivers have been saying. “Drivers are in fact struggling and it’s time to act. New York must require exploitative companies like Uber and Lyft to pay a livable wage,” he said.
The increase is intended to help offset the costs the driver incurs to own and drive its car in the city. Should New York implement this minimum wage, it would become the first city in the country to do so. The Commission is considering implementing new rules for ride hailing services; the report could serve to inform these rules, a draft of which are due to be published for public comment in the coming months.