As New York searches for solutions to the decades-long problem of congestion, it has focused the blame largely on for-hire vehicle drivers. We all agree the glut of drivers has outpaced demand, forcing us to work longer and longer shifts and increasing unpaid downtime between fares. There is a solution that will help current drivers make a better living while reducing traffic congestion: a cap on new TLC-licensed drivers and a raise.
Worker cap not a vehicle cap.
The number of for-hire vehicle drivers serving our city has exploded in recent years and is one of the factors depressing driver pay and crowding our streets. Limiting new TLC drivers will mean fewer cars on the street and more work per hour for current drivers — FHV and taxi drivers alike. What’s more, a limited pool of drivers will force apps and taxi bosses to compete for drivers, which could mean better pay, better policies and app improvements.
While a cap on drivers would make the workers more valuable, a cap on vehicles would make vehicle operating costs more expensive – an expense struggling drivers cannot afford. Much as the scarcity of taxi medallions led to skyrocketing prices in the last decade that pushed medallion ownership out of reach for drivers, a scarcity of vehicles would drive up costs for workers, pricing drivers out of our own jobs.
A cap on drivers is the labor-friendly way to address our crowded streets and improve the ability for all for-hire drivers to make a living.
A raise will help congestion.
Last week we submitted our petition to the Taxi and Limousine Commission demanding a 37% pay increase. We came to the number 37% because right now, drivers are working a median 11 hours per day and our goal is for workers to be able to make a living in an eight hour day.
Decreasing the workday for drivers mean decreasing the number of vehicles on NYC streets at any given time.
Working together we can create a more fair industry while reducing congestion.
Sign our petition for fair pay for FHV drivers.
The Independent Drivers Guild is an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and represents and advocates for more than 60,000 app-based drivers in New York City.