Great news – thanks to you, the TLC is proposing deadhead pay and an even higher pay raise than they first proposed!
We told the TLC that their expense data was wrong. More than 500 of you helped us prove it by telling us how much your lease or rental costs. Over 100 of you showed up to the October hearing in your red IDG shirts to tell them face to face — and the TLC listened.
Based on our expense data, the TLC is increasing the minimum amount drivers must be paid per mile. Their new calculation will raise most drivers’ pay over $9,000 a year.
We told the TLC we need deadhead pay. More than 16,000 of you signed the petition calling for this pay raise and deadhead pay. We included it in our proposal back in the Fall of 2017 and in our formal rulemaking petition to the TLC, back in February. When it was missing from the TLC’s draft rules, we demanded it.
They heard us and have told us they are creating a new minimum pay rate for out-of-town trips to protect our pay.
We told the TLC to prohibit companies from making us slaves to incentives: that the pay floor must be the floor for every trip – not an average of what they pay out to all drivers over the course of a day, week, or month. We urged the TLC to ensure that no trip could be less than the minimum and any incentives would be on TOP of this pay floor so we can have a predictable wage and not just be slaves to the companies’ manipulative incentives.
They agreed and clarified that every trip counts.
These wins are huge, and wouldn’t have been possible without our hard work. We showed up, we made our voices heard, and now we’ve made dramatic changes for the better in our industry. This win belongs to all of us. Congratulations.
New York, NY – The Independent Drivers Guild is denouncing the state’s unfair congestion tax at a hearing held by the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission today. The Guild, which represents and advocates for more than 70,000 app-based drivers in New York City, also released a new analysis that shows the state tax unfairly targets app-based drivers and riders with a larger tax burden than the taxi portion of the for-hire sector, while also failing to tax the worst congestion culprits: commercial, construction, and delivery vehicles. The new congestion tax will go into effect in January and cost riders $2.75 per trip on for-hire vehicle trips and $2.50 on taxi trips that enter Manhattan below 96th street.
$20 Fare – Taxed $5.03 for App-Based FHV vs $3.30 for Taxi Starting in January, a $20 trip in an app-based vehicle will be taxed $5.
Taxes, Fees, Surcharges
Uber / Lyft
Black Car Fund
Improvement Surcharge (proceeds to Medallion Owners)
MTA State Surcharge
Total Taxes and Surcharges
“The new state congestion tax is an unfair burden to put on the hundreds of thousands of working families who rely on apps like Uber and Lyft for transportation or for their livelihood. The new taxes will be particularly harmful to app-based for hire vehicle riders, whose trips are already much more heavily taxed than taxi trips, and for-hire drivers who are already struggling to make ends meet. For-hire vehicle trips already generate over $260 million per year in sales tax,” said IDG founder Jim Conigliario, Jr. “Meanwhile, the state failed to tax the worst culprits for congestion, the commercial and construction vehicles as well as delivery vehicles for companies like Amazon that double park and block traffic all day, every day. Our city should demand the legislature repeal this sham tax and replace it with a fair tax that targets the real culprits of congestion.”
Written Testimony from IDG President Jim Conigliaro, Jr:
New York state’s “Congestion Tax” is a disaster. It is a regressive tax that will harm the more than half a million working families in our city who rely on for-hire vehicle service for transportation or for their livelihoods without even putting a dent in congestion or the MTA shortfall. The new taxes will be particularly harmful to app-based for hire vehicle riders, whose trips are already much more heavily taxed than taxi trips, and for-hire drivers who are already struggling to make ends meet. Our city should demand the legislature repeal this sham tax and replace it with a fair tax that targets the real culprits of congestion.
With the new state tax on top of existing taxes, Uber and Lyft rides will be taxed $5 on a $20 trip starting in January. For taxis, which are exempt from sales tax, $3 of such a trip will go to MTA taxes, with an additional $0.30 going to an improvement surcharge for medallion owners. Meanwhile the real culprits of congestion – the delivery, commercial and construction vehicles that block the flow of traffic – get off scot-free.
To call this a congestion tax is a lie. Experts agree the new tax will not impact congestion as it only targets one segment of vehicles: for-hire vehicles. Which is exactly the WRONG segment to target. Why?
First of all, the worst culprits for congestion are the commercial and construction vehicles as well as the unregulated delivery vehicles for companies like Amazon and food and grocery deliveries which double park and block traffic all day, every day. But the state’s new tax fails to address these sectors. Apparently, the politicians up in Albany were too busy wooing Amazon to regulate and tax the “Prime Now – Same Day Delivery” and “Free Two Day Shipping” giant that is clogging our city’s streets.
Secondly, New York City has already devised a much smarter way to address the growth in the for-hire vehicle sector. To stop app companies from flooding the streets, the city passed a law requiring apps that put excess drivers on the road to pay drivers much higher rates. The city’s solution attacks the problem of congestion while also making New York City the first in the nation to require a livable, minimum wage for app-based drivers.
Finally, putting the sham of any kind of “congestion” objective aside and looking at the real issue of an MTA bailout, it doesn’t make sense to target Uber and Lyft riders there either. Riders of for-hire vehicles are working people who are already paying more than their fair share of taxes – including over $260 million in sales tax alone on FHV trips in 2017. While taxi trips, which are exempt from New York’s nearly 9% sales tax, generated less than a quarter of that sum in MTA taxes.
In its current form, all this so-called “congestion tax” will do is make it less affordable and less possible for working people to live without cars of their own and harm the livelihood of 100,000 poor immigrant working families. Meanwhile, the big businesses that clog our streets with trucks and the city’s wealthiest don’t have to pay the tax at all. After all, those who rely on private cars and drivers are exempt.
Come to the next IDG general meeting and learn about the next steps in our fight for a fair industry. We will go over important new developments, potential harmful proposals at the TLC that would hurt our drivers, the launch of free IDG Benefits, and our actions in the upcoming year.
Please join us at this important meeting on Tuesday, December 4th at 7PM. We need YOUR support! Free parking opens up at 7PM and there will be food available, as always!
Travel at speed limit or flow of traffic – Is it worth risking your life to save a few minutes during a trip? Your decisions behind the wheel not only affect you but also the ones you love. Don’t get into an accident being inpatient, this will impact life, health and your income.
Bad Weather Driving – Please slow down!!! Safe driving is always based on weather. The first snowfall of the year showed us that any change in weather can lead to bad road conditions. Weather can turn traffic into a nightmare, due to major accidents. Remember your family needs you home safely.
Passenger Safety – Take time to make sure your passengers are picked-up and dropped off safely at their destinations. Make sure the passenger’s entrance/exit is clear of bikers, skateboarders, truckers, public officers, etc…
Traffic Laws – Some passengers will ask you to break the law, please consider the consequences of those actions, be gentle in turning them down, let your App company know this immediately.
Seat Belts – You’re not required to have passengers wear them unless they sit in the front passenger’s seat, however, if they have children please ask them to kindly have their kids wear the seat belt for their safety.
Drunken Passengers – Keep your cool, your livelihood is more important than getting upset with drunk passengers. You have the opportunity to place a sticker sign on your passenger’s windows that states “You are being videotaped and recorded.” We encourage drivers to buy camera mounts (if unable, use your camera phones) to videotape unruly customers for your protection. “Do not touch the passengers under any circumstances, please call 911 for assistance.
Street Hail – Please do not pick up street hails. In the past drivers have been shot, stabbed, and killed due to limited protections.
High Beams – Please remember that you can hinder the sight of drivers in oncoming traffic if your high beams are used incorrectly. Please turn your lights down until oncoming traffic clears your path.
Flat Tires – When you have a flat tire, please pull over to a safe location, your life matters.
This work, moving New York to where it wants to be, isn’t easy. Pay is low, expenses are high, TLC and NYPD cops are out to get us, and to top it all off, some customers are…difficult.
The IDG exists to not only build power for a fair industry, but we are a community of drivers looking out for one another. One way we do that is by offering classes for free for New York City drivers, or people that want to be drivers, to talk about the reality of the industry and to build community with experienced drivers.
One of our key classes is the Defensive Driving Class, which all Taxi and Limousine Commission-licensed drivers are required to take every three years. It is so popular because you will be paid $300 from the Black Car Fund to attend, you can have 4 points removed from your license, and you can get a 10% insurance reduction when you take the class.
The media is reporting the seventh known suicide in the last year in this industry, and the second of our members to take their lives under pressure of overwhelming debt. It’s a tragedy we wish we could have prevented and our sincere sympathies go out to the friends and family of Fausto Luna.
The For-Hire Vehicle industry is in a far reaching crisis that is affecting thousands of families across our city right now. After years of sub minimum wage pay, mounting bills and punishing shifts, drivers for apps like Uber and Lyft are at the breaking point along with drivers across the for-hire vehicle industry.
Our message to drivers is to take heart: we are SO close to making this industry so much better, and you are not alone. We are about to win a massive raise and we are united in fighting for a fair industry. We encourage all of our members to reach out to NYC Well and get involved in the IDG where we take care of each other like brothers and sisters.
This industry and this job is debilitatingly lonely by design. As a member elegantly said at a meeting: “In here we are brothers, but on the streets we are wolves.” The working conditions of the industry pits people who should be working together as brothers and sisters against one another in a constant battle of who gets the next trip, who cuts who off, and who goes first. Though drivers are with people all day, they are often treated by their passengers as subhuman, alienated from their humanity, and underpaid for it to boot.
But the core of this crisis is economic, which is why we have been fighting for the city to enact a livable wage. It is hard to not be depressed when you are working 60 hours a week and still not making enough money to provide for your family. We also need a crisis response that meets drivers where they are, so we are in the process of establishing a mental health and wellness program including prevention, counseling and crisis response.
We have worked over the last year to create and secure funding for a mental health and wellness plan including hiring a psychologist and social worker. The Independent Drivers Guild has secured a grant from the Black Car Fund for this program and is currently hiring and will be launching the program in the coming months.
Come to the next IDG General Meeting to learn more about our ongoing fight for fair pay and a fairer industry. We need to come together and show the City Council that enough is enough – we need fair leasing and fair pay now!
Please join us at this important meeting on Tuesday, November 6th @7PM to discuss our strategy. We need YOUR support!
Free parking opens up at 7PM and there will be food available, as always!
New IDG Data: Average Lease Cost is Nearly Triple the City’s Estimate in Pay Proposal
New York, NY — After a two year campaign by the Independent Drivers Guild, New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission held a hearing TODAY Wednesday, October 3rd on the nation’s first livable wage rules for drivers for apps like Uber and Lyft. The city’s proposed rules, put forward following the Guild’s campaign and regulatory petition, would mean a 22.5% raise for drivers, a pay increase if Uber and Lyft over-hire, and annual cost of living increases.
The proposed pay structure is a vital and revolutionary move toward regulating the app-based industry to make it more fair for working people. However, the Guild found that the city’s proposal underestimates driver costs in several areas, most dramatically in the areas of vehicle lease and rental costs and in the cost of benefits. The IDG, which represents more than 65,000 app-based drivers in New York City, is calling for the Commission to fix the cost estimates in light of this new data and then pass the amended rules swiftly.
While the city estimated lease costs at $635 per month, new data collected by the IDG shows the actual cost incurred by drivers averages nearly three times that. The IDG collected lease data from more than 500 app-based drivers who reported paying an average of more than $1800 per month. This is consistent with the lease prices offered at the city’s major leasing companies for compact sedans. Many leases include industry-specific liability insurance, and some require extra fees to purchase TLC insurance. But even if you combine the city estimates for leasing and insurance ($400/month), the city’s total ($1035 per month) still comes up far short of the average reported by drivers. What’s more, the city’s pay formula assumed that 80 percent of drivers own their vehicles and just twenty percent lease or rent, but multiple IDG surveys found that the breakdown is 60 percent own and 40 percent lease or rent. The IDG is calling on the city to update its pay formula to reflect the reality of drivers’ expenses
Additionally, the city’s proposed pay formula fails to account for the many benefits that employees receive, like health insurance, disability, Unemployment Insurance and several other benefits that drivers must bear the risk for. A report from the Economic Policy Institute analyzing Uber driver pay earlier this year concluded that the cost shifted to drivers for standard benefits equals 14.1 percent of wages. This is a significant expense that is omitted from the city formula.
Furthermore, the $15 per hour salary at the core of the city’s calculations is lower than the industry standard for professional drivers who have obtained specialized licensure, as is required for for-hire vehicle drivers in New York City. For example, minimum pay for the city’s MTA bus drivers is currently $23.85 per hour — and that is before a laundry list of benefits, none of which Uber and Lyft drivers receive and which are not accounted for in the city’s calculations. A fair base rate before expenses would be a minimum of $20 per hour as employees, $22.96 as independent contractors, to bring the FHV sector closer in line with the industry and to account for the lack of benefits.
“For two years, we’ve fought for fair pay rules for New York City drivers. We are pleased that New York is listening to drivers who have long suffered with earnings that fall below minimum wage, but it’s critical that the city get this right. While the city’s proposal has many strong points, the current version underestimates drivers’ costs. The average driver pays nearly triple the cost the city estimated for leases – and a much larger portion of drivers lease than the city’s formula assumes. What’s more, the city formula fails to account for the costs shifted to drivers to pay for their own benefits like health care – the pay rate needs to reflect that,” said Ryan Price, Executive Director of the Independent Drivers Guild.
“Working families like mine are desperate for a raise and quick passage of these rules, but the city can’t call this a livable wage if the numbers do not reflect reality. We are urging the city to correct their cost estimates and then pass these rules without further delay,” said IDG member Tina Raveneau who drives for apps like Uber and Lyft. “As a working, single mom, I really appreciate that the city is taking action for fair pay, but they need to know their numbers are flat out wrong and they are missing some of the big expenses other employees take for granted. I pay $429 per week to lease my little Nissan Sentra compact sedan – that is triple the cost estimate in the city’s proposal. The city’s math assumes the average driver is paying less than $150 per week, which simply is not the case. Look at the ads at all the major companies, leases START at $350 or $375 – and that’s for little old cars.”
More than 16,000 drivers signed the IDG’s petition to require a minimum pay rate for apps like Uber and Lyft. To force action, the IDG filed a formal rulemaking petition in March and the city responded in May that it planned to act on pay rules this summer. In August, the city council passed and Mayor de Blasio signed legislation requiring the Taxi and Limousine Commission to set minimum payments for drivers for high volume app-based for-hire vehicle services like Uber and Lyft. See more on the city’s rulemaking process here. The IDG used the same regulatory and legislative tactics to require Uber to add a tipping option to the app last year. Just months after the city greenlighted the IDG’s proposed tipping rules, Uber added a tipping option not only for New York City (its biggest market) but for drivers across the U.S.
The Independent Drivers Guild is an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and represents and advocates for more than 65,000 app-based drivers in New York City. We are Uber, Lyft, Juno, and Via drivers united for a fair for-hire vehicle industry.
After 2 years of fighting, the IDG forced the TLC to have a hearing about raising driver pay. On October 3rd, we will demand an industry wide pay raise so that we can provide for our families and cover our expenses. We need you to stand with us at 6:00 PM on October 3rd to fight for the raise that we all deserve. Without you, we cannot win.
Come to the next IDG General Meeting to get ready to fight for FAIR LEASING REGULATIONS at the City Council hearing on September 17th. We need to come together and show the City Council that enough is enough – we need fair leasing regulations now!
Please join us at this important meeting on Tuesday, September 4th at 7PM to discuss our strategy to fight and win fair leasing costs. We need YOUR support! Free parking opens up at 7PM and there will be food available, as always!