Tue, Jun 22, 2021 at 11:27 AM
Uber/Lyft Drivers Demand Right To Own Their Own Vehicle
New York, NY — The Independent Drivers Guild, the nation’s largest advocacy organization for Uber and Lyft drivers, announced its opposition to a proposal by the City of New York to ban new electric for-hire vehicles. The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission is holding a meeting on Tuesday, June 22nd beginning at 11:30 AM to discuss the proposed ban. The Guild uges the Commission to reject the proposed ban. Instead, the Guild urges the Commission to cap large fleets, but allow individual licensed TLC drivers to register one vehicle and, if needed, limit new TLC drivers’ licenses rather than vehicles.
Currently, there are only a few hundred electric battery powered for-hire vehicles in New York City, making up less than one half of one percent of all of the city’s TLC licensed vehicles. In 2018, New York City passed a law capping the number of for-hire vehicles licensed to operate in the city. As a result, thousands of for-hire vehicle drivers who could not afford to purchase their own vehicle have no choice but to rent or lease vehicles from large fleet companies. Expenses for drivers who rent their vehicles are typically $10,000 per year more than expenses for drivers who own their vehicle. One of the only ways for drivers to one day own their own vehicle is to save up to purchase an electric vehicle. The city’s proposed ban on new electric for-hire vehicles would close that path to ownership.
“The proposed ban on new electric for-hire vehicles would not only set back the city’s emission goals, it would also close one of the only paths to ownership for thousands of for-hire vehicle drivers. This Commission must reject cutting off this desperately needed path for individual for-hire vehicle drivers,” said Brendan Sexton, Executive Director of the Independent Drivers Guild.
“The city’s cap on for-hire vehicles has turned big fleet owners into the great masters of thousands of workers who have no choice but to rent their vehicles. One of the only paths out of this slavery is for workers to save up enough money to purchase an electric vehicle,” said Queens-based driver Aziz Bah who has been driving for Uber and Lyft for more than seven years and also serves as Organizing Director of the Independent Drivers Guild.
Bah recently purchased an electric vehicle, noting in his prepared testimony, “I was stuck in a rental for years, the vehicle cap prevented me from owning. It took me years to save and finally buy my first electric vehicle. Despite the lack of charging stations, it is the best available solution. I feel liberated and I know many drivers who are working toward the same goal. To cut off this option to own would be cruelty upon cruelty.”
In addition, the Drivers Guild is urging the TLC to allow any driver who has been driving professionally for at least two years with a good driving record, to also be allowed an exemption from the vehicle cap if they have an opportunity to own, period.
The Independent Drivers Guild is the nation’s largest driver advocacy organization, representing more than 250,000 app-based drivers in New York, New Jersey, New England and Illinois, including 80,000 drivers in New York City alone. The IDG is a non-profit affiliate of the Machinists Union, which has represented for-hire vehicle drivers in New York City for two decades. Learn more about the Guild at https://driversguild.org/