Interview with NY IDG Member Arifa Tirmizi: Uber Sues NYC Over Wage Hikes for Rideshare Drivers

10 Dec 2022

A legal battle is brewing in New York between Uber and the city’s Taxi & Limousine Commission.

The popular rideshare company is suing the city over its plan to raise metered fares for cabs and rideshare drives. Uber is saying, if the rule goes into effect, it would have no option but to pass the cost on to riders.

In nine days, rideshare drivers like Arifa Tirmizi and taxi drivers like Holusi are expecting a bump in their earnings. Last month, the Taxi & Limousine Commission approved the first increase in metered fares in 10 years.

Tirmizi, of Long Island, drives for Uber and sometimes clocks in 14-hour days. But when she’s not in her car dropping off riders, she’s the hands-on mom to seven children.

Holusi Donmez knows the struggle all too well — he’s been driving a yellow cab since 1991.

“You really have to work hard to make ends meet. You have to work like 12 to 14 hours,” Donmez said. “Now we’re going to make a little more money and Uber is against it?”

The new rule will raise driver pay 7.42 percent per minute and 23.93 percent per mile.

On Friday, Uber sued the city claiming the hikes will be a blow to the entire industry that will likely force riders to cough up more money. The tech company says it would be forced to shell out at least $21 million a month to compensate for the pay hike.

“How come they can raise rates, raise any time they want and we cannot get a little fare hike in 10 years?” Donmez wants to know.

Uber is hoping a judge will issue an emergency ruling to stop the TLC’s fare increase – while the legal battle plays out in court.

“The TLC is choosing to invent a new methodology that locks in this summer’s high gas prices in perpetuity with a ‘mid-year’ adjustment that takes place 12 days before the end of the year,” an Uber spokesperson said.

“It would be devastating for the drivers because this is the holiday season, this is when the drivers work really hard,” Tirmizi said.

The question remains: will Uber and Lyft customers have to pay more for their rides starting Dec. 19?

One thing is clear, prices for rideshare drives are at historic highs. According to Bloomberg, the cost of an Uber ride is 37 percent higher compared to 2 years ago.

By Melissa Colorado NBC NY Published December 10, 2022