Statement from NYC Council Member Brad Lander on New Report Proposing an Earnings Standard for App-Based For-Hire Vehicle Drivers

Statement from NYC Council Member Brad Lander on New Report Proposing an Earnings Standard for App-Based For-Hire Vehicle Drivers

July 2, 2018

Council Member Lander is the sponsor of Intro 890-2018, which would guarantee a living-wage for FHV drivers. This statement is in response to the release of the new report “An Earnings Standard for New York City’s App-based Drivers: Economic Analysis and Policy Assessment” by James Parrott (Center for NYC Affairs, New School) and Michael Reich (University of California, Berkeley).

“Today’s report provides the proof for what we’ve long heard from drivers: the vast majority of for-hire vehicle (FHV), drivers for app-based companies like Uber and Lyft, earn far below a living wage. Most FHV drivers work full-time hours but suffer from low pay and high company mark-ups that generate huge returns for investors but leave drivers in poverty.

I’m proud to be the lead sponsor of Intro 890-2018, which would implement the policy proposed by Parrott and Reich. The law would require that Uber, Lyft, and the other app-based companies guarantee their drivers a living wage of at least $17.22 per hour, which is designed to cover the drivers’ expenses and still provide the equivalent of $15 hourly pay. This would increase pay among these drivers by an average of 22.5% with only minimal fare increases, and with very little inconvenience to the passengers who rely on this service, particularly in transit-underserved neighborhoods in the outer boroughs.

Intro 890 would also make New York City the first place in the country to apply minimum pay standards to independent contractors, further strengthening the safety net for workers in NYC’s rapidly expanding gig economy.

Thanks to James Parrott and Michael Reich for conducting the first detailed economic analysis of drivers’ earnings in any major City, to the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission for commissioning the report, and to so many courageous for-hire drivers for organizing tirelessly and ringing the alarm bell on driver pay.   

I hope we will move forward quickly to pass Intro 890, as part of a comprehensive package of legislation -- including a cap on the number of for-hire vehicles on the road and debt relief for yellow taxi driver-owners -- to reduce congestion and ensure that all for-hire drivers can earn a decent living for their families.”

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