Taxi drivers rally for raises, per trip increase for customers in NYC during TLC hearings

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Monday, May 23, 2022
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Taxi and livery drivers rallied Monday for a raise as they testified during TLC public hearings at City Hall. Darla Miles has the latest on this story.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Taxi and livery drivers rallied Monday for a raise as they testified during TLC public hearings at City Hall.

It's no secret that inflation and gas prices have increased across the country and the city.

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance says drivers are looking at paying $5,000 more for fuel by the end of the year compared to pre-March gas prices.

Yellow and green cab drivers gathered for a rally on Monday, and on Tuesday, NYTWA members who drive for Uber and Lyft will rally.

The 25,000-member union is calling for an increase of up to $2 more per trip for riders, which they say will allow all drivers to take home $25 an hour after expenses.

"When the two things you need - food and gasoline - cost more than they have in 40 years and you have to pay for both, how can anyone survive without going into debt, or going hungry?" NYTWA Executive Director Bhairavi Desai said. "The TLC has a responsibility to respond to the immediate crisis, especially after 10 long years of a drought. But the fact is, we're tired of raises just for survival. We want regulations that respond to the disruptions brought on by the Uber and Lyft business model of part-timizing a full-time profession, and elevate drivers' incomes to a dignified level their labor commands. Drivers pay for expenses, work without safety, work long hours, have to stay alert and responsive to customers at all times, and keep the economic engine running 24x7 in our City. We want $25 per hour take-home. Not a penny less."

The current base fare is $2.50, and $.50 per additional one-fifth of a mile. The Alliance is asking the commission for a two-dollar increase per ride, which they say would be modest for riders, but a game changer for drivers.

The TLC, which just last week welcomed a new chairperson, has not raised the yellow and green cab meter rates since 2012.

"This is a humble request from a workforce that hasn't had a raise in 10 years," Desai said. "We need to redo the economics of this industry, rebuild it right so that drivers can earn a dignified pay of nothing less than $25 per hour."

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