Ride-sharing has been the hottest transportation trend for several years now, and the concept isn’t going to disappear anytime fast.
Uber and Lyft are the most popular ways to get a rapid ride by firing up the smartphone. Their apps make it super simple, and the services are typically cheaper than a taxi.
As far as becoming an Uber or Lyft driver in a mega-metropolis like New York City, the new ground rules for 2019 ensure that the minimum wage is applied for these app-based drivers. In fact, NYC has established itself as the first city to guarantee these drivers be paid a minimum wage. In the Big Apple, the Uber/Lyft rate has been set at $17.22 per hour following expenses. The city’s current minimum wage is $15 per hour.
These new conditions for Uber and Lyft drivers were approved by New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission in early December. These rules also affect other app-based drivers who work for ride-sharing companies like Juno or Via.
The app-based driving job is popular in New York City, and some 80,000 do it for a living, but for some time now, drivers believed they were getting the short end of the stick. Drivers had been extremely stressed out trying to earn a living, and the suicide rate among these “vehicle for hire” drivers was reaching alarming numbers. Most of them were only pocketing $11.90 an hour.
Uber and Lyft drivers are classified as contractors and not employees, so that leaves them ineligible for benefits and workers’ rights.
Drivers waged a campaign to level the playing field and make Uber, Lyft and others pay up.
The new ground rules also mean that rides could get pricier, and the heads of these ride-sharing companies are calling the NYC laws a step backward. They believe that the rider will get whacked in the wallet unnecessarily as fares increase and that congestion in the bustling central business district will only get worse.
The Independent Drivers Guild, however, sees the new minimum wage guidelines for New York City as a win-win for app-based drivers. The rules will now guarantee a fair, livable wage and back up independent contractors in the workforce industry.
Uber launched in 2009, and Lyft made its debut in 2012.